128

26 Life Lessons I’ve Learned in 26 Years of Living

in Do What You Love

Today, I turn 26 years old.

[pause for cheering]

A little over a month ago, I wrote the post “3 Lessons I’ve Learned in 3 Years of Marriage“.  I’ll be the first to admit, I wasn’t sure how the post would be received.  To my surprise, it was a big hit (even if being a bit of a random topic)!

Due to the reception of that post, I decided that the best way to celebrate my birthday was to reflect.  This morning, I sat down and wrote out the first 26 “life lessons” that came into my head.  This isn’t meant to be some master list, it’s just a reflection of a lot of the events in my own life currently.

I’m guessing you’ll be able to relate to at least a few!  :-)

Life Lessons…  Version 26.0…

  1. Being a parent is harder than you think. Before I had kids, I used to get annoyed by kids whining on airplanes.  I used to think “Gosh, get control of your kid” in a lot of situations.  How hard can it be? And now… I know.  Even with only one (who, by the way, is an angel 95% of the time) I get it.  I can’t believe how easily I become frustrated sometimes.  I can’t imagine those of you with 3, 4, or 5 rugrats.
  2. Being a husband is harder than you think. Of course, this was the main topic behind my original 3 marriage lessons post.  Everyone told me marriage takes dedicated and consistent effort.  I acknowledged the words, but detached myself because I assumed we were an exception.  Doh.
  3. There will always be haters. No matter what you do or how much you give, there will always be haters.  I’m making a pledge to rid my life (and my online world) of any consistently negative, non-constructive forces.  If you want to hate… go get your reaction someplace else.
  4. Be willing to give away the glory. One of the best ways I’ve found to have someone accept an idea/concept is to make them feel like they came up with it themselves. Many of the people I respect most are amazing at sharing and giving away the limelight when it comes.  They are constantly taking a back seat to build up others.
  5. You can do anything you want.  No seriously… you can literally do anything. As kids, we are always told this, but most of us dismiss it as foo-foo.  It’s not.  In the last year, I’ve really come to terms with this.  I can literally do whatever I want.  Some of that is confidence and some of it comes from just having my eyes opened recently.  The largest thing between you and what you want is whatever glob of excuses you can pile up.
  6. Very few decisions in life require intense research. 90% of research/data-gathering is a waste of time.  I’ve found this true in my personal life and I’ve certainly found it true in my business.  Nearly without exception, I over analyze every decision I make.  Stop talking… stop thinking… stop planning… start doing.
  7. Intensely research any decision that limits a large amount of your freedom. :-)  As a rule, the more freedom that is at stake in a decision, the more I’ll research it.  The real reason is that I’m o.k. if research leads to indecision in cases where freedom is at risk.  Take buying a home, deciding to have kids, or taking a new 80 hour/week job, for example.  It’s not really a bad thing to second guess yourself there.  Things to stop analyzing?  The perfect weekend to go camping, a new product/service you want to launch, or whether or not to let your kids paint their room neon pink.  Do it.
  8. The majority of people think they are above average. I constantly remind myself of this fact.  By nature, we tend to over estimate our own skills and/or contributions.  Not only that, but we are much less aware of what other people contribute. I do it and you do it, too.  So recognize it.  Go out of your way to thank people for the things you do notice.
  9. The best feedback you’ll ever get is when you try to sell something to someone. So this is a purely entrepreneurial one I’ve learned.  It goes back to #7.  The most valuable data/feedback you’ll ever have is after you launch a product, service, or idea.  Seth Godin refers to this a “shipping it”.
  10. People automatically devalue anything they get for free. While we are on the topic, be careful about what you give away for free.  This can be applied beyond business, too.  Family, friends, clients, colleagues…  We automatically place more value on things we have to pay (money, time, effort, energy) for.  Give someone something for free consistently and they quickly begin to expect it.
  11. Instead of teaching kids to study concepts, we should be teaching them to solve problems. I won’t dive too much into what I know is an insanely deep and polarizing concept.  Courtney is much more equipped to discuss education system intelligently.  However, I’m not sure teaching kids to “study” a concept (many times something that’s in a weakness) is an empowering approach.  Instead, I’d love to see us playing more to kids strengths (whatever those may be individually) and focusing on obtaining solutions to problems.
  12. Choosing the correct mentors is the #1 most important factor in success of any kind. Modeling a mentor is the fastest way to success.  It doesn’t matter if you are climbing the corporate ladder, starting a web-based business, playing professional basketball, or studying religion.  You’ve gotta find your Branson, your Jobs, your Jordan, your Jesus, or your Buddha.
  13. Surround yourself with people who inspire you. Mentors are essential, however you’ve got to also find a relate to inspiring people on a daily/tangible level.  My wife and daughter inspire me.  I want them to be involved in everything I do, including my business and my passions.  Many of my fellow bloggers inspire me.  A couple blogger who are in similar spots, yet continually inspire me are Glen Allsop, Corbett Barr, Everett Bogue, and Grant Peele.
  14. You don’t need nearly as much money as you think you do. Another revelation that has come into my life in the past year or so.  You really *need* far, far less that what you think.  There are single people who travel and live on $5,000 a year.  There are families of 5 that eat on $100/month.  As a culture, we absolutely squander.  I know Courtney and I do.  It’s that straightforward.
