Four years ago, I started keeping track of life dos and don’ts that I learned by experience, bits of wisdom that I didn’t get from a friend, mentor, or Twitter account, but from my daily interaction with the universe.
I find it helpful to review this list at the end of each year.
Every person has original experiences, relationships, strengths, limitations, desires, fears, and books read. We gather our wisdom from all of these things. So not one single person can know all there is to know about leading a productive and meaningful life.
Here are a few things I’ve learned since 2017:
Never buy a smoothie at the airport.
If you have a flight that is around the time you’d normally have a meal, get take out and bring it to the airport. Eat it either before or during your flight. This will be much better food than whatever you’ll find at the airport or on the plane.
If you’re renting a car from an airport car rental, do not get the cheapest option unless you’re willing to wait in a long line. Better yet, use Turo. It’s like Airbnb, but for renting cars.
If at an office or another public place, always dry your hands fully after you wash them and before you leave the bathroom.
No one likes to shake a wet hand, and you never know when you’re going to meet someone.
Sometimes doing the right thing will require overcoming your fear and acting with courage. Be more afraid of living with the knowledge that you’re weak, sad, and generally pathetic than you fear doing the thing that must be done.
At work, be careful about showing anyone whose opinion of you matters (supervisor or client) an unfinished task, especially if it’s not yet impressive. Only show them something you’re proud of.
If you need to be somewhere by a certain time, add the time it takes to find parking and walk from parking to destination, and then add 10 minutes.
When packing to travel, if there’s any chance you may need a suit for a meeting or event, pack a suit.
On a work trip to Washington, D.C., I had a last-minute breakfast meeting at the U.S. Capitol with two people who were both dressed in suit and tie. I had dockers and a casual button down, tucked in of course.
If you’re dealing with a problem that can be solved with money, solve it with money if you can afford to. You’ll find those types of problems are among life’s simplest.
Keep track of how many of your problems throughout the day are caused by you acting like an idiot.
At the office, try to not bring up work issues in public places, like the kitchen. That’s where people go for a few minutes to get away from work.
Boxes of chocolate are a gamble with a high risk of ruin. Avoid them.
Before you go into a meeting of an indeterminate length, decide by what time you’re going to leave. If you’re really evil, set your alarm to go off at that time. It will break whatever energy is making you feel socially awkward about interrupting to exit.
At a sit-down restaurant, take no more than five minutes to decide what you’re going to order.
If something feels right, that does not necessarily mean you should do it. But if something feels wrong, that usually means you shouldn’t.
Pre-parties are always a waste of time. After parties, very different.
If your choice is between simplifying or optimizing, simplify.
When charting your professional course, consider your unique value added: where can you provide benefit that no one else in your position could provide?
If you’re not trying to fall asleep or about to fall asleep, lying in bed is a waste of time.
When you make a choice, you’re also choosing the consequences.
Be conscious of how many negative thoughts you fill your head with. And then be conscious of how many negative people you fill your life with. And then distance yourself from both.
Being in a good relationship may solve your loneliness, but it won’t solve the other broken parts of your life.
When you have a difficult task ahead of you, know where your point of no return is — the action which, after you take it, you know you will complete the task.
I take three-minute cold showers every morning. I know that once I step in, I will complete the three minutes. When Los Angeles had gyms, I trained in Krav Maga. My point of no return was getting in the car. Once I got in the car, I knew that I would complete that day’s class. Knowing your point of return shifts the challenge from completing the task to simply clearing that initial, lower, bar.
Don’t talk about something that is important to you around someone who doesn’t take important things seriously.
Spend time around people, places, and events that give you energy. Avoid those things that take your energy.
Happy New Year. May this be the one where you finally get your sh*t together.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.
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