This I believe: 43 lessons from 43 years

Because I'm a nerdy kind of guy, I have some nerdy traditions. In the past, one of those nerdy traditions has been to celebrate my prime-number birthdays with a big party. When I turned 37, for instance, I hosted a poetry recital. Two years ago, we held a “bacon bash”, which was a lot of fun.

This year, I was going to host a travel-themed party to celebrate my 43rd birthday. Certain major life events have forced me to postpone this party — probably four years until my next prime-number birthday. Instead, I thought it would be fun to celebrate here, on Get Rich Slowly.

I've been thinking a lot lately about my personal philosophy. I've been reading various personal-development books, and have been talking with friends about how getting older doesn't actually suck. In fact, being over forty is awesome. Why? Let me share with you 43 things I've learned in my 43 years here on Earth.

For many of these, I'm quoting my source of inspiration. But this isn't just a list of 43 inspirational quotes. If I've listed a quote here, it's because I truly believe it, it's because the author has said it better than I could. Let's start with Don Miguel's The Four Agreements, which I've found do a good job of encapsulating my personal philosophy:

  1. Be impeccable with your word. Be honest — with yourself and others. If you promise to do something, do it. When somebody asks you a question, tell the truth. Don't gossip. Practice what you preach.
  2. Don't take anything personally. When people criticize you and your actions, it's not about you — it's about them. They can't know what it's like to be you and to be living your life. When you take things personally, you're allowing others to control your life and your happiness. “The dogs bark, but the caravan moves on.” — Arab proverb
  3. Don't make assumptions. The flip side of not taking anything personally is to not assume you know what's going on in other people's heads, to not assume you know the motivations for their actions. Just as their reality doesn't reflect your reality, your life is not theirs. Give people the benefit of the doubt.
  4. Always do your best. Your best will vary from moment to moment. Some days in the gym, for instance, I'm able to lift heavier weights than on other days. That's okay. I do the best I can every time. This is one of the keys to success and to happiness: No matter what you do, do it as well as you can.
  5. Be skeptical — but learn to listen. In other words, don't believe everything you hear, not just from others, but also from your own internal self-talk. Keep an open mind, but analyze the things you see and hear to see if they actually make sense.
  6. Be encouraging. There are a lot of people out there who want to tell others what's wrong with their actions, why the things they want to do can't be done. Don't be that way. Instead, do what you can (in big ways and subtle ways) to help others achieve their goals.
    Keep Dropping Keys All Night Long
  7. People who are happy with their own lives almost never criticize others, to paraphrase Steven Pressfield from The War of Art. “If they speak at all,” says Pressfield, “it's to offer encouragement.”
  8. People who are happy with their own lives almost never criticize others, to paraphrase Steven Pressfield from The War of Art. “If they speak at all,” says Pressfield, “it's to offer encouragement.”
  9. Have the courage to pursue your dreams. If you want something, go after it. Don't allow yourself to be trapped in a life filled with shoulds. Don't do things just because others expect you to do them. Choose what you want. “The minute you choose to do what you really want to do, it's a different kind of life.” — R. Buckminster Fuller
  10. Fear is the mind-killer. If you can build confidence and overcome fear, you'll be happier and more successful. This isn't easy, but it's worth it. “You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face…You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” — Eleanor Roosevelt
  11. “No hay mal que por bien no venga.” — Spanish proverb. That is, there is no bad from which some good does not come. (Or, “every cloud has a silver lining”.) Sometimes life sucks. Bad things happen. But in nearly every instance, the bad brings good too, usually in the opportunity to change, to transform yourself into something new.
  12. Change is good. For some reason, our society is skeptical of people who transform themselves. A politician who changes her mind because she gains a deeper understanding of something is said to have “flip-flopped” on an issue. But personal growth can be amazing. By doing and trying and learning new things, you experience more of life, and you become a better person. Don't be afraid to change and grow.
  13. Spirituality is personal. The desire for one person (or group) to impose her (or their) beliefs on others is the source of much of this world's strife. Believe what you want, and let others do the same. “There is no need for temples, no need for complicated philosophies. My brain and heart are my temples; my philosophy is kindness.” — Dalai Lama
  14. Self-care comes first. Eat right. Exercise. Take time to relax. Do your personal chores. Be well groomed. Treat yourself like a princess (or a prince). When you take care of yourself, it's easier to be of service to others.
  15. You can't predict what the Future You will like. It's pointless to even try. Instead, focus on creating the best life for the Present You. Make decisions based on what you need today instead of what might happen tomorrow. (But note this isn't permission to simply ignore the future. You still need to save for retirement, for instance, but you also need to make decisions based on who you are at this moment.)
  16. Be present in the moment. When you do something, do that thing. When you're with somebody, be with them. Don't multitask. Put away the smartphone or the computer or the book. Be all there. When you do this, you'll do better work, you'll show respect to others, and you'll enjoy yourself more.
