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Today (May 20) I turn 28 years old.
I've been on this earth for nearly three decades now... yes I know it's crazy and it's only 2 years till I turn 30, but this is only the beginning of something amazing. I have so many great things to accomplish and and do in my life, and I feel younger and more powerful than ever. I'm not 100% aligned yet, but I'm very close.
I believe life is a journey of awesomeness - we should live, love, and do something that matters to us (and other people, and maybe even to the world) every single day to grow and achieve greatness in both business and life. And during this journey I've learned so much.
This post is written for my family, my younger brother Simon who is not with us anymore, all my amazing friends, mentors and the people who inspire me daily. Thanks for all the support, I couldn't have done it without you guys!
Last year, May 20, 2013, I didn't have an online presence, a strong and growing personal brand or any connections in the online space at all. I've written about how I turned the worst year ever in my life into personal growth, and if you want to know a bit more about my story, feel free to read my about page.
I'm not usually one to make a big deal about my birthday, but this year is very special for so many reasons. It's a great time to reflect over the things I've done and what I've learned over the years.
This list of life lessons, is not meant to serve as an exhaustive list of things that you should do, but rather pick and choose what works best for you. And I have probably more than 28 life lessons I learned, but since it's an easy format for a blog post, and I'm turning 28, I thought I'd stick to that as well.
Navid anno May 2014... do I look 28 ? ;)
Below are 28 of the most important life lessons I learned from those 28 years. Each lesson is a brief summary of that lesson, some which have a link for further reading and resources if you're interested. Take your time and explore those resources - they're all meaningful to me, and I hope they will be to you as well!
Dream big by setting yourself seemingly impossible challenges. You will then have to catch up with them! - Richard Branson Click to tweet!
28 Lessons I've Learned In My 28 Years
1. The person with the biggest "WHY" will always win
The more and bigger reasons why you want to achieve, do or pursue something, the more your motivation and desire will be unleashed; You basically won’t be stopped.
Why are you doing what you're currently doing in your business? If you don't even know the reason, why you're getting up in the morning, how do you think your customers will know the answer to this? So make sure you get very clear over your WHY.
People don't buy what you do, they buy why you do it. - Simon Sinek Click to tweet!
2. Quitters never win and winners never quit!
I've never seen a quitter win, and I've never seen a winner quit... ever! This is how I approach everything in my business and life. It doesn't mean that things won't work out for some reason, but I will never give up on my big goals and dreams and I always strive for greatness. And you should too!
3. Relax and don't worry too much
Looking back, I should have relaxed much more, especially in high school and the first few years of law school. Everything will turn out fine in the end if you work hard and stay focused, then you will eventually discover your way. It wasn't a straight forward process for me, but I'm glad I made the right decision to just do it and get something out there for the world to see. Relax and don't worry too much!
4. Surround yourself with great people who inspire you
Surrounding yourself with people who inspire you is absolutely key, if you want to achieve greatness in business and life. I didn't have all the connections I have now when I started out, but I made it my top priority to create a support network of like-minded peers and mentors I can rely on and provide value to.
If you want to start building your network of like-minded people, start by simply joining different Facebook groups in your niche, masterminds or online courses - that's a fantastic way to meet great people who have similar goals like you do. And if you have the chance, attend live in person events.
You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. - Jim Rohn Click to tweet!
5. Don't be afraid to reach out to super successful people
This is something I've done well from the very beginning. But when I first started out, this was still one of my biggest fears. I'm glad I got out of my comfort zone, overcame the fear I had and just took massive action.
As some of you may know I started out by interviewing Pat Flynn, and after that I've been fortunate enough to speak to Robert Greene, Laura Roeder, Yaro Starak, Bob Burg and many more. I have even become friends with many successful entrepreneurs, authors and thought leaders simply by providing value to them and asking them to be on my show.
The main reason behind why I started doing interviews with entrepreneurs was because I wanted to surround myself with successful people on a consistent basis, and learn more from them. And I can't think of a better way to build your brand by association than interviewing other successful people in your niche, who have done exactly what you want to accomplish. I've found that it's one of the most powerful ways to build your authority and personal brand from scratch when you are starting out, especially when you don't have much experience.
- Read this fantastic article by my friend Nick Reese on how to ask for advice (and mentorship)
6. Create something that matters daily
Creating something that matters daily is extremely powerful. For example, it can be in the form of writing, recording videos or podcast episodes. Creating something of value daily is actually one of the most important habits you can form.
Many of the most successful people I know write or create something daily, but I always wondered how they did it until I started to implement it in my own life.
I love challenges, and I challenge YOU to create something over the next 30 days that matters. If you're launching your online brand or starting a new blog, then try to do a 30 day blog challenge, and get into the mindset of producing high quality content on a consistent basis for your target audience.
- Leo Babauta of Zen Habits also wrote a very good article about why you should write daily. It’s well worth a read if you have a few minutes!
7. Learn outside of school
I wish someone would have told me this a few years ago when I was still studying 12 hours every day for my law school exams, and even before that in high school.
I'm not against formal education, but honestly I don't remember much of what I learned from the classroom, but instead it is when I started to become more and more interested in personal development things began to change, and I learned more outside of the classroom than I ever did in my formal education.
8. Love your family
Family always comes first, and I wouldn't be where I am today without them. Sometimes it's hard to find the time for everything, especially when you're building a business and want to make more impact in the world with what you do. It's all about finding the right balance and working on the right things at the right time.
All I know is, that my other younger brother (who is still alive, thank god!), needs my support, and I hope he's reading this and know that I want the best for him. I regret that I didn't have a very close relationship with my brother Simon before he passed away (I didn't see him for over 1,5 years since he was living in Norway at the time), but at least I have amazing memories from our childhood, and that's what I remember even in tough times.
9. Follow your passion
I used to think that it was impossible to combine what you are passionate about and make a living out of it. There's a lot written about "how to find your passion" and all that, and I will not go in to this here.
It is extremely important that your passion you want want to pursue is something that you can actually make money from and that you are really good at. If you're passionate about something, and don't have the necessary knowledge yet to be able to monetize it, then I would suggest that you learn everything you can about this topic. Study and read books, and