Happiness

30 Lessons I Learned in 30 Years

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It was a warm Fall night outside Caffe Dante, my favorite Gelato spot in New York’s Greenwich Village, when I met her.

The Italian waitresses don’t even ask for my order anymore.   Shortly after I sit down they bring me my usual.

1 scoop of stracciatella and 1 scoop of tiramisu.

The thought of it alone makes my stomach smile.

I’ve had gelato all over the world, and to this day nothing compares to this little cafe.

I usually go solo.  Walk through Washington Square Park, enjoy the energy of NYC, people watch, and get my two scoops of gelato.

This particular time I sat outside at a table next to an older Italian woman and her little French Bull dog.  I’m a sucker for dogs (especially cute little Frenchies because they sound like an old man snoring when they’re awake).

I struck up a conversation with her because her dog kept licking my leg.  We got into the Italian culture, travel, and how her husband is a famous artist who’se been commissioned to build sculptures all over the world.  She talked about her grandchildren, and even invited me to see her husbands art gallery in SoHo.

It was a pleasant thirty minute conversation.  One of “those moments” everyone talks about when you live in NYC.

She gave me her number and address to see her gallery, but somehow I lost both of those and forgot her name.

One thing I did remember was an answer she gave me to a very specific question I asked.

“I’m about to turn 30 years old, and if you could go back and talk to your 30 year old self what advice would you give?”

She said, without hesitation, “don’t worry so much”

She continued, “we try to create drama from nothing so often, but the things we think are major issues always pass, and we forget about them usually within a few months at most.  Focus on loving more, and not worrying as much.”

Advice is always easier giving than receiving, but this is something that stuck with me, and it inspired me to share some lessons I’ve learned in my first 30 years of life.

1.  Don’t worry so much

She was right, there’s been so much stress and drama I’ve allowed in the past that really doesn’t matter.  There are ways to handle situations and instances in your life, but worrying about them never does much.

2. Be extremely grateful for what you have

I was a pain in the ass most of my childhood, always mad at the things I didn’t have. Things shifted drastically in my 20’s where I started putting an emphasis in gratitude. Focus on the good you do have, not the things you lack.

3. Strive to be a better version of yourself every day

Each day we have the opportunity to learn something new, apologize for our mistakes, and become better.

4. Drop your ego

It’s something I continue to work on because having an ego never did anything positive for me and it usually crushes people.

5. Eat clean

I used to eat whatever I wanted and it didn’t matter as much when I worked out 6 hours a day.  I still love my gelato from time to time, but I’m all about eating as much organic foods, experimenting with cleanses, and drinking green juice as possible.  Focus on what works for you, but educate yourself on what you put in your body.

6. Sweat daily

Movement is important especially when so many sit at a desk for 10+ hours a day. This causes serious aging, illness, and physical pain when you don’t move.  CrossFit, playing team handball for the USA national team, and street basketball are my weekly activities.  Do something you’ll have fun with and focus on moving every day.

7. Give back

I wouldn’t be where I am today without the help of countless people.  The support I’ve received from family, friends, teachers, coaches, mentors and so on are overwhelming. Find a way to help others and give back as it’s the best form of gratitude.

8. Frame your goals

I started writing my goals down and framing the goal as if it already was achieved in my early 20’s.  I was amazed when I started reaching these goals by the date I had listed on them.  It was a daily visualization exercise, and it almost always works.  I believe the things you put your energy towards the most, will most likely come true over everything else.  Frame your goals.

9. Don’t let others dictate your life

If you don’t want to live a normal life where you go to a job you hate just so you can enjoy your weekends and get two weeks to vacation every year… then don’t do it.  It’s as simple as that.  Read The Four Hour Work Week  by Tim Ferriss or other inspirational blogs about creating a lifestyle around a business you want to live.  No excuses, just do it already.

10. Follow your passion.

We only have one chance in this life.  If you aren’t following what you love, then what are you doing?  Why show up everyday to live a life someone else wants for you?  Let them live theirs and you live yours.

