The “What I learnt before turning 30” post

There’s something about turning 30 that makes people want to look back, including me. Even though there are a few post on the Internet on the topic (about 14 million of them), I wanted to share my own experience with coming of age.

My 20’s were the most transformative years of my life (so far), starting with graduating from college to getting my master’s degree, my first job, my second job, my third job… You get the point. There was a lot of growing up in between these milestones.

My 20s were a bit like this – take it away, Charles Dickens!

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…

But out of these intense 10 years, I came out a different person, a more grounded one, a happier one. These are the things I’ve learned along the way.

1. Everything is a result of making decisions

I was lucky to understand early on that I get to decide both the most trivial and the most important things in my life. Living on my own since I was 18 means I set my own clock in the morning and chose how much time I dedicated to becoming better at what I do.

Having the power (and responsibility) to decide what to spend time and resources on is invigorating! However, it also takes energy and willpower. When things get complicated, the lizzard brain just wants to offload this burden to someone/something else.

Decision-making is the manifestation of what makes us human: the ability to exercise our free will. It’s what shapes us and our lives the most. To me, getting better at making decisions, both big and small, is essential and I try to work on it every day.

Keep these two things in mind in your 20’s:

  • don’t let yourself get pressured into making decisions that seem yours but aren’t (like your parents urging you to get married because it’s time and everyone else is doing it)
  • pay attention to subtle influences that shape your behaviour and perspective of the world (the information your assimilate, its sources, the people who try to impose their agenda on you, the culture you live in, etc.).
  • I know I said “everything is a result of my decisions” and I stand by it. Even if a natural catastrophe happens, I’ll still have the ability to decide how to react to it. This is something I learned from the stoics and other great thinkers and authors whose books I devoured.

    2. Define the guiding principles

    Since we’re able to speak, people ask us: “What do you want to be when you grow up?”. Fast forward 20+ years, and many of us still struggle with finding an answer.

    From my experience, it’s not a job that defines us or even a role. It’s the principles we stick to throughout our lives that do.

    There are two quotes from The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People that I’d like to use to illustrate this (highlights are my own):

    We are more in need of a vision or destination and a compass (a set of principles or directions) and less in need of a road map. We often don’t know what the terrain ahead will be like or what we will need to go through it; much will depend on our judgment at the time. But an inner compass will always give us direction.

    Integrity means being integrated or centered on principles not on people, organizations, or even family. You will find that the root of most issues that people are dealing with is “is it popular (acceptable, political), or is it right?” When we prioritize being loyal to a person or group over doing what we feel to be right, we lose integrity. We may temporarily gain popularity or build loyalty, but, downstream, this loss of integrity will undermine even those relationships.

    Taking the time to identify these principles and writing them down is one of the most valuable things I’ve done for myself. They’re my core and they power me just like the Arc Reactor powers Iron Man. 🙂 They also help me make better decisions.

    3. Challenge assumptions

    One thing I’m set on avoiding is getting stuck on thinking and behavioral patterns. As years go by, these patterns become stronger and stronger, unless we make a habit of breaking them.

    Challenging my assumptions is something that’s helped me tremendously, both at work and in my personal life. People change, contexts shift and assuming you already know what’s going to happen is a poor way of dealing with all this.

    Something that really works for me is to try to look at things with fresh eyes and always ask myself questions that start with why.

    Even Hollywood movies surprise us from time to time, so why would you look at anything and assume you know everything that’s about to happen?

    Keep an open mind and don’t judge books by their cover. Apply it to people as well.

    4. Own up to it

    One of the good parts of turning 30 is that you start caring a lot less about what other people think. I’ve struggled with this in the past, and it’s been liberating to let go of it in the past few years.

    Of course, you get to choose whose opinions and feedback matter to you, which takes us back to point numero uno. (That doesn’t mean you should focus only on the stuff that makes you feel good or that you agree with.)

    Owning up to the things I do is now easier, no matter if they’re good or bad. I try to learn from everything I do and everyone I meet, without fear of judgment. It’s refreshing to be able to say: this is who I am, this is what I did and I’m comfortable with the decisions I made because I considered them to be the best in that moment in time.

    5. Ego is the enemy

    However, owning up to it doesn’t make you special or better than everyone else. Modesty is a quality worth cultivating.

    There is an overflow of awful things happening in the world because people are driven by their ego.

    Letting go of your ego prompts a shift in perspective from being to doing. I urge you to read Ego is the Enemy by Ryan Holiday.

    Impressing people is utterly different from being truly impressive.

