30 Lessons Learned From 30 Years of Change

30 lessons

As I write this post, I was brought into this world 30 years ago today.

Even though 30 is apparently the new 20, and some days I feel like my real life is just starting to get interesting, I find myself reflecting on the experiences of the last 30 years, and all of the lessons I’ve managed to learn along the way.

So here they are, (well 30 of them at least) categorized to help readability, but in no particular order of importance.

Money Lessons

1. Pay Yourself First

Every time you get paid, whether its a weekly paycheck, a side job, a gift, an inheritance, or anything of the like, put some of it away the first thing you do. Don’t even consider that part of your income. It goes into savings for a large purchase goal. Otherwise, it’s human nature to want to spend it.

Even better – automate the transaction straight from your account. This way you won’t have to go through the emotional transaction, and will put your saving on autopilot.

This will help you save some nice large chunks of money over time that you can spend on possessions and experiences that significantly enhance your life, not petty materialistic things that often become a burden.

2. You Can Always Earn More

Almost every financial “expert” out there will tell you the best way to save money is to cut back on your “unnecessary daily spending.” These are things like eating out, your morning coffee, and other things you like to do.

But here’s the thing. Not only do you have to make the emotional decision to cut out those things every single day of your life, but you can only cut out so much from your life until it just starts to really suck.

At that point, you’re not just living on ramen and tuna fish, stealing your neighbor’s WiFi, and drinking nothing but water, but you’re also putting yourself in a very poor financial mindset. If all you do is cut back on your spending, you’ll never be driven to succeed.

You can always earn more though. Your income potential is limited only by your drive to earn. So rather than sacrificing your entire life, figure out how to enhance your lifestyle through large financial wins, and earning more.

3. Pay Off High Interest Debt

Before I paid off my students loans from graduate school, I hated looking at the interest I was going to have to pay. It was going to cost me thousands of extra dollars over just a few years. Fortunately I was able to pay it off pretty quickly.

That said, mine wasn’t that bad relative to what some people pay. Being stuck with 15-20% interest rates can be crippling. That can equal tens of thousands of dollars in interest for only a few thousand dollars of debt. But if that’s where you are, then you’d better get control of your spending habits and get cracking on paying it off. Otherwise you’re going to be kicking and screaming just to keep your financial head above water.

Take a financial snapshot, isolate the highest interest debt chunk you have, streamline your finances, and start pumping money towards that puppy – preferably in an automated fashion. It may take some time, but trust me, you’ll feel much better when you do and it’ll be A LOT easier to get approved for loans when you need them.

4. A Little Money Can Become A Lot of Money

I’m fortunate to have a financially motivated mind, so I was interested in personal finance at an early age. I’ve been investing since I was 18, just a little bit per month, and sometimes in large chunks as finances allowed.

Do your future self a favor, and open a Roth IRA. Even if you’ve only got the capacity to save $25 a month, it’s better than nothing at all. That money will add up over time, and will begin to grow and compound nicely in a few years. It might not seem like a smart move early on when you need money in your 20s, but trust me, as you get into your 30s you’ll be glad you started early.

Also, target employers with aggressive 401k plans who offer to match your contributions, and possibly even profit share. These plans are amazingly lucrative and can easily turn you into a millionaire over time.

The lingering question to ask yourself here is… Do you want to spend everything you have now and work another 20 years when you’re 50, or have a little less spending money and retire while you still have some life left?

5. Keep Your Finances Hands Off

Some people might like to babysit their investments all day long, but not me. It’s actually proven that the vast majority of actively managed portfolios fail to outperform the market. Unless you’re a financial savant, why bother? I can think of better things to do.

Check out a type of hands off investment called ‘lifecycle funds.’ You can buy into these once, usually for very cheap, and then auto-invest each month. They’ll even adjust their risk patterns as you age – higher risk when you are young and have time to make it back, and lower risk when you are older and need to protect your money.

They’re also usually very stable because they tend to mirror top indexes. This keeps you from having to babysit them in case of daily market fluctuations that can sometimes freak out neophyte investors.

