Reflecting On Some Of Life’s Most Valuable Lessons

My birthday is this week. As a child your birthday is always one of the most exciting days of the year, but as we get older birthdays become a time of introspection. Hitting 30 made me realize how fast it all goes, and now as I turn 32, I figured I’ll share with you some of the most important lessons I’ve learned over my years…

1. You’re Not Special – I know, it may sound harsh, but it’s true. Yes we all have our own special skills and talents, but no one out there is going to treat you like the special little snowflake you were told you were as a child. Don’t expect people to bend to your schedule or find your problems as important as you do.

2. Fear Is A Choice – Don’t spend your life missing out on opportunities because you’re consumed by “what if’s”. The regret of not approaching that guy or girl across the bar, of not accepting the job offer in another state, or whatever else it may be will be greater than anything negative that comes from taking the chance. I had the idea for this website for years before I did anything about it. “What if no one visits”, “What if people think I’m a bad writer”, “What if I run out of ideas”, “What if people think I’m boring”. All things that held me back for a long time. Then one day I said “F**k it, whats the worst that could happen?”…and here we are today.

3. Always Learn New Things – You never have it all figured out, there’s always something new you can learn. You’re never actually “old” until you close yourself off from new information.

4. Time Is Your Most Valuable Asset – We only get so much time on this planet, it’s up to us to make the most of it. Time is the only thing we can never get more of, treat it as such.

5. Focus On Your Health – Our bodies break down as we age, the better care we take care of it the longer we’ll be able to enjoy it. We talk a lot about stocking away money for our later years on this site, take care of your health and make sure you can actually enjoy all that money you’ve saved for your old age!

6. Experiences Are More Important Than Things – You’ll never be sentimental over the stuff you’ve had, your best memories will always come from the things you did

7. You Are More Than Your Job – It’s easy to get so wrapped up in our work lives and the importance of our work. But the important things happen outside of the office walls. Don’t define yourself through your job.

8. Make Mistakes – Making mistakes is one of the best ways to learn. Try to minimize them, but don’t be afraid to make them. Everyone does it, and it’s ok to make a mistake. Just be sure to own up to it when you do, and learn from it once it’s been made.

9. Invest In Yourself – No one else is going to do it for you. Do what it takes to learn, grow and change. We can all be better people in different areas of our lives, it’s up to us to do what’s necessary to get there.

10. Decide What To Be, And Go Be It.


No one person has it all figured out, and lord knows I don’t. What are some of your favorite maxims or life lessons? Share them in the comments section below.

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9 Responses to Reflecting On Some Of Life’s Most Valuable Lessons

  1. Jef Miles says:

    Wow really awesome insight there Jay :)

    As you grow up a lot of these things really do hit you in the face.. You are completely right about time and this is really the only thing that puts us on a level playing field, we all have 24 hours in the day, it is our choice what we do with it..

    Have a great birthday and hope it is shared with people you love and who love you :)


  2. FI Fighter says:

    Great post and valuable life lessons. Happy 32!

  3. Hi Jay,

    I love this list – and am nodding my head in agreement as I re-read them all. I’ve just turned 33, and have spent the last couple of years thinking pretty deeply about these important things in life.

    A big one for me is recognising that the present moment is all we ever have. We spend so much time in an imaginary world within our minds, either replaying things from the past, or projecting a whole range of future scenarios (often negative ones, like your point 2) which never eventuate. We often miss a whole lot of amazing stuff going on right under our noses.

    Another favourite maxim I try to live by is ‘it doesn’t matter what happens to you in life, all that matters is how you deal with it’. Puts any situation into perspective, and gives you complete responsibility for your own life – no blaming external factors or other people.

    Great post, and happy birthday!

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  5. Happy Birthday!! I know that as I’ve grown older, I’ve been reflecting a lot too. I’ve learned many of the things you talk about here – experiences being more important than things and the importance of always learning new things. I’ve been working hard at making the most of every day and not let them just pass by without realizing all of the great, little things that happen and we often overlook.

  6. I love reminding myself of number one. It is incredibly motivating for a millennial to realize that no one is going to hand you anything and no one should. On the rare occasion that they do, it’s actually special, or a wonderful surprise. After making a relationship and working hard, seeing a result is amazing!

  7. I think everyone tends to reflect on their life from time to time, with it being the most significant at 30. I didn’t reflect on my life too much in my 20s.

    Love this list!

  8. Kasia says:

    They are all great points. Number 2 resonates most with me. I’ve been allowing fear to hold me back from doing too many things. I’ve just turned 31 and became a first time mum, it’s time I stop allowing fear to hold me back from achieving my wildest dreams and as Nike puts it, ‘just do it’.

  9. I really agree with #2! My favorite quote about this comes from Harry Potter which I keep remind myself of: “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

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