26 Life Lessons I’ve Learned In 26 Years

Theo Ellis

“Time is the most valuable thing that a man can spend.” ― Diogenes Laërtius

Pardon the F bomb but I’ve been alive for 26 fucking years. That means I’ve experienced 26 summers, 26 winters, 26 Halloweens, 26 Christmas’s, and 26 new years.

When you put it into perspective like that, it makes you realize how precious life really is. And it’s not to be wasted carelessly.

I’ve learned a ton of lessons on this planet we call earth.

Some of these lessons have been cruel. Some have been necessary. Some have been valuable, but ALL of them have been beneficial.

Regardless of how good, bad or butt ugly those lessons were.

Here are those 26 life lessons I’ve learned in 26 years, that you may learn from.

 

1. Financial IQ is more important than intelligence

26 Life Lessons I've Learned In 26 YearsI remember being in high school like it was yesterday. And being a part of a broken education system that values a piece of paper more than financial intelligence.

You know what the big difference is between the two? One is an ego boost, and the other is oxygen.

Being financially intelligent beats getting straight A’s on a science test.

Without financial IQ you end up 80 years old with no money in the bank. And living off a scam they call a pension, which you can hardly live off.

Because you lacked the knowledge and discipline of money management, investing, cash flow, and investing for the long-term vs short-term.

After reading books like secrets of the millionaire mind, I can’t help but wonder why money isn’t taught in 99% of schools across the world.

 

2. The education system is broken

26 Life Lessons I've Learned In 26 Years

Classroom

The education system teaches you how to be a well-trained pet dog. Then robs you of your money in the process.

After all, the average person in the UK is £30,000 – £40,000 in debt from student loans.

And guess what else? What you’re learning in college/uni is not only redundant, but you can learn it online for cheaper.

Guess what else? You can become successful in the career/business you want in the time it takes to finish university.

Or even in less time. Without putting yourself in a ridiculous amount of debt to do it.

On top of that – you gain experience along the way, which is 1000X more valuable than “just” studying.

The cons heavily outweigh the pro’s, unless you’re studying to be a doctor, etc.

 

3. You have to do what you believe in

For 22 years I did things other people wanted me to do. And the things 99% of society expects you to do.

Though deep down I wanted to commit to my own path, I was never 100%. I was fighting with myself.

Now for almost 3 years I’ve committed to doing what I believe in.

I’ve completely changed. My happiness has changed. My purpose is brighter and my resolve is stronger.

If you don’t do what you believe in you’ll end up doing what others believe in. And that’ll lead you to a life of misery and regret.

 

4. Never take advice from the average Joe

What I mean by that is this. If you want to start a business, don’t take advice from someone who’s never started a business.

If you want advice on living in another country, don’t listen to someone who’s never been to that country.

Because their advice is likely to be negative, exaggerated, cloudy and unhelpful.

I can’t tell you how many times somebody’s told me things like….

  • That industries saturated.
  • Don’t do it.
  • That’s stupid.
  • You’re likely to fail.
  • You’ll never succeed.
  • I heard so and so happened there.
  • I heard it’s hard to do that.
  • Blah blah blah.

Yet these same people don’t have the experience to back it up. Choose your source of knowledge wisely.

 

5. You’ve got to be a little selfish

Don’t misinterpret what I’m saying. Everybody wants you to do what THEY want, but what about you?

What about your needs, wants, desires, priorities and what makes you happy?

What about time for yourself, to work on what matters to you, and making YOU a priority?

You’ve got to be a little selfish. True happiness can’t exist without it.

 

6. Sales is the greatest skill you can have

26 Life Lessons I've Learned In 26 YearsIt’s true sales isn’t the only skill to have, but it’s one of the top 3 without a doubt.

The topic of sales Is something I’ve learned and studied since almost a year ago.

From the information I’ve gathered and the reality check I’ve gotten from it, I can’t believe I wasn’t taught this earlier.

Everyday we’re all selling something.

Our dreams, goals, ideas, videos, blog posts, books, products, etc. And only the best end up creating the life they want by selling themselves.

