How can a guy of 31 years give tips and advice on living a good life to others? You are right. I can’t, but I can share my lessons learned.
Therefore, the following points are a list I’d like to share with you. They are my insights from the last ten years. Some of them I only realized much later. My goal is to internalize them even stronger and to live each day accordingly.
I hope it inspires you moving you forward — wherever you want to go.
I wish you nothing more than health, fulfillment and success.
—PS: I got inspired by Sam Altman’s post The days are long but the decades are short and wrote my piece. Please leave a comment. Ask a question! I enjoy hearing from you.
Book recommendations: “How do I create the life I want?”
I’d like to recommend three books on ‘creating the life you want’ that inspired me a lot and gave me the direction for writing this post.
For students & would-be starters
- Tina Seelig: What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20 — Why you should read it: At the end, you will know more about yourself and the opportunities that are waiting for you.
- Seth Godin: What To Do When It’s Your Turn — Why you should read it: It’s a perfect inspiration when you know what you want to do but don’t feel brave enough yet.
For recent graduates
- Seth Godin: Linchpin: Are You Indispensable? — Why you should read it: ‘Simply doing a job’ is the best way to die while you’re still alive!
Relationships & Love
Never put your wife/girlfriend, friends or family second place.
Fearlessly love. Be radically honest.
Don’t make the same mistake I made and think that your entrepreneurial ambitions are more important than love. They are not!
Prefer to have a few very close friends. Never loose contact to them.
Enjoy love with pure joy, desire, devotion and fascination.
Tell your parents more often how thankful you are for their love and care.
Don’t expect them to support all of your decisions.
You don’t need your mother/father to hold your hand. Take responsibility — you’re the one in charge. You don’t need anyone else to soothe you.
Get enough sleep.
Spend time in nature. Walk barefoot.
Get your clothes dirty — like kids do — and don’t give a f*ck if you’re looked at on your way back home.
Don’t ever let your self-limiting beliefs stop you.
Be open for change. Be curious. Be like a child without pain and fear of failure.
Be authentic. Be yourself — everyone else is taken.
Be honest and integer.
Forgive — most importantly yourself and your parents.
Accept that fear is a solid part of our existence. Turn this fear into a booster and motivator. Be a maker, not a nonsenser.
Win new perspectives and stay emotionally distanced from problems. Hence, don’t take anything or anyone personally.
Take a few minutes to calm down when you’re angry, then act.
Develop a set of values that you follow, practice and master. Mine are:
- Fearlessly love
- Radical honesty
Set clear goals – for each day, each year and each decade.
Be able, however, to spontaneously grab great opportunities that come to you. An advantage of hard-working people is that they always receive opportunities — but be careful: not all fit your current goals and values.
Choose your actions wisely and proactively.
My goals are divided into (1) health =body & mind and (2) finances/career (date: Nov, 2015). I spare you some of my specific numbers and dates by when to reach the goals. But I guess it’s important to have them. So choose yours wisely.
(1) Health =body & mind
- Keep weight at 88 kg.
- Practice morning routine.
- Practice Zazen (Zen meditation), Yoga and Tantra.
- Establish yourself as a startup coach & speaker.
- Reach first product income with StartupGeist.
Commit yourself to what you love.
Be careful: A surprisingly large number of people will be somehow offended by seeing you work so hard.
Be mindful: Never see work as a pure means to an end. Never let life pass by and let work over take it.
@Men: Don’t take your current motivation from achieving things in the future — as if your life would finally ‘turn around’ when your reach them. It is a hollow illusion! I still fall into that dream.
Remember: Your future won’t bring a magical alteration. You’re life won’t become much better than it already is. Everything happens now.
@Women: Rely more on your intuition and don’t be dazzled by macho’s or influenced by softies.
Don’t make any excuses for not doing things you don’t like.
If you choose the right thing, you’ll eventually be successful. This is often being ignored because most people don’t know what’s ‘right’ at all.
Take yourself time to define what is ‘right’ for you.
Focus on one thing you can believe in (you have to keep believing in it even though others may say that it will never work).
Develop personal relations to people who support you, who help you to learn, who criticize you, who help you get up when you’re down.
Identify talents, high potentials and motivators and do everything possible to work together with them.
Work with talented people who are the best at what they’re doing. You are the average of the people you spend the most time with.
Life is not a dress rehearsal
It’s very limited, and it goes by too fast.
Do the things that fulfill and make you happy! That is the best way to leave a trace that remains after you die. Only a few people manage to do that.
Don’t do anything that doesn’t make you happy. Really! That mostly happens when you work for others – especially in consultancies, agencies or corporate companies — or when you are subordinated to ego-driven macho managers.
Most people choose their career randomly.
Very few reflect on their choices.
Don’t be afraid to take risks. Accept that we don’t face career risk.
You might feel depressed when you fail, but it will pass soon. Your courage will never lead to disappointment because you will grow, mature and learn.
Never thrive in for status — but for positive change, you believe that needs to happen. That’s timeless. Status symbols are timely and unhealthy achievements.
It is hard to perform well if you don’t believe — 100% — in what you are doing.
You should be deeply convinced of the things you do. You must be intrinsically motivated.
If you aren’t, search for your personal convictions.
Find your true talent and mission.
Don’t waste time with things that don’t excite you. Sometimes, however, you need to do things that you don’t want to do because they enable you to follow your passion alongside.
Don’t hate yourself for the things you hate doing. Sometimes they are the necessary evil to success.
