31 Things I’ve Learned in 31 Years – Part III


Holy crap, finishing this list has been a long time coming! I’ve been taking a break from writing while focusing on some sudden changes in my face-to-face business and taking advantage of the opportunities there-in. My apologies, as I should have finished this series of posts first!

Anyway, in case you missed it, I recently turned 31 and in light of that have compiled 31 things I’ve learned about life, strength and conditioning, business, and relationships. Here’s Part I and Part II.

And now, let’s finish the list!

22. Figure out what you want, specifically, and just go get it. None of this wishy-washy, vague, “I just want to be better” crap. That’s for those who like to sit around and talk about ideas and idly stroking each other but don’t like to put their balls on the line and do things. Make the decision of exactly what you’re after, come up with a plan to get there, and then crush the damn thing.

Another thing, stop listening to everyone else when it comes to leading YOUR life. Sure, there’s a time and a place for modeling, mentoring, and advice, but don’t you dare let someone else tell you what you should want out of life or how go about doing it. When you boil away everything that you’re “supposed” to do, how everyone tells you to do it, and just go after something in the way that fits your life and your ideals, then life becomes amazingly simple.

23. Be interesting by finding and expressing your passion. Nobody likes boring people, that’s a plain and simple truth. If you’re a boring person then you need to fix it with the quickness. Don’t fake the funk and become a freakshow just for attention, but find the things that you’re truly passionate about and live them. People are drawn to passion, not to certain activities.

How many guys are doing MMA now (or even more common: Just wearing Tapout shirts like a tool without ever spending a second on the mat) because they think it’s cool? That’s stupid, boring, and trust me, the fake tough guy routine is annoying. On the other hand, I’ve listened to a guy speak about local geological oddities (which I honestly give a rat’s ass about) for over half an hour because his passion for it made the topic interesting. By the end of the discussion I felt like I needed to go buy a book on geology! That’s some interesting passion, right there, and not coincidently he might be the most frequently-laid geologist I’ve ever met. Admittedly, that’s not the stiffest of competitions, so to speak, but you know what I mean. Passion sells.

24. I like beer. Apparently this one is also known to many of you as about 15 of the 40 or 50 Facebook Happy Birthdays I received recommended that I celebrate with one. If nothing else this just proves that my vices are mostly the result of my friends. Peer pressure is a bitch (Lesson #24.5).

25. Situations in life are rarely ever fair, but if you are patient things have a way of evening out. Sometimes things happen that just suck. Sometimes you get passed over, stepped on, get dealt a raw hand, or whatever. That’s the way it is.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you to believe in some meta-physical bullshit about everything happening for a reason. That’s just not useful. What I am going to say is that you need to keep your head up and your eyes bright, even if you are getting porked. Though life’s been treating you pretty unfairly at this moment, chances are pretty good down the road that you’re going to get an opportunity where the unfairness side of life falls on your side of the fence.

26. There’ll be a time when you have to depend on your friends and family for something. There’ll be a time when they have to depend on you. That’s part of being friends and family. Be there for them in either situation. I spent a lot of time in my life trying to be fashionably stoic and pretend that I was an island. While it’s true that I am a pretty private person, I have some of the best friends and family a man could ever wish for.

Although I wish I could say otherwise, there have been times in my life where I needed these people to lean on and they’ve been there every single time offering their support. It took me a long time to get to the point where I could accept any help at all (I still don’t like it) but I’ve finally realized that it’s an important part of friendship.

In turn, I’ve always been willing to go above and beyond to help my friends. It’s sort of like in Lesson #25, what goes around comes around. Sometimes you’re the one that needs help, other times you’re the one that’s in the position to give it. It’s important to realize that it’s ok to be in either situation.

27. Strength this the foundation for everything in my life. Physically, mentally, spiritually, everything is based on getting stronger. The stronger I get, the more successful I am in every endeavor.

28. Nobody else seems to think that my desire of a large crocodile named Roosevelt (Theodore D, or Teddy R if you’re nasty) as a pet seems to think it’s nearly as good an idea as I do. Whatever. While I love my friends (see Rule #26), they obviously have no vision.

