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The 30 Secrets Of Adulthood That Life Has Taught Me So Far

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Greetings, SuperFriends, and welcome to a very special episode of The Becoming SuperHuman Podcast.

Why is it special, you ask? Well, it’s not every week that I turn 30 years old!

To mark this milestone (which happens on March 18th), I wanted to do something special. To commemorate the very blessed and very unique life I’ve lead up until this point, and to reflect back on just what the heck I’ve learned over the last 30 years.

Years ago, I was greatly inspired by Ryan Allis, who, on his 30th birthday, published a 1,284 slide presentation aptly named Lessons From My 20’s. very strongly recommend you check it out (at http://hive.org/20s) if you haven’t already. In it, Ryan shares just about everything he learned over the period of 10 years as an entrepreneur, thought leader, and human being. He spans Life, Entrepreneurship, and The World, and while a lot of these things were lessons I had already learned myself, I found the idea to be deeply impactful, and, if I’m honest, a lot of the things I learned in Ryan’s slides dramatically impacted the way I lived out my own 20’s. For this contribution and inspiration, I’m deeply grateful.

I’m also deeply grateful to Gretchen Rubin, who, in her fantastic and pragmatic book on becoming a better human being, Better Than Before, shares a wonderfully catchy concept she calls “Secrets of Adulthood.” Basically, a Secret of Adulthood is a powerful and simple lesson that can only be learned by, well, growing up and maturing. They range from the fanciful and fun, like “Try not to let yourself get too hungry,” to the very serious and inspiring: “What you do EVERY DAY matters more than what you do ONCE IN A WHILE.” From productivity (“Working is one of the most dangerous forms of procrastination”), to interpersonal relations (“We’re more like other people than we suppose, and less like other people than we suppose”), and even to self esteem (“The more we accept ourselves, and what’s right for us, the more other people accept us”). I very much enjoyed Gretchen’s little “secrets” as I found them sprinkled through her work, and found them to be a wonderfully neat and tidy way to sum up the wisdom one has accumulated throughout their life experience. Immediately after reading her book, I began collecting a list of my own – and that list is what you’ll be hearing today.

Some of them might be strange. Some of them controversial. Many were learned in deeply cherished books, yet still many in passing conversations with complete strangers. Some learned at the highest of highs, and others at the most harrowing and horrific of lows. Some are completely unique, and others simply build on those before them. But from my perspective, each of them is, unquestionably, true – at least in my experience. With that said, I invite you to let me know what you think? Has life taught you some of these same lessons? Or perhaps others that I have yet to learn? We are each so unique shaped by the paths that we travel on, and I find it most fascinating just how much those paths often converge.

 

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And now, without further adieu, I bring you:

30 Secrets Of Adulthood That Life Has Taught Me So Far:

  1. Life isn’t prix fixe.. It’s a la carte. Ultimately, YOU choose how the course of your life will go, including which components to leave in and which components to take out. 
  2. Happiness is a choice and a method of travel, not a destination or an outcome. 
  3. Framing is everything. What actually happens is far less important than how you choose to view it. As Shakespeare said: “Nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.”
  4. Those we love, particularly women, are the most powerful mirrors in the world; they shine a light on your shortcomings and strengths, and challenge you to be better. Embrace this and be thankful for it (and for them). 
  5. You cannot appreciate something in another unless you see it in yourself. Conversely, you cannot loathe something in another unless you see it in yourself. Pay special attention to the things you do and do not like in others: these are the things you do and do not like in yourself.
  6. Everyone is responsible for their own emotions. This means that not only are you responsible for the way you are presently feeling, but also that nobody else “makes” you feel anything. Others do what they do; only you choose how it will make you feel. 
  7. You will worry much less what others think about you when you realize how rarely they do. 
  8. Never, ever encourage people who bring you down to stick around. Being in your life is a privilege, not a right. 
  9. You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with. Choose them wisely.
  10. Money cannot buy happiness, but there are few if any problems that it can’t solve, if applied intelligently. 
  11. You can only help people who help themselves… And there are more people who need your help than there is time to offer them. Invest your efforts deliberately where they will create the most impact. 
  12. Smile. It does you and everyone around you a world of good. 
  13. Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest sound in any language. Pay attention to people’s names, remember them, and use them.
  14. Listening is quite possibly the most important interpersonal skill there is.
  15. You are not your mind, your thoughts, your job, or your ego. You are mere conciousness. 
  16. Depression is the act of living in the past – something that no longer exists. Anxiety is living in the future, which has yet to. All happiness and joy come from mindfulness: the act of living in the present moment. With enough practice, you can learn to live free from sorrow, simply by being present.
  17. Acceptance, alongside presence, is the key to living completely free of sorrow. All discomfort and anguish in life comes from the inability to gracefully accept your present circumstances.
  18. The idea that we must be attached to people, places, and things is largely a misconception. Letting go is a far greater act of grace and wisdom than holding on ever was. People, things, and events naturally enter and exit our lives like tides. Some return, some do not. As they say: “People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.” Trust this inevitability.
  19. There is no such thing as objective reality. Only the subjective realities of each individual person. No one person’s reality is any more real or accurate than yours. This is especially important for creating self confidence. 
  20. A leader is the person who’s reality is embraced by others as the dominant one. The difference between a leader and a tyrant is the extent to which he or she allows that reality to be collectively and collaboratively shaped. 
  21. Everyone on this planet, whether or not they realize it, has been psychologically damaged by their parents. How (and how much) is the luck of the draw. 
  22. Most if not all bad moods can be resolved by either exercise, sleep, music, friends, or family. 
  23. Spiritual exploration is like flying a kite: it gives you more perspective and experience the further out you go, but if you’re not careful, the string can break, and if that happens, there’s a chance you’ll never be able to be pulled back. Always maintain a connection to this earth. 
  24. All knowledge must come from the outside, but all wisdom must come from within. 
  25. In all reality, we are each fundamentally alone in our experience on this planet. Nobody can ever truly understand what we are seeing, thinking, or feeling as we do. This experience is, in many ways, what unites us. Everyone you meet is going through something you have absolutely no way of understanding. This reality is, simultaneously, both deeply, paralyzingly terrifying and awe-inspiringly beautiful.
  26. Karma not only exists, but if you pay close enough attention, you can manifest that which you desire. This is often referred to as the law of attraction or “the secret.”
  27. The more you try to shape the way others perceive you, the worse that perception will be. Confidence, charm, and charisma come from a unique combination of kindness, being vulnerable enough to trust that others will think highly of you, and a lack of concern for whether or not they actually will.
  28. Love and affection are not finite resources that can only be split so many ways. They are abundant resources that replenish themselves the more you consume and expend them. The more you give, the more you have to give. The more you accept, the more you receive. This represents a stark contrast to societal norms.
  29. The real golden rule isn’t to treat others as you would wish to be treated; it’s to treat others as they wish to be treated.
  30. Lying is an egregious offense not because it is an attempt to obstruct reality – there’s no such thing as reality. Rather, all lies are an attempt to willfully and knowingly manipulate another person’s reality to be different from one’s own. For whatever end it is employed, lying exists to persuade another human being into seeing the world in a way that we ourselves do not. For this reason, it as divisive as it is burdensome, and is to be avoided at all costs. 

And finally, one “bonus” to top it off – and one that I’ve only recently really come to learn:

31. The older you get, the faster time seems to go. Though it may seem that time crawls during youth, cherish and enjoy this, because each passing day will seem shorter than the last. Life, ultimately, is short – so do everything you can to savor it. 

 So – those are the lessons life has taught me.

What has it taught you?

Thank you, as always, for your time, your attention, and your support!

Jonathan

Jonathan

Jonathan Levi is an experienced entrepreneur and angel investor from Silicon Valley.

After successfully selling his Inc 5,000 rated startup in April of 2011, Levi enlisted the help of speed-reading expert and university professor Anna Goldentouch, who tutored him in speed-reading, advanced memorization, and more. Levi saw incredible results while earning his MBA from INSEAD, and later went on to teach a best-selling online course on the subject. With this unique skill, he has become a proficient lifehacker, optimizing and "hacking" such processes as travel, sleep, language learning, and fitness.