  15. Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it buys everything else! :-)  This is my fun way of saying that I like money.  I want a lot of money.  While true, don’t let #14 fool you.  I want my family to live a remarkable, yet secure life.  I rarely worry about money now, but I want to all but eliminate it as a concern altogether.  I want to be able to focus my life on giving in the coming years, while still being able to have an income.  But even with money, I want to ensure we embrace…
  16. Experiences almost always trump possessions. I don’t mind spending money (you shouldn’t either), but the key is to do so consciously.  For me, conscious spending is concentrated on 90-95% experience and 5-10% actual “stuff”.  Up until the last few years, I had it backwards.  I liked to talk about how I loved “experiences”, but I spent my money on stuff.  I want to keep our focus on experiences whether we are making $20k per year or $200k per year.  *Note:  Unless we are talking about an iPhone.  Seriously, have you seen this thing?* :-)
  17. Focus the bulk of your energy on leveraging your strengths, not on improving weaknesses. I touched on this in #11, but it doesn’t just apply to our approach to education.  When we think about ourselves, many of us tend to try to work on our weaknesses.  In doing so, we limit the time we spend leveraging our strengths.  I’m not suggesting to ignore areas in which you need improvement, but every time I focus the bulk of my energy on my strengths (without totally ignoring other areas), I achieve much better results even within my weaknesses.  It’s a matter or positive perspective and sustaining motivation.  It really works.
  18. Be the change you want to see in the world. Yeah, I know…  a little foo-foo.  But this one is a good one.  If you are trying to convert people by knocking on doors and handing out pamphlets, you are doing it wrong.  It’ll always be an uphill battle.  Try modeling for people.  Try impressing… try inspiring.  Use your actions to show me not only the how, by the why.
  19. The answer will always be no if you don’t ask. Seriously, if you want something you have to ask.  Don’t be a blunt prick.  Ask genuinely and ask politely.  If you just ask…  you’ll be surprised more often than not.
  20. The worse I eat, the less productive I am.  The less productive I am, the worse I eat. Also, I’ve realized that feeling like crap on a regular basis is not enough motivation to eat healthier.  Sad, but true.  And I don’t think I’m alone on that one.  Most of us know that it’s the cause of so many problems, yet we don’t change.  You don’t get out of debt because “you should”.  You don’t eat healthy and exercise because “it’s good for you”.  Find your motivation (I’m talking to myself here).
  21. Empowering other people is what really matters in life. I want to empower.  I want to empower Courtney to be the most amazing and fulfilled person she can be.  I want to empower Milligan to do whatever passions are currently bringing her joy (right now she really likes playing with her purple ball, playgrounds, and taking naps).  I want to empower complete strangers to see opportunities in their own lives that they’ve buried under mounds of stuff, debt, and excuses.  :-)
  22. Saying “no” politely is far better than saying a half-assed “yes”. Learning to respectfully and politely say “no” is one of the skills I desire most. Especially in the online world, I tend to want to say yes to everything.  There are so many amazing people, opportunities, projects, and feedback.  It’s all right here, right now.  But, I’ve been saying “yes” and then completely letting people down way too much recently.  It’s not a matter of being “busy” or “important”.  Everyone is busy and important.  It’s a matter of really being to knock the socks of the projects I can do.  I want to either give 110% or 0%.  I want to learn to say “no” in a way people enjoy.
  23. There are very few unique personal problems. Chances are millions of people have gone through whatever issue you may have.  Chances are at least one of those people is much closer than you think.  Problem is we think any issues we may have are unique and we assume those close to us wouldn’t understand.  Wrong.
  24. It’s o.k. to be a fan. I used to reject the concept of being a fan.  I didn’t want to be seen on a “bandwagon”.  I didn’t want someone to call me a “fanboy”.  I wanted to think for myself.  Now, I’ve come to terms that being a fan is fun.  I like cheering for the Packers.  I love my man crush I have on Chris Guillebeau’s work.  I love how much passion Eddie Vedder brings to every song.  I love watching Wine Library TV even though I’ve never tasted a wine in my life that I enjoyed.  I love the fact that Big Mike was saved by the judges last week on American Idol…  (too far?).  :-)
  25. The more I act like my daughter.  The happier I am. The more I play, mimic, tease, and chase my daughter in any given day… the happier I am when I go to bed at night.  The simple act of being silly is one I lost over the last 6-7 years.  It’s taken a toddler to slowly infuse this back into me.  I want to embrace it even more.
  26. As a child, I never once worried about food, water, shelter, or love.  I was never once abused or neglected.  I got everything I needed and most of what I wanted.  Both my parents were (and still are) hard-working, supportive, and have great values.  The older I get, the more I realize how insanely fortunate this makes me.

And there it is…  everything I know.  ;-)

Want to give me a birthday present?  Click here to Stumble this post on StumbleUpon!

[I'm exempt from self promotion guilt today... sorry!]

Life Lessons

Today, I turn 26 years old.

[pause for cheering]

A little over a month ago, I wrote the post “3 Lessons I’ve Learned in 3 Years of Marriage“.  I’ll be the first to admit, I wasn’t sure how the post would be received.  To my surprise, it was a big hit (even if being a bit of a random topic)!