29. If you’re in, then go all in. My father, and every martial arts instructor I’ve ever had (other than one, but I question his “instructor” title) have all been in agreement on one thing: Maybe you try to avoid the fight, but if you’re in it, then you go in with extreme violence and ruthless intent.

That’s the case in combat, and it’s the case in life. If you’re going to do something, then man up and do it all out. Don’t half-ass things because that’s what failures are made from.

30. The best thing that’s ever happened to me was failing. Failures in business, failures in relationships, failures in my body have, while being really painful at the time and sometimes taking a long time to get over, taught me how to grow up, become a man, and succeed. I didn’t experience a lot of failure early on in life and it cost me some in the long run. It wasn’t until I truly failed at some endeavors that I really learned how to take a punch on the chin and keep coming.

As much fun as that process wasn’t, I also learned that failing isn’t nearly as scary as it seems. If you don’t aim high and risk failing then you’re probably not going to enjoy great success. If you try big and fail? Then analyze what you did wrong and try again. It’s as simple as that.

31. God helps those who help themselves. Call it God, call it chance, call it the Universe, call it whatever you like, the semantics don’t mean a thing. What does mean something is the bottom line that if you’re not out there trying to improve then you’re not going to be given too many chances. All the time I hear guys bitching about how “so-and-so got a lucky break” or “he would have never had that opportunity if he hadn’t met that guy” and so on. Maybe it’s true. Maybe there was a lucky break involved. But more often than not it’s because that dude was out there hustling and because he was hustling he met the right guy or walked into the right situation. You’re not going to find a lot of open doors if you aren’t walking down the hallway trying the knobs.

32. Bonus: Despite what Cube says, life is more than just bitches and money. Not that I’m normally one to argue the wisdom of Ice Cube, the fact of the matter is that there’s more to life. Sure, money’s great, I’m not going to argue that. As for the other half of his advice, to be honest, I think the bitches are sort of superfluous because in my experience when you have money, the bitches show up on their own.

However, in all seriousness, I know a lot of very wealthy, very miserable guys. I know guys who are married or dating wonderful, attractive women but choose to cheat on them with unattractive, available skanks (or even good-looking, available skanks). These guys aren’t happy and it’s obvious.

Live the life you want, man. Find out what really makes you happy, whatever that may be, and structure your life around that. It’s very fashionable right now to have a “Passion Business” based on whatever your passion is. Hell, I have one (strength and conditioning), so I can’t throw rocks. But that doesn’t always work out the best for some people. Sometimes making your passion into your business takes all the fun out of it.

Instead, figure out that passion (traveling, eating frighteningly hot peppers, watching minor league baseball, for example) and then figure out what you need in order to do that as much as possible and live the life you want. It’s important to choose your lifestyle over money. Sure, you’ll probably need some money to make the lifestyle you want happen, but more often than not if you really plan things out then you’ll discover that you don’t need nearly as much money as you think you do.

But if you do happen to make a lot of money… and the bitches show up… then wrap it up and get your pre-nups in order. Lesson 33, right there.

Think I’m spot on? Am I full of it? Drop a comment below and fire away!

Pings on 31 Things I’ve Learned in 31 Years – Part III

September 6, 2011

Comments on 31 Things I’ve Learned in 31 Years – Part III Leave a Comment

June 8, 2011

Chris @ 7:21 pm #

Well done old man, well done.

Isaac @ 9:57 pm #

Thanks, girl! It’s been a lot of years and ups and downs to get there.


June 9, 2011

MOM @ 1:34 am #

Great job on this, Isaac! I’ve been watching for it, and you really shared valuable insight and personal growth Well done! LOVE, MOM.

Isaac @ 6:47 pm #

Thanks, Mom! You’ve been a huge part of the whole process and I couldn’t have done it without you!


June 16, 2011

Johan @ 3:06 am #

Interesting and amusing.

Thank you for your insights. Food for though for sure.

Angie Plummer @ 10:49 am #

What a list!!!! Insightful and inspiring. Way to go

Isaac @ 6:35 pm #

Johan: Thanks for stopping in, man. Glad you got some humor and some fodder for the brain out of it!

Ang: Thanks, kiddo!


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