    When you are just starting out, we can be sure of a few fundamental realities:
    1) You’re not nearly as good or as important as you think you are;
    2) You have an attitude that needs to be readjusted;
    3) Most of what you think you know or most of what you learned in books or in school is out of date or wrong.

    Greatness comes from humble beginnings; it comes from grunt work. It means you’re the least important person in the room – until you change that with results.

    Be lesser, do more. Imagine if, for every person you met, you thought of some way to help them, something you could do for them? And you looked at it in a way that entirely benefited them and not you.

    Your potential, the absolute best you’re capable of – that’s the metric to measure yourself against. Your standards are. Winning is not enough. People can get lucky and win. People can be assholes and win. Anyone can win. But not everyone is the best possible version of themselves.

    Keeping the mindset of a student is key here.

    6. Complain less

    This one took me a little while longer to figure out.

    Complaining is more toxic than I initially realized, simply because it comes naturally to many of us. We get tired, we face challenges each day and sometimes it becomes a bit too much.

    The problem is that each time we do it, complaining eats away at our resolve, it erodes the “owning up to it” bit and weakens up our decision-making muscle.

    I still bitch about things sometimes, but I do it a lot less than before. I also don’t dwell on it for more than a minute or two. Luckily for me, I’ve had people around me point this out, so I started paying attention to when I do it and how often. That’s how I learned to catch myself when I start complaining and reframe the situation to see a more constructive side of it.

    As I mentioned, this requires a bit of practice, but it makes a huge difference once you start noticing this behavior and work towards curbing it.

    7. Be in the moment

    You’ve probably heard about mindfulness before and maybe you’re already even sick of it, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its merits. (Take it as this chance to work on number 3: challenge your assumptions.)

    I’ve tinkered with meditation (Headspace‘s free trial is excellent for this), yoga, breathing exercises (the most basic of them) and read quite a bit about downshifting. Together with stoicism, these exercises and readings helped me quiet my mind and detach from our noisy existence (from time to time).

    It also helped me focus more on what’s going on in the moment and pay more attention, both to me and others. So instead of making lists in my head and thinking about what I had to do the next day, I engaged in the present conversation, no matter how awkward or boring it seemed.

    This enabled me to connect with people better, get out of my own head and experience the present. It made me less judgemental, which is something I still struggle with. It made me happier.

    Instead of getting annoyed that the traffic light turned red right before I crossed the street, now I close my eyes and enjoy the sunlight or the music in my headphones. It brings a little more zen to my days.

    8. Enjoy life more fully

    This is tied to everything above and the rest of the thoughts further down the list.

    All the things I’ve learned until today when I turn 30, have helped me embrace life more, with both good and bad. All the experiences, the feelings, the people, and situations make the huge canvas of our existence.

    I use the Perspective app to write some thoughts down and track them across time and when I came onto this, it stuck with me. The little blue square you see below is a week. That is how many weeks I’ve lived so far and how many more could follow.

    Quite the good visual translation for “memento mori”.

    9. Be responsible (but not for other people’s decisions)

    I was lucky enough to grow up in a family where responsibility was cultivated and cherished. I was empowered to work since I was little and I was sometimes involved in adult conversations. My parents have been through numerous changes and the society I lived in as well, all was I growing up myself.

    All these different elements worked together to point me towards the right direction in terms of becoming responsible. Maybe that’s why I don’t shy away from it. What’s more, I embrace it.

    There was a drawback to this, though: I felt responsible for other people’s decisions as well, which brought me quite a lot of misery and struggle. While trying to be accepted and appreciated, I tried to please everyone, making it my responsibility to make them happy.

    The issue is that “happiness is an inside job“, as they say. For example, it took me a long while to realize that I’m not responsible for my parents’ happiness. I can and will show them my love and gratitude in all the ways I can, but I won’t fall for emotional blackmail (harsh word, but true nevertheless, even if it comes from a place of love).

    My take on responsibility is: cultivate it, embrace it, but don’t let others exploit it.

    10. Do the work that matters

    This is at the core of the altMBA, a program whose ideas for work and their practice have Figuring out what kinhelped me level up in ways I couldn’t anticipate.

    This is about the fact that “hard work is far better than busy work” and why it makes all the difference in the world.

    As a result of going through the altMBA, I became far more comfortable with dealing with complex situations and uncertainty then I was before.

    Doing the work that matters makes you stronger, more confident, it enables you to have an impact and leave a trail of results behind you. It’s also incredibly rewarding!

