30 Things About Life I Wish I Had Known 10 Years Ago

30 Things About Life I Wish I Had Known 10 Years Ago

Last week I turned 30. Unlike most people, I do like getting older. 10 years ago, I was a complete idiot.

Now, a decade later, I still know nothing, but I do feel more in control of my life. I thank that personal growth to an idea I stole from Socrates, the person who was once named the wisest man on earth by the Oracle of Delphi.

When Socrates heard that the oracle had made such a comment, he believed that the statement was wrong. Socrates said:

“I know one thing: that I know nothing.”

How can the smartest man on earth know nothing? I heard this paradoxical wisdom for the first time from my school teacher when I was 14 or 15. That humility made such an impact on me that I used Socrates’s quote as my learning strategy.

What you will find below is a list of the most important things I learned from others. We might learn things quickly, but we often forget things at the same rate — and sometimes we need to remind ourselves of the things we’ve learned.

Here are 30 of those reminders that others taught me.

  1. Struggle Is Good
    Never say “I can’t take it anymore.” Say “Bring it on!”
  2. Don’t Complain
    Complaining is the biggest waste of time there is. Either do something about it, and if you can’t, shut up about it.
  3. Spend Time With People You Love
    That’s your family and best friends. If you don’t have a family, create one. Most people in life are only visitors. Family is for life.
  4. Don’t Start A Relationship If You’re Not In Love
    I’ve done this more than once. You kind of like someone and think: “We might as well give it a shot.” Not a good idea. You’re either in love, or you are not. Don’t fool yourself. It’s not fair to you and the other person.
  5. Exercise Daily
    A healthy body is where you have to start everything in life. If you can’t build a healthy and strong body, what can you build in life?
  6. Keep A Journal
    No, keeping a journal is not for children. It helps you to become a better thinker and writer. “I don’t want to be a writer” you might think. Well, how many emails and texts do you send a day? Everybody is a writer.
  7. Be Grateful
    Say ‘thank you’ to everyone and everything. “Thank you for this beautiful day.” “Thank you for your email.” “Thank you for being there for me.”
  8. Don’t Care About What People Think
    We all die in the end, do you really think it matters what people think of you?
  9. Take More Risks
    Don’t be such a wimp. Seriously.
  10. Pick An Industry, Not A Job
    If you want to become good at something, you need to spend years and years doing that. You can’t do that if you hop from industry to industry. Pick an industry you love and start at the bottom. You will find the perfect role for you eventually.
  11. Lead The Way
    When you find yourself in a situation where everyone looks at each other, it’s time for you to lead. You‘re a leader when you decide to become one. There’s no initiation or a title. Just a decision.
  12. Things Are Not What They Seem
    If something sounds too good to be true, it is. A little skepticism never hurts.
  13. Money Is Not The Most Important Thing
    You have to train yourself not to care about money and focus on providing value instead. Also, don’t become too dependent on the stuff you own — otherwise, the stuff will own you.
  14. Be Nice
    I don’t mean you should be a pushover. You can be someone that doesn’t take shit and be nice about it. Just don’t insult people, think you’re better than them, or act like an idiot.
  15. Get Comfortable With Being Uncomfortable
    Life, work, relationships, challenges. It’s all uncomfortable. So get comfortable with that.
  16. Learn Every Day
    You’ve got to train your brain to stay alert. You don’t have to read a book a day to learn every day. Learn from your mistakes. Learn from the people around you — be open to what they can teach you.
  17. Rest Before You Are Tired
    Even if you love your job, and every day seems like a holiday, you need to take time to rest. You’re a human and not an android, never forget that.
  18. Don’t Judge
    Just because people make different choices than you, they are not stupid. Also, you don’t know everything about people, so don’t judge them — help them.
  19. Think About Others
    Just be mindful, that’s all. We all have families, bills to pay, and our own issues. Don’t always make everything about yourself.
  20. Give Without Expecting Something In Return
    Don’t keep score. You will become a bitter person if you do that. Give solely for the joy of giving. If you get something in return, great, if you don’t, great.
  21. There’s No End Game
    We, as a species, just are. Don’t try to figure it all out. Enjoy your journey.
  22. Enjoy Small Things
    I like clichés because they are true. Especially this one. You know why? Everyone says they know it, but no one lives up to it. They just chase big things.
  23. Don’t Take Yourself Seriously
    Yeah, yeah, you’re an individual, and people have to take you seriously, I get it. But at the end of the day, we’re all a bunch of ants trying to chase the same things. Lighten up.
  24. Don’t Blame People
    What’s the point? Do you want to punish them? You don’t do that to people. Also, don’t blame yourself — you’re only human.
  25. Never Look Back Too Long
    Reflecting on the past is only good for one thing: Learning.
  26. Avoid Negative Situations And People
    You can’t underestimate the impact others have on you. Get away from negativity at all cost.
  27. Invest In Yourself
    Skills are worth more than a good job, career, money, and even a reputation. Why? The world always needs people who can do something well. Be that person.
  28. Rely On Yourself
    Because it’s the best feeling in the world to know you can figure things out by yourself. But don’t overdo it. Ask for help when you need it.
  29. Create Something
    Not to leave a legacy, you won’t be here to see it anyway, but to be of use. Make music, write a book, build a table, anything. You’ll feel good about yourself, plus you give something back to people to use or enjoy.
  30. Take Action
    Don’t just sit there, do something. Without action, there is no outcome.