Due to the reception of that post, I decided that the best way to celebrate my birthday was to reflect.  I decided to sit down and write out the first 26 “life lessons” that came to me.  This isn’t meant to be some master list, it’s just a reflection of a lot of the things I’m going through right now.

I’m guessing you’ll be able to relate to at least a few!  :-)

Life Lessons…  Version 26.0…

  1. Being a parent is harder than you think. Before I had kids, I used to get a little annoyed by kids whining on airplanes.  I used to think “Gosh, get control of your kid” in a lot of situations.  How hard can it be?  And now I know.  Even with only one (who, by the way, is an angel 95% of the time) I get it.  I can’t believe how easily I become frustrated sometimes.  I can’t imagine those of you with 3, 4, or 5 rugrats.
  2. Being a husband is harder than you think. Of course, this was the main topic behind my original 3 marriage lessons post.  Everyone told me marriage takes dedicated and consistent effort.  I acknowledged the words, but detached myself because I assumed we were an exception.  Doh.
  3. There will always be haters. No matter what you do or how much you give, there will always be haters.  I’m making a pledge to rid my life (and my online world) of any consistently negative, non-constructive forces.  If you want to hate… go get your reaction someplace else.
  4. Be willing to give away the glory. One of the best ways I’ve found to have someone accept an idea/concept is to make them feel like they came up with it themselves. Many of the people I respect most are amazing at sharing and giving away the limelight when it comes.  They are constantly taking a back seat to build up others.
  5. You can do anything you want.  No seriously… you can literally do anything. As kids, we are always told this, but most of us dismiss it as foo-foo.  It’s not.  In the last year, I’ve really come to terms with this.  I can literally do whatever I want.  Some of that is confidence, some of it comes from just having my eyes opened recently.  The only thing between you and what you want is whatever excuses you can make.
  6. Very few decisions in life require intense research. 90% of research/data is a waste of time.  I’ve found this true in my personal life and I’ve certainly found it true in my business.  Nearly without except, I over analyze every decision I make.  Stop talking… stop thinking… stop planning… start doing.
  7. Intensely research any decision that limits a large amount of your freedom. :-)  As a rule, the more freedom that is at stake in a decision, the more I’ll research it.  The real reason is that I’m o.k. if research leads to indecision in this case.  Take buying a home, deciding to have kids, or taking a new 80 hour/week job, for example.  Things to stop analyzing?  The perfect weekend to go camping, a new product/service you want to launch, or whether or not to let your kids paint their room neon pink.
  8. The majority of people think they are above average. I constantly remind myself of this fact.  By nature, we tend to over estimate our own skills and/or contributions.  Not only that, but we are much less aware of what other people contribute. I do it and you do, too.  So recognize it.  Go out of your way to thank people for the things you do notice.
  9. The best feedback you’ll ever get is when you try to sell something to someone. So this is a purely entrepreneurial one I’ve learned.  It goes back to #7.  The most valuable data/feedback you’ll ever have is after you launch a product, service, or idea.  Seth Godin refers to this a “shipping it”.
  10. People automatically devalue anything they get for free. While we are on the topic, be careful about what you give away for free.  This can be applied beyond business, too.  Family, friends, clients, colleagues…  We automatically place more value on things we have to pay (money, time, effort, energy) for.  Give someone something for free consistently and they quickly begin to expect it.
  11. Instead of teaching kids to study concepts, we should be teaching the to solve problems. I won’t dive too much into what I know is an insanely deep and polarizing concept.  Courtney is much more equipped to discuss education system intelligently.  However, I’m not sure teaching kids to “study” a concept (many times something that’s in a weakness) is an empowering approach.  Instead, I’d love to see us playing more to kids strengths (whatever those may be individually) and focusing on obtaining solutions to problems.
  12. Choosing the correct mentors is the #1 most important factor in success of all kinds. Modeling a mentor is the fastest way to success.  It doesn’t matter if you are climbing the corporate ladder, starting a web-based business, playing professional basketball, or studying religion.  You’ve gotta find your Branson, your Jobs, your Jordan, your Jesus, or your Buddha.
  13. Surround yourself with people who inspire you. Mentors are essential, however you’ve got to also find a relate to inspiring people on a daily/tangible level.  My wife and daughter inspire me.  I want them to be involved in everything I do, including my business.  Many of my fellow bloggers inspire me.  A couple that are in similar spot that continually inspire me are Glen Allsop, Corbett Barr, and Everett Bogue.
  14. You don’t need nearly as much money as you think you do. Another revelation that has come into my life in the past year or so.  You really *need* far, far less that what you think.  There are single people who travel and live on $5,000 a year.  There are families of 5 that eat on $100/month.  As a culture, we absolutely squander.  I know Courtney and I do.  It’s that straightforward.
  15. Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it buys a lot of other cool stuff! :-)  This is my fun way of saying that I like money.  I want a lot of money.  While true, don’t let #14 fool you.  I want my family to live a remarkable, yet secure life.  I rarely worry about money now, but I want to all but eliminate it as a concern.  I want to be able to focus my life on giving in the coming years, while still being able to have an income.  But even with money, I want to ensure we embrace…
  16. Experiences almost always trump possessions. I don’t mind spending money (you shouldn’t either), but the key is to do so consciously.  For me, conscious spending is concentrated on 90-95% experience and 5-10% actual “stuff”.  Up until the last few years, I had it backwards.  I liked to talk about how I loved “experiences”, but I spent my money on stuff.  I want to keep our focus on experiences whether we are making $20k per year or $200k per year.  *Note:  Unless we are talking about an iPhone.  Seriously, have you seen this thing?* :-)
  17. Focus the bulk of your energy on leveraging your strengths, not on improving weaknesses. I touched on this in #11, but it doesn’t just apply to our approach to education.  When we think about ourselves, many of us tend to try to work on our weaknesses.  In doing so, we limit the time we spend leveraging our strengths.  I’m not suggesting to ignore areas in which you need improvement, but every time I focus the bulk of my energy on my strengths (without totally ignoring other areas), I achieve much better results even with my weaknesses.  It’s a matter or positive perspective and sustaining motivation.  It really works.
  18. Be the change you want to see in the world. Yeah, I know…  a little foo-foo.  But this one is a good one.  If you are trying to convert people by knocking on doors and handing out pamphlets, you are doing it wrong.  It’ll always be an uphill battle.  Try modeling for people.  Try impressing… try inspiring.  Use your actions to show me not only the how, by the why.
  19. The answer will always be no if you don’t ask. Seriously, if you want something you have to ask.  Don’t be a blunt prick.  Ask genuinely and ask politely.  If you just ask…  you’ll be surprised more often than not.
  20. The worse I eat, the less productive I am.  The less productive I am, the worse I eat. Also, I’ve realized that feeling like crap on a regular basis is not enough motivation to eat healthier.  Sad, but true.  And I don’t think I’m alone on that one.  Most of us know, it’s the cause of so many problems, yet we don’t change.  You don’t get out of debt because “you should”.  You don’t eat healthy and exercise because “it’s good for you”.  Find your motivation (I’m talking to myself here).
  21. Empowering other people (family, friends, strangers) is what really matters in life.
  22. Being a fan is fun.
  23. Learning to respectfully and politely say “no” is one of the skills I desire most.
  24. There are very few unique personal problems.  Chances are millions of people have gone through whatever issue you may have.  Chances are at least one of those people is much closer than you think.  Problem is we think any issues we may have are unique and we assume those close to us wouldn’t understand.
  25. The worse I eat, the less productive I am.  The less productive I am, the worse I eat.  Constantly feeling like crap is not enough to make me eat better.  It’s really not.
  26. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes.  Fear of making a mistake is
  27. As a child, I never once worried about food, water, shelter, or love.  I was never once abused or neglected.  I got everything I needed and most of what I wanted.  Both my parents were (and still are) hard-working, supportive, and have great values.  The older I get, the more I realize how insanely fortunate this makes me.