    Figuring out what kind of work that is for you (and I don’t mean a profession) and engaging in it on a daily basis takes practice and ties into everything on this list. At least it did for me, but it became a game-changer once I figured it out.

    11. Do the hard things first

    It’s so easy to be a busy person nowadays. With all those emails and notifications to handle, with all the meetings and the messages to reply to one could very well fill his/her days with all sorts of activities. But, quite often, that’s just an excuse to stay away from the difficult tasks.

    The complex problems which involve many people, the negotiations that take weeks or months to carry out, the difficult conversations to tackle – we’d rather push those away until they become urgent or unnecessary. But accomplishing anything involved dealing with the difficult things.

    That’s why people with A LOT more experience than me, such as Seth Godin, prompt us to build the self-discipline that’s necessary to decide to engage with these hard things. They even push us to do more and actively seek them.

    Like Tom Hanks said:

    If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. It’s the hard that makes it great.

    By choosing to do the hard things first, we set a standard for ourselves and avoid getting absorbed in mindless work and losing sight of the big picture.

    12. Set aside “me time”

    It may not seem like it now, but I’m an introvert. It’s a fantastic experience to be around people, to attend events and socialize, to discuss ideas and engage in meaningful exchanges. But they also drain me of energy. It’s a weird situation in which I get both enthusiastic and tired at the same time. Kind of like having coffee and wanting to go to sleep simultaneously.

    So I realized a few years ago that I need to set aside some me time. Those minutes or hours of silence, reading or writing became essential to my wellbeing. I now usually take these during weekend mornings, when I’m the first one to wake up. I get one or two hours of quiet and cuddle with my cat (if he’ll have me) and a good book. Maybe even some tea.

    During weekdays, I try to squeeze in 5-10 minutes of light stretching and exercises to get the blood flowing. I also eat breakfast and try to avoid emails early in the day. It may not sound like much, but it gives me a good boost of energy for the day and a chance to organize my thoughts before everyone jumps for my attention.

    13. Avoid burnouts

    This became a rule of mine after my 3rd (and hopefully last) burnout. It happened 3 years ago and it took me a year to recover from it. It may seem like I’m overly sensitive to it, but I can assure you that burnout is not just a thing to use in headlines on business websites. It’s as real as depression and leaves lasting marks.

    These extreme experiences have taught me that working myself to the point of exhaustion is not a balanced way to achieve anything. Doing meaningful work and have a rewarding life includes calibrating your efforts and resources so as to put out great results all the time and be able to maintain them. It’s not about huge wins and crashing in flames after that.

    By listening to my body and my mind more, I started to pick up on signs earlier on. The lack of sleep, waking up at strange hours of the morning (my brain likes 5 am the most), bouts of anxiety – they’re all indicative of imbalances.

    Even though I still work too much by regular standards (or so I’m told), I’ve incorporated more fun and a bit of mindfulness into my days and have worked at taking myself less seriously. It has paid off. 🙂

    14. Get comfortable with change

    It fascinates me how much wisdom from thousands of years ago is still 100% relevant today. This is proof that human nature hasn’t altered significantly during this time and I believe that it won’t transform fundamentally in the coming millennia either.

    For example, Heraclitus lived around the year 500 BC. He left us at least two important ideas about change:

    No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.

    and

    The only thing that is constant is change.

    Getting comfortable with change will open up opportunities you never saw before, because you were too busy fighting against the current, trying to impose your worldview on a shifting context.

    If this was a game of Monopoly, this would be the part when you have to go to point number 3: challenge your assumptions.

    Developing tolerance to change and the skills to adapt to any given situation not only ensures survival but supports personal evolution and growth.

    No one likes the anxiety of not knowing what will happen next, but you can still rely on your principles (defined at number 2) to guide you through.

    And while you may feel that not only others change and that the world never stops to give you a minute to catch your breath, you should know that you change through it all as well. I’ve seen this in myself and have tried to built self-observation into a habit, so I can better educate my mind to embrace transformation and how I react to it.

    15. Seek new experiences

    This is not something I’m very good at. For example, when we get out of the city, I tend to want to go to the same places where I’ve been comfortable before. Before longer trips, I always get a bit of anxiety and put on a little drama queen act. “I’d rather just stay in bed and read!”, I tell everyone who wants to hear.

    Naturally, once I get going, I start to enjoy myself and forget all about it, but taking that step towards action is almost always difficult.

    Number 6 – complain less – is what comes as support for that “get out of your comfort zone” lecture.

