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25 Things You Must Know by the Time You Turn 30

25 Things You Must Know by the Time You Turn 30

Congratulations! You made it into your third decade in this body. That is an accomplishment of which to be proud. As I remember my first three decades, there were a lot of uncertainties. Other people seemed to have all the answers. By 30 I was still trying to figure things out. During that time I would have really appreciated someone telling me some vital things. So, here I sit, fingers poised above keyboard once again with the purpose of imparting some hard won wisdom to you in the hopes that it will save you a few sleepless nights.

1. You can do whatever you want in life.

There are step by step ways to accomplish any goal. If it has been accomplished by someone else, all you have to do is choose your virtual mentor and follow in his or her footsteps. If you are doing something that has not been done before, it is more challenging but your path can be mapped out if you take note of the things that have worked for you and those that have not. Do the things that work and pitch the ones that don’t.

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    2. There is always something you can learn in any subject or situation.

    The saddest thing I have ever seen is the man who knows everything. You watch him fail time after time with the obvious reasons for failure staring him in the face. Yet he continues to make the same mistakes and each time his losses multiply. You try to understand this person but he won’t listen to reason about how to handle his situation. He simply goes on knowing best about everything. Be the person who actively looks for new things to learn. Be willing to let go of a notion if it doesn’t work.

    3. If you want to be successful hang around with successful people.

    Your own thoughts, ideas and considerations about things shape your future. We live our ideas. For example, if you have an idea that it is noble to be poor, you will live your life in such a way as to remain poor. If this idea is sunk into your subconscious, you don’t even know you are acting it out in life. A good exercise, when things are not going well in life, is to sit down and write out all of your thoughts and considerations about the thing you are having trouble with. Get rid of the ones that hold you back.

    4. There is no magic to earning your living.

    Or being filthy rich (Side note: why is it that adjectives describing being wealthy are negative like “filthy” or “stinking”?). Money is not magical. It doesn’t simply fall to earth like drifting snow and land on those who are “lucky”. People who have money realize that money is a reward for providing goods and services to someone who needs them. The level of necessity for these items and the level of skill required for the service or item are what determines the price of your labor. If you are an accountant and it is approaching tax deadline, you will be busy and make lots of money. If you are on the street selling expensive pencils that no one wants, you will starve.

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      5. There is nothing wrong with charging money for your services.

      It would be wonderful if we all could give away our goods and services whenever we want to, but the bottom line is that we have to support ourselves and we do deserve some reward for our labors. Of course we do have to help other people. There are times when you will volunteer to work and advance a cause or an organization, but don’t do this at the expense of your own life and health, or the life and health of your family who depend on you.

      6. Sacrificing yourself never works out.

      There will be times when you will be made to feel that you should put yourself last. You will be encouraged to forsake your family to get ahead. All of this is expected, and sometimes necessary, but it is up to you to find the balance and insist on it being kept. Your boss may want you to work all night so he can be ready for a presentation the next day. If this happens once in a great while, it could be okay but if he expects this every week and gives you no extra time off to handle other areas of your life, it is unethical for you to do it. And it is probably unethical for you to be working for someone with such poor planning skills. Your skills and effort could be much more useful elsewhere.

      7. You are responsible for every action you take in life and every condition your life is in.

      This sounds harsh and I had a hard time with that until I asked myself, “Who is the most motivated person to see that my life works out the way I want it to?” The answer is ME. So the next question is, “Who is really going to take responsibility to ensure that my life works out the way I want it to?” Again, there is only one answer. Yes, your mom and your wife and everyone who cares about you want your life to work out but who is the one who makes all of the bajillion everyday decisions that drive your life? It is you.

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        8. There are some things they don’t teach you in school.

        When I was 20, I had a lot of trouble with banking. I simply could not accurately predict how much money I had in my account at any given time. It wasn’t until my sister sat me down and went over how to balance my checkbook that I  learned that you even could balance a checkbook! I was pretty naïve but that simple piece of information changed everything. Find out ways to learn things that may not be taught to you.