test

{ 98 comments… read them below or add one }

Benny the Irish polyglot April 13, 2010 at 3:25 PM

Happy birthday Baker! Stumbled for some birthday love!! :)

Reply

Karol Gajda April 13, 2010 at 3:33 PM

Thanks for the shout out and again, Happy Birthday!

#17 is killer: “Focus the bulk of your energy on leveraging your strengths, not on improving weaknesses.” Sometimes I waste time on something that I’m just not good at (and don’t even want to be good at) when I could get whatever it is taken care of by a pro for just a little bit of cash (and sometimes not even that).

Reply

Diggy April 13, 2010 at 3:35 PM

Hey Adam!
Happy happy birthday man!

I always enjoy following your progress and hearing about your adventures. You’ve come a long way in those 26 years and you’ve inspired many people!

Keep it up and have an awesome day!
Cheers
Diggy

Reply

Jorrit April 13, 2010 at 3:36 PM

Happy Birthday!

Reply

Nate St. Pierre April 13, 2010 at 3:40 PM

Always cheer for the Packers, man – you’ll never go wrong. :)

Be the change. Model the behavior. Great stuff.

Reply

Evan April 13, 2010 at 3:47 PM

Happy Birthday. I hope to learn soon that being a parent is hard work!

It took me till 27 to learn #10 – People don’t provide value to work done for free!

Reply

Glen Allsopp April 13, 2010 at 3:48 PM

Happy birthday buddy, great list.

Thanks a lot for the link love too!

Reply

Shae April 13, 2010 at 4:01 PM

Happy Birthday, Baker! This a REALLY great list and quite frankly there are people who don’t learn these lessons until they are MUCH much older, so way to go :-)

Reply

Cath Duncan April 13, 2010 at 4:02 PM

Happy birthday, Adam! Great lessons in there and you’re doing a fantastic job of living what you’ve learned.

Cath

Reply

Kaye April 13, 2010 at 4:04 PM

Happy birthday! What an awesome list. What an inspiring post. Thank you.

Reply

Matt April 13, 2010 at 4:05 PM

Great list Baker! Don’t forget #27, “Don’t be afraid to learn lessons from those younger than you.” I’m 34 and have learned a bunch from your great insight! Happy birthday!

Matt

Reply

Jason @ Frugal Dad April 13, 2010 at 4:11 PM

Really enjoyed this post, Adam. Happy birthday to you! I’m off to follow through on your birthday wish.

