15 Things I’ve Learned in 15 Years

I worked pretty hard brainstorming, so here is my well thought-out list:

  1. Take care of your mind. Your mental health is important. Hard work is important too, but reaching burnout is unpleasant and dangerous. Taking a break by exercising, listening to music, or sleeping consistently; any of these can help you get back on your feet and return to work healthier and stronger than ever. 
  2. Read books. Lots of them. Experiences and life circumstances will hit you in life and leave you thinking and questioning. Savor that curiosity and use it as your fuel to search for answers to your own life’s questions in books.
  3. Surround yourself with good, positive, confident people; their behaviors will inevitably rub off of you. When you need to detach yourself from toxic people, do so and do not regret that decision. 
  4. Bad experiences may be hell in the moment, but learning from them, becoming stronger and smarter, and setting strong boundaries will be the greatest feeling ever after you’ve succeeded. 
  5. Work hard in the face of adversity. “It gets better” is an overused statement, but it is so true. 
  6. Focus on yourself by blocking out your surroundings, but also listen to the world around you. That perfect balance between inner and outer focus is how you become self-aware. 
  7. Learn to not care. Choose your battles wisely. Whether it’s a life circumstance that isn’t your fault, a nasty friend, family member, or teacher trying to hold you back, do not care too much. If you let these negative things in your life hold you back from focusing on your own goals, you will never succeed in life. 
  8. Life isn’t fair. Because there will always be someone better than you or someone who gets something that you believe you deserve more, you have to accept that life isn’t fair and it isn’t supposed to be fair
  9. Humans are inherently selfish and do things for themselves. Beware of manipulation.
  10. Celebrate change. It usually means you’re growing—just make sure it isn’t bad change. Some people won’t like the new you, but if you think you’ve improved, then celebrate it. 
  11. Never become complacent or comfortable with life the way it is. That hinders ambition. Happiness is overrated. In my eyes, happiness equals complacency. Stress, be criticized, be pressured, but never too much. 
  12. Sincerity always wins over words
  13. Experience matters more than age. 
  14. Being a good person stands out more than a prestigious college degree. Be different and be a leader; do not follow. 
  15. Don’t let people define you if they don’t know you. If they can’t treat you like a worthwhile person, they don’t deserve you, period. 
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