        9. School doesn’t work for everyone.

        Especially in this day and age. School gives you information. Many times, unless you have a stellar teacher and stellar textbooks, the information comes at you and there is no indication which facts are important and which are not or even whether they are correct. You are tested, not on how to use the data you have learned, but on trivia. Who cares what exact date a battle started on? What is infinitely more important is what went wrong in society at that time that warranted a battle and how can we avoid that situation today? That is the vital information, not the date! When you are given information, ask yourself, “How am I going to USE this information?” If you can’t see how to use it, forget it. If you have been having trouble with school, stop thinking that you have failed and start looking at whether or not school has failed you.

        10. Not everyone who is an “authority” is right.

        Whenever anyone gives you any data, check it over for yourself and see if it works for you and seems correct. If it doesn’t seem correct, don’t rely on it. There is more false data out there than true data. You just have to figure out which is which.

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          11. Drugs are a fast track to nowhere.

          There is a lot of hype about drugs today, both medicinal and street drugs. Understand that a body kept in good condition, given the vitamins and nourishment it requires, repairs itself. If you are having trouble, look to nutrition first unless it is a medical emergency. With regard to recreational drugs, these are poisons and they will not get you where you want to go in life. People use these drugs to handle a problem they are having. Find out what the problem is and confront it! Figure out a solution or get help with that problem. You can’t medicate your way through life. It doesn’t work and it is extremely harmful.

          12. Life is fluid.

          Life changes every second of every day. If you have fixed ideas about how it is supposed to be and how you will handle things, you will take wrong steps. In any given situation, look at it and really see it. Plan your actions accordingly. Operating on fixed ideas and actions will only take you so far. Actual observation and action is always best.

          13. Stick to what you know is right.

          There are times in life where you will disagree with just about everyone else. This does not mean you are wrong. Sometimes a lot of people can be wrong all at the same time. If this were not true, Hitler would have been squashed the first minute he started talking. Instead Germany allowed him to decimate a large portion of the world. Being the one voice of reason is not popular but it is the only path to happiness.

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            14. Truth and integrity are your most valuable assets.

            You see what you see and deep down, you know the truth about things. Don’t divert from your course because someone else doesn’t like it. Don’t agree with someone just to keep the peace. Any peace you can get on this planet is bought through strength and integrity. It is maintained through the idea that you do not stand for lies and bad ethics. Integrity and truth are the seat of your power. If you let these things go, you have nothing.

            15. Be the rising tide.

            The rising tide lifts all boats. This statement is my motto in life. In EVERY action I take, I look to see which action will lift the most people. Then I do that action. It never fails. It helps a lot of people and it always, always, always results in a huge benefit for me. You MUST include yourself in your calculations of how many people benefit.

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            16. Sometimes life is uncomfortable.

            This cannot be avoided but if you learn from the discomfort, you can minimize it in the future. Don’t fear discomfort but when it occurs. Figure out how to change it.

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              17. Life demands ownership from you.

              There are people who go through life being buffeted about by every force, big and small, and never do anything unless someone or something forces them to do it. This is a miserable way to live. How much better is it to decide to make things happen and then do it? Life is much easier when you are in charge and very dangerous if you are not.

              18. Do not look for validation from others for doing the right thing.

              Many times in life I have had to go against the status quo in order to right a wrong. I was dumbfounded when I got hit in the face with anger, back stabbing and outright threats. It is not pretty but you always have to do what your consciences tells you to do.

              19. Do not seek revenge.

              Revenge for the sake of revenge never feels good when it is carried out and, believe it or not, it ties you to the person that you have taken revenge against. You will never be free of that person in your thoughts and mind thereafter. Sometimes you do have to act against a person to stop the damage they are wreaking on others. This is a correct action in the grand scheme of things. But revenge just for revenge’s sake is evil. I don’t care how many movies make it seem okay.

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                20. Not all people are sane.

                I know this seems like a no brainer but I am amazed at how often people make excuses for those acting crazy. It is as if people think that insane people do exist but unless they are raving they are not insane. Insanity manifests in many ways. It can be overtly insane like a murderer or other criminal, or it can be covert. Secret backstabbers and those who mentally abuse are great examples. They create havoc in relationships and ruin people’s lives. This is insane behavior despite that fact that TV and movies make it appear “normal”.