Here’s to another year of health and wealth for you and yours.

Reply

Corbett Barr April 13, 2010 at 4:18 PM

Happy birthday, Baker! If you learn as much in the next 26 years as you did in the last, you’ll be one hell of an interesting, smart, accomplished and most of all happy 52 year old. Congrats on all your success over the past year.

Reply

Joel April 13, 2010 at 4:39 PM

Happy Birthday Baker. Good to meet you finally last week!

Reply

Meg April 13, 2010 at 4:50 PM

Happy birthday Baker!! :) I could get annoying with this, I got you here and on facebook, I could always twitter, comment on Courtney’s blog and text…? Haha. But I think this does the point just fine. ;)

Definitely enjoyed this and can relate to a lot. Not sure if I can pick out a favorite point… I really do like it all. But I do like that you admitted money is nice, it is definitely nice and I’d rather have it than not. Because I use it to do insanely fun things to buy things I love. :P (Like camera lenses, haha.)

Reply

Amber Zuckswert April 13, 2010 at 4:52 PM

First off Happy Bday Adam! I’m with Karol here on #17. I definitely need to do more of what I’m good at and quit spreading myself so damn thin. I’m such a gemini…hands in many things. Keep up the great work man!

Reply

Elle April 13, 2010 at 4:56 PM

Great post and definitely some food for thought. I on the same page with you on #2 and #19. Things that really worth it take quite a bit of effort and rightly so.

Reply

Marko April 13, 2010 at 4:57 PM

Hey, shouldn’t you get the present(s) for your b-day? Instead, it’s the other way round due to you sharing your awesome insights.

Thanks and happy birthday!

Reply

Dana April 13, 2010 at 5:16 PM

Great lessons! Glad to see you learned something in your first 26 years…takes some people a life time to get most of this stuff. Keep being Awesome and most importantly…HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Reply

Roblynn April 13, 2010 at 5:19 PM

Happy Birthday! Just a hint, keep your list so you don’t have to rethink all those amazing lessons every year, just add one a year. I don’t think I could come up with 48 things like that, excellent.

Reply

John April 13, 2010 at 5:20 PM

These life lessons will serve me well. Thanks Adam, for sharing this wisdom with all of us. Just so you know, I’m not one to devalue free information. If it helps me out and teaches me a little about life, free information can be incredibly valuable.

Good luck on your location independent journey, my friend. Although I’m still new to the blogging game, I plan to be location-free by the time I become a third year in college.

Bring it.

Reply

Nell April 13, 2010 at 5:38 PM

Happy Bday! and I had no idea you were ONLY 26! I’d like to address #3. There will always be haters. BUT, they hate you because they’re not you.

In the words of the wise Katt Williams, “What do u think a ‘hater’s’ job is..to hate. if u have someone hating on u right now u better think of how to get 5 more ppl hating by Christmas. You need haters to make you stronger..w/o haters most ppl wouldn’t try to become better.”

Thanks for the wisdom!

Reply

Joshua Lance April 13, 2010 at 5:58 PM

Happy birthday Baker, loved the post. Can’t wait till I turn 39 in a couple of months so I can figure out what 39 things I learned in my life. Many blessings!

Reply

Melissa Gorzelanczyk April 13, 2010 at 6:06 PM

Good job for knowing all this by the time you’re 26! Amazing.

My favorite was this: Intensely research any decision that limits a large amount of your freedom.

Cheers and Happy Birthday.

Reply

Jan April 13, 2010 at 6:14 PM

Happy birthday Adam!

Thanks for your shared experience putted into this article, personally I like the #17 the most!

Now turn of your PC and enjoy the b-day! =]

Jan

Reply

Damilola April 13, 2010 at 6:24 PM

I noticed you ha 24 comments, wanted to get you closer to 26.

Happy Belated Birthday Man and I look forward to getting even more involved with your message than I have been.

Reply

Amber Shah April 13, 2010 at 6:33 PM

#1 is so incredibly true, and it’s just a lesson I learn over and over and over again.

Reply

doctor S April 13, 2010 at 6:42 PM

Happy birthday to you. Great list, we need more people in this world that value #18.

Reply

Mars Dorian April 13, 2010 at 7:56 PM

Happy 26th Adam !!

And what an awesome list,

“You can do anything you want. No seriously… you can literally do anything.”

THIS ONE is definitely my favorite one – it’s the daily mantra I breathe and hum !

Reply

Aspiring Minimalist April 13, 2010 at 8:25 PM

Happy Birthday, Baker.

I really like all your points, but one I that really hit a note with me was:

#26. As a child, I never once worried about food, water, shelter, or love. I was never once abused or neglected. I got everything I needed and most of what I wanted. Both my parents were (and still are) hard-working, supportive, and have great values. The older I get, the more I realize how insanely fortunate this makes me.

Reply

Susan April 13, 2010 at 8:40 PM

Wow, this was really moving, Baker. I loved how authentic and right to the heart it is. I wrote something somewhat similar recently, and one thing I’ve learned is that love shouldn’t be hoarded and saved, distributed as a reward, but given and shared freely. Otherwise you waste it or resent it. I too have discovered how little money I need to be happy. It’s the experiences and relationships that make me happy. At time, money is integral to those experiences, but the money itself is largely irrelevant.