  17. Don't try to change others. “Attempts to change others are rarely successful, and even then are probably not completely satisfying,” Harry Browne wrote in How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World. “To accept others as they are doesn't mean you have to give into them or put up with them. You are sovereign. You own your own world. You can choose…There are millions of people out there in the world; you have a lot more to choose from than just what you see in front of you now.”
  18. Don't allow others to try to change you. Again from How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World: “You are free to live your life as you want…The demands and wishes of others don't control your life. You do. You make the decisions…There are thousands of people who wouldn't demand that you bend yourself out of shape to please them. There are people who will want you to be yourself, people who see things as you do, people who want the same things you want. Why should you have to waste your life in a futile effort to please those with whom you aren't compatible?”
  19. It's okay to say, “I don't know.” Admitting ignorance isn't the same as admitting defeat. It doesn't make you look bad. You know what does make you look bad? Saying or doing something with confidence but being completely wrong. If you don't know, say so.
  20. Don't yuck someone else's yum. Just because you don't like something doesn't mean it's bad. Pursue your passions, and let others pursue theirs. If you don't like something, fine. There's no need to make a big deal about it. (Note: This is a tough one for me to actually practice in daily life.)
  21. There's seldom one right way to do something. Most of the time, there are multiple paths to success. For instance, as I've said many times here at Get Rich Slowly, there's no one right way to get out of debt. Don't believe anyone who tells you there is.
  22. Quality tools can make life better. For years, I equated low cost with smart spending. Now I know that's not always the case. Now, I'm willing to spend to buy high-quality things when I know I'll use them all the time. I have high-quality boots, for instance, and an expensive computer. I'm okay with that. I walk everywhere I go, so the boots are worth it. And my computer is my livelihood. The expense is worth it because it makes working a joy. For items used daily, buy the best. If you don't use it often, of if it's not important to you, buy the cheapest possible.
  23. Happiness is mostly internal. While external forces do affect well-being, most of your happiness comes from one place: You. Research has shown that about 50% of happiness is biological; 40% of happiness comes from intentional activity, the things you choose to do; and only 10% of your happiness is based on external factors beyond your control. If you're not happy, change who you are and what you do.
  24. Small passions give life flavor. I love bacon and comic books and Scotch whisky and cats and maracuyá (a passionfruit from Perú). I enjoy walking through the city, reading the news in Spanish, taking the laundry out of the dryer, and ordering the same tea every day from the same barrista. These small pleasures provide texture to life. Savor them.
  25. There's no such thing as natural talent. If you want to be good at something, you have to spend the time to become good at that thing. Only American superheroes don't have to work for the abilities they have. And how strange is that? They're just given their powers. That's not how it works in the real world. As Malcolm Gladwell notes in Outliers, in the real world, people become experts by putting in thousands of hours.
  26. Be adventurous. Try new things. Eat new food. Learn a new skill. Travel. Watch foreign films. Change your hairstyle. You might not enjoy everything you try, but then you might find something you really love. (From Action Girl's Guide to Living.)
  27. Be open-minded. Read books and magazines and newspapers and web sites. (And not just the ones you already agree with or like.) Listen to other people's opinions. You don't have to welcome every new idea with open arms; just be willing to change and grow. (From Action Girl's Guide to Living.)
  28. Be positive. Life is short. Don't waste time complaining. If you can do something about a problem, do it. Otherwise, get on with life and forget it. Route your negative energy in a positive direction. If you hate something, fine, but don't make it your career. (From Action Girl's Guide to Living.)
  29. Don't sweat the small stuff. Who cares if your shirt isn't ironed? If you forgot to mail the phone bill? If you can't remember someone's name? Take it easy. It's not that important.
  30. Ask for it. You'll never get it if you don't ask. And you might be surprised at what you can get just by being bold.
  31. Slow and steady wins the race. The most successful folks are those who work longest and hardest at things they love to do. So try to find ways to make frugality fun, and recognize that you're in this for the long haul. You're making a lifestyle change, not looking for a quick fix.
  32. The perfect is the enemy of the good. Too many people never get started toward their goals because they don't know that the “best” first step is. Don't worry about getting things exactly right — just choose a good option and do something to get started.
  33. Failure is okay. Everyone makes mistakes. Don't let one slip-up drag you down. One key difference between those who succeed and those who don't is the ability to recover from a setback and keep marching toward a goal. Use failures to learn what not to do next time. “Fall down seven times, get up eight.” — Japanese proverb
  34. You can have (or do) anything you want — but you can't have (or do) everything you want. Being smart with money — or with time — isn't about giving up your plasma TV or your daily latte. It's about setting priorities and managing expectations, about conscious living. Focus on the things that matter most to you and ignore everything else.
  35. You don't need permission. When we're young, we wait for our parents and our teachers to say it's okay to do the things we want to do. As an adult, you don't need permission from anyone else. Do you want to quit your job and travel the world? Do it. Do you want to learn how to ride a motorcycle? Do it. Don't wait for somebody to give you the go-ahead. You are the only one who needs to give yourself permission to do these things.