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                21. The people in your life are the most important thing there is.

                Back in 1989, we had an earthquake here in California and it was devastating. When the shaking stopped there was an eerie calm broken only by the sounds of a woman screaming. She screamed for minutes and finally stopped. Once I realized that I was not injured, my first thought was for my neighbors and when I found that they were okay I called everyone I knew. In fact, everyone was calling everyone they knew and the phones were down. The lesson from this is that when disaster strikes, you don’t give a flying hoot in Hell about your possessions. All you care about is the people you love.

                22. Focus more on the good in life and not the bad.

                The good things in life are what make it worth living. If you focus on the negative things, you will not be happy. We do have to give some consideration to the bad in life but make sure the good overbalances it.

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                  23. You have many people, but your kids have only you.

                  If you lose a friend or a lover, you can find another one even if you are devastated. Your child can never find another mom or dad. They adore you from the moment they are born and look up to you. Do not take this lightly. Care for them and do not take unnecessary risks with your life. They cannot replace  you.

                  24. Your enemies will expect attacks but will never expect compassion.

                  Weirdly, the opposite of what your instincts tell you to do in situations where you are under attack is generally correct. There will be occasions where you will have to act and harm another person if that person needs to be stopped for the good of everyone, but most times compassion and communication will succeed where force does not. Swallowing your anger and making an attempt to communicate and iron things out is effective many times. Even when it is not, it reveals the strength in you. It takes strength to be the better man or woman in a conflict. This makes you a formidable power.

                  25. You are doing okay.

                  You are a good person. You are trying your best and you will make mistakes. Mistakes occur when you try new things. This is a good thing! Life is crazy, wild and unpredictable. No one has it all figured out. Half the fun is getting to know it and making it work for you. When you do this, you will have an unforgettable life.

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                    Last Updated on May 21, 2019

                    How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

                    How to Communicate Effectively in Any Relationship

                    For all our social media bravado, we live in a society where communication is seen less as an art, and more as a perfunctory exercise. We spend so much time with people, yet we struggle with how to meaningfully communicate.

                    If you believe you have mastered effective communication, scan the list below and see whether you can see yourself in any of the examples:

                    Example 1

                    You are uncomfortable with a person’s actions or comments, and rather than telling the individual immediately, you sidestep the issue and attempt to move on as though the offending behavior or comment never happened.

                    You move on with the relationship and develop a pattern of not addressing challenging situations. Before long, the person with whom you are in relationship will say or do something that pushes you over the top and predictably, you explode or withdraw completely from the relationship.

                    In this example, hard-to-speak truths become never- expressed truths that turn into resentment and anger.

                    Example 2

                    You communicate from the head and without emotion. While what you communicate makes perfect sense to you, it comes across as cold because it lacks emotion.

                    People do not understand what motivates you to say what you say, and without sharing your feelings and emotions, others experience you as rude, cold or aggressive.

                    You will know this is a problem if people shy away from you, ignore your contributions in meetings or tell you your words hurt. You can also know you struggle in this area if you find yourself constantly apologizing for things you have said.

                    Example 3

                    You have an issue with one person, but you communicate your problem to an entirely different person.

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                    The person in whom you confide lacks the authority to resolve the matter troubling you, and while you have vented and expressed frustration, the underlying challenge is unresolved.

                    Example 4

                    You grew up in a family with destructive communication habits and those habits play out in your current relationships.

                    Because you have never stopped to ask why you communicate the way you do and whether your communication style still works, you may lack understanding of how your words impact others and how to implement positive change.

                    If you find yourself in any of the situations described above, this article is for you.

                    Communication can build or decimate worlds and it is important we get it right. Regardless of your professional aspirations or personal goals, you can improve your communication skills if you:

                    • Understand your own communication style
                    • Tailor your style depending on the needs of the audience
                    • Communicate with precision and care
                    • Be mindful of your delivery, timing and messenger

                    1. Understand Your Communication Style

                    To communicate effectively, you must understand the communication legacy passed down from our parents, grandparents or caregivers. Each of us grew up with spoken and unspoken rules about communication.

