36 Things I Learned by the Time I Turned 36 – Part 1

As of this writing, today is my birthday. If you couldn’t tell from the blog post title, I am now 36 years old. I’ve learned a lot of things over the years, many of those things as a result of mistakes I have made in my lifetime. I may very well have learned more than 36 things, but I will highlight the most useful tidbits. And because 36 things is a lot, I will turn this blog post into a series of six posts, with six things on each post. 

Massive success requires massive action.

If you want to achieve an awesomely huge goal in your life, you must take awesomely huge action. For example, I want to turn this blog into a successful business and help a massive amount of people, so I must achieve the steps that I need to take in order to get there. I can’t play small. I have to go big. 

It’s fine if you take small steps at first. But once you build momentum, the steps need to get bigger and bigger. If you want to be successful in your endeavors, it takes meaningful work to reach your goals.

You can’t expect to do things perfectly.

There is no such thing as perfect. Perfection is a lofty ideal that is impossible to achieve. If you are waiting for the moment that you can finish something perfectly, then you will never start. 

I am a recovering perfectionist. I used to think “If I can’t do something perfectly, then it’s not worth doing at all.” That mindset kept me stuck. Now, I just take action, no matter how messy and imperfect the finished product may turn out.

Remember that done is better than perfect.

It’s OK not even to achieve excellence sometimes.

I think a step below perfection would be excellence. Excellence, to me, means doing a really great job, but it’s not perfect. But you can’t reasonably do an excellent job on everything, especially if you’re a novice attempting to perform an expert task. 

The key to getting pretty much anything difficult done is to half-ass it. If it needs to get done no matter what your skill level is, you have to do your best, even if you think it’s a lame attempt. Doing a half-ass job at something is better than not doing the task at all.

You can’t care what other people think of you.

If you care about what other people think about you, you’re not living for yourself — you’re living to please others. That’s no good way to live. Being worried about what others think will consume your spirit, and it will leave you emotionally paralyzed. 

Besides, you don’t like everyone, do you? If you don’t like everyone, then why do you expect everyone to like you? Of course there are people who aren’t going to like you, no matter how nice you are to them. But it’s a reflection of who they are; it’s not about you.

You don’t necessarily have to be inspired in order to take action.

I think that most of the time, if you wait until you achieve inspiration or motivation before you do something, then you will never start. Tasks may be hard or boring. But they need to get done no matter how you feel about it and what your mindset is at the time. 

Most of the time, I do not feel divinely inspired before I write a blog post. But I usually have an idea of what I am going to write about, so that’s enough for me to start. 

You need to take breaks.

If you have read any of my other blog posts, you may have read this more than once. I cannot emphasize the importance of taking breaks strongly enough. If you try to power straight through without taking a break, you will quickly burn out.

There are many methods of taking breaks. You can use the Pomodoro method, in which you work for 25 minutes and take a break for 5 minutes. After you do this four times straight, you take a 15-minute break. Or you can take more frequent breaks. Do whatever you need to do.

Breaks help refresh your mind when you feel like you can’t churn out any more work. Breaks actually enable you to work more.

What do you think about these lessons? Do any of them resonate with you?

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