This piece of advice is written by a great friend of mine. I love it to pieces! Enjoy!
DON’T READ THIS IF YOU’RE OVER 40**
(Six Things That will Make Life a Whole Lot Easier)
On the occasion of my 40th birthday I thought I’d share a few things with those younger than I am so that they may avoid the nonsense that can to often get in the way of enjoying a good life. Since those over 40 are likely to have greater insight, they can stop reading at this point (unless he or she wishes to add additional tips, which I welcome). But for the growing number of you that fit the equation: x= < my age, here are my thoughts: 1. Edit. Life is short and time is your most precious resource. While you can do just about anything, you can’t do everything. So I’ve found editing is the key to most good things that happen in life. If you want a good script, edit it. If you want to write a good book, edit it. And most of all, if you want good relationships (business, romantic, or basic friendships), edit those too! While some people are very good at it, I’ve never been a fan of general networking—connecting with people with the hope of discovering future or current value to extract from one another. Instead, I’ve just sought out people I liked to work with or people who interested me, gave as much as I could and kept them around for as long as possible. Those that I didn't connect with, I didn't force, I simply I've edited where I could. Mine has been a smaller net but with much stronger ropes. Plus, the more you edit the more bandwidth you grant yourself. So edit drama, edit clutter, edit the time you spend on trivial things and edit those who create great volatility in your life. Edit until all that is left is that which makes your life story the page-turner it deserves to be. 2. Put Life on Automatic Pilot. I have a strange fascinations with infomercials. While I can’t remember buying anything from an infomercial, I find them to be some of the most interesting forms of persuasive media on television. One of the most successful guys in the trade is named Ron Popeil who urges customers of his Showtime Rotisserie to “set it and forget it.” As silly as this sounds, this philosophy is very helpful for acquiring more of what you want and reducing stress. The idea is to create helpful programs cycles in your life that take little or no effort replicating and don’t spend a lot of time thinking of them. Some I recommend: *Retirement Saving – Having money taken out of you salary before you see it will save you a lot of stress in the future (and believe me, the future is coming!). One day you’ll wake up and say to yourself, “wow! I’ve worked that many years?” The good news is by putting savings on auto pilot, you'll soon realize you have something significant to show for it. *Automatic (online) bill pay –Please, just do this if you don’t already. This way your internet won’t get cut off some night you need it and your credit score won’t be dinged because you didn’t have a stamp, which in turn made your payment late. Your credit is the equivalent of your monetary reputation, so I strongly advise you to treat is as sacred. Set it and forget it will help. *Exercise – You don't need to be an Olympian, but you should incorporate some kind of physical activity into your daily life. So just set a reasonable, balanced program and follow along. Don’t complain about it. Don’t kill yourself doing it. Instead, try to make it an non intrusive as possible so, like your retirement, you wake up one day when everyone else around you is deteriorating and realize that little bit of effort has translated into many years of a more active and enjoyable life. *Promise Day –I forget stuff I've said all the time. So I have picked one day of the week where I ask myself what promises I have made or things I said I'd get around to doing. Then I do it (unless I forget again, in which hopefully I remember the following week). You'll find people will give you tremendous credit for simply doing what you claimed you would. 3. Make Friends with Failure. We grow up with many people telling us how to be winners, but I’ve found you can’t truly succeed in life until you learn to be friends with failure. Poker has taught me a lot about this. In poker, one statistically loses more times (hands) than he wins, and yet the lessons learned are priceless. They include a) When you lose, be gracious or nobody will want to play with you again; b) In loss, don't lose perspective—Thinking the result of any particular circumstance (or hand) is a commentary on the rest of your life or who you are is not only unfounded, it can lead to really bad results; c) You get a lot more valuable information from analyzing how you messed up than how you succeeded; and d) Sometimes life is about enduring the losses until it’s your time to shine. Then, when life finally does deal you that winning hand, you ride that success all the way home. Personally, I make so many mistakes, that I’ve often become very good friends with failure. But I try not to beat myself up about it. To win, you need to be a good loser. 4. Aspire to Clear Thinking and Employ Common Sense. Happy, productive people are engaged people who strive for clear thinking in all circumstances. They care about the right result and they are uncomfortable when things offend common sense. I remember the week I was to graduate from college I had gone into the administrative office to ask why I hadn’t received my graduation credentials needed to walk at graduation. The person behind the desk explained that my exercise physiology teacher had forgotten to turn in my grade. That would have been fine, until he added that he was “Sorry, but if the professor hasn’t turned in the grade by x date, the computer won’t let us enter it in the system. There’s nothing I can do” Really I thought? This guy was telling me I couldn’t graduate from USC because of an oversight by my professor and a computer program that had emasculated him! Had I said, “bummer, I guess those years of education and hundreds of thousands of dollars spent where a waste” I’m sure the guy would have smiled empathetically, resigned to the fact there was nothing he could do, happy to let me go on my way. Of course, I finally got a manager who realized how silly the issue was and fixed it, but I’m always reminded that the bar form many people’s mental hurdles is very low and yet they see these things as walls they cannot scale. The good news is that by simply questioning things that offend common sense (and there are endless examples), life will be far more satisfying, abundant and people will see you as a leader. All this for asking the question, "Really,?" There are times we all must learn to cut our losses, but often it’s best to persevere in the defense of common sense in the face of a complacent world. 5. Practice Kindness. Not much to say here other than I have found that there is no greater return on investment than offering simple dignity, civility and kindness to all people life put’s in your path. 6. Imagine How Good the Bad Can Be. Don’t just select people in your life by how good life can be in their company, but also consider just how bad life can be with that person as well. This may sound negative but, believe me, it will save you so much grief and wasted time. Remember you could sit next to Kim Jong-Un at the Academy Awards and still have a great time. The trick is to find someone you want to go through the bad times with (to which I wouldn't suggest Kim Jong-Un). I used to say the best way to propose marriage was during an argument. In the heat of the argument you would stop the person and say, “WAIT! I hear you, but can you be quiet one moment so I can ask you: will you marry me?!” and if she says, “Of course I’ll marry you but you’re being a complete ass right now so first we’re going to finish this discussion!” then you know you’ve made the right choice. Thus, when considering topic #1, who to edit, remember to not to cut those people who you want to go through this crazy journey of life with--good or especially bad. So my 39 year old and 11 month and younger friends, I'm sure there are many other people with greater credentials who can offer you greater advice. All I can say is on this day of my 40th birthday, I have never wanted less, felt better or been more appreciative of that which life has afforded me than I am today. And if you’d like to feel the same at 40, you might try one or two of these things for yourself. Finally, in your youth a lot of people are going to tell you that the best days are behind us (the "good old days" crowd). Take it from me, those people are either lying or delusional. Regardless, edit this information too. When you too turn 40 and if you don't find that life isn't far better than when you were 20, you signed up for the wrong program. Tomorrow is ALWAYS a better day 🙂 Adam Pliska May 1, 2012.