6. Subscriptions Silently Suck

Monthly subscriptions, especially those that are auto-billed and auto-renewed were one of the best things ever conceived. It allows large transactions to become small ones, and emotional pain of paying to completely go away. Because of this, A LOT of people have several subscriptions they don’t even use, and sometimes don’t even know about.

Take some time to sit down and review your monthly subscriptions (check for any annual ones as well). This is one of those low-hanging fruit personal finance optimization items you can take care of one time a year, and potentially save yourself hundreds of dollars to put towards other more important things in your life.

7. Money Is Great, But Experiences Are Priceless

Being from a frugal background (I grew up in a small town without a lot of money), I have a tendency to get caught up in accumulating wealth. That sometimes results in a lack of life experiences.

But at the end of the day, a giant chunk of money in the bank isn’t anything you can remember or reflect upon. It’s the trips I’ve taken, the sights I’ve seen, and the experiences I’ve had with close friends that I have come to value the most. You can always earn more money, but you can never get back your time.

Make sure to take time to enjoy what you have worked for.

8. Learn to Negotiate

Negotiation is awkward, but it can save you thousands if not tens of thousands over the course of your life. Read a couple of books on the subject and put those ideas into practice. This is a great skill to possess for those large financial wins in life.

Mindset Lessons

mindset lessons
Photo by Jonathan Kos-Read

9. Think and Act For Yourself

Most people follow the herd. They don’t even really know why they do the things they do. They just live their life according to how society says it should be lived. Nonsense.

I say do what you want. If you’re going to act a certain way, do it because it makes sense in your mind, not just because “that’s the way it’s always been”, or “that’s just what you’re supposed to do.” That’s a recipe for mediocrity.

Following the herd is only going to get your as far as where the herd stops, and for most people, that’s nowhere near the top. Pave your own way.

10. Don’t Take Life Too Seriously

Business dealings are serious. Dental exams are serious. Raiders fans are serious. But most things in life should be enjoyed. Laugh, smile, joke, and have fun with your life. No one likes a Grumpy Gus, so learn to be free of negativity and live a life of happiness with those around you.

11. You Are What You Believe

If you truly believe you will succeed, you will find a way to do so, but if you convince yourself you will fail, you most certainly will do so as well.

You are the image you hold of yourself in your mind. If you want to be successful, it is your job in life to build that image up to be successful, healthy, compassionate, humble, and any other trait you would like it to possess.

12. Your Environment Shapes Who You Are

In five years, you will be the average of your five closest friends, your life experiences, and the environment you surround yourself with along the way.

What you choose to let into your mind on a daily basis shapes the way you live, act, and think. That is why it is imperative that you create a positive and supportive environment for yourself. Live in a world of negativity, and you will be a negative person. But live in a world of positivity and support, and your subconscious mind will follow suit.

Seek inspiration, motivation, mentors, and new experiences. They’ll certainly help to contribute to that average.

13. You Have Control

Bad things happen from time to time, even to good people. I have a friend who, about 18 months ago as I write this, was just about to open a CrossFit gym. Then his house got hit by a horrific tornado.

He could have easily cried “why me?”, thrown in the towel, and put his business off for another year, but he didn’t. He realized he had control of how he reacted. He got together what he needed and opened his business anyway, and now it’s a thriving success.

My point is, your life is not defined by the circumstances which you face. Your life is defined by how you react to those circumstances. You have control over everything in your life one way or another. The choice to act is always yours.

14. Think Bigger

You won’t get rich by raising chickens and selling organic eggs for $3 a dozen. If you always think in terms of making a ‘few extra dollars’ you will only make a few extra dollars. We tend to reach the goals we set for ourselves, and not too much more.

Don’t set a goal to sell 1,000 copies of your book. Set a goal to sell 100,000. If you think bigger and truly believe in yourself, your mind will figure out ways to make your visualization happen.

