After sharing what happened in 2019 in terms of good and bad stuff, it’s time to tell you some of the things I’ve learned in the last year.
I’ve seen other people write 10-things-I’ve-learned posts before and I always thought it’s super easy. However, sitting on your behinds to come up with 10 (short) things you’ve discovered in the last 12 months is a daunting task. It seems easy, but it’s actually quite challenging.
The gains though are plenty: This task helps you organize your thoughts; You remind yourself what are the things you’ve learned; It feels really inspiring when you see that the year wasn’t just a waste of time; This task can motivate you to make the upcoming year even better.
If you want to make your own list, you can use the template I’ve created exclusively for members (click here).
So, here are the lessons I’ve learned in 2019:
Ten Things I’ve Learned in 2019:
Lesson #1: Having a child changes how you view the world:
After my son was born, now I am constantly thinking of making the world a better place. I know, this sounds absolutely lame but I want the best for my son. And here I’m not talking about buying him Guccy baby shoes or pampering him with bizarre-looking baby toys. I’m talking about enforcing a growth mindset in the people around me and making them do good stuff because that’s the only way the world can become a better place for him to live. And how you do this? That’s right, by doing good stuff yourself. Lead by examples as smart people say.
Lesson #2: We need to make something about the climate
In 2019 I saw that the city I live in, my hometown, is amongst the most polluted cities on Earth! That was a shocking realization because I didn’t feel anything in the air, but apparently, what I inhale is not as good as it used to be. But it’s not only the city where I live in, the air pollution steadily increases year after year. Unfortunately, buying eco-bags won’t cut it. We need to change the way we interact with things on a daily basis – how we commute, how we consume goods, how we dispose of goods. And we all need to do participate if we want to see a positive change.
Lesson #3: Setting goals is good but having good habits is 10X better
What happens when you create a list of good habits? Or when you set a goal to get fit? Something you probably placed on your New Year’s Resolution list.
Most people stop going to the gym after a month or two. They actually burn more calories trying to get a refund for the yearly membership they paid in January. In contrast, if you start small and decide to exercise daily, form it as a habit, you’ll get closer to the desired state – having a body worth taking to the beach.
Lesson #4: The only certain thing in life is change
The lifecycle of the newest, slickest, iPhone is 16 months. You buy a new car every 2 years. You barely see your high-school buddies. Your thoughts are quite different from 5 years ago… Or in other words, things change all the time. The job you do now, the thing that brings food on your table can be obsolete in the next few years. So, we need to constantly adapt to the forever-changing world and accept the fact that regular updates are part of the process of being alive.
Lesson #5: You don’t need a lot to be happy
Buying goods makes us feel good but it gives us just a quick burst of positive sensations and the effect quickly wears off. If you want true happiness you need only these two things: 1) Work that feels fulfilling and earns you enough to cover your needs; 2) People who accept who you are. If you have those two, your life might not look successful online, but it will feel successful. Something a lot more important.
Lesson #6: People are narcissist by nature and don’t really care about you
Yes, this sounds kind of depressing but there is a bright side. So, hear me out…
It took about 10 months for my friends and colleagues to notice that I only wear black clothes now. And when they found out the conversations went something like this:
Friends: “You wear only black clothes now?
Friends: “Ok, cool.”
Most of them didn’t even bother to ask why.
Stop worrying about other people’s opinions and don’t fill your mind with thoughts like: “What would people say about me if I do X?” People don’t really care about you and about what you do as long as you don’t threaten them. So, if you want to start a vlog, a business, to travel the world, or to speak in front of others, just do it. Don’t worry about what others will say because many of them won’t even notice or care.
Lesson #7: You don’t need a social media account to have a life
When I unfollowed everyone on Facebook I thought that the government will delist my name from the list of residents. No seriously, I thought that people will forget about my existence and that I’ll have to adopt cats to have someone to keep me company. But that didn’t happen. People simply adjusted to my unavailability online and if they need me they call me. Also, the so-called fear of missing out on significant events that keeps millions of people online is just noise. If something is really important it will surely reach your ears one way or another.
Lesson #8: You need to focus on one thing if you want to make it work
In 2019 I was constantly on a lookout for something else to do, something else to start. I thought that this “new idea” will be much better than what I was doing on durmonski.com. However, after the initial excitement, the “new thing” always felt dump and unpractical and I returned to writing book summaries. I learned that if you want to make something work, you need to give your full attention to this one thing. It’s kind of like you’re in a relationship. You don’t go chasing other girls if you want to have a lasting relationship with your current spouse, right? Well, that’s exactly what you need to do if you want to make a website work.
Lesson #9: Everything in the world requires maintenance
Something really important I learned from Kevin’s Kelly book, The Inevitable. The lesson is painfully obvious, yet often neglected by us: everything in the world requires maintenance. Few examples: The grass in front of your house won’t cut itself; Your new blog won’t update itself with new content; You need to occasionally talk to your partner if you want to have a stable relationship; The software you created needs to be frequently updated to function properly. So, whatever you’re doing, purchasing, creating you need to remember that this thing, or person, will need part of your attention. Do you have time for it (him/her)?
Lesson #10: When in doubt, simplify
People think that the path to true happiness and success is adding more features, things, and people in their lives. But that’s not really the case. As mentioned above, everything in the world requires maintenance. The more things you have in your life, the more time you’ll spend taking care of them. In contrast, if you have fewer things to manage, fewer relationships, you’ll have more free time for yourself, more time to make these relationships thrive, and more time for making something really great. So, don’t fool yourself into thinking that more things will make your life better, it’s the other way around. It’s easy to make things complicated but it takes true genius to make complicated things simple.