    New experiences are extremely rewarding though and completely worth engaging in. That’s why our teenage years and early 20’s are so exciting: because everything is new and filled with possibilities! So why couldn’t we carry this out in our 30’s, 40’s and 50’s as well?

    It’s a decision after all. (See how I tied that in? 🙂 )

    16. Ask questions

    One of the things that have brought me the most value in the past 10 years is doing interviews. Not job interviews, but questions I’ve asked experts and professionals of all kinds. I’ve interviewed communication specialists (marketers, PR people, etc.), world-famous DJs, hackers (the good kind), statespeople, e-commerce professionals, bankers, whiskey tasters, etc.

    The wealth of knowledge these people share is astounding and has taught me the value of asking questions. Growing up, no one encouraged my generation to raise their hand and ask for details or contradict the speaker. On the contrary, conformity was favored.

    However, things are changing, so I hope you’ll take full advantage of the simple act of asking questions. Ask to find out more if you know what you’re talking about or ask for clarifications if you don’t. Either way, teach yourself to start a conversation and to get into the deep stuff that might prove transformative.

    PS: To take full advantage of the discussions you triggered, make sure to actually listen to the answer before jumping to the next questions. No one likes to feel like they’re being interrogated. 🙂

    17. Volunteer

    Get started on the things that appeal to you, that trigger your curiosity and the will to do more.

    If you’re not sure you’ve chosen the right path, explore others by investing your time and effort, without risking your money (if it’s what you fear).

    Volunteering is a fantastic way of learning anything, of teaming up with people who are capable, engaged, energetic and constructive. It’s the kind of people you want to hang out with, who will drive you and support you.

    No matter the field you’re interested in, you’ll find these people if you look for them. Join and start working. Unexpected results may come of it.

    18. Go the extra mile without expecting something in return

    Conscientiously working on becoming a better human being day after day involves doing things a bit better than you did yesterday.

    The most accomplished and inspiring people I follow are the kind that go the extra mile constantly, willingly, without expecting praise in return. They’re true professionals: they’re on time, they pay attention to detail and they deliver more than what’s expected of them. They delight.

    What’s also particular about them is that they do it because they love the process, not the reward. And that’s a game-changer by itself.

    19. Learn to adapt

    Flexibility is an asset. In a world where roles are fluid and job descriptions change all the time, being able to adapt and course-correct, as you go, is fundamental.

    Stay nimble. Become a T-shaped specialist:

    The vertical bar on the T represents the depth of related skills and expertise in a single field, whereas the horizontal bar is the ability to collaborate across disciplines with experts in other areas and to apply knowledge in areas of expertise other than one’s own.

    Practice The Art of Possibility (and read this book, it’s one of the best I’ve read in my life).

    20. Reading is the best investment in self-growth

    I’ve always loved books. I don’t remember when it started, but I know that mom and my dad especially encouraged me to read. I bet they didn’t expect me to become addicted to it. 😀 Or spend the amount of money I do on them.

    Reading is the one habit to which I attribute most of the best things in my life to. It has helped me become a better person and have a better life and that’s why it’s my strongest passion.

    If you’ve lost the patience for reading, please know you can get it back. It just takes a bit of practice. It’s natural to fall asleep after a couple of pages if you haven’t read a book in a while. I often use reading as a sleeping pill as well. 🙂

    Just start reading anything, no matter the topic, keep it up for a while and you’ll discover a world of knowledge that goes beyond listicles and superfluous stuff. Plus, you’ll expand your vision and enrich your vocabulary, so it’ll always be a win!

    If you’re looking for good books to add to your reading list, The CEO Library is a fantastic place to start.

    21. Nurture meaningful relationships

    As people, we are interdependent and to think otherwise is silly.

    I’ve craved for independence for a long while before I achieved it, only to realize that what I actually needed is to be autonomous and become skilled at interacting with other people and making the most of it.

    Cultivating meaningful relationships is fundamental to our well-being, both mental and physical (I’m one of those people who believe they’re connected).

    Invest time in getting to know people, listen to them, ask “why” questions, share your own thoughts and feelings. Reciprocate. Anticipate. Be generous and kind. Don’t get stuck on first impressions (even though they may be right sometimes).

    I’m not sharing these thoughts because I’m some sort of know-it-all, but because they’ve worked for me. Significantly more experienced and smarter people than me have guided me towards these ideas. Incredibly enriching experiences bind some of these people and me in the same relationships.

    22. Don’t expect others to know what you mean/want/think

    Clear communication is what gets things done. It also helps foster better relationships, reduces friction and makes the number of new emails in your inbox drop.