 

7. Business ain’t for the weak hearted

Since going into business in 2013 I’ve learnt some valuable yet punishing life lessons.

Any logical, “average” guy or girl would have quit by now and given up on entrepreneurship.

But I’m illogical and far from average.

If you’re not mentally, emotionally and physically built for business, don’t start one.

It’ll be one of the hardest things you’ll ever do. Anyone else will tell you the same thing.

 

8. Birds of a feather flock together

If you’re a pig, your friends are most likely pigs.

If you’re a hater, your friends are likely haters.

If you’re ambitious, you’ll surround yourself with ambitious people.

Don’t underestimate this fact.

 

9. Money is a lie detector

26 Life Lessons I've Learned In 26 YearsThe same people who seem close to you could be your enemies in disguise. All it takes is for you to earn more money than they’ve ever had to see their true identity.

Like this story of a man who won $16 million in lottery money. After winning it big, his own brother tried to hire a hit-man to kill him.

Not everyone closest to you has your best intentions. Believe me I know.

 

10. Criticism is none of your business

When someone criticizes you for doing something, they’re really criticizing themselves. Because what they’re saying about you says more about them.

So it’s none of your business to get upset, hurt, down, angry, or to react to it. We all have our phases, but realize you’re not the problem. They are.

 

11. Life’s what you make it

I’ve done more in the past 2 – 3 years than I’ve done in my entire life. Before that I was complacent, settling, not as productive or committed to creating the life I want.

The old saying is true. If you want your life to be great, you’re the only person who can make it a reality.

Nobody can save you.

 

12. Nobody’s going to save you or make you successful

Continuing on from my last point, nobody’s obligated to save or help you.

  1. Not the government.
  2. Not your employer.
  3. Not society.

Nobody. You’ve first got to do something on your end of the bargain before benefiting from it.

Nobody’s entitled to have what they want because they want it.

Effort is necessary.

 

13. Never wear headphones at night-time in a city26 life lessons in 26 years

Or anywhere for that matter.

Why? Let me tell you a quick story.

One time I was on my way home from the supermarket. I had my headphones on, it was dark as fuck, and I was walking down a familiar street.

The next thing I know I got attacked, hit over the head, robbed and chased. All in the space of 1 minute.

At least it felt that way.

And it all happened because I had my headphones on. So I was unaware of my surroundings.

I’ve never worn headphones outdoors since that day.

Lesson learned? Damn right. Don’t be a fool.

 

14. People would rather you fail than succeed

And that includes your own family. Not just strangers, trolls, naysayers or whoever else.

There’s a bunch of time wasters out there who’d love for me to fail, lose and fall flat on my face. That’s life.

Don’t let it get in the way of your hustle, drive, ambitions and goals.

It’s their loss. Don’t let it be yours.

 

15. You have to stand up for yourself

I experienced bullying in high school. But I always stood up for myself no matter what, who, or how many.

That made all the difference. Even if it was just me standing up for me.

This relates to any life situation.

If you don’t stand up for yourself, don’t expect others to take you seriously. Or to know where they stand and what you don’t tolerate.

 

16. Be grateful but never satisfied

Always be grateful for the position you’re in. Always appreciate what you have, what you’ve got and how far you’ve come.

Gratitude is the golden rule. But NEVER use gratitude as an excuse to settle and be satisfied.

Balance the two together. Never letting one get in the way of the other.

 

17. Judge people by their actions, not their words26 life lessons in 26 years

I had people say nice things to my face then talk shit behind my back.

I’ve had someone reach out for an interview only to suddenly break their promises.

I’ve had friends say – “don’t worry, I’ve always got your back”, then when it came down to it, they were the first to run away or back down.

Words are BS. Action is all that matters because action speaks the truth.

 

18. Believing you’re always right is dangerous

There’s nothing that pisses me off more than people who are always right. Even when they’re wrong and they’re aware of it.

But back to the point.

Believing you’re right will keep you stuck and stop you from making progress. Because if you’re right, you have no reason to learn more than you have.

