“When you get older, you learn certain life lessons. You apply that wisdom, and suddenly you say, ‘Hey, I’ve got a new lease on this thing. So let’s go.’” -Robert Redford

In his book, The One Thing, Gary Keller poses the question,

“If you could go back in time and talk to the 18-year-young you or leap forward and visit with the 80-year-old you, who would you want to take advice from?”

That’s certainly a great question. I’d have to choose the 80-year-old me.

This post collates a collection of lesson I’ve learned from 21 years living, but in the grand scheme of things, what I’ve learned in those years will just be scraping the surface.

I’m sure if my 80-year-old self were writing this he’d have lessons I can’t even imagine experiencing or learning at this point in time. But for now, I’m 21, and these are 21 lessons I’ve learned from those 21 years of living.

  1. Never live with anyone that you wouldn’t go into business with. A household doesn’t have limited liability, and you certainly don’t want the wrong people living under the same roof as you.
  2. Don’t be afraid to start small. Small things repeated over time turn into big things. Even 1% compounded everyday is 3700% after a year.
  3. A better you tomorrow starts today. Don’t put off living the life you really want for another moment. A better future is shaped by what you do in the present.
  4. It’s the players on the field who are really living, not the spectators in the stands. Strap up your boots and live your best life. Don’t stand around watching everyone else live theirs.
  5. Your life is a reflection of your standards. Everything in your life is there because you allowed it. If you want better relationships, better finances or better anything, you’ve got to hold yourself to a higher standard.
  6. Put your health first. To achieve what you want in life, your health should be your highest priority. You can’t achieve anything without your health.
  7. Surround yourself with people that add to the quality of your life, not subtract from it. There’s no doubt in the truth of the saying ‘you are the sum of the 5 people closest to you.’
  8. If “Everyone else is doing it,” give it a second thought. You don’t get an extraordinary life by following what ordinary people do. Create your own path and you’ll find yourself in places no one has ever been.
  9. An investment in yourself is the greatest investment. Everything you want in life starts with you. If you want to have the best things in life, you must become the type of person who is capable of having those things.
  10. If you don’t appreciate what you already have, you’ll never be happy with what you get. Appreciate that every single day on this planet is a gift.
  11. Make sure where you’re going is actually where you want to end up. Too often we end up realizing part way to our goals that where we’re heading is not where we actually want to be. Evaluate your direction sooner rather than later.
  12. You’ll only get what you think you can get. Believe you can achieve little, and you will accomplish little. Believe you can accomplish greatest, and you will achieve just that.
  13. Don’t settle for good — become great. There’s no cap on human potential, you can always get better.
  14. Make time for physical activity no matter what. Regular exercise of any kind makes your life infinitely better. A wise man has once said, “Those who think they have no time for exercise will sooner or later have to find time for illness.”
  15. Everything is only temporary. When presented with a choice, always do the thing that scares you so you can live a life where you say, “I’m glad I did,” not “I wish I had.”
  16. Success is important. Nothing gives you more satisfaction in life than knowing you’re on the path to achieving your wildest dreams.
  17. Live your life for you. Do the things that make you enjoy your time here, not what other people would enjoy you do.
  18. Only take advice from people who know how to live the life you want. Those with advice are a dime a dozen. But most people have no idea how to get where you’re going, they won’t help you.
  19. Know your proprieties and remove anything from your life that doesn’t support being the person you want to be.
  20. Criticism should be welcomed, not neglected. Assess if what the critics say is true and useful, or negative and hurtful. If the former, make corrections and you’ll be better. If the latter, ignore it — you’re on the right path.
  21. One book can alter the entire trajectory of life. Read all you can and apply what you learn to have new ways of thinking and acting in the world.