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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 March 14, 2019

                    7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

                    7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

                    Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

                    For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

                    Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

                    1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

                    A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

                    It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

                    It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

                    How it helps you:

                    If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

                    Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

                    2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

                    Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

                    Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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                    How it helps you:

                    Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

                    Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

                    If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

                    Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

                    3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

                    Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

                    Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

                    How it helps you:

                    This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

                    For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

                    Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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                    A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

                    4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

                    To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

                    A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

                    How it helps you:

                    One word: hierarchy.

                    All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

                    In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

                    If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

                    5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

                    Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

                    Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

                    How it helps you:

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                    Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

                    If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

                    This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

                    6. What do you like about working here?

                    This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

                    Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

                    How it helps you:

                    You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

                    Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

                    Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

                    7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

                    What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

                    As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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                    How it helps you:

                    What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

                    First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

                    Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

                    Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

                    Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

                    Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

                    Making Your Interview Work for You

                    Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

                    Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

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                    Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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