1. You won’t master what you don’t enjoy.
If it’s not fun, you’re not going to do a lot of it. And if you don’t do a lot of it, you’ll never master it. Do what you love, and love what you do.
2. Value consistency over intensity.
If you want lasting results, do small and imperative things regularly. Consistency over time equals results. Castles are built one brick at a time.
3. Have one foot in mastery and another in exploration.
Remain open to adventure. But before you allow the winds to blow you where they may, become exceptionally skilled at sailing.
4. Execution isn’t the time for feedback.
Conductors play the orchestra with their backs turned to the crowd. Practice thoroughly. Make good choices before you hit the stage. Then, trust the process.
5. Don’t specialize in just one thing.
Your guidance counsellor was wrong about specialization. Our automated future won’t be kind to those who can only create value in singular and narrow ways. Get bullish on optionality and adaptability.
6. If you’re not fiercely focused on it, it probably won’t happen.
Make your goals truly important to you. To quote Jim Rohn, “If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way. If you don’t, you’ll find an excuse.” Your thoughts become things.
7. Slow down if you must, but never stop moving forward.
An object in motion stays in motion. Whatever you do, don’t break the streak. Don’t lose momentum, don’t stop—keep moving forward.
8. It’s better to be decisive than certain.
Don’t let certainty prevent you from moving forward. You can’t always make the right decisions—but you can make decisions, and then make them right.
9. If it makes you anxious, it has the power to change you.
If it doesn’t make you anxious, it could mean that the stakes are too low. And if the stakes are too low, you won’t learn or grow. Nothing changes if nothing changes.
10. When in doubt, listen to that brave inner voice.
Ask yourself, “What would I do if I wasn’t afraid of what anyone would think?” Listen carefully to your answer, and then get to work.
11. Prepare for chaos in times of order.
You can be certain that chaos will occur, especially when you least expect it. As the Chinese proverb suggests, “It’s better to be a warrior in a garden, than a gardener in a war.”
12. If it didn’t work out, good.
Taste the blood on your lips. Let the failure wash over you. Drawing on the vivid memory of your failure, work to never allow yourself to feel that way again.
13. Be measured in what you refuse.
A concerned friend once told dejected chess prodigy Bobby Fischer, “If you don’t play chess, eventually there will come a time when no one will ask you to play.”
14. Be careful of how you change in response to someone else.
If you keep battling the same opponent, you’ll turn into a one-dimensional fighter. And if you keep editing yourself, eventually you’ll get erased.
15. Your yes is worthless if you can’t say no.
No is an incredibly powerful word. A complete sentence, even. Have the courage to decline and walk away. It will make your yes valuable.
16. Be mentally flexible—learn how to learn, unlearn, and relearn.
In the wise words of Muhammad Ali, “A man who views the world the same at fifty as he did at twenty has wasted thirty years of his life.”
17. Being uninformed is inexcusable.
You have the entirety of recorded history at your fingertips. To enter into any situation completely uninformed is both lazy and irresponsible.
18. Your reputation is everything.
It’s your interface, and it’s your currency. It’s your truth, and it’s your promise. It’s the sum total of your stories, and it’s the expression of your value. Protect it at all costs.
19. Do things, tell people.
If you’re not telling your story, someone else is. Own your narrative, own your reputation. Don’t leave it up to someone else to tell your story.
20. Become your greatest advocate.
Know what you want and clearly ask for it. Don’t wait for someone else to ask on your behalf. If you don’t have a seat at the table, you might end up on the menu.
21. The things you choose not to face will face you nonetheless.
Learn how to bravely confront reality fast and early. Get past the cringing and get to work. Consequences only get worse with time.
22. Always try to take take the stairs.
When faced with an array of tough choices, think of the thing that you least want to do. That’s probably the right thing to do. Toughen up and do it.
23. If you want to move forward, prepare to let things go.
Whatever is holding you back—relationships, projects, fears, etc.—let it go. What good are rocket boosters once all the fuel is spent?
24. Lighten your load by repacking your bags.
Regularly unpacking things allows you to repack them with much more intention and wisdom. Lighter (and fewer) bags make for easier journeys.
25. Ignore the competition and keep working. Cream rises to the top.
Don’t get distracted from practicing your instruments, writing new music, and taking your show on the road. Trust yourself. Trust the process. Know that true skill is undeniable.
26 Prepare for (wild) success.
If you campaign hard enough, eventually you’ll get elected. Meditate on your follow-up to getting everything you want. Anticipate victory just as you would failure.
27. You have to be more than your job.
As Peter Drucker put it, “You cannot do a job if a job is all you do.” The world needs you at your best. You have to nourish to flourish.
28. Put your phone away. Life isn’t happening on your timeline.
Don’t confuse social media for the real thing. Real life is happening right before your eyes and all around you.
29. Celebrate milestones, especially the small ones.
With your eye on the destination, find joy in the journey. Marking your progress will help you to sustain momentum and appreciate your growth.
30. If it’s not a happy ending, then it’s not the ending.
As the Chinese proverb states, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is today.” Keep on trying, even if you have to restart.