10 Painful Lessons I Learned In 2018 That Made Me A Better Person

Photo by Brooke Lark on Unsplash

If I could send myself a blog post on January 1st, 2018, this is what it would say..

TOM, YOU NEED TO LEARN SOME THINGS.

Here’s 10 lessons that’ll make this year a lot less stressful for you..


1. Things Will Change, Stupid

Medium unrolled a massive change to their algorithm in July. The effects were felt far and wide. Writers of all kinds were screaming, hollering, and generally running around like chickens with their heads cut off.

I realized I relied on Medium wayyy too much for my views and “reach” as a creator.

Moral of the story: Things change. Platforms switch their algorithm up. Do not rest on laurels and expect things to always stay the same.

Solution: Diversify.


2. Make The Hard Decisions Right NOW

I made the terrible mistake last year of putting off a few “hard decisions” for later to give myself more time.

I knew deep down what needed to happen, though.

As bonds grew stronger, and developed more, I realized I was flying higher and higher without thinking about the fall if I let certain people go.

Moral of the story: “Decision procrastination” leads to more guilt, suffering, and heartache the longer it goes on.

Solution: Make the hard decisions NOW. Especially when it comes to people.


3. Welcome Criticism From Friends (Even If You Don’t Want To)

I hate being told how to get better. Not because I think I’m perfect, but because I feel it puts me in a position of weakness compared to the other person.

Like they’re better than me — talking down to me.

But we’re all screwed up, right?

I realized in late 2018 that nobody is going to tell you where you went wrong if you act like a baby every time they do.

This is the formula for stagnation and decay, ladies and gentlemen. I suck at this, but I’m trying to realize that nobody is really “better” than anybody else. In fact, if you’re open to hearing criticism, that already puts you above most people because a lot of us hate hearing how we can do better.

Moral of the story: You ain’t perfect. But you also like your ego.

Solution: Realize that everybody is screwed up. We all got problems. The person telling you of your problems has theirs, too. GET BETTER!


4. Don’t Tell Everyone Everything

Your life is your life.

You don’t need to broadcast everything on social media/tell your parents about every little detail of your life.

Why? Because a lot of the emotions you feel are fleeting things.

When you let everyone know every way you feel at every given opportunity, it starts to feel like the “Boy Who Cried Wolf.”

Moral of the story: Many of us can feel happy then wildly stressed in the same 4-hour period. 😆 It can send people on a rollercoaster and be annoying for anyone watching.

Solution: Just do you. Leave your indecisiveness to yourself. People will respect your decisions more if you do.


5. If 10 Miles Separates You — Walk 9 Miles

I’ve realized this year that we’re all screwed up. Teachers, Uncles, Parents, Politicians (yikes), and many people we look up to. AND US.

Many times in my life I’ve wondered why my friends don’t do more for me.

Why don’t they call ME? Why don’t they show support when something good happens for ME like I do for them?

Why don’t they like my girlfriend — or at least TRY to like my girlfriend like I do for them? 😆

Well, if I go through life tossing away every person that doesn’t do what I feel I deserve I’ll probably end life with no friends.

It doesn’t take away the fact that you might deserve more, but it’s also a pretty lonely life, eh?

And to be honest, we’re all more screwed up than WE think.

So my prescription is, when 10 miles separates you and someone else, walk 9 miles to them and shut up about it. They’ll walk the other mile.

Moral of the story: You deserve something, but realize that the people we’re dealing with aren’t walking their 5 miles because they’re insecure and flawed like so many people in the world. Not because you did anything wrong. This should make the 9-mile journey a little easier to stomach.

Solution: WALK 9 MILES.


6. Don’t Do Things Because Other People Do Them

I found a little success with Facebook video this year, and in November I held my very first in-person “meetup” in Manila.

It was awesome! I had a lot of fun..

But I was nervous as all get-out before the event.

On my way there I wondered why I even scheduled a meetup in the first place (cause I was a scared brat). I didn’t mind having it, but I wondered WHY I even wanted one to begin with.

I realized it’s because that’s what so many other Facebook video creators do, and I, on auto-pilot, decided to follow their lead.

I realized recently it’s okay to NOT do what other people are doing.

Moral of the story: It’s okay to do meetups, and I’ll do MANY more! But, it’s also important to not turn into replica of someone you look up to without realizing it.

Solution: Self-awareness to realize what you actually WANT. Self-confidence to do only what you NEED.. nothing more.


7. 90% Of Your Worries Don’t Matter

I spent a LOT of time this year worrying about finances. I tracked expenses and revenue like a hawk — spending 5–10 hours per month worrying about my future and “net worth.”

Want to know a funny story?

I made more in December than any other month in 2018 — and I made less videos, published less blog posts, and basically saw it as a “rebuilding” month.

Crazy, right?

Like, the month I didn’t care, I ended up grossing more than ever. Thanks, life.

Moral of the story: Worry, but don’t worry too much.

Solution: The future is full of things that will help you get past your worries. It’s just too blurry to make out exactly what they are right now.


8. Things Will Change — In A Good Way

This is the opposite of the first point. Just like the bad things that happen that we can’t foresee, good things will also come that we never could’ve expected.

I never expected my Facebook Page to blow up this year. Never.

I thought I’d make my name as a video creator on Youtube.

I also never expected to be making money from Facebook through video ads.

These were occurrences that I never could’ve foreseen happening.

So just keep an eye on that horizon, you never know what GOOD things are coming, either.

Moral of the story: Bad things happen, but good things also come out of nowhere.

Solution: None — this is a good thing! 😉


9. You Won’t Suck At Things Forever

My first few days in the Philippines, I was very uneasy. I never felt unsafe, really, I just felt like everyone was staring at me.

It felt like a mistake to come here by myself..

Then I settled in. I made a lot of friends. I did meetups. I “matured.”

So many times when we try something new, it burns us, then we immediately think it’s not for us. But the truth is, we just need to give ourselves a few more “reps.”

Everything can be learned, I think. It just takes some time.

Moral of the story: If you suck at something, you’ll get better at it eventually. Don’t get discouraged.

Solution: Patience. Belief in the process.


10. You Should Prioritize Lifestyle Over Growth

I had an unforgettable 2018. Truly.

But so much of my year was spent with my head down at work. At least half the year was blown to smithereens alone in my room.

Not working out. Not eating correctly. Yes, I grew a lot as a creator and got better at my craft, but if my months just keep melting away like this what does it matter how much better I get?

Life is meant for living.

In 2019, I hope to prioritize lifestyle over growth. Health — mental and physical. Happiness. Mindfulness.

Moral of the story: Ambition is great, but lifestyle is the key to true happiness — not some lofty goal.

Solution: Give yourself more time to stop + stare.

Thank you for reading!

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