    The “secret” is to give context, explain and communicate ideas clearly. Don’t assume people know what you’re talking about. Keep it simple (but not stupid). Simplicity is the hallmark of a well organized and calm mind.

    Building and using empathy is also life-altering. When I gained the ability to put myself in other people’s shows more frequently, my visions broadened. I became less extreme in my approach and saw how others reacted more openly as well.

    As we work in increasingly complex environments, the ability to explain things in a way that they’re clear to everyone becomes highly valuable. I bet you’ve seen it in others yourself. This is just one of the reasons behind it:

    High tech without high touch does not work, and the more influential technology becomes, the more important the human factor which controls that technology becomes, particularly in developing a cultural commitment to the criteria in the use of that technology.

    Source: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

    23. Get a pet

    A great way to practice number 22 is to get a pet.

    When you find yourself trying to teach your cat to get off the countertop, at least while you’re cooking, you’ll understand why. 🙂

    As a child, I’ve always wanted to get a cat, but my mom wouldn’t hear of having any animals in the house. Not even fish (not that I wanted them). When I finally got my own cat, almost 4 years ago, it became one of the best things in my life!

    To nurture, love and care for a pet, whatever it may be, teaches us SO much! Nothing beats coming back to my cat after a long day and having him wrap his tail around my legs, bumping his wet nose into my hand as a sign of affection.

    The pet will also borrow some typical traits from you, sometimes adjusting his/her personality to yours. It’s an exceptionally deep bond that makes me happier, healthier and more content with my life. My cat is a source of endless smiles and cuddles (only he wants to – he’s a cat after all!) and a member of the family.

    Mom still doesn’t understand, but that’s okay. 🙂

    Making sure he’s healthy and happy is one of my favorite activities. Taking care of others draws out the best bits and pieces in all of us. Do it often and wholeheartedly.

    24. Live alone

    Living on my own for the past 11 years has taught me a thing or two about responsibility and what it means to organize a home and take care of it. I moved apartments 5 times in the last 10 years and I don’t regret it one bit.

    Living alone made me stronger, it helped me confront loneliness and it gave me the freedom to organize my own living space and choose the things that go into it.

    Most of all, living alone teaches you basic life skills such as cooking, cleaning, shopping for groceries, organizing your closet, managing an expense budget, planning for home improvements, etc. These are very useful to have before moving in with someone and mainly for yourself. Being self-sufficient and autonomous are qualities I admire in others and try to cultivate in myself.

    25. Be alone

    As social animals, we’d rather do anything than be alone. When left with our thoughts, we tend to plunge into some dark stuff that we’d rather not touch. Maybe there are some memories that hurt, some regrets we haven’t let go of, some unspoken feelings that we’ve repressed. They all tend to burst out and eat us from the inside.

    But being alone gives us the opportunity to observe these emotions and reactions, deal with them and make peace (and order) among our troubled minds. We all have issues.

    I, for one, believe that, in order to be truly okay in a relationship, whatever that may be, you first have to be okay with yourself. To me, this means accepting myself without becoming arrogant, knowing who I am while exploring further and knowing that I can make it on my own while working with others.

    Spend time with yourself, listen to yourself. Give yourself a chance to be alone and see where that takes you.

    26. Invest in your mental and emotional health

    Oh, how I wish I’d discovered this in my early 20’s!

    A clear and balanced mind can achieve incredible things! So, if you’re struggling with anxiety, depression or any type of harmful behavioral patterns and you can’t break them by yourself, get support.

    Seek a therapist and spend a few hours to explore the motivations and triggers behind these negative reactions. Get a few coaching lessons if you feel stuck professionally and want to make a change. Find a mentor who can ask you a few key questions to help organize your train of thought. There are endless possibilities to cultivate healthy emotional and psychological habits!

    Also, don’t forget that:

    Negative emotions are a necessary component of emotional health. To deny that negativity is to perpetuate problems rather than solve them.

    This is from The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, one of the books that you should read in your 20’s (or anytime!).

    Allow yourself to hurt, to be vulnerable. Forgive yourself for past mistakes and learn from them. Make better mistakes the next time.

    Achieving a state of emotional and psychological balance is a practice in maturity. It may take you a while to get there, so be patient with yourself.

    Gaining understanding and control of your emotions and reactions and learning how your mind works most of the times will empower you to do more than expected!