Productivity Lessons

productivity lessons
Photo by J L

15. Motivation Contains Inertia

When you become motivated, act on it. It’s much easier to maintain a high level of motivation while you’re moving than it is while you’re sitting on your butt. Just like Newton’s law of inertia, we have a tendency to stay motivated if we are already motivated.

16. Find Something to Focus On

I’m what they call a serial learner – or someone with a very high theoretical quotient – so I have a tendency to want to learn and do a lot of different things. This has its ups in terms of gaining a wide variety of skill sets, but it has hurt me in terms of specialization.

I’ve created a lot of things (two six figure businesses, two books, several training courses, countless websites, etc), but haven’t yet stuck to something long enough to build something totally amazing, although I’m getting there with Academy Success.

Find something that really matters to you, that brings you joy to do, and helps others. Always keep the image in your mind of what it will eventually be, not what it is right now. That will help you focus on doing what needs to be done to build it.

17. Keep Your Priorities Straight

If you want to finish the large projects you start, you have to keep those projects at the top of your priority list. As time goes on, new projects have a tendency to become the ‘flavor of the week.’ You can get distracted by the newness of them and lose focus on what really matters to you.

If you start something and find yourself getting distracted, remind yourself of the benefit of why you started it in the first place. This will help you focus on it until it’s finished.

18. Your Time is Precious and Finite

I used to think that it was lazy to pay people to do things for me, but as I began to realize how much I wanted to do in this world, I found myself needing to streamline my life because I only had so much time in each day.

But I didn’t want to lose productivity either. Eventually I realized that I could drastically optimize my time by outsourcing, automating, and eliminating to make sure I focused on the things that only I could do, and what was really important to me to accomplish.

Realize and understand that you’ll never get the time back you spend each day. Spend it wisely, because once it’s gone, it’s gone.

19. Be Comfortable, But Not Too Comfortable

There’s this saying that goes, “step outside of your comfort zone,” that I’ve always thought was a little silly. I mean who wants to be uncomfortable all the time? Not me.

Be comfortable most of the time, but every now and again, if you really want to improve, challenge yourself to do something that you’ve never done before – something that you really want to do.

When I developed Output Overdrive, it was pretty uncomfortable. Speaking on camera and putting myself out there to the world was admittedly foreign to me. But I did it because I wanted to do something positive for my readers, and continue to build my online business.

After a while, it because much easier, and started to even feel comfortable. If you just creep out on the edge of your comfort zone every now and then, you can expand it plenty to be successful. If you’re out of it all the time, you’re literally going to work yourself to death.

20. Do Active Things Often

Look at any highly successful person. They’re probably in pretty decent shape. Maybe they’re not throwing down tomahawk dunks, but I bet you they have a regular activity routine.

Richard Branson, owner of Virgin Airlines and about a billion other companies, says working out is the ultimate productivity hack. It heightens every chemical in our body that controls productivity. Blood flow increases, cognition increases, awareness increases – and over time your body gets used to operating at a high level all the time.

This is how highly successful people sustain such high energy and motivation. Whether it’s touch football with your friends, CrossFit on your lunch hour, or a run before or after your day, just do something active on a regular basis. You’ll skyrocket your productivity.

21. Always Be Improving

Learning does not end when you’re finished with school. To continue to grow and succeed, you must continue to sharpen your mind and skills throughout your entire life. The acquisition and execution of valuable skills is largely what separates success from failure.

Learning is easy when you’re young. You’ve got all the time in the world. But as you move into your 20s, 30s and beyond, the art of time management is more and more important, as you must maximize the use of your time to continue to improve while you also live your life.

One of the best investments in yourself you can make is learning how to spend your time the most effectively.

22. Find a Better Way

You’ll see this all over my website and all throughout my Output Overdrive course as well. There is almost always a better way.

Challenge paradigms. Just because something is done a certain way doesn’t make it correct, and on the flip side of that – just because something has never been done before, doesn’t make it wrong.

  • If Steve Jobs had never challenged the convention of dozens of buttons on music players, we wouldn’t have iPhones as we know them today.
  • If Airbnb hadn’t challenged the convention of lodging, thousands of people all over the world wouldn’t be renting their spare space for extra income.
  • If I hadn’t challenged the way gifts are given in my family, I wouldn’t have gone on two super sweet free vacations last year.

