Some lessons I wish I learned earlier in life

Written by Paul on April 4th, 2008

As I get older, I realize I’ve learned some lessons that I wish I had picked up sooner in life. Most of these lessons were learned through experience, many through the various mentors (Thanks, guys!) I’ve had along the way and a few from various books I’ve read here and there.

When most people today hear the word “lesson,” they usually don’t think of it as a good thing. Teaching a lesson may be looked at as being bossy or perhaps a know-it-all. While having learned a lesson may be viewed as a sign of weakness.

However, learning lessons is far from being weak. In fact, George Washington once said, “We ought not to look back unless it is derive useful lessons from past errors and for the purpose of profiting by dear bought experience.” Well said, sir.

Without further ado, here’s the list:

  1. The 80/20 rule.
  2. Parkinson’s Law.
  3. Batching.
  4. First, give value. Then, get value. Not the other way around.
  5. Be proactive. Not reactive.
  6. Mistakes and failures are good.
  7. Don’t beat yourself up.
  8. Your attitude changes your reality.
  9. Don’t compare yourself to others.
  10. Worrying never gets you anywhere.
  11. Don’t take things too seriously.
  12. Avoid being technology’s bitch.
  13. There are opportunities in just about every experience.

In order to save you some time, starting next week and continuing each week, I’m going to highlight one of the lessons that you can focus on throughout the week.

Until then, why not send me a note and tell me about the lessons you’ve learned along the way. I’ll add the good ones to this list.

18 Responses to “Some lessons I wish I learned earlier in life”

  • Only fight the fights you need to win.
    Negativity is its own reward.
    You can’t piss anyone off by praising them.

    — 07/07/08 at 10:58 pm

  • Rob

    Hey good advice. I had never heard of the 80/20 principle. It is a fascinating idea. Maybe I can take some of your advice being that I am still young (19), it might help me along the way. :)

    — 07/08/08 at 6:46 pm

  • nice list.

    — 07/10/08 at 3:13 am

  • Lemme know when you’ve written something for “Don’t take things too seriously.” Your list is helpful, and the content is great too!

    — 07/17/08 at 10:44 pm

  • Aj

    Once after telling an employee I have worked in the Hospitality and retail business for over 20 years I was asked what I learened from all those years of working around and with people. My response? “Be nice”.
    He told me it was not what he though I would say. lol.
    Great list!

    — 07/20/08 at 10:52 am

  • Absolutely great list. The most simple ideas often are neglected the most in a disorganized, chaotic life when they could be tranquil.

    — 07/21/08 at 8:50 pm

  • Good advice, but what if one has gone too old to pick it up?

    — 07/23/08 at 1:45 am

  • @Tobin: I suppose that depends – I’m a firm believer that you can always teach an old dog some new tricks. :)

    — 07/23/08 at 7:19 am

  • Tobin,
    No one is ever too late.
    I am starting again at mid sixties and refreshing that which
    I learned and used in my Twenties

    — 07/23/08 at 8:14 pm

  • I check my feed reader everyday for the next article!

    — 07/24/08 at 1:39 pm

  • hi
    Great post….about 8th point – “your attitude changes your reality” might to wanto to list “The secret” movie. It really inspiring and focuses exactly on the very same point. The message is that you can attract whatever you want. The movie website is

    — 07/26/08 at 6:12 am

  • Great words of wisdom. Yes, we must all keep growing or else we lose everything we’ve lived for. Great post.

    — 07/31/08 at 7:58 pm

  • Solid post. It’s tough to not compare yourself with others in our society, but oh so true. Great post!

    — 08/13/08 at 10:28 pm

  • #4, 6 and 8 are the hardest for people to understand and actually implement. Ironically this makes them extremely important because they give you an edge must others don’t have. 1, 2 and 3 are essential – but people learn these quickly or they fall out of the game.

    5, 7, 9 10, 11 and 13 are dead on – if you don’t have those characteristics you are doomed.

    12 is one I had to overcome myself…..

    Major kudos on 4, 6 and 8! Some people don’t even realize these are important.

    — 08/14/08 at 4:10 am

  • Great list, but I have something you should add that I learned later in life. Each and every day do something to improve the quality of your life. The simplest little things can add huge value over time.

    — 09/06/08 at 6:01 pm

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