30 bits of advice I wish I’d learned earlier
BY CHIP CONLEY
- Learn the difference between learning and memorizing. The former will serve you for a lifetime. The latter erodes with age.
- Don’t wait to tell someone you love them.
- Choose your friends wisely—you might be the sum total of their best and worst qualities. And while you’re at it, surround yourself with the people you want to become.
- Build and trust your intuition. It will last longer than your eyesight.
- Learn subjects that will be harder to pick up later in life: surfing, a foreign language, piano, etc. Know that regret for what you didn’t do is twice as painful as regret for something you did which didn’t turn out well.
- What you practice is who you become. And practice does not make perfect. Perfection doesn’t exist.
- Experience what it means to be “the other.” The world is full of “others,” and when we’re young, we learn empathy to know what it feels like to be the other.
- Start making a list of your favorite books and movies once you hit 18. At the moment, they’re unforgettable. Later in life, they’re mist in your mind, but they will bring back memories.
- The most important quality of your first job out of high school or college is working for a leader who you will remember and admire for the rest of your life.
- Create a “Wisdom Book” in which you write your week’s career lessons every weekend.
- Wisdom is your metabolized experience that leads to distilled compassion. The older you get, the more compassionate you’re likely to become.
- Material possessions tend to depreciate. Friendships appreciate. Consider asking Arthur Aron’s 36 questions with your best friend or a new love interest.
- Underpromise and overdeliver. Your reputation is one of the few things in life that is portable.
- Learn the difference between a fixed and a growth mindset. The former is about proving oneself and winning, while the latter is about improving oneself and learning. The latter will take you further and allow your “sandbox” to get bigger as you age.
- Don’t take things so personally.
- On their deathbed, the two things people care about are “did I love well and was I well-loved?” Create a customized t-shirt with the new word “lovewell” emblazoned on the front.
- Once a week, surprise someone with a small financial gift, whether it’s a 100% tip for a friendly Uber ride or paying for an older woman’s groceries at the store.
- Mindfulness allows the mental monkeys to take a nap. It doesn’t have to be meditation or yoga. It can be walking in nature, gardening, or writing poetry.
- Forget about the half-empty or half-full glass. Seek a bigger glass. Don’t be embarrassed by your ambition but just be sure that it serves a greater purpose than your ego.
- Forget about being the smartest person in the room. Learn how to become the wisest.
- Comparison is the recipe for suffering. Don’t compare your insides with other people’s outsides.
- You will hear a lot about 10,000 hours leading to mastery and 10,000 steps a day supporting health. The most important metric is 10,000 smiles a year (or a little more than one per hour) which leads to happiness, not just for you but for everyone around you.
- Stop looking for an “ideal romantic partner.” Look for the person with whom you can co-create the “ideal conditions” in your lives.
- As you start building romantic relationships, ask yourself, “If I could have sex with myself, would I do it?” It will make you a more compassionate lover.
- Learn whether you’re an “early bird” or a “night owl” and protect that time for your most creative endeavors. I’m an early bird as my writer wakes up before my editor.
- Read up on the “Hedonic Treadmill” as it will help you understand why you get distracted by new, shiny objects and keep turning up the speed on your treadmill. Success does not necessarily create happiness. Happiness is more likely to create success.
- In most professions, EQ is a better indicator of career success than IQ. While you didn’t take Emotions 101 in college, there’s no reason you can’t start becoming more emotionally fluent now.
- Make sure you and your inner child go out on a date every so often. You’re a full-fledged adult now, which means you think you’re not supposed to play. The truth is: play, curiosity, and creativity may be the differentiators in your career and your happiness.
- Give more attention to the “why” and “what if” questions a 4-year-old might ask. Unfortunately, it’s in our thirties when we get a little too possessed with the “what” and “how” optimization questions of life.
- Curate a life that is less ordinary. You won’t regret it later.
Chip Conley has many amazing accomplishments in his life which you can find here. His latest is that of the founder of Modern Elder Academy (MEA), the world’s first “midlife wisdom school,” where attendees learn how to repurpose a lifetime of experience for the modern workplace. MEA’s beachfront campus is located in Baja California Sur, Mexico.