My point is – the best ideas are usually completely unconventional, because if they weren’t they would have already been thought of. If you think you have a good idea, don’t be afraid to be act on it, because there is almost always a better way.

Miscellaneous Lessons

Relationship Lessons
Photo by Yasin Hassan

23. Relationships Are King

I’m not insanely socially awkward or anything, but I’m also not a full extrovert networking type of dude. For those of you who know me, you know I like time to myself and value peace and quiet.

This has hurt me in developing relationships because I’m not a naturally outgoing type of person. I have to work at it. But what I have realized is that in terms of success, it’s good to know people, especially other successful people. Not only can you learn from and be motivated by their success and experience, but you can also open yourself up to their networks as well.

I don’t want to sound too self-serving here by any means. This is just how the world works. Make sure to contribute to helping those you meet out as well. Relationships are a two way street. Otherwise they’re not relationships.

24. Listen to Your Parents

Even though there are 20-30 years that separate you and your parents, and you sometimes feel like they’re living in a different dimension, they’ve got a lot of life experience on you, and can often offer some great words of wisdom, especially in your times of need. Keep your relationships alive with them, especially as you get older. The time you spend with them becomes more and more precious.

25. Stop to Appreciate the World

I admit I don’t do this enough, but invariably when I remember to stop and appreciate all of the good things that I have going in my life, I get a feeling of accomplishment and serenity. Even if things are a bit rough at the moment, positive thinking helps to keep things in perspective, and it keeps your mental focus away from the temporary negatives you may be facing.

26. Learn to Understand and Forgive

Stuff happens. If someone does you wrong, or makes a mistake, try to understand that maybe they weren’t thinking clearly, or maybe the circumstances were out of their control. Even if you don’t agree with their judgment, try to understand and forgive what they are going through. It’ll really help bring peace to your life.

And just as you must learn to forgive others, you must also learn to forgive yourself. People have a tendency to dwell on failures and shortcomings, but this will only hinder your output. Take a few moments to forgive yourself and breathe easily. It’ll help you get past what you may have screwed up.

Just be careful not to forgive the same thing more than a few times. At that point it may be time for a change.

27. You Only Have So Much Discipline

People tend to think “if I just try harder than everyone else, then I will be the best.” Sorry, that’s just not the case. If everyone could simply ‘try harder’ then we would all be smashing successes. It’s not trying harder that gets certain people ahead. See, we all have this discipline ceiling that we hit eventually. At that time, we have to shut down. We have no more will power to keep on keeping on.

Successful individuals have figured out how to never hit this ceiling. They make things easier on themselves by setting up their routines efficiently. They outsource what they don’t like to do or aren’t good at. They automate and eliminate anything they can. And they take ‘cheat days’ and downtime when they need it.

This makes it so they can live stress free, get a lot done, and never really have to “try” all that hard.

28. Shut Down Now and Again

Coming from a productivity blogger, this might sound a little strange, but you should take some time to turn yourself off now and again. Being in an ‘always on’ frame of mind will eventually take its toll on your body and mind. To stay sharp for the long-term, take at least half a day each week to just veg out and do nothing.

Whether you’re relaxing outside, or just crushing a Netflix marathon, just make sure you stay away from your normal daily activities. This will help you reset and come back fresh.

29. Learn to Let Go

From time to time, you will outgrow certain people and environments in your life. If you want to keep striving forward, you must sometimes let these things go from your life to make room for the greater things you desire.

30. Grammar Ain’t That Important

My 5th grade teacher would slap me with a ruler for how I just introduced this point :) But the thing is, unless you’re a conservative journalist, proper grammar just isn’t that big of a deal. I probably made a dozen or more grammar mistakes in this post alone, but you’re still reading it aren’t you? And it’s still helping the world.

If you’re a writer, don’t fret about proper grammar all the time. Just be you and express yourself so the world can see who you really are.