  36. Action beats inaction. It's easy to put things off, but the sooner you start moving toward your goals, the easier they'll be to reach. It's better to start with small steps today than to wait for that someday when you'll be able to make great strides. Get moving.
  37. Along similar lines, it's not what you say that matters; it's what you do. Live a life of action, not words. “Action is character.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald.
  38. Look for connections. Share your interests and experiences with people you meet. You don't need to force your story on others. But learn to strike up conversations with people you meet. Ask them about their lives. They'll ask you about yours. In Never Eat Alone, Keith Ferrazzi notes this is a great way to form connections you might otherwise miss. In this way, you may sometimes turn a random encounter into a possible “lucky break”. (Occasionally you will be a source of luck for the people you meet, just as they will sometimes be a source of luck for you.)
  39. Keep your options open. Goals are good. But single-minded devotion to a goal can often blind a person to other opportunities. And it's a mistake to cling to one path out of a sense of obligation. If you enter law school and discover you hate it, quit. Don't endure years of misery because you feel it's expected of you. You have more options than you think, but you may need to open your eyes to see them.
  40. Be empathetic — think like the other person. Remember that people are all the same. We each have the same fears and the same desires. Underneath, most folks are pretty nice. Instead of fighting with others are hating them because they're different, try to get a feel for their story, their point of view. “You never really know a man until you stand in his shoes and walk around in them.” — Harper Lee, To Kill a Mockingbird.
  41. Do the right thing. If you do what's right, and you do it well, what do you care what other people think? Successful people will always have critics. Learn from the critics or to ignore them, but don't let them bring you down. Do the right thing, and confidently own the consequences.
  42. Don't compare yourself to others. I'll tell you a secret. There are a lot of personal finance blogs out there. I don't get to read them as often as I used to, but I do try to make the rounds once every week. Sometimes when I do this, I feel like giving up. I feel like quitting. I lose confidence. “I can't write that well,” I think. “I can't cover retirement investing as well as Jim did.” Comparing myself to others is counter-productive. It only makes me feel inadequate. Who cares what other people write, or how well? What's important is simply producing the best work I can. All I can be is myself.
  43. Be yourself. This is by far the most important thing I've learned about life. For so long, I tried to please other people, tried to be and do the things I thought they wanted me to be and do. That just made me unhappy. And most of the time, it didn't please anyone. I've had enough of that. Instead of trying to be somebody else, I'm just me. I'm honest about who I am and what I want. Sure, that means some of my old friends don't like who I've become. That's okay. I've made new friends who do like who I am. But the best part is that I like who I am.
  44. “Everybody is talented, original and has something important to say.” — Barbara Ueland, If You Want to Write.