Oh. and I’ve also learned to appreciate zombie movies. I have a zombie escape route ;-)

Reply

Carmen April 13, 2010 at 9:44 PM

Happy Birthday Baker. You may be 26 but your wisdom is much older!

Reply

Josh April 13, 2010 at 11:29 PM

Happy birthday Baker!

This is my first time commenting on this blog…I have to say, #5 might be the best of them all. I’m also a 26 year old married father and I could not have said this better myself. Right on point brother, keep it up!

Thanks again,

Josh

Reply

Eugene April 14, 2010 at 12:31 AM

Happy Birthday Adam!

So many were good that its hard to single out, but #12 is definitely the one I have to work on the most!

Reply

Matt Jabs April 14, 2010 at 2:50 AM

Yo Adizzle my Nizzle… solid stuff buddy, keep learning, keep growing, keep teaching, and keep loving life – I promise to love it with you. :)

Reply

Chase April 14, 2010 at 4:19 AM

Happy Birthday, man. I’m proud of all you’re doing.
You’ve about 3 years on me, so I’m definitely taking note and learning from my elders. ;)
I hope to be doing as well as you (holistically, in all areas of my life) when 26 rolls round.

Thanks for all you share.
-Chase

Reply

Cody McKibben April 14, 2010 at 5:03 AM

“Be the change you want to see in the world” — Careful calling words of wisdom from Gandhi foo-foo! :D

Good list man, happy birthday Baker

Reply

Santosh April 14, 2010 at 7:12 AM

its all so good :)

‘I want to empower complete strangers to see opportunities in their own lives’

thank you

Reply

Valerie M April 14, 2010 at 8:39 AM

Great tips, Baker! And I hope you had a wonderful birthday… and that you have many, many more years! Keep on keepin’ on ;)

Reply

Lola Fayemi / Aligned & Thriving April 14, 2010 at 8:58 AM

Happy Birthday Adam

This is my first time here and I will be back! Great list, my personal fave is no.20.

Reply

Kevin M April 14, 2010 at 10:42 AM

Happy Birthday, Baker. I wish I knew at 26 what you just listed.

I find being a parent is simultaneously easier and harder than I thought. Most days it is a breeze – my little guy is like Milligan – an angel most of the time, but sometimes when I think of the future and all the challenges my kids will face growing up it seems very daunting.

Reply

Ben J Barra April 14, 2010 at 11:22 AM

Happy birthday Baker!

Reply

Miss T April 14, 2010 at 11:29 AM

Hi. I just had to say that I found this article absolutely inspiring. I am almost speechless. It has left me self assessing and thinking really hard about my life and experiences. I liked it so much that I am featuring it in my weekly picks on my blog this week. Post will be up on Friday. Thanks for the great advice.

Reply

Richard Riley April 14, 2010 at 11:39 AM

Happy Birthday Baker! I’m not able to stumble this as I’m at work, but rest assured I will when I get home! Awesome list man! I agree with all of them but #5 and #14 were the best IMO. I think they fit really well together, actually. You can do anything you want in life, anything at all and the best part is – it costs a lot less money than you probably think it will cost.

Reply

Josh April 14, 2010 at 11:45 AM

@Richard – Good reminder. It costs a LOT less $ than you’ll think it costs!

Reply

Adam Crain April 14, 2010 at 11:55 AM

Just found your blog, incredibly inspiring! Great post.

Reply

Phil April 14, 2010 at 12:18 PM

Great post, Baker. Very insightful at 26!

Reply

Money Funk April 14, 2010 at 12:47 PM

That is the awesomest list ever, Baker. Happy Birthday,too!
I really am loving #7

And #10 is true. If you throw a seminar for free, not many will sign up. But if you hold it for $99+, you’ll get a following. Maybe its because we feel that concrete work went into the seminar/material if we have to pay for it.

Reply

Tara (Becraft) Burcham April 14, 2010 at 3:10 PM

THIS WAS AMAZING! I’m so impressed and I can’t even express how RIGHT you are about everything you said! Good job!!

Reply

Jenny April 14, 2010 at 4:19 PM

Great Post! I love reading these life lesson type posts because it really helps you to appreciate things. I think you make so many good points. I too am so much happier when I invest in or even enjoy a FREE experience rather than going out and dropping hundreds of dollars at the mall. Some of happiest memories were spent hiking, or at a picnic or even relaxing with a book by the lake. I think sometimes we all get so caught up trading up that we forget what really makes us happy. I can’t wait to read more, thanks for all of the great articles!:)

Reply

Dustin | Engaged Marriage April 14, 2010 at 4:30 PM

Killer list and happy birthday, Baker!

But the real reason I had to comment was to let you know that I share your love of Pearl Jam. I’ll be seeing them live in May in St. Louis (for the third time). :)

Reply

Jesse April 14, 2010 at 5:19 PM

Awesome list, and Happy Birthday! I have two kids and I agree, you never know how hard it is until you try it. I love my kids more than anything but man they kill your time and productivity (daddy can you help me?..every 5 minutes), but it’s worth it.