If you disagree with that, you probably shouldn’t be reading my shit anyway. ;)

31. Give Without Expectations

A lot of people like to keep score when they do something for someone. I get it. It’s human nature to keep a tally. It helps us gauge the value in what we do. But it can be harmful too. Too much keeping score can result in a cold self-centered outlook.

Sometimes you should just give because it’s the right thing to do. Sometimes you should just help out because people need you. It’ll also make you a better person.

Now It’s Your Turn

Okay so that was 31. Sorry, I got on a roll. ;)

Now – If you read this far, hopefully a few of those hit home with you and you’re now a wiser person. If so, I would like to ask three things of you to prove it.

  • One, tell me happy birthday, because well.. I’m old now and I need your love to keep my youth alive. :)
  • Second, tell me which lesson(s) you liked the best, or let me know what I forgot. I promise to read every single comment.
  • And third, share this on your networks to help get the word out.

Photo 1/4 by Marina Caprara

53 thoughts on “30 Lessons Learned From 30 Years of Change”

  1. Half of these changes are about money and material things.I find all these constrictions pretty sad. How about enjoying the moment, sharing, giving it away to change someone else life.it seems that it is all about you, all contrived,ruled by a military discipline .I wonder what you are trying to get ahead of….life is what happen when you you are so busy making all these little plans.

    1. Hey Charles,

      Sure, those are important things as well. I just tend to be more financially and achievement focused than socially focused and have always been someone who really enjoys to work and create. To each their own.

      But half is better than none right :)

  2. happy bday dear nd m vry much inspired from ur thoughts nd i want my life to b vry calm .I lose my temper soon , i dont forgive anyone quickly nd many more so i want to change my self so pls help me
    hapy bday may god bless u

  3. I skimmed them and fine. the #1 I follow is make sure you do as you want and if you are not happy in a place then leave. personal or work or anywhere. Go. Be you & be Happy. #1.

  4. Hi Cody, I really enjoyed reading this today. I too will be turning 30 in just 6 short months. It’s really made me reevaluate my life and I’m trying my best to make these positive changes. I agree with everything that you’ve written and I especiallyije the learning to let go one. That’s something I find very difficult to do. I know there are people in my life that I’ve outgrown but I do find it hard to let go through guilt. Such a pointless emotion! Anyway, thanks for this x

    1. Nice Leona. Welcome to the club. 30 isn’t so bad really. I find myself taking my life a little bit more seriously as well.

      The letting go one is tough, but there’s so much more out there than our past. Look forward to what you want to achieve by making that choice.

  5. Hi Cody,

    Today is my birthday too. But, you need to add 22 years to your age to get to mine! I like to read the ideas of others, and take the good ones and incorporate them into my life. I just recently started writing, and am getting much joy and pleasure from it.

    You are correct that time goes by quickly, and I too would rather have experiences than things. I’ve got enough things, anyway. I like to enjoy time with my 10 year old son (yeah, I started late) and wife, and we have a ball.

    Great writing, keep it up!

    1. Great! Happy birthday Bill.

      That’s awesome you’re writing. It’s brought a lot of positivity to my life. I hope it can do that for you as well.

      Wishing you and your family the best of everything!

  6. Keisha Gaspard Ryan

    Happiest of Birthdays, it only gets better……
    Love your Blog…what I am reminded of today is….
    1. Save save save
    2. Time management
    3. Delegate
    4. Grammar isn’t a necessity

    Have a great one…

  7. I liked 27/28 in particular and it’s something I struggle to apply sometimes. In fact, I spent several consecutive weeks studying hour after hour in my summer break recently and ended up hitting the ceiling about a week after starting the new school year. I just sort of ran out of steam before term had even begun. I push myself way too hard!
    And happy birthday :)

    1. Hey Sarah. Thanks!

      The easier you can make things on yourself, the more you’ll be able to fit in before you hit your discipline ceiling.

      I know exactly what you’re going through In my graduate school experience, I would often get so overwhelmed that I would have to take an entire day off from studying or any kind of mental activity at all. It was tough.

