10 Lessons from a 27 and a half year old

I have a confession: this post should have been titled ’10 Things I Learned at 27.’ It should have been posted on 20th January (my birthday). But on 20th January I was feeling suicidal and did nothing but lie in bed all day. I was weak.

But I never admitted to myself that I was weak. I didn’t feel like doing anything, but I forced myself to. I wanted to feel and look strong. I went out, met people, hung out with friends, planned and worked, even when I was falling apart inside.

Then, I fell apart outside and almost killed myself.

[1] So the first lesson I learned this year was that there’s nothing wrong with being weak sometimes. When you feel weak, be selfish and give yourself some time off. It is the only thing you need. Taking a rest is not a sign of weakness. It is a sign of understanding that you are only human and that with rest you can come back stronger.

[2] I learned my second lesson when I took a break from working and was deciding what to do with so much free time. I’ve spent over eight years intensely working on my career. I almost forgot who I was without it.

My sister told me, ‘Do what you have always loved.’ So I picked up filming, photography, fiction writing and comic drawing. I have always loved these. Strangely enough, these hobbies energised me in all areas of my life. The lesson: never forget what you love. Make sure that they are part of your daily life. If you let them go, you will feel lost one day.

[3] The third lesson is somewhat related to the second: your career is not you. I used to believe that if you have a great career, then you do not really have to worry about your personal life. I was wrong. Our career gives us a reason to work, but it doesn’t give us a reason to live. Have a great career, be good at what you do, but never tie your worth to it.

[4] I learned my fourth lesson when I was sat in front of a beautiful sunset and felt nothing. I realised then and there that I never learned to enjoy my own company. Though I could be by myself, when I was alone I never enjoyed my own company as I did when I was around my good friends. This year, I learned to love myself, to enjoy my own company.

[5] When I felt particularly lazy for two weeks straight, I wanted to find out how I can not be lazy. I had all these things I was excited to do, but never got to them. I experimented and learned that the best way to start your day is to get something done. I now begin my days with a 5-10minute meditation before going for a run/walk/workout/writing exercise. It is much better than starting my day with consuming (e.g. reading news or watching YouTube videos).

[6] The next lesson is to never give up on whatever goals you have. I have been working on my website Entrepreneur Campfire (www.campfire.my) for close to three years now. There were many days when I just wanted to give up. But I persisted. Today, me and my partners have built it into something I never imagined three years ago. I think if something is important to you, go through every pain. Regardless of how it turns out, at least you won’t have regrets (this applies to people too).

[7] I regretfully did many things that almost ruined a few of my close relationships this year. I tried my best to make it up to them by being extra caring. Unfortunately for me, people did not respond to my way of caring. I learned that I did not love them using a love language that they understood. This year, I deeply understood that each person responds to a different kind of method of care. Even if I don’t understand it sometimes, I should always use their love language to care for them.

[8] One of the things that stopped me from doing a few things I have always wanted to do in the past was the fear of looking stupid. I never wanted to look stupid. But this year, I learned that it doesn’t really matter if people think you are stupid or wrong. If you truly believe in the value of something, you will naturally attract people who think the same way. Just keep going.

[9] I had the opportunity to work with a few people who taught me that people will always enjoy buying from someone generous more than someone selfish. When in business, think of what value you can add to your offering to massively improve your customers’ lives without incurring too much cost to them. If you sell something that has greater benefit to you than to your customers’, it is better not to sell it at all.

[10] Finally, though it is cool to quote great philosophers and tell people of the famous people who inspire you and share their work, it is much more satisfying to create your own things. Write your own quotes, draw your own pictures, take your own photographs… imitate at first, but make sure in the end you do these all with your own style, in your own voice and that you leave yourself in everything you create.

*****

Be the best you, I want to see it.

Leave a Reply