I got the clap from 6,000 people.

Here’s what I learned from it.

It’s that Unsplash photo everyone uses!

On August 22, I wrote a review of the new Medium logo. It was a trojan horse. The trap inside? A whiny little rant about the switch from recommendations to claps.

Two days later, I yelled at people who hate clapping.

Despite the obvious hypocrisy, I’m now 97,000 claps richer and infinitely wiser. And because I’m amazing, I’m passing my knowledge on to you. Ready? Here we go.

What I Learned After Netting 97,000 Claps

  1. I’m checking my Medium notifications a lot more lately.
  2. I have learned no other lessons.

Some of the most hilarious Medium stories are of the “MY POST BLEW UP AND HERE’S HOW DIFFERENT MY LIFE IS NOW” variety. Stop it. Your life isn’t better. If anything, it’s worse. You’re checking notifications nearly as often as you inhale, and you now suffer from creative paralysis because there’s no way you can possibly repeat your success.

The best explanation I have for why my stories exploded is that the Internet is weird and loves when people talk about their dogs eating poop. That logo review took me 15 minutes to write. On multiple occasions, I’ve spent hours bleeding a story onto my screen only to watch it go unnoticed and unloved once it’s published. That’s just the way it goes. To pretend I have a magic formula for gaining claps, fans, or followers (beyond “WRITE EVERY DAY”) would be a waste of my time and yours.

So instead, I’ll write a different list. Yesterday was my 34th birthday, so here are 10 things I’ve learned about life. I was going to do 34, but that’s WAY too many.

That’s right, it’s another trojan horse! BAHAHAHAHA. I’ll stop using them when you stop falling for them, you noob.

10 Things I’ve Learned About Life

  1. The most important thing you can do is show up. I flunked out of college because I didn’t do it. My kids think I’m great because I do. So whether it’s school, work, parenting, love, or friendships, you need to show up. Especially if you don’t want to.
  2. Keeping a daily journal is impossible.
  3. If you get your heart broken, cut off all contact immediately. They probably want to still be friends, which sounds like a good idea, but that’s a guaranteed way to be a mopey little Eeyore who can’t let go. Cut off all contact, go to the gym, start a new creative hobby, hang with friends and family. Heartbreak sucks and it’ll be a while before it lifts. But eventually, it does. Then you find someone better.
  4. Playing a musical instrument well is an excellent way to show someone you dig that you’re diggable, too.
  5. Video games (and pretty much all other forms of entertainment) are an adventure shortcut. I tell myself they’re a good way to stay connected with friends, but the truth is they usually just prevent me from creating, doing something for my soul, or getting a good night’s sleep.
  6. A baby’s first poop is incredible. Gooey and sticky black tar.
  7. I dated my wife for 7 years before I married her, and it took me all 7 of those years to learn how to love her correctly. She is filled up by quality time and acts of service, which means I had to learn to do things I suck at: Leading deep, meaningful conversations. Planning date nights and vacations myself. Doing the stupid laundry once in a while. (THERE’S SO MUCH LAUNDRY, ALL THE TIME)
  8. Ratatouille is Pixar’s most rewatchable film. No, I didn’t say best. The best is obviously WALL-E. Or Inside Out. Or Toy Story 2. Man, I love Pixar.
  9. Are you the person in the relationship who is the easy-going one? The one who falls asleep the moment their head hits the pillow? HIGH FIVE. We have it pretty great, right? I should tell you your partner is probably burdened not just with their task list, but assigning yours. That is insane. Stop waiting to be asked to do something. Stop asking “How can I help?” It’s a sweet question, but it puts an extra load on their shoulders. They’re not upper management. You are partners. Show some initiative and get some stuff done without being asked.
  10. WARNING: When you do #9 for the first time, your partner will immediately call an ambulance, convinced you’re in mortal peril. Be prepared for this. Let them know you’re fine and don’t feel like spending thousands on an unnecessary hospital trip.