      Towards the end I realized that if I was selective about what I studied, took smart shortcuts, and made sure I hit my mental reset switch about every 45 minutes or so (with a short break) it became a lot less stressful.

      Having that faith in yourself that you’ll be fine no matter what is also very helpful.

      Keep crushing it!

  8. Happy Birthday – you are not old – I’m over twice your age and love your work! One thing I would add – always trust your gut (or first) instinct; it is usually very right. Best regards, Barb

  9. 1. Pay Yourself First – my grandmother says this all the time, I promise to learn to follow her wise words!
    2. You Can Always Earn More — this speaks to my season RIGHT now… We tend to forget that we don’t HAVE to settle with the wage we are currently earning….that more is out there for the grabbing and we, I am qualified to do so…thus I will be able to guiltlessly follow #1
    11. You are what you believe – true, current active statement…inspired, successful, loved, etc.
    12. Your Environment Shapes Who You Are – this….THIS….inspired me to focus more on #2 and change my environment and circumstances!! which leads me to #13 You Have Control –OMG (excuse me for the dramatics) but THIS…is my life RIGHT now… I just had a situation occur a couple of days ago…I spent a lot of time telling myself to push past my circumstances!!.and I will!

    I could go on and on… I will leave you with this. There comes a time in life where we have our “seasons”–a time in which our lives transition to a different heartbeat–your blog has further confirmed the essence of my upcoming/current season. This read is VERY timely for what is about to occur in my life.

    Thank you so much for sharing my friend…


    1. Hey Alycia,

      Thanks for the kind words. I’m glad my post could help you :)

      There’s a great book that was written on dealing with circumstances. It’s called Power Of Personal Accountability Achieve What Matters To You.

      This was one of the best books I’ve ever read in terms of developing my mindset about the way I see the world. Quick read too. Check it out – http://www.amazon.com/Power-Personal-Accountability-Mark-Samuel/dp/0975263811/ref=cm_cr_pr_product_top

      Do me a favor and check out my blog. I post there every week or so – http://academysuccess.com

      Take Care!

  10. ACTION – FOCUS – PRIORITIES! APPRECIATE – FORGIVE – GIVE – LET GO! Everything I need to be doing as a 65-year old retired professional procrastinator and hoarder. I am STUCK in a comfortable, easy life with the potential of 10 – 15 more years of really enjoying life and traveling if I could just make the effort to EARN the extra money to do so. I truly APPRECIATE having ENOUGH to live a comfortable, simple life but I wish I had MORE to do more, learn more and travel.

    How do I start to live MORE without returning to the economic slavery of a 9-to-5 job which defeats the point of having more in life?

    This will become the #1 challenge for retiring Boomers (55 – 65 years) in this new economy.

    1. Gord – You make a good point. More money takes more work in a lot of cases.

      I would suggest exploring your talents and skills to find if there is something you possess which can make you money, that you also thoroughly enjoy doing.

      This can help eliminate that feeling of slaving away from 9-5 every day.

      For example, this very blog is a way Peter has supplemented his income with ad revenue, book sales, affiliate income, etc. He loves it, is helping the world, and it makes him additional money.

      Think about how you might achieve that with your own skill set.

      Additionally, you can also negotiate a raise. This is the easiest way for most people to increase their income. You do it once, and it’s done.

      It may also be the case that you’re ready to live a fuller more experience-oriented life, and you are ready to give up some of the luxuries you’ve come to know.

      I have friends who travel the world living in hostels and 400 sq ft apartments because their travel experiences are what’s important to them.

      Check out this post on my blog for more details on this very question.


  11. Happy birthday!! For me, the points about never getting your time back and acting on motivation stood out. I’ll often have days where I don’t spend my time wisely, I procrastinate and then when it’s too late (getting ready for bed, for example) I pump myself up to make better use of my time and get my projects done. It happens too often and it’s something that I’m working on improving.

    1. Hi Jaki,

      Thanks for the birthday wishes.

      Let me ask you, what systems and techniques are you using to help you with these areas of struggle?