I've learned lots of other things in the past 43 years, of course, but these are some of my favorite. These ideas guide who I am today and where I'm going tomorrow. They're my core philosophy.

How many do you agree with? How many do you disagree with? What guidelines and observations make up your core philosophy? Give me an awesome birthday present by sharing your thoughts in the comments below.

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Drew
Drew
8 years ago

Wow, what a great list. I wonder what 44 to ‘x’ might contain? As it stands there’s so much wisdom here to use to improve yourself, very inspiring.

Michael
Michael
8 years ago
Reply to  Drew

I agree. This is an awesome list and article. Gotta say 99.99% of the time this is the best blog I’ve known so far!

Thank you for this blog. Happy birthday, J.D.

Meghan
Meghan
8 years ago

Happy birthday J.D.!! This is a fabulous list, thanks so much for sharing, I plan on bookmarking this to refer to it later. I’m 31 but I’ve definitely found that life improves with age. I’m a stronger person than I was ten, even five years ago. It’s unfortunate that we live in a culture that places so much emphasis on youth as being the best years of one’s life.

Jaime
Jaime
8 years ago

Awesome list! I would add that Thanks and Please always go a long way.

K.C.
K.C.
8 years ago

Your list is consistent with what I’ve experienced in my 59 years. I would add that the greatest joy I’ve experienced is when I give unconditionally, whether it is of my time, my possessions, or my love. It took me 50 years and a personal crisis to understand this simple truth. It has unlocked the door to so many other gifts.

Brenda Ueland’s book was a source of inspiration for me, as well, in my early years as a writer.

margot
margot
8 years ago

Happy birthday! I hope this year is the best one yet!

Sandy E.
Sandy E.
8 years ago

I agree with every last one of them – great list! For some reason #8 stuck out because it’s the #1 regret that people have on their deathbeds: “I wish I had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.” In other words, people wish they had thought less of the opinions of others and done what they wanted to do deep in their souls. And to march to the beat of our own drummer truly does take a heck of a lot of courage (in my experience), and I don’t think… Read more »

Bethh
Bethh
8 years ago

Happy birthday! That’s a great list! I’ll share some fortune cookie wisdom that fell into my life when I was young and needed it: “Apply yourself to the basics, and progress will follow.” It always helps me when I’m feeling stuck or paralyzed!

I hope you have a year of many experiences of all sorts. Enjoy the ride!

Kingston
Kingston
8 years ago

Happy birthday. Great list. Not sure I agree with #24, that there is no such thing as natural talent. In my experience, some people truly are gifted at some things. Of course, developing those gifts to their fullest still requires tons of practice and hard work (I believe Gladwell arrives at 10,000 hours to reach a high level). I think each individual probably has multiple gifts of one kind or another and if I could wave a magic wand over the world everyone would have the opportunity to develop theirs.

Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
Matt at Healthy N' Wealthy
8 years ago
Reply to  Kingston

I agree with your take on natural talent, Kingston. Some people are definitely gifted at certain things. I think it would have been more appropriate to say something like “diligence and hard work are more important than natural talent,” which I would argue is true.

Dorothy K
Dorothy K
8 years ago

Excellent Post 🙂

I wish you a happy, healthy birthday. May you have many more.

Cathleen
Cathleen
8 years ago

Wonderful is&t, happy bday!

My dad used to say “you wouldn’t care what people thought about you if you knew how seldom they did”

Cathleen
Cathleen
8 years ago

Wonderful list, happy bday!

My dad used to say “you wouldn’t care what people thought about you if you knew how seldom they did” 🙂

Also, “you own two things. your perspective and your attitude”
He died when I was young so I find I often hear his voice when faced with challenges, he offers peace and comfort, a guide for making the right decision for me.

j
j
8 years ago

Hi, JD! Happy birthday and many more to come! A few thoughts–Good relationships make you happy. Your “stuff” (possessions) ultimately will not make you happy. Doing things promotes happiness more than owning things ever will. While your list hints at it I think that civility and respect will take you much farther than our civiliztion(?)’s current emphasis on rudeness and disrespect. In fact, research has shown that politeness and good manners can take your further in your occupation than others who are somewhat more talented but impolite. Our political parties and pundits especially need to work hard on being civil… Read more »

Stephen
Stephen
8 years ago

Happy Birthday JD.
You really are becoming a sage with wisdom greater than your years.

hiba
hiba
8 years ago

fantastic and inspiring.

Ru
Ru
8 years ago

My core philosophy is probably “make things and be happy” but Frank Zappa pretty accurately said a lot of my thoughts and feelings. “The most important thing to do in your life is to not interfere with somebody else’s life.” “The richest people in the world aren’t particularly smart or happy. And the happiest people in the world aren’t particularly smart or rich.… That leaves me making music. But we can’t talk about that.” “If you wind up with a boring, miserable life because you listened to your mom, your dad, your teacher, your priest or some guy on TV… Read more »

Paul
Paul
8 years ago

What a great quote.

“The minute you choose to do what you really want to do, it’s a different kind of life.” – R. Buckminster Fuller

Heather George
Heather George
8 years ago

Love, love, love it all – Happy Birthday to a very wise man indeed! Chris G. posted this quote recently, which really motivated me: “Life begins at the edge of your comfort zone.”

Wendy Hemken
Wendy Hemken
8 years ago

This was a great post. Thank you for sharing.

The great thing about a time-travel themed party for your birthday is that you can have it at any time since time itself can be rather wibbly wobbly. If you manage to find a Time and Relative Dimension in Space machine then it’s even easier to have the party when you want. /geek

PB @ Economically Humble
PB @ Economically Humble
8 years ago

This is a list from someone that has certainly lived a full life and experienced ups and downs. Thanks for sharing these.

Ken
Ken
8 years ago

I definitely saw the four agreements very early on … but … did I see part of the “honor code” from the Sterling Men’s Weekend..??

bareheadedwoman
bareheadedwoman
8 years ago

happy bday jd…many more! #10 also: there’s no great loss without some small gain…and…it’s an ill-wind that blows nobody good. but er…i beg to differ on #34, especially if you are an american. i feel for you, I really do because I once thought that if you are an adult “no one” can tell you what to do but that is not quite so…now that you are 43, you need the “there is no Uncle Sam” talk. you DO NEED PERMISSION from the government, as local as a homeowner’s association or civic body to the Feds, to do pretty much… Read more »

j
j
8 years ago

Hi. Having lived in several other countries I can tell you that you are fooling yourself if you think that anywhere else is better or has fewer restrictions–they just differ as to the exact nature of the restrictions.
If you want to live with other people then you have to accept the necessity of limitations to avoid things others might like but you don’t. It’s just part of life. The US is far from perfect but so is everywhere else.