Don’t waste huge parts of your available time. Don’t let others push you around.
Organization and progress
Find a system for productivity and follow it.
Don’t waste time being unorganized. I’m not saying that you need to structure every minute of your life, but you have to follow a system at work.
If you don’t you’ll drown in an endless ocean of ‘to dos’ and never achieve any real progress.
Money — or better: constant income — gives you freedom. Hence, most likely makes you happy.
A lack of money is dangerous because it will lead to stress and panic. In most cases it’s advisable to earn enough income to cover rent, life and fun.
But keep your personal fixed spending’s low — like a student! Mine are. It gives you unexpected opportunities in life.
To keep this sum small, you should define what you need in life. How does your ideal life look like? Tim Ferriss believes:
It’s less than you think!
You don’t need to own everything. Being happy doesn’t come from possessions — but from experiences you make.
When in doubt, always invest in experiences and not in belongings.
It’s a must.
Travel at least once a year. Traveling means at least three weeks.
Don’t lose sight of that goal – it happened to me. Over the last years, I became too focussed on my entrepreneurial ambitions that I forgot to experience. I thought I had no time. I was in a rush to get more of my non-urgent, non-important to-dos done. Just to make me feel better.
It’s bad. So bad.
I will never get this time back.
But yeah — no self-pity here. I discovered and have now changed my approach.
I’ll never neglect to travel again — and time without work!
Time without work
Take a ‘Sabbatical’ once a year.
Stefan Sagmeister advises us to regularly take time off during our career and just retire later.
It boosts your balance, creativity, courage and innovation potential.
What is retirement anyway? What a weird promise from our society, isn’t it?!
I don’t believe in it anymore. I assume I never have really. That’s why I am not creating a life around being ‘free’ of work at a particular age.
My mantra: The longer you work, the longer you stay healthy mentally, physically and physiologically, and — in turn — the older you get and the more fun you have,
I aim at lifelong learning, helping, dreaming, loving, doing …
What most of us consider fatal would still be a great life for the penniless people on this planet.
Don’t pity yourself because of luxury problems.
Nothing is eternal. Neither your love, your relationships, your company, your job.
Nothing is forever.
We are astonishingly good at adapting and forgetting — no matter how right or bad it is.
In retrospect, stupid situations and painful events always look better than they were. Keep that in mind when you’re feeling down.
Listen to your gut.
We tend to make decisions out of fear or love.
Whenever you are scared, your default decision mode is: Do it anyway.
Whenever you are in love, your default decision mode is: Be careful. Don’t let your emotions overtake your actions. Don’t be blind.
When in doubt, however, always follow your heart.
If you think you might regret not doing something later, then do it. Most people develop much more regrets about the things they didn’t do than about stuff they did.
Make decisions, be strong and face the consequences.
Always feel free to undo a decision. Nothing is forever. Only ask for forgiveness and move on. Never ask for permission.
Don’t be too quick to judge other people.
You never know the whole context.
How can you judge another person if you don’t really understand your own context of thoughts and feelings.
It is easy to think in stereotypes and to categorize people and situations. It helps us to process information in our fast-paced time.
BUT aim at developing more empathy and avoid putting everything/everyone in categories.
Read more lengthy content and less short messages.
Try to find books in your native language — especially when they touch upon your personal roots like values and motivation. Real and quicker transformation comes from reading books in your mother tongue.
Watch less T.V. (P.S. Watching anything online is the same thing than our parents watching T.V. Just a different medium.)
Spend less time on the internet and talk more with people.
Exits | Leaving
You always meet people twice in life. Never burn bridges.
Choose your battles carefully.
My life’s current game rules
And finally I put them all together.
I call them my game rules for life. I look at them daily. They are timely. They are a current state of being. They might change. Who knows?. I don’t.
—In this very moment my game rules are
- Be present. Be mindful.
- Be fearless with love.
- Be radically honest.
- Be healthy.
The art of living: The right doing and habits
The most successful startup founders thrive for learning, progress and improvements daily to continually grow beyond their purest imagination.
Always pushing their self-imposed limits. The most successful startup founders know that knowing without acting is meaningless. The one who acts and makes progress is the one who succeeds.
The art of life is to learn new things each day and to act on it.
Not only reading, theorizing or philosophizing. But more so making. Doing. Implementing. AND ultimately creating the right habits. To become successful, your mantra of choice could be:
Know. Apply. Experience. Learn. Succeed.
I herewith admit (and I really shouldn’t because it’s obvious) that I don’t constantly apply all of my insights and learning. Of course, I am not super-human. Anyone who tells you it’s easy is lying. Don’t trust this. It’s damn hard.
Being able to follow these insights depends on my mental state. Energy level and so much more …
But most importantly, I aim at not making mistakes twice and applying the stuff I learned over and over again to master the right skills and habits finally.
That’s why I read this post constantly. It’s a personal diary entry.
I believe it allows me to get better each day and live a healthier, more mindful and so successful life.
Nothing in our life lasts forever.
Life is beautiful.
StartupGeist Knowledge Base
StartupGeist summarizes insights and experiences from digital entrepreneurs, startup experts, and founders. This article is based on …
- Tina Seelig: What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20
- Seth Godin: What to do when it’s your turn
- Seth Godin: Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?
- Sam Altman: The days are long but the decades are short
- Tim Ferriss: Lifestyle costing
- Stefan Sagmeister: The Power of Time Off
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