Reply

Ouida Vincent April 14, 2010 at 5:27 PM

Happy Birthday, Adam! Your list has quite a few pearls on it, pearls I have learned in my nearly 47 years, ouch! I like to be able to buy things, but honestly as I have gotten older it is the personal connections and the experiences that matter most.

Reply

fish April 14, 2010 at 6:13 PM

Happy Birthday! I just stumbled onto your blog and I’d just like to say how nice it is to see someone that honestly appears happy.

Reply

Matt Gartland April 14, 2010 at 8:40 PM

Happy cake and candle day Adam! Fantastic post. Thanks for sharing all the wisdom. Hard to pick favorites, but being a healthy lifestyle geek I love #20! Your perspective is dead-on, you need positive motivation to design a rewarding, euphoric, and healthy lifestyle. “Running away” from unhealthy plights doesn’t work (at least not for long). Instead, “run towards” something amazing – an amazing life enabled by remarkable health! :)

Cheers!
Matt

Reply

Evelyn Lim April 14, 2010 at 8:49 PM

Hope I am not too late in wishing you many blessings for the new year. Love the list of life lessons! I would also like to add that being a wife is also much harder than what I originally thought. Yes, I had the same lessons in persistence and commitment. My relationships ,including those with others, taught me a great deal about myself.

Reply

Munish Kaura April 15, 2010 at 4:48 AM

Very Practical Points

Reply

Alex April 15, 2010 at 2:51 PM

Hopefully I’ll be debt free by 26!!

Reply

Norman April 15, 2010 at 5:40 PM

Rockstar! This is some of the best writing I’ve seen from anyone at any age, let alone a 26 yo. Subscribed!!!

Reply

Chris April 16, 2010 at 12:17 AM

Very awesome lessons! I have a few years on you and I’m thinking if I can come up with one lesson for every other year, I’ll be doing pretty well. Actually, it wasn’t until my last 7 years that I really starting learning lessons at all. I guess I’m a late bloomer?

You are a wise man. Here’s to another great 26 years for you!

Reply

Behonce Beh April 16, 2010 at 12:54 AM

Best advice I had in ages which actually makes sense. Thank you.

Reply

finance April 16, 2010 at 8:12 AM

happy birthday friend
stumbleupon glad I joined because I could say happy birthday Baker

Reply

Nancy L. April 16, 2010 at 8:34 AM

Happy Belated Birthday, Baker!!! :) A great post to celebrate a happy day!

Reply

Cheapskate Sandy April 16, 2010 at 3:34 PM

Happy 26th! Mine is coming up and I’m sharing some moolah with my readers for my birthday.

Reply

RU5H April 17, 2010 at 4:44 AM

Happy Birthday Dude!

Been following your blog for quite some time all the way from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Just love all the tips and advice!!!

Reply

Guy G. April 17, 2010 at 3:02 PM

Hey
I particularly appreciate the tip about ‘the answer will always be no if you don’t ask’
I’m in sales, and during training it was shown that the majority of sales people don’t ever clearly ask for the sale. That’s why they never make the sale.
Thanks for the reminder

Reply

Johl April 17, 2010 at 4:36 PM

belated Happy B’day man.

thx for a wonderful post. I rarely read such, relatively, long posts from top to bottom but today if find myself in that rare moment. thanks for that.

about your lesson “Focus the bulk of your energy on leveraging your strengths, not on improving weaknesses” .. can u give an example of this? maybe something pertaining to your life.

Reply

Giovanna April 18, 2010 at 6:53 PM

Well, I liked your post very much… so much in fact that I translated it to Portuguese and will reproduce it on my blog with the reference back to you of course. Just wanted to know if that´s ok with you.

Tks

Reply

Skoopi April 20, 2010 at 9:41 PM

I randomly stumbled across this list and read and enjoyed each of your life lessons, Itsgood to know such positive thinking is out there. Thanks for sharing!

Reply

Ash April 21, 2010 at 9:43 AM

Dude.

For some idiotic reason, I haven’t been hanging around here as much as I need to be, because this post was beyond insightful, extremely well-written, and suddenly makes me want to chug a V8, grab a quick session of kumbahya, and then go conquer the world, Captain Planet style.

No wonder I hear all of these amazing things about you.

Dig it.

Reply

Bryan Lee April 22, 2010 at 7:55 AM

Nice one. I am 28 this year. When I am 30 I plan to do one just like yours.
Your article is both interesting and give us (the readers) a learning experience as well :)

Keep up the good work :) and thank you for sharing

Reply

Brandon Schmid April 23, 2010 at 11:16 AM

I love it! “Be the change you want to see in the world”

I think far too many people are so concerned with changing everybody else that they forget to look inward and change themselves.

It is far easier to try and change other people then it is to have to courage to change yourself

Cheers!

Brandon

Reply

Henry April 23, 2010 at 11:39 PM

Hello, I love this list. I wish that there could me more self improvement lists like this on the net. “Experiences almost always trump possessions” is one that I value more as I get older.

Reply

Rob April 25, 2010 at 3:03 PM

Image what you will learn in the next 26!

Reply

Lisa April 26, 2010 at 7:20 PM

Amazing you have such an awareness at age 26! You are indeed fortunate.