You might know a lot. But like Socrates, you and I know nothing at all. So we have to keep learning.

(image credit)



Thanks For Reading!


I’m Darius Foroux—an entrepreneur, author, and podcaster.

I publish weekly articles on overcoming procrastination, improving productivity, and achieving more. Never want to miss an article?

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  1. I’m twice as old as you, Darius, and it took me longer than 30 years to learn some of that stuff, and yet you’re still teaching me things. Good, solid, intelligent, wise, not over-hyped – terrific.

  2. Like Graham I too am twice as old as you. Been around the block a time or two. Everything resonates with me. Two of you points really stand out. “Enjoy the journey” and “be grateful”.

    I would add one more: be humble.

  3. When I (as a teenager) first heard the quote by Socrates, I was also impressed by this wise phrase. Good advice you come with. It’s true that we need to hear many things repeated again and again. I often write down lists and advice to myself. There is always more to learn and the hardest thing is to break the bad habits and live out the wise words!

  4. “Don’t Start A Relationship If You’re Not In Love
    I’ve done this more than once. You kind of like someone and think: “We might as well give it a shot.” Not a good idea. You’re either in love, or you are not. Don’t fool yourself. It’s not fair to you and the other person.”

    I could not disagree with this more. Some of the best relationships stem from friendships, and you aren’t in love with that person from the beginning… love is such a fluid emotion. You can grow to be in love with someone.

    1. I am glad im not the only one who though this. Instant live can be suspicious if anything as you’re not basing it on anything so it suggests more of a lustful emotion. I gave it a shot with my fiance and went against my typical type and it was the best decision ever made. Being “in love’ is not permanent and comes and goes. The rest of his advice I am on board with however

  5. Well done.

    Lots of gold in this post. But in the world we live in, it is sometimes very very hard to live by these rules. For instance, “money isn’t important” is basically trying to swim against the current, in the world where most think success is measured by your material wealth. Sure, you can “Don’t Care About What People Think” but then these people may be your friends and family members; so you can’t really help but care about what they think, if only a bit. It’s like living in the Matrix, if everyone around you think it’s real, it is very difficult for you to escape from it — it’s a constant struggle.

  6. Hi Darius,

    Well said and yes, Get comfortable with being uncomfortable. How many times have we missed opportunities only to regret later with the usual “should’ve, could’ve, would’ve”? I’m still learning…

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