You’ve got to open your mind and stop kidding yourself. Or else life will remain the same and will never change.

No matter how “right” you think you are. Even though reality is telling you otherwise.

 

19. Making the news is better than watching the news26 life lessons in 26 years

The news is 90% negative, irrelevant, non-educational, and only serves to worsen your day. As well as your mood.

Instead of becoming a victim to the news, make the news by creating vs consuming.

Write about news and put a positive spin on it, instead of getting lost IN the news.

One is more productive than the other.

 

20. Some people are out to fuck you over

Within 2 – 3 months of being in my 1st business, I got fucked over without even knowing it. By a guy who seemed genuine on the outside, but obviously was a scum bag on the inside.

I got sold fake IPhones with fake IPhone chargers. I only realized this after getting so many complaints from my customers. And then confirming it for myself.

The lesson? Weigh up the person you’re dealing with first hand. So you can sniff out the BS early on.

 

21. It’s OK to be introverted

The world praises extroverts. People who are outgoing, love to be around others and thrive in social situations.

Introverts get treated like weirdo’s, strange, alien, unusual, as if we’re diseased or something.

If you’re an introvert:

  1. It’s OK to be shy.
  2. It’s OK to like solitude.
  3. It’s OK to be reserved.
  4. It’s OK to prefer reading vs going clubbing.
  5. It’s OK to not want to socialize EVERYDAY of the week.
  6. It’s OK to want your own space.

 

22. Start as early as possible

When I see teenagers or people younger than I am who have already figured out their path, it inspires me.

When growing up a lot of adults will tell you BS like – “don’t worry, you’ve got all the time in the world”.

This is BS talk. Start as early as possible. Whether it be:

  1. A business.
  2. Your career.
  3. Studying.
  4. Learning.
  5. Working.
  6. Blogging.

Or whatever else. The earlier you start, the more time you’ll have and the better your future will be.

 

23. Consistency is the name of the game

At some point you’ve got to stick to something and be consistent with it. If you don’t, you risk never being great or successful at anything.

You can’t open a business and expect it to be mega successful in the short-term.

You can’t run a blog, a website, or make something of your life with short-term thinking and being inconsistent.

You’ve got to do things over the long run and keep at it. Practice daily and invest in your future constantly.

Muhammad Ali didn’t become a successful boxer without consistently putting in the time.

 

24. Knowledge is only power if you use it

26 Life Lessons I've Learned In 26 YearsEverybody screams knowledge is power, but how many people have put it into action?

That’s like buying vegetables and never eating them. You won’t benefit if you never use it.

 

25. You’ve got to take risks

In the past I’ve met many great girls who seemed like the perfect fit, yet I never took the risk.

Before being made redundant I was risk averse, and was willing to avoid taking a risk even if it meant benefiting me.

No risk is 100% certain, but if you don’t take it you’ll never grow, progress, or achieve more than you have. You have to face your fears.

 

26. 1 Is better than zero

This is something I picked up from this video from Gary Vaynerchuk. 

The concept is simple.

  1. Having 1 subscriber is better than 0.
  2. Having 1 friend is better than having 0.
  3. Having 1 view on a YouTube video is better than 0.
  4. Having 100 followers is better than 0.

In a world where we compare our YouTube views, amount of Facebook friends, subscribers, followers and more, we become unappreciative.

So what If you have only a few friends, a few followers or a few people you’re comfortable with speaking to.

1 is better than 0, and overtime those numbers can increase. As long as you’re willing to commit to it.

Be grateful you have 1, 100 or 1000 or anything. See the value in it Instead of overlooking it.

 

26 Life Lessons I’ve Learned In 26 Years

 

Which life lesson can you relate to the most? What’s 1 lesson you’ve learnt in your lifetime?

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Theo J Ellis

Theo J Ellis

The personal development industry is full of sugar-coated so called "gurus" and sometimes - misleading advice. I started Just Be Real to cut through the BS and share my straightforward views on self confidence and personal growth.

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