Most of my clients are a bit older than you, and while most ‘know’ these things, they’ve forgotten them. I’m going to reference your post on my blog — it’s a fantastic reminder!

Thanks!

Reply

Phillip April 30, 2010 at 7:57 AM

Yeah!
Thanks man. I’ve had rough time with my teenage sons. Just made a printout to give to each of them to take time and read.
Am sure after I discuss point on point with them, I’ll see at least some small change. And I’ll promise them that I’ll look forward to being around on their 26th birthdays.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MY MAN!!!

Reply

Terrah May 2, 2010 at 10:13 PM

I know it’s late but I have been out of town so please excuse my tardiness. HAPPY BIRTHDAY MAN!!!! From your number 1 fan in Texas ~ Terrah

Reply

Brandon Pearce May 6, 2010 at 1:19 PM

Awesome list! I still need to work on researching decisions less. This week I spent over 2 hours trying to decide which microphone to buy. Ridiculous! You’ve inspired to write my own “Learned List” for my 30th birthday. Here it is: http://brandonpearce.com/2010/05/life-lessons-ive-learned-in-30-years-of-living/ (And thanks for your comment)

Reply

Marc Hoffmeister May 19, 2010 at 8:51 AM

One of my favorite posts yet, Baker! Man, I wish I had learned these things when I was your age! Thanks for reminding me of a few things I really need to work on (and that I’m not the only one.)

Think of what you’ll have learned by the time you hit 30! :)

Reply

Cheryl from thatgirlisfunny May 21, 2010 at 11:22 AM

Fantastic list! Just stumbled you. Well done on living life to the fullest! Would love to have you submit this post to my “stay young from the inside out” blog carnival. I publish it weekly on Sundays on my blog. I love #22 – say no politely when you mean NO. Hugely important life lesson to learn :D

Reply

Ron July 8, 2010 at 11:15 PM

Happy Birthday, Adam! You are wise beyond your years my friend…great stuff.

Ron

Reply

sir jorge July 31, 2010 at 10:44 PM

classic, great stuff

Reply

Isa September 13, 2010 at 5:22 AM

Hi Adam Baker, thank you for this wise post.

Reply

Jennifer November 10, 2010 at 4:24 PM

Awesome idea for a website! Great job!

Reply

Giber November 23, 2010 at 1:20 AM

Hey Baker!

I just stumbled upon this post for whatever reason. Enjoyed reading it a heck of a lot!
I hope that you and your family are doing fantabulous! take care and I hope you continue with your momentum of huge success!

Reply

JIm December 26, 2010 at 7:21 AM

Stumbled upon this – totally agree with 1 and 2. Being a parent is a life changing event. Try flying from Sydney to London with a 4 year old and a 7 year old who only slept 2 hours (out of 22). It was like something out of that show Airport.

Reply

Ronnia January 3, 2011 at 3:48 AM

Great list :) I stumbled upon this and it lifted my spirits. Thinking of making a similar list to remind myself of all the lessons that come along with your twenties.

Thanks for the inspiration and for passing along the wisdom/reminders.

Reply

Laurie Anne March 12, 2011 at 12:27 AM

I stumble quite often and come across posts similar to this, but this is the first time I’ve ever commented on anything. This was very inspiring. I’m about to be 21, engaged, and get a degree in education, and have only just started to experience the emotional aspect of ” adulthood” within the past 2 years. But your post gave me some courage to take on the big bad world lol. Thanks!

Reply

Mary T. Salmon June 2, 2011 at 12:57 PM

you are wise beyond your years…

Reply

Veronica Young June 2, 2011 at 9:45 PM

Great post! Alas! Someone else gets it! I thought I was the only one. ;)

Reply

Katybee June 9, 2011 at 10:47 AM

Super ideas! Keep ‘em coming…. love reading your site and reassessing what is what in life. thanks!

Reply

TioAdmin June 22, 2011 at 6:14 PM

Great list! Sometimes people never “get it” and have a tougher life than necessary.

Reply

Dawn June 22, 2011 at 11:05 PM

Couldn’t agree with you more…

16 is the one I am the most passionate about.

Reply

Direct Dan July 5, 2011 at 10:51 AM

Thanks to Glen (the Viper dude) for alerting me to this post. Classic wisdom. Timeless truth. Please keep sharing as you go on learning. Blessings!

Reply

HR January 12, 2012 at 11:23 AM

my daughter is now 26. she just called me to tell me a story about a kid whose mom told him to only call her at work if it was an emergency. he said, if I want a Pop Tart, is that an emergency? she new I’d appreciate that…

Reply

Sergio Felix April 13, 2012 at 4:50 PM

Happy Birthday Baker!

Looks like you’re finding great balance between all your surroundings and man, what an amazing list, I have a lot of room for improvement, thank you!

Sergio

Reply

Jerrywhyte Obamwonyi November 27, 2012 at 11:43 PM

well said! Its so true that very few decision in life require intense research! and when the research becomes too much, doubts set in and when doubt set in, indecision becomes inevitable

Reply

Andy December 21, 2012 at 12:36 PM

Inspirational post. The last one about parents is so important and that’s why giving the same gift of stable parent hood to your kids is just as important.

Reply

Leave a Comment

{ 30 trackbacks }