Audrey
Audrey
8 years ago
Reply to  j

Ha, I’m still amazed that it’s illegal to chew gum in Singapore. I also just heard that a city in Italy made it illegal to die because they ran out of room in the cemetery. Good luck enforcing that one…

There are some strange rules, all for the “better good” of each different culture/country. Things may differ, but the rules always exist.

Tyler Karaszewski
Tyler Karaszewski
8 years ago

This is bullshit. I’ve done nearly everything you mention without asking for permission ahead of time. If you want to take issue with a J.D.’s list, this is not the point to do it on. Try number 13, which is the most “I don’t have kids” entry in the whole thing.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago

Is it weird that I don’t have kids and I don’t totally agree with #13 either? I think it’s important to look after one’s health, but I’m a little weary of marketing speak encouraging me to treat myself like a princess because I’m unattached and supposedly have all this disposable income. I would rather make sacrifices and save for retirement and a home 🙂

Audrey
Audrey
8 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

But, I also can see treating yourself as a princess but not necessarily related to money. Be good to yourself, but you don’t have to have manicures, pedicures, etc. There are lots of free things you can do to “pamper” yourself.

Wilson
Wilson
8 years ago
Reply to  Elizabeth

I think #13 can prob be rewritten several ways, such as “You can’t be of prime service to others if you don’t have your store in order”. i.e. if your affairs, health, mental well-being, etc are all mucked up you’ll be wasting time and energy fixing them that could be directed outward. Appearance = confidence is a sub-set of that, in my mind, but I don’t think the point was intended to be a vanity one.

FiveSigmas
FiveSigmas
8 years ago

When I read some of the comments regarding 13 I couldn’t help but hear a voice in my head saying “In the event of an emergency… secure your own mask before assisting others…”

I admit I don’t have kids, but I think there’s some truth to it: If you yourself are suffocating, you’re not going to be that helpful to others in the long run.

Kristen
Kristen
8 years ago

Small business owner in the U.S. here – no permission needed. Should I need permission to pollute the environment in which my fellow citizens live? Hell yes.
We are privileged and have MANY freedoms. The freedom to force consequences on other citizens as a result of OUR personal profits isn’t one to which we’re entitled.
J.D. – this article is, again, an example of why you’ve been successful. It’s personal, open, and thought-provoking.
Wishing all readers the best.

Simon C
Simon C
8 years ago

LOL… I do like the “you do need permission” comment, but I think the interpretation was more meant to be about empowering yourself to take charge of your own destiny, more than anything – and that’s a very powerful message to take away.

(And yeah, I’d like to just get in a car and drive away… but first, I need a driving licence, and to buy a car… but there’s nothing stopping me making that my goal, other than my decided that’s what I want to do!)

Simon C
Simon C
8 years ago

First of all, Happy Birthday there JD! 🙂 This list is one I am going to keep coming back to, I’m sure – there is plenty I want to read in detail and think about. In return, I’ll share the two things that have really helped me the last couple of years. The first is to ask of something what it is, independent of your own filters (confirmation bias, etc.) Do you really want/need x new shiny thing? If you buy it, what will you use it for? Is it worth the investment of your time/money? (Two examples are the… Read more »

Jen
Jen
8 years ago

Hey Jota De, I really appreciate your list. My father in law has a tradition of sending a check to me every year the amount of my current age. Fortunately Dan is ten years older so we cash in a bit more on his b-day! And I am thrilled to hear that you celebrate the prime birthdays. We have a lovely photo of us each at a prime number at the same time- Alan 1, Kate 3, Me 31 and Dan 41. Birthdays are so worthy of celebration- wishing you many more years of making the best out of this… Read more »

Leam Hall
Leam Hall
8 years ago

Very good list! I am older than you and still learning some of those lessons. The more my life works within 42 of your 43, the more natural success seems.

Leo
Leo
8 years ago

Thank you, for being yourself!

