25 Illustrated Ideas That Could Change Your Life

Socrates, considered as one of the founders of Western philosophy, 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.”

You might be a wise person, but still, you know nothing. You can learn from everything and everyone. Over the years, I’ve been blessed to have great mentors, teachers, family, friends, that taught me about life.

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 25 of those reminders that others taught me. Illustrated by Maren Katelaan.

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

I didn’t get this until recently. 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.

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. 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.

13. 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.

14. 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.

15. 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.

16. 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.

17. 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.

18. 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.

19. There’s No End Game

We, as species, just are. Don’t try to figure it all out. Enjoy your journey.

20. 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.

21. Don’t Take Yourself So 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.

22. 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.

23. 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.

24. Never Look Back Too Long

Reflecting on the past is only good for one thing: Learning.

25. 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.


Download the PDF version of this article in A6 format



Based on the original article, 25 Things About Life I Wish I Had Known 10 Years Ago.

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  1. This is probably my favourite post to date. Clear, concise and pretty much awesome! Somehow, the illustrations reminded me of the “Something Just Like This” music video by The Chainsmokers and Coldplay — positive and heartfelt. I think Maren should do children’s books, her work is amazing. =O

  2. What a wonderful illustration and words from both of you guys.
    I like thing #5 where Darius exercise daily 🙂 Like your outfit and blue beard.
    Again brilliant work guys.

    Thanks for both of you. I have enjoyed both article and art indeed.

    Look for more collaboration in coming future.

  3. I remember you saying that you wanted to illustrate are these your illustrations? Thank you for sharing your gift. This is going up on my wall and in my son’s school binder.

  4. Darius, this is one of my most favorite posts so far. It is true that a picture’s worth a thousand words! Thanks for introducing us to your “conspirator.” The collaborative project turned out a success.

  5. I enjoyed the skilful, fun drawings and the clever-packaged words so much! Thank you for adding this bright spark of inspiration to my day.

  6. Many I can resonate with except 10. Choose an industry. For years I thought I was a bit of a lightweight changing jobs regularly once I had achieved all I could. Then I discovered that this is described as being a multipotentialite and what I am good at is short term start ups/projects and creating change. And I am happy with that. I would say choose your passion.

  7. There are a lot of “20 things to change your life” blogs on the web but this one stands apart. It is simple, concise and the illustrations make it all the more attractive! Good work.

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