      Point 27 about talks about our discipline ceiling. When making a change from our normal routine, we often hit this ceiling because we have to force ourselves to do things.

      Think about what you can do help yourself spend your time more wisely.

      Making effective lists is one example that can really help you. You may want to check out The Sticky Note Technique, that I teach over on my website. Here’s the post. I filmed that before I had a good video setup, but it’s still good content.


      Hope this helps!

  12. Very happy birthday,I went through all your points with much of interest. I like to know something more on spirituality subconscious mind and meditation.Wishing you all the best for years to come.

  13. Firstly, Happy 30th Birthday..I’ll be 30 in a couple of years and have quite a few goals to reach before then too.

    I love this article I think it’s going to be my daily read to remind myself of these valuable lessons. My fave points are 11 – 14 and I totally agree with Barbara’s wise words ‘trust your gut’ I’m realising more and more how this actually helps reduce feelings of regret and resentment (for me anyway). That’s another thing I would add perhaps – life’s too short for thoughts of regret, it will serve us better if we think ‘this is where I am now and I know where I want to be’

    1. Hi Nav,

      Thank you for the birthday wishes.

      I would say thinking bigger and improving my environment have been huge keys to my success.

      A lot of people get stuck in the normal ways of society and think “well because I’m 25, I should be making X amount of dollars. Or because I’m 35, I should be making Y amount of dollars.”

      That’s just not the case. Sure we learn and grow throughout our lives and our income potential increases, but there’s no reason young folks like ourselves can’t be six figure earners. It may not happen through a 9-5 at this age, but with a supplemental income, it can be a reality and then some.

      As you make your journey, don’t let societal thinking limit your progress. Think of what you want and find a way to make it happen.

  14. What makes you an expert about grammar that allows you to tell your readers that it isn’t important? Grammar is very much an important factor in many facets of life. Lots of companies disqualify candidates because their resume looks unpolished due to poor grammar. The use of improper grammar, especially by college graduates and professionals, denotes laziness, which contradictory to some of your lessons.

    1. Don’t be so literal.

      Look at any professional copywriter. They break every grammar rule in the book, and copywriting is a highly respected profession.

      I’m obviously not talking about resumes here.

  15. Happy Birthday!! Or should I say belated Birthday!

    I liked #7 Money is Great, But Experiences Are Priceless.

    You can’t take your money with you, I feel that it is really important to have the experiences. I am very lucky to work in education, so I have my summers off. Every other summer my son and I go on a big trip, this past summer we spent 3 weeks in California. It cost a lot, but the experience/memories are priceless for both of us and it is the trips that he will remember when he’s older!

    1. Hey Tricia,


      This is honestly something I’m still working on myself. I have to remind myself of it often, but lemme tell ya, when I look back at some of the experiences I’ve had and compare it to the little bit more money I might have in my bank account, I’ll take those experiences in a heartbeat.

      That is what helps keep me in that mindset.

      It’s great you get to spend so much time with your son. That’s time you’ll cherish for life.

  16. Hi Cody, Happy Birthday!

    Thanks for the post and as one who is going to double your birthday real soon I’ve got to say one of your most important lessons is # 1 Pay Yourself First. I’ve practiced this most of my working life and thus was able to retire, or rather stop working for a big corporation at age 54,
    My wife and I have a comfortable cushion to live on and am able to give back by volunteering in many areas. (See # 31).
    I am also a perpetual learner (# 21) and love everything and anything to do with improving myself and my relationship with others.

    Thanks for the post! Keep up the great work, you will do well in life.

    With kindest regards, ~Harv

    1. Hey Harv – That’s awesome! What a great accomplishment to be able to live your life while you’ve still got some life left in you.

      I hope to be work-free – or at least free of needing to work by 50 or so.

      Any advice for me? I’m still trying to figure out that whole early retirement thing.

  17. Happy Birthday, nice approach.. I might steal it for when I turn 25 in two years, although it may not have the same kind of impact!