Happy Happy birthday!!

Shannon
Shannon
8 years ago

Love it! That’s why I only come to this site to read posts by you. Oh and happy bday!!

Jennifer
Jennifer
8 years ago

Happy birthday JD!

The thing about always trying your best is that later in life when you look back you can do so with no regrets. Even if you made mistakes (we all do) you can look back on it knowing you did the best you could do at the time.

Peg
Peg
8 years ago
Reply to  Jennifer

You said it perfectly, and I couldn’t agree more! Happy birthday

Skchops
Skchops
8 years ago

Wonderful list … I have come to many of the same enlightenments
in my 43 years as well. Thank you for sharing your wisdom, both
financial
& otherwise. Wishing you a very happy birthday & many more !

Chase
Chase
8 years ago

A beautiful post; thank you JD!

Leam Hall
Leam Hall
8 years ago

@SleepingMom — you can recoup part of your domain investment, possilby. Some places that do DNS will let you point to your blog for your domain.

Leam

SB @ One cent at a time
SB @ One cent at a time
8 years ago

Happy B’day JD! Good to revise the better habits on birthdays 🙂

RDL
RDL
8 years ago

One of my favorite quotes comes from Winnie the Pooh: “So much to do, so much to be!” It’s not life advice per se, but it encapsulates the optimism, open-mindedness, and diligence that I strive for every day.

April Dykman
8 years ago

¡Feliz cumpleaños! I like all of these, can’t say I disagree with any. Quotes I read often: “Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the face.”–Mike Tyson “It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are.”–e. e. cummings “If you’re too lazy to chop [garlic], you don’t deserve to eat it.”–Anthony Bourdain A few by Anais Nin: “You have a right to experiment with your life. You will make mistakes. And they are right, too.” “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” “You cannot save people, you can only… Read more »

Brian
Brian
8 years ago

I particularly like “You don’t need to ask permission”. This also goes well with “Be yourself”. I struggle with trying to please others just like it sounds you have, so I’m happy that you seem to be a happier person now because of the changes you’ve made.

Thanks for sharing and have a great birthday!

Deb
Deb
8 years ago

Fantastic list! Congratulations! Maybe on your 44th birthday you’ll be able to add: Don’t waste time worrying what others think of you. I just turned 50, and it is astounding to me that I have arrived at this age already. I don’t feel 50, and yet I do. This has evoked very mixed feelings – some regret, some contentment, some joy, some melancholy. Mostly it’s made me realize just how horribly SHORT life is! I have only lately realized just how long I have procrastinated learning, doing, starting…in so many ways and for so many things. The luxury of time… Read more »

Carol in Mpls
Carol in Mpls
8 years ago

Happy Birthday JD! I just celebrated mine on Friday, and I’m reminded again of how important it is to be present each day. This is a major focus for me now, no matter what area of my life. Your birthday/life list has many wise thoughts, so thank you.

Jenzer
Jenzer
8 years ago

Happy birthday to you!

Here’s a quote I discovered recently that’s been singing in my soul: “Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

j
j
8 years ago

Hi, again. I thought of one more that is important to me and that I think should be important to all of us…best worded like the movie…

Pay it forward.

Again, thanks for the list–I forwarded it to my family–something I rarely do. Many, many happy returns and best wishes for many happy birthdays to come.

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago
Reply to  j

I whole-heartedly agree with “pay it forward”. I enjoyed this list, but was a little sad to see it was mostly “me, me” and “live and let live”. I think people underestimate the good they can do in the world, even in small ways.

