40 for 40 - Wisdom I want to remember

Here are 40 life lessons I learned during my first 40 years on this earth.

1. Creating a strong couple requires the dissolution of individual integrity to build a shared one. This is also true for a nation, a team, a community, a company.

2. Most arguments are not worth winning.

3. But when you do argue, forgive quickly or live with the scars.

4. Most people take their work too seriously and, therefore, force others to take their work too seriously.

5. Find a cheap treat you enjoy (for me, that's a kind of fruit bar made for kids.)

6. If you think you don't have the time to work out, that's precisely the time to work out.

7. Build a habit to rest. The earlier you do, the easier.

8. Consider observing a Sabbath or a longer fast (no phone, no non-essential purchase, etc.) Build discipline and learn to survive without the superfluous.

9. Deliberately create traditions within your family. They will strengthen the bonds and participate in your shared story.

10. Write down rules and ideas you believe to be true. Read them from time to time to make sure you are living according to them or course correct where needed. If a rule doesn't seem true anymore, remove it.

11. Lead when nobody else wants to.

12. Behave as if other people were looking up to you.

13. Decide quickly. Change decisions slowly.

14. Having our own rules helps us avoid negotiating with ourselves; they protect us from ourselves.

15. Praise openly, praise often. Nothing bad can come out of it.

16. It's often worth addressing challenges one by one instead of trying to solve every future problem with this one decision.

17. Don't be afraid to ask. Ask kindly.
18. Don't be afraid to offer. Offer respectfully.

19. You can judge a tree by its fruit. (Luke 6:43) Stop doing what produces sour fruits.

20. Kids learn from what you do when you think they are not watching/listening/understanding.

21. Price is (almost) always negotiable.

22. Collect praises and encouragements shared with you so you can read them when the going gets rough.

23. Don't stay on the fence too long. Commit to one side and find out.

24. Which leads to this rule: Strong Opinions, Weakly Held.

25. Depersonalize failure. Stop thinking everything that doesn't work is automatically your fault. Depersonalize success also (though that's a less common problem.) This is an exercise in humility: a lot of it is outside our control.

26. The easiest way to keep in touch with people you don't talk to as often as you'd like is to set reminders of their birthdays and name-days.

27. Direct your ambition to what's right in front of you. If you dream about something too big or too far, even if you ever reach it, it won't be what you thought it was.

28. Tame your anticipation. Most of the time, it runs wild, and you end up disappointed by the actual reward of doing the work.

29. Don't overthink being happy. Happiness is a by-product of finding flow in as many things that you do as possible—going for a run? Be present. Having dinner with your family? Be present. Working? Be present.

30. However, learn that achieving flow on command is not always possible. Some days you'll find it, some days you won't. And that's okay. If you stress over it, you will ruin all chances to achieve it now and maybe tomorrow.

31. Repeat to yourself and others what truly matters to you. Even if you think you know, it's easy to forget; when you do, you become miserable chasing something unimportant.

32. At least 90% of your concerns should be for things you are responsible for or can influence. (Social) Media has incentives to make you concerned about things you have no control over. Disconnect!

33. Most of the things you fear won't happen. Most of the ones that do won't be as bad as you picture them. And for the few that are, you will ultimately find ways to overcome.

34. As you age, you meet more friends and loved ones whose problems you can't solve. Extend compassion and pray for them.

35. Do some useless things. That's an act of resistance. That's training. That's investment. You can waste your life away doing useful things only.

36. If you are completely fine with negative feedback on something you created, you probably stayed too far from it. To make a great product, you must blend part of your identity into it, and when you do, feedback stings.

37. When you feel so unsure about what to work on that you feel paralyzed, do something. It doesn't matter what. You need to start the pump. Pick up one of your existing projects and improve it. If you don't have one, write a blog post or help someone else. Or go work out.

38. You need advisors. Create groups deliberately. Use the right person or group for the right question.

39. Parenting is not what you think it is. Until you have kids, you can't fathom this.

40. Create at least ten times more than you consume. We have been made to bear the image of the Creator.