11. Be enthusiastic about what you do

Vince Lombardi said, “If you aren’t fired with enthusiasm, you’ll be fired with enthusiasm”

12. Focus on relationships

You can accomplish anything with the right relationships both personally and professionally.  People don’t care as much about what you know as they do on how much you care about them.

13. Be open to trying new things

I’ve been an extremely picky eater my entire life, but the more I try if life, the more I learn and become a better version of myself.

14. Feel your fears and do them anyways

My friend and sports psychologist Dr. Jeff Spencer told me this once and it stuck with me.  Elite athletes feel fear just like everyone else, but they channel that fear to fuel their spirit and passion for competition.

15. Your childhood matters, but don’t let it control your adulthood.

Don’t let the things that happened to you as a kid control the rest of your life.  Shit happens to all of us.  Use it to your advantage, learn from it, and focus on gratitude and giving.

16. Be nice to your siblings and love your family.

I used to fight a lot with one of my sisters.  It was stupid.  My family has given me so much for a majority of my life and I wouldn’t be here without them.

17. Invest in yourself

Grant Cardone once told me to spend all of my money on investing in myself.  Learn why this is important and why it’s a major focus for me now in this interview.

18. Attract great coaches

I’d be an angry, messed up kid still if I didn’t have amazing coaches and mentors. They knew how to get the most out of me and teach me about letting go of ego, working with a team, sacrifice, and so much more.  The world is a better place because of great coaches.  Find one for every aspect of your life and ask them to push you to get better every day.

19. Build a supportive team around you

I have a personal advisory board that I reach out to frequently.  These are people I admire, trust, and believe in.  I ask them to call me out on my shit and give me feedback when I need it.  No one achieves greatness alone, find the support you need.

20. Follow your dreams no matter what

It doesn’t matter what age you are or how little experience you have with something. It’s never too late to follow your dreams.  It will be the most fulfilling feeling once you do and you’ll never regret going after them.

21. Forgive yourself and others

Man, have I made A LOT of mistakes and done some stupid things throughout my life. It’s OK.  Don’t worry so much.  Forgive yourself, and forgive others for making mistakes.  Focus on learning from it and not doing them again.

22. Don’t let failure hold you back

“I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life and that is why I succeed”.  -Michael Jordan

23. Stay true to your word

Don’t say you’ll do something unless you follow through.  Learn to say “no” more often if you have too much on your plate and aren’t able to follow through on everything.

24.  Pay off your debts

Some debt is good for building credit, minimizing risk, and so on, but there are some debts that weigh most people down from truly following their passion and living an amazing life.  Pay off the debts that weigh you down as it’s an amazing feeling once you do. Read this book by Ramit for help on this.

25.  Learn outside the classroom

There isn’t much I remember from textbooks in school.  The best part about school for me was learning people skills and building relationships.  Everything I know about business, marketing, and making a living has come from mentors and learning outside of the classroom.  Find the right teacher and take action.

26.  Surround yourself with people smarter than you

The only way to grow is to play against harder competition in sports, or hang out with smarter people than you.  I’m always the dumbest person in the room, and I intend to keep it that way.

27.  Be happy with nothing

It’s not a fun feeling when you have no place to live, and can’t afford your own food.  I don’t recommend doing it on purpose as an experiment.  But having lived that way before makes me very happy living my life when everything can fit in a few suitcases.  I like luxurious things and experiences as much as the next person, but some of the happiest people in the world are minimalists.

28.  Learn from your relationships

People come and go, and so do intimate relationships.  Learn from the good and bad ones and stay true to yourself through each relationship.  Don’t allow them to make you into someone you don’t want to be.

29.  Do something great

You’ve got an opportunity to leave a legacy with your life.  What do you want to leave? Each day is an opportunity to do something great.

There you have it.

You’re probably wondering what my 30th lesson is, right?

Well, since I always try to be the dumbest person in the room, I’ve learned to ask the right questions. The right questions ignite  innovation, solve problems, create marriages and powerful partnerships, and help us live a better life.