                    In some families, direct communication is practiced and honored. In other families, family members are encouraged to shy away from difficult conversations. Some families appreciate open and frank dialogue and others do not. Other families practice silence about substantive matters, that is, they seldom or rarely broach difficult conversations at all.

                    Before you can appreciate the nuance required in communication, it helps to know the familial patterns you grew up with.

                    2. Learn Others Communication Styles

                    Communicating effectively requires you to take a step back, assess the intended recipient of your communication and think through how the individual prefers to be communicated with. Once you know this, you can tailor your message in a way that increases the likelihood of being heard. This also prevents you from assuming the way you communicate with one group is appropriate or right for all groups or people.

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                    If you are unsure how to determine the styles of the groups or persons with whom you are interacting, you can always ask them:

                    “How do you prefer to receive information?”

                    This approach requires listening, both to what the individuals say as well as what is unspoken. Virgin Group CEO Richard Branson noted that the best communicators are also great listeners.

                    To communicate effectively from relationship to relationship and situation to situation, you must understand the communication needs of others.

                    3. Exercise Precision and Care

                    A recent engagement underscored for me the importance of exercising care when communicating.

                    On a recent trip to Ohio, I decided to meet up with an old friend to go for a walk. As we strolled through the soccer park, my friend gently announced that he had something to talk about, he was upset with me. His introduction to the problem allowed me to mentally shift gears and prepare for the conversation.

                    Shortly after introducing the shift in conversation, my friend asked me why I didn’t invite him to the launch party for my business. He lives in Ohio and I live in the D.C. area.

                    I explained that the event snuck up on me, and I only started planning the invite list three weeks before the event. Due to the last-minute nature of the gathering, I opted to invite people in the DMV area versus my friends from outside the area – I didn’t want to be disrespectful by asking them to travel on such short notice.

                    I also noted that I didn’t want to be disappointed if he and others declined to come to the event. So I played it safe in terms of inviting people who were local.

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                    In the moment, I felt the conversation went very well. I also checked in with my friend a few days after our walk, affirmed my appreciation for his willingness to communicate his upset and our ability to work through it.

                    The way this conversation unfolded exemplified effective communication. My friend approached me with grace and vulnerability. He approached me with a level of curiosity that didn’t put me on my heels — I was able to really listen to what he was saying, apologize for how my decision impacted him and vow that going forward, I would always ask rather than making decisions for him and others.

                    Our relationship is intact, and I now have information that will help me become a better friend to him and others.

                    4. Be Mindful of Delivery, Timing and Messenger

                    Communicating effectively also requires thinking through the delivery of the message one intends to communicate as well as the appropriate time for the discussion.

                    In an Entrepreneur.com column, VIP Contributor Deep Patel, noted that persons interested in communicating well need to master the art of timing. Patel noted,[1]

                    “Great comedians, like all great communicators, are able to feel out their audience to determine when to move on to a new topic or when to reiterate an idea.”

                    Communicating effectively also requires thoughtfulness about the messenger. A person prone to dramatic, angry outbursts should never be called upon to deliver constructive feedback, especially to people whom they do not know. The immediate aftermath of a mass shooting is not the ideal time to talk about the importance of the Second Amendment rights.

                    Like everyone else, I must work to ensure my communication is layered with precision and care.

                    It requires precision because words must be carefully tailored to the person with whom you are speaking.

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                    It requires intentionality because before one communicates, one should think about the audience and what the audience needs in order to hear your message the way you intended it to be communicated.

                    It requires active listening which is about hearing verbal and nonverbal messages.

                    Even though we may be right in what we say, how we say it could derail the impact of the message and the other parties’ ability to hear the message.

                    Communicating with care is also about saying things that the people in our life need to hear and doing so with love.

                    The Bottom Line

                    When I left the meeting with my dear friend, I wondered if I was replicating or modeling this level of openness and transparency in the rest of my relationships.

                    I was intrigued and appreciative. He’d clearly thought about what he wanted to say to me, picked the appropriate time to share his feedback and then delivered it with care. He hit the ball out of the park and I’m hopeful we all do the same.

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                    Featured photo credit: Kenan Buhic via unsplash.com

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