    For me, breaking some old thinking patterns and working through my depression was a deeply transformative experience. I wouldn’t be the same person as I am today had it not been for those decisive steps towards self-awareness. As a result, I’ve become more resilient, more self-confident and more attuned to the people in my life. I’m also healthier than I once was, which brings me to the next point.

    27. Invest in your physical health

    Before you start another gym membership, hear me out.

    Start with the small bits. Get out of your chair at least once every hour. Drink enough water. Eat your veggies. Track your food intake and learn the basics of a healthy nutrition. Get enough sleep. Drink less. Lower your sugar intake. Experiment with one of these at a time.

    Then take it to the next level. Try to work on your health from the inside out. Get your blood tested. Go see how your lungs, kidneys, heart and other essential organs are doing. Check your eyes. Take care of your teeth.

    If you’ve worked on number 26, you may already notice some changes. For example, after my last burnout, I also broke my back. Initially, I blamed it on my excessive approach to Crossfit, but the cause was more complex than that. All those hundreds of hours spent stuck at my desk, all the water I didn’t drink, all the stretching I didn’t do, all the mental tension that made my muscles contract – they all contributed to my L4-L5 hernia.

    Now it’s under control because I regularly train my back because I have reminders that prompt me to get up from my desk every 50 minutes because I pay attention to how much water I drink, plus I stretch in the morning and try to stick to healthy eating.

    The result is that I look better now than I did when I was 25. With a few extra wrinkles, but those are because I laugh SO much more than I used to 5 years ago. 🙂

    28. Forgive, forget, let go, but learn

    About 3 years ago, I was moving apartments when I read The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up. It struck me as simple and effective and touched a chord.

    So I gave it a try and applied the principles inside. One of them stuck with me. When going through things I needed to let go of, memories and souvenirs are the hardest to throw or give away. So the author prompted me to acknowledge the happiness these things brought me when I had received them and then to let them go. I wasn’t just cleaning out my closet, but my mind as well.

    Letting go of things or making good decisions without the burden of things passed involves acknowledging and ignoring sunk costs.

    I can’t help to go back to Seth’s wisdom for this, as he’s the one who introduced me to this concept:

    Past expenses have nothing to do with future economic decisions.

    Past profits have nothing to do with future decisions either.

    That’s not easy to embrace, but it’s true.

    Forgiving, forgetting, letting go – these are all ways of ignoring sunk costs and focusing on what we can build starting now. To me, ignoring the bits of wisdom that came with all those past experiences would be a mistake, so I try to learn as much as possible and use that for better decision-making.

    This bit if stricky and I’m quite new at it, but I see great opportunity in it.

    29. Practice gratitude

    For about 2 years, I kept a journal where I wrote what had made me happy each day. Many of these daily musings where shaped as expressions of gratitude for the people in my life and the experiences I lived. I tried to find the good even in the worst of days, which led me to see that my life was, indeed, much better than I initially realised.

    Practicing gratitude is a great way to become more rooted in the moment (remember number 7?), to count your blessings and draw power and inspiration from the smallest of joys.

    Try it and see if it fits your routine if it brings any significant improvement in your life. After all, almost everything is worth trying once.

    30. No one has it all figured out

    When I was 20, I was fascinated with the bright people who did incredible things, the movers and makers and shakers. “Look at these pros,” I used to think, “they clearly have it all figured out!”

    Fast forward to 10 years later, the myth is busted! Except for a few visionaries whose skills are almost inhuman, most people are just winging it. There’s no recipe, no list, no established order. There is chaos and an endless universe of things we have no idea about. Maturity doesn’t come with a set of instructions.

    Don’t take yourself too seriously. Have a laugh! Enjoy the ride. YOLO! [insert more cliches here]

    You may have heard all of these before, but they don’t mean anything unless you practice what you preach.

    The fact that we’re all just trying to do our best gives us endless options to approach life and its unexpected challenges and rewards.

    Not even mom would’ve read this far…

    … even if she read English easily.

    If you’ve made it this far, I wish I could say “thank you!” in person! Going through 6000 words of my ramblings is more than I could ever hope for, so I just wanted you to know that I appreciate it. I hope something useful came out of it. If not, at least have a laugh with the quick video below:

calmer better decisions

How I learnt to ease the mind (and control my reactions)

3 thoughts on “The “What I learnt before turning 30” post

  1. Took some notes, found myself in many many of the words that you carefully put down, found the next book I would love to read next and most of all, I love the way you put it all in those 6000 words to sum up your growth to 30’s. Great job, lots of inspiration!
    Andra, I am grateful and lucky to have met you. Thank you beautiful soul.

    Happy birthday girl! 💙

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