Since I learn from everyone, especially my readers, I’d love to hear your answer to my question.  It doesn’t matter how old are you, what’s one thing you’d tell your younger version of yourself?  You better believe I’ll be getting some gelato on my 30th, but your answer in the comments section below would be the cherry on top.

##

Last year, with your support, we built a school for kids in need in Guatemala through the Pencils of Promise organization.  This year I’m looking to raise enough money to build another school.  I’d love your support, so please head over here to make a donation.  Thanks for constantly being my teacher, I appreciate you!

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72 comments
JoeyPhillippi
JoeyPhillippi

#30:  Being the Same is Lame


I have learned that by being brave enough to live with intention, daily, because it takes work, and strive to learn who I am, what my passions are, how I am going to change the world around me, and where I am headed in life RATHER THAN wasting so much energy on trying to be like "everybody else" I am able to find the true meaning of what life is all about.  I believe this is a mission I am on for the rest of my life, but the happiness, love, joy, cheer, and fun I am experiencing because I don't give a shit about "fitting in" is WAY BETTER than realizing I still don't measure up to a figurative mark placed down by judgmental assholes.    I am a female, aka LadyBoss, striving to become a full time entrepreneur to make great money, travel the world with my love, and help millions around me with a masters degree.  I decided the mold sucked, so I broke it.  Be different, weird, and original people.

Charles Cannon
Charles Cannon

In my college days we had a what life lesson could you give in three words, and mine was Never Stop Learning, but you cover that with the Invest In Yourself lesson. Rock on Lewis.

Alicia Borta
Alicia Borta

I loved your lessons! can resonate with most of them

Lindsay Sibson
Lindsay Sibson

I would go back and ask myself "Do you REALLY need that?" upon purchasing something.


I cringe at the thought of all the useless stuff I purchased. Now that I'm traveling in Europe and living out of a backpack I realize how little I truly need to be blissfully happy (I was just a WANT monster like most consumers).



Great lessons Lewis :-)

Act_Love_Faith
Act_Love_Faith

It's time to do something great and have faith :)

Colion6
Colion6

If I could have a talk with my 30 yr old self I would say that, "what you're about to go through over the next few years is going to be the most difficult time in your life! Embrace it, focus on the man in the mirror, because life is too short not to become what your meant to be. Believe in your vision even when those closest to you can't see. Listen more and talk less. Buy a recorder and save your thoughts. Take photos and say everything you feel to those that mean the most to you. And last but not least, when you find out "it's" a girl thank god because she's the final piece of your jigsaw puzzled life. Find a way to make it work because you need her just as much as she will need you!"

I remember talking to you about a month after my 30th, July 2011. I had just got back from Italy and you told me how you had written a book about linked in. I thought that was pretty cool. Someone I knew had done something more than just play football. I was telling you about me coaching the kids and the one thing you said that stuck was, I love your passion.... Congratulations on your success man. You're a hard worker and have earned your right to greatness! Keep it up. TColston

steviek6
steviek6

Ask questions of everyone you meet, people love to help and you will have to thank them which is a way of expressing gratitude.

wangui
wangui

Always be yourself in all that you do. You cannot please everyone.

Carole77
Carole77

Don't procrastinate. Take action on the decisions you make and face those fears.

joshfw
joshfw

#30 - Help Others Reach Their Dreams

Marie Bieber
Marie Bieber

TRAVEL! The people you meet and the lessons it teaches you are unparalleled.

Jandlynne
Jandlynne

Im 22 years old and i have learned from mr. Jim rohn that for things to change, i have to change. I loved your list, And am grateful for people like yourself, that have taken the time to write these simple, but powerful lessons. Your legacy will live on lewis!

sgleeson
sgleeson

You're never guaranteed tomorrow. "Learn from the past, focus on today, dream about the future" - Trump. Thanks Lewis!

dannyhotea
dannyhotea

I love that Italian lady's immediate response. Your list isn't too shabby either!

tsmith74
tsmith74

Live everyday as if it was your last, and have no regrets,cause you never know!

