30 Things

I am cognizant that publishing a list like this on my 30th birthday seems hollow. Truth is, I am writing this for myself. This is a collection of best 30 advice I have received in the years leading up to now. You might find some of these applicable to your own life. Some less so.

When I started to curate this list a few weeks ago when I was in Mongolia, it felt deceptively simple. It was not. I took care to reduce redundancy, so that I don’t repeat myself. It was also challenging to really distill all the lessons learned and the advice I took to heart into 30 things. This is my best effort.

Naturally, comments welcomed.

  1. Always prioritise your family and important relationships over everything else.
  2. Never underestimate your ability to augment your immediate reality. If you want something, go get it. If you want something to happen, make it happen.
  3. Never take yourself too seriously.
  4. Be kind.
  5. Be patient.
  6. Take chances on your career, and never be too comfortable.
  7. Leave room for uncertainty and surprises. This takes some conscious effort, for uncertainty and surprises lie beyond your comfort zone. Hence, get out of your comfort zone often.
  8. Protect your reputation at all costs. Your reputation will be the greatest currency you have in your career.
  9. Always strive to be effective and get things done. You don’t have to be the smartest guy in the room. It doesn’t matter.
  10. Make an effort to cultivate your friendships. Go out, stay up. Learn how to have fun.
  11. Go out of your way to meet and be around smart, interesting and ambitious people. I once heard that you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Not sure how true that is, but I do believe in the importance of keeping good company.
  12. Be generous with your time and money. Most of the people that I came to admire and respect were always generous with their time and money. Incidentally these are the same people whom are pretty successful in their respective fields. Causation? Maybe. Correlation? Definitely.
  13. However, be prudent with your attention. A lot of things in life aren’t worth paying attention to.
  14. Your happiness is your own responsibility.
  15. True love waits.
  16. True love also takes effort. In fact, any genuine, enriching, long-lasting relationship takes effort. Make time.
  17. Even the deepest wounds will heal. The deepest wounds will also, incidentally, turn out to be the greatest teachers in life.
  18. Marry someone who inspires you to be a better version of yourself. Similiarly, marry someone who has the desire to grow with you, too. In a good marriage, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
  19. Having money is nice, but don’t stress over it too much.
  20. Keep your personal burn rate low, but remember to eat and live well too.
  21. Time is more important than money.
  22. When in doubt, always choose substance over style.
  23. Buy experiences, not things.
  24. Also, buy utility and value, not fashion.
  25. Be confident, but not proud. Never let pride get in the way of learning.
  26. Choose long-term gains over short-term gratification.
  27. Pay attention. Most people sleepwalk through their lives. Don’t be most people. Be aware. An unexamined life is not worth living.
  28. Read. Read fiction to appreciate the beauty of language. Read non-fiction to learn how the world works. Read good essays. Again, be prudent with your attention.
  29. Take time off to wander and think.
  30. Don’t grow old, grow wise. Don’t stay young, stay curious.

tianglim

8 Comments

  1. I love this list but I can’t agree with advice number 24. How can you not buy fashion? I am appalled! Fashion is the truest test of creativity and innovation. It’s not all about vanity and surface value! How about “buy utility and value, and then fashion, in that order”?

    • I had an emoji at the end of the comment but it was unfashionably removed by the syntax guru or something. It’s ;-)

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