    Regarding what someone said about you focusing too much on money: I don’t really think so at all, I think you focused enough on teaching people how to save to leave them enough freedom to spend more time worrying about other things in life. You even had “experiences are priceless” under the money category as a reminder.

    While I agree that grammar isn’t important.. if this very post had gone along the lines of “30 years lesson 30 I learned of change” Proofreading once isn’t a terrible idea.. at least in my book! But yes, any time spent worrying excessively about anything is a terrible waste of time, so never worry about it.

    My favorite lessons are either “Always be improving” or “Do Active Things More Often”. I am a sucker for realistic, straight forward, concise, and powerful advice. But I might have to go with “Always be improving” because it reminds me of Alec Baldwin’s “Always Be Closing” speech.

  18. Hey Cody!

    Happy belated birthday! :) Great post! A lot of this resonated with me, and is thankfully how we live our lives after much trial, error and learning!

    My favorites were #’s 2, 12, and 20. 20 is the one I want/need to improve.

    We are entering the Last 100 Days of this year, and #20 may be what I will focus on :)

    1. You and me both Susi. Sometimes we get so caught up with our lives, we forget that we were made to be active and healthy. In fact, it’s an essential part of life.

      Find something active and fun, and harness it to stay in great shape for life.

  19. You mentioned you were an introvert. I can relate to this and forming new relationships can be hard some times. I’m not socially retarded or anything but I like to spend time by myself.

    Do you have any insights or suggestions regarding this?

    1. Sure Sebastian. You are right. I am an admitted introvert, however I’m the same as you, not socially retarded, but I am at my best when I have time to think and recharge from time to time (this post being a product of that behavior).

      I’m still learning in this area, but have actually been studying it lately.

      My first piece of advice is to recognize that there is nothing wrong with being an introvert. Society wants you to think otherwise, as there is a perception of power that comes with outspoken individuals, but you actually have many inherent talents as an introvert that our extrovert counterparts do not.

      You have the ability to think and learn very deeply, to observe and notice more, to prepare better, to think for yourself and create without the need for social interaction with others (which can stifle creativity). It’s actually a scientific fact that people are more creative and productive on their own, with help from others when needed. This is where introverts can really thrive.

      My point of all of this is to stop fighting your introverted tendencies by trying to conform to the perfect picture of what society paints, and start to harness your natural talents to be successful instead.

      Recognize where your strengths lay, and cater to those strengths to drive your success. Then identify a few key skills that may be a little outside of your normal comfort zone (a little into the extrovert realm) that you would like to improve upon.

      Many big name internet names are introverts – Ramit Sethi and Derek Halpern being two examples. They can more easily express themselves online because it’s a safe place, as is the same for myself and many like me.

      I would recommend you read two books, starting with Quiet, by Susan Cain (also look up her TED Talk). This book is all about her experience as a successful introvert, and unleashing the talents that folks like us naturally have.

      I also recommend Good to Great, by Jim Collins. This book profiles several high achievers at the helm of some of the world’s greatest companies, all of whom are introverts. Focus particularly on Level 5 Leadership in that one.

      Hope this helps Sebastian.

  20. Happy belated birthday Cody. I just wanted you to know that I really enjoyed your lessons, have shared them and will continue to do so. You’ve inspired me!

    All the best.

  21. Hello, Cody! I’m a Brazilian English teacher and almost the double of your age (what’s really not important, but can show you your lessons can reach a wide range of people). I’ve been using your article in class as points of discussion, and I it’s been very helpful. As a teacher, I say grammar is important, but not to the point of preventing you from communicating. Ideas can be shared with simple words and structures – that’s what really matters! Lessons 1, 8, 12 are among my favorites… Keep learning, keep teaching, keep writing!

    1. Hi Bete,

      Thanks for the kudos. That’s really cool to know you’re using these lessons in your class. Knowing my writing is making a difference thousands of miles away is very humbling. I’m honored that I have helped you!

      And I totally agree with you regarding grammar. I guess someone has to know how to use it correctly first before butchering it on purpose for the sake of creative writing :)

      Thanks again for the kind words. Take care.

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