LeighEggins
LeighEggins

"If you want things in your life to change, you are going to have to change things in your life"

ChavanneScott
ChavanneScott

Always think for yourself! You are powerful beyond measure!!! :-)

keithrlaskeycom
keithrlaskeycom

SMILE

Even when you aren't happy.  Smile.  It does amazing things for you and everyone you come in contact with.

alyssadazet
alyssadazet

Embrace my feminine sexual self! Rock those heels and wear as many dresses as I can.  Don't be afraid of being sexy and have that energy penetrate through every aspect of my life.  Living this way is powerful and changes everything.

MatthewGullo
MatthewGullo

Great list!

To my younger self:

Make Decisions adn Take Action...Your great ideas won't think themselves into reality.

LuisMartinez
LuisMartinez

Boom. Great reading. I love it. Actually I do not follow several of the tips.

To my younger version:

- Do not focus so much in school. And I mean mainly university. Why? Because, I believe that what you DO NOT learn in school is much more important than what you learn in it. After a university degree I was still unable to make a proper decision about my life.

Jadah Sellner
Jadah Sellner

Love this! I just turned 30 last week. I just landed on your page due to the post in the B-School group. Super diggin' your site. Happy belated birthday!

BelindaSummers
BelindaSummers

Great learn here. Mr. Time runs very swiftly and where getting older and older. Will, nevermind the age. It's just a number. Just wanna share something I learned from listening to small group that life here is not measured on how long you live but how you spent your life. It's the quality not the quantity. 

 

Thank you Lewis for sharing your life lessons here. Well spent 30 years! 

davelowe21
davelowe21

If I could go back to my 30th I'd tell myself "live a life that makes you happy and that she can be proud of" - I lost the most wonderful girl three months before my 30th when she passed away too young. In the years that have passed I've taken action, re-trained, changed career and still set myself new goals every day. Happy 30 Lewis! You already know you've helped me along the way, now you know the reason why.

MTHolster69
MTHolster69

Don't settle for anything less than the best you can deliver or expect. Forget what your peers think, think for yourself, then you have no one else to blame. Make sure you do the research!

ChantelleMarie
ChantelleMarie

My 11 year old recently listed out his top 10 dreams for his life.  While "to invent something BIG" topped the list... it was the final dream that was for me the best.  Simply - "HAVE FUN"

 

Sometimes in this crazy life, its the one thing that we most easily forget .... chill out and HAVE FUN! Brought to you from the idealistic and wonderful mind of an 11 year old :-))

Chantelle

DougBryson
DougBryson

Be yourself. Everyone else is taken...

MTHolster69
MTHolster69

Don't be so serious. Laugh at yourself and have fun with it. If it'sfun, it's not work, if it's not fun, it's the wrong work. Douglas Graham

NatalieSisson
NatalieSisson

Happy birthday young man. Seems like you're wise beyond years already. I look forward to the next 30 years lessons you'll have to share.

LouiseCollier
LouiseCollier

I would tell my younger self to "be yourself and stop bloody worrying!". Happy 30th Lewis! Great post :)

FamilyFitnessHome
FamilyFitnessHome

Wow, that was not just dessert, that was a full meal! I love your stuff Lewis. I have made your School of Greatness a part of my kids homeschool curriculum. 

I especially appreciate that you do not shy away from the spiritual side of discussions like many business only hosts. 

Blessings in what you do!

MTHolster69
MTHolster69

@ChantelleMarie I'm goin' on 62,curiosity and "havin' fun" top my list. Sometimes a "great thing" may be a small gesture!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] 30 Lessons I Learned in 30 Years Drew Canole: How to Transform Your Body and Increase Mental Performance The Power of Belief – How World Class Athletes Outperform The Competition Grant Cardone: How to Gain Attention and Turn Haters into Admirers How to Sell a Product Online (Before You Create It) Read more on Lewis Howes » [...]

  2. […] Note: A version of this article previously appeared at […]

  3. […] following is a true story that I shared on my blog right around my 30th […]

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