Jen
Jen
8 years ago

GREAT stuff! Thanks for posting this. At 46, I still have a lot to learn…

Brian
Brian
8 years ago

Happy birthday and thanks for sharing this list of life experiences! I focused in on my number 24 and found it particularly relevant to me today…”There’s no such thing as natural talent”. While I don’t completely agree with this, there’s something to be said for perseverance and practice. I read Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers several years ago and remember the point he made about putting in thousands of hours to become an expert in your field. I think we can all sharpen our skill sets and develop new ones we assumed were out of our reach. I also love number 42,… Read more »

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
8 years ago

sappy barfday! nice post mang. i hope you had a great day.

i disagree with a couple of the ideas but… long day for me! (work work work). at this hour i only have natural talent to sleep (yes, that one i disagree with a bit– 24–it’s talent PLUS work– i’ll never sing opera 😛 ).

wish you had posted this earlier! i checked in the morning. o well.

maybe you can review some of this over the next year? might be fun.

this also reminded me of 43 folders. okay. my brain is officially made of velveeta.

buenas noches!

stellamarina
stellamarina
8 years ago

Bravo.

Anthony @ Each Peso Counts
Anthony @ Each Peso Counts
8 years ago

I’ve always been a big fan of GRS. This is an amazing list and i know all of these are important but what struck me the most was number 42 and 43. It’s not really rated according to importance for JD but i think the last two numbers sum up what he’s been doing for GRS and the readers up to now and till God only knows when. I’m just very happy to learn so much from GRS.

Thank you!

-Anthony

Mom of five
Mom of five
8 years ago

Happy Birthday, J.D.!

JustMike
JustMike
8 years ago

It’s been said, most adults already know enough to be perfect. So, why is the world so screwed up?
Thanks for these pearls, I’m sure we’d all be better off if we all incorporated them.
Happy birthday. Hope you have many, many more to come

Dave S
Dave S
8 years ago

J.D. you have nailed this e-mail and I look forward to reading about your thoughts every day. Slow and steady wins the race. We just have to keep our eyes on the grinding stone and, in the fullness of time, a huge shaft of light will fall down upon us and a booming voice will say, “well done”.

donna
donna
8 years ago

Great words, but a lot of wisdom that is found everywhere, can be invested in buying and reading 1 book, but it only works when it is applied, and that is the Bible…proverbs comes to mind… this book was written for us, by our creator, through those he appointed to write…who knows us better than he and ourselves…? He knew us so well, that he also said, man would be a law unto himself…there is advice on money, in there also…treasures that moths and rust w/eventually steal from all of us…store up treasures in heaven…and all else w/b added to… Read more »

chacha1
chacha1
8 years ago
Reply to  donna

yeah, but there’s no pernicious nonsense on J.D.’s list, so I’ll stick with that … thanks just the same

Jason
Jason
8 years ago

J.D. Happy Birthday! And thanks for the great post! So many good points, I especially love the quote about the birdcages, I have that in my quote list as well. I couldn’t really find any points to disagree with, although there are certainly many I have trouble living up to. Thanks for collecting and sharing these with us, you undoubtedly worked on this post for awhile. I hope you had a great day, you definitely made mine better. Keep up the great work!

Susan
Susan
8 years ago

J.D. what an inspirational list! I have been seprarted for over a year. In MD you have to be seprated a year before you can get a divorce. My kids are old enough so that I can now look at my own life and reassess what I want to do. This is an exciting, scary time and I will embrace it to the fullest. I have always told my kids to be kind and never stop learning something new. On that note, I have decided to return to school for my Paralegal certificate. This is my first step, a total… Read more »

victoria
victoria
8 years ago

Happy 43rd, JD!

I agree with some readers that talent can natural but hard work improves it. Think Usain Bolt.

I also try to add the following on my personal list:

i) It’s not all about me so it’s okay for my neighbour or a stranger or the other person to have my last apple. I don’t have to eat it because it’s mine.

ii) Always strive to be kind even when others are not kind to you.

iii) Practice Love and respect.

iv) Life can only get better (for me).

Elizabeth
Elizabeth
8 years ago
Reply to  victoria

Couldn’t agree more with #2. My grandma used to say that sometimes when people are being the least lovable is when they need the most love. It applies to so many situations.

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