Producer’s note: Someone on Quora asked: What is it that nobody tells you about adult life? Here is one of the best answers that’s been pulled from the thread.
My second start up had just completely failed. I had come home on a Saturday night at midnight and there was a letter on my kitchen counter.
It was from a law firm threatening to sue my company.
It felt like someone kicked me in my stomach. It was one of the worst feelings in the world. In the last 31 years of living, I wish there were a few key lessons someone taught me as I was growing up as a kid.
Here are the 10 things I felt like nobody told me about adult life:
1. The most valuable currency in the world is time
Money is valuable. Time is even more valuable. Time is finite. Once you spend it, you cannot earn it back. Utilize money to help you find more time. Time with your friends, family and loved ones.
One of my family friends spent most of his life saving every single penny that he could so that he could finally live his dream life. One day, he was involved in a car crash. He didn’t survive. Appreciate the time that you have now.
2. Sometimes only you can help yourself
Having a great support system of friends and family is absolutely critical to your well being and success. Invest your energy and time with the people that love and support you and make you happy. Also recognize, that sometimes only you can pull yourself out of the darkness.
When my second start up failed, I remember feeling absolutely terrible one night as I laid in bed looking at the ceiling. I felt like I had failed as a person. Eventually, over time, I realized that I couldn’t keep moping around. So I got out of bed and went for a run.
I began to read books (like “Zen and Inner Peace”) to help clear my mind. And eventually, I convinced myself that I would give it another try. And guess what? It worked. I’m on my third start up now (CEO Lifestyle) and hit 1,500 subscribers in just 3 months.
3. Empathy is the key to connecting with people
Once, my sister called me to talk about a tough situation. I didn’t have an answer to the problem, so I said, “What do you want me to do about it?” And she said, “Nothing, I just want you to listen to me, that’s all.” That’s some of the best advice she’s ever given to me.
Most of the time, we don’t have a clue as to what the right answer is. And that’s okay. What’s more important is that you understand the other’s person’s perspective and feelings. That’s how you connect with people.
Learn to deeply empathize. It’ll make you a better person.
4. You really don’t need that pizza slice at 2 AM
Put it down. Now. Your body will thank you 5 years from now. Wait, is it a BBQ chicken pizza? Okay, maybe just one bite…
5. Drinking is overrated
When I was younger, I used to get so excited to meet with friends to drink during the weekend. Work is over, time for happy hour! And then I realized, it’s actually not as fun as I thought. Sure, it’s great to bond over these experiences but are the experiences actually that great?
When I drank, I began to realize that it’s (obviously) harder to remember conversations, sometimes the person you’re speaking to isn’t even coherent and ultimately it doesn’t end up feeling like quality time. To top it off, there are the hangovers.
Do I still have a drink socially every now and then? Sure, but it’s really rare now for me. I love having a sober, fun, witty, genuine conversation with someone and being able to remember it perfectly weeks later.
That feels like a real connection to me. Think about it this way, if people are only having fun with you when drinking is involved, do they really like you for who you are?
6. Your career success is heavily tied to the value you provide
I get people asking me to review their resumes pretty often. Which is funny, because I wrote a book called “The Resume is Dead.”
Anyway, one person asked me to take a look. So I did. And what I saw on his resume is something I see all the time. A lot of people write out the responsibilities of their work in their job experience. Very few people write out the results.
Sure, you might have created a new product line at the company, but why does that matter? Always remember to show the value of your work. This is very often tied to the success of your career. I bet you want some specific examples, don’t you? Okay, I’ll give you one:
Example #1: Created a new mobile app for Company XYZ.
Example #2: Created a new mobile app that increased customer acquisition by 3X and increased customer satisfaction by 75% for Company XYZ.
Which one is more compelling to you? Thought so.
7. Love is a broad spectrum
Love is a commitment. Love is being there for someone when things go south. Love is making adjustments and compromising.
Love is realizing that it’s not just about you. It’s mutual. It’s about helping each other discover happiness. Sometimes love means letting go. Love is a broad spectrum. Explore it and define what it means to you.
8. You can lead, with or without a title
Companies put titles in place so that people feel like they are progressing in their career.
What most people don’t realize is that you can lead, with or without a title. “I have this great idea but I’m not in a position of power to make it happen!” said almost everyone I’ve ever met.
Learn to be articulate. Learn to be persuasive. Learn to sell ideas effectively. Learn to get buy in from stakeholders. The title doesn’t do that for you. You do that by stepping up your skills. Stop worrying about the title. Start leading. The title will come naturally.
9. Most paths aren’t linear
What works for someone else may not work for you. Every single one of us is unique after all.
When I was in college, I saw a lot of friends go into finance. That sounded like a great idea! I could make a lot of money right after college in investment banking, have a stable career and live the American dream.
One problem: I was terrible at finance. I even failed an introductory economics course. It was clear I sucked at it. So I thought about what my skill sets were.
I’m passionate (Think “Tony Robbins”). I work hard. I love talking with people. And I want to help others. So I went into sales. I never would have guessed this is the career I would have gone into. Most of my friends became doctors, lawyers and financial analysts.
But that’s the thing. We’re all different. And I had my own path to take. Your path in life will be different from others. Learn to embrace it.
10. You are in control
Don’t want to work a 9 to 5 job? Study people who have created lifestyle businesses and start one of your own.
Don’t want to be out of shape anymore? Follow the P90X workout and get a Nutribullet and get in the best shape of your life. You’re the CEO of your own life. Start making decisions that drive the vision you’ve always dreamed of. Get started. Now. Because it’s never too late to live an epic life.