Life Lessons: 32 Things I’ve Learned So Far

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Here are 32 things I’ve learned from life, so far.

  1. You are not your thoughts. There is a “you” behind and above your inner voice/monologue/dialogue. Pay attention to what you pay attention to. Think about what you think about.
  2. We always only have the present moment. Focusing too much on the future leads to anxiety. Focusing too much on the past leads to depression. Wherever you are, be fully there, now! (Read The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle [affiliate link here and throughout] for more on this.)
  3. It’s OK not to be OK. Feeling anxious, depressed, angry, etc. is fine. However, avoid the trap of feeling anxious about how anxious you feel, feeling depressed about how depressed you feel, etc. (Learned this from The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris.)
  4. If you never make mistakes, you’re not learning/growing as well as you could be. Perfectionism is a deadly prison. Break free with “good enough” and “always learning.”
  5. You are stronger than you think you are. You are weaker than you think you are.
  6. Ask more questions. Ask better questions.
  7. God is not a thing among things. There is an “infinite qualitative difference” between God and everything that is not God, everything that exists.
  8. Jesus of Nazareth is the living Lord of all. ___ is not.
  9. Beware of overconfidence in what the Bible (or any other sacred text, for that matter) “clearly”does or does not say.
  10. God is devoted to the poor and powerless. Those who speak and act on God’s behalf should speak and act for the poor and powerless.
  11. To do better with people, ask them questions about themselves. (Read the classic How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.)
  12. You can’t out-exercise your appetite forever. Eat food. Mostly plants. Not too much.
  13. Get enough sleep. You probably don’t get enough sleep.
  14. Lift heavy things.
  15. Go outside. Take a walk.
  16. Open a Roth IRA. Invest consistently in low-cost mutual funds or lifecycle funds as soon as you can. (Learned this from I Will Teach You to Be Rich by Ramit Sethi.)
  17. Reading is a superpower. You can learn from as many other lives and lifetimes as you want. Learn how to read. Then learn how to learn. Then, learn whatever you want!
  18. Always read with a pen or pencil in your hand. If you really want to learn from a book, buy a physical copy and annotate the heck out of it.
  19. You always have to earn and keep your audience’s attention. Before/while communicating, ask yourself “Why should they care? What’s in it for them?”
  20. Humans are incredibly good at misunderstanding each other. Before/while communicating, ask yourself “How might I be misunderstood? How might I be misunderstanding others?”
  21. Remember that you and your loved ones are all going to die. What do you want to be known for?
  22. Eulogize people BEFORE they die.
  23. Everyone should go to therapy for at least a few months.
  24. “Slow is smooth. Smooth is fast.” Feeling nervous/stressed/angry/etc.? SLOW DOWN, especially if you’re in front of other people.
  25. Courage is a choice, not a feeling. No matter how nervous you are, you can always ACT courageously.
  26. Everyone is trying to figure it out as they go along. Do you often feel like an imposter? Join the club!
  27. Act like you’ve been here before. Act like you’ve done this before. Act calm, comfortable, and confident, if for no other reason than to help the people around you feel calm, comfortable, and confident.
  28. Leadership is service. Leadership is the willingness to make a decision for the good of the group even when it’s awkward or uncomfortable to do so.
  29. Focus on what you can control.
  30. Journal. What do you really want? What are you afraid of? What’s the most important thing you need to get done today? Get a notebook and write it down!
  31. In many domains, 80% of the outcomes/effects come from 20% of the inputs/causes. Find the “vital few” things that have outsized impacts, both positive and negative, on your life. Double-down on what’s helping you. Get rid of what’s hurting you.
  32. Use smoked paprika. You’re welcome.

By joshuapsteele

The Rev. Dev. I solve problems with a pastor's heart for people and a programmer's eye for detail. Learn more at


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