28 Things I Learned At 28
Lessons From Navigating The Tail-End Of My Twenties
Inspired by the homie Dev Basu, here are some lessons I learned this past year…
1. Resilience is the Matrix of Leadership.
Your ability to absorb and respond to stress is what’s necessary to level up from Hot Rod to Rodimus Prime.
2. The standards can never change.
Compromising doesn’t win championships; LeBron doesn’t dial down his intensity nor modify his playing style to accommodate D-League players.
3. Create permission space to hit the ‘Ye Button.
You can’t say things like what I said above and have it be taken seriously without a body of work to back it up as well as a stash of social currency.
4. Acutely focus on building up your strengths.
Don’t expend energy bringing your weaknesses up from bad to average. Instead, strive to enhance strengths which can go from good to great.
5. Do what you like for as long as you like it.
If something isn’t bringing you joy, get rid of it. Unless, of course, you’re willing to defer or diminish immediate joy for the promise of larger returns.
6. Your body is on loan from your future self.
Exercise regularly, eat better, and sleep more. You won’t see the long-term negative effects of bad form, bad food, and all-nighters until later in life.
7. Create slack time for yourself.
Nobody else is going to create it for you. And remember — every time you say yes to someone, you’re saying no to yourself.
8. You’re not the only one — everyone’s insecure.
At some level, everyone is subscribed to the myths of progress, efficiency, perfection, satisfaction, and innovation. And we’re all feeling inadequate.
9. Love is an infinitely renewable resource.
Yet so many of us are keeping it in vault. It’s not enough for you to feel love - you’ve got to let people know you that you feel it.
10. Anger is rocket fuel for productivity.
But be careful — it’s highly flammable, it burns out quickly, and it can damage the vessel (and surrounding environment).
11. Do fewer things really, really well.
Jerry Maguire had it right: “The answer is fewer clients. Less dancing.” But until you get to that point, it can be an unforgiving grind.
12. Knowledge is the best sales tool.
Caveat Venditor — let the seller beware. The most effective way to convince people to part with resources in the information age is to know your stuff.
13. Problems require patience & perspective.
Don’t rush to untangle life’s problems — you might make them worse. Instead, take a deep breath and a step back. And when you feel clear, work.
14. You can’t always make the right decision.
But what you can do is a make a decision nevertheless, and then work tirelessly to make it right.
15. Thank people who aren’t expecting it.
Too many people are going through life without sufficient praise or recognition. If you’re rich with self-esteem, please share the wealth.
16. Influence is seasonal.
Some months they want you, some months they don’t. Accumulate enough good karma when it’s hot to keep you warm when things freeze over.
17. Plan your life in decades.
Trying to be an overnight success story isn’t a sound strategy. Instead consider the milestones you’re trying to hit when you’re 40, 50, 60, etc.
18. Obsess over production.
Adopt an Olympian mindset: Your biggest victories will come from the 80% of time spent preparing for a 20% window of opportunity.
19. Fight decision fatigue with fire.
Mundane micro-decisions are destroying your productivity. Save your willpower for high cognitive-capacity tasks, not what to order on UberEATS.
20. You’re always selling (whether you like it or not).
But it’s seldom money that you’re convincing people to to part with — it’s time, energy, attention, loyalty, trust, love, etc. Therefore try to be valuable.
21. When in doubt, defer to data.
Opinions without data are inconsequential. Pause the debate, agree on what data to collect, collect the data, and then let the data solve the problem.
22. Constraints induce productivity.
It’s the tried, tested, and true way to beat procrastination. After all, work expands so as to fill the time allocated for it’s completion.
23. Don’t let criticism kill your vibe.
While criticism is necessary, fixating on it can paralyze you. Accept that criticism is the price of influence, and disregard opinions that don’t matter.
24. Keep your family closer.
Every seven years, you lose about half your friends. It’s true, and it sucks. Guess that’s what they say you need family for…
25. Your idols may become rivals (and that’s okay).
As a child, LeBron James had a poster of Kobe Bryant on his wall. If you suddenly find yourself competing with an idol, it means you’re levelling up.
26. Sometimes, burning bridges is strategic.
Society tells us not to burn bridges. But what if said bridges are providing safe passage for invading armies? Or tempting you to abandon your post?
27. A leader should be “The Great Exhilarator.”
The person at the helm should be the most excited by the journey. Their tireless, exuberant, and motivated vibe is essential to squad’s vibe.
28. Leave this world a little better than you found it.
The next generation isn’t inheriting this planet from us - we’re in fact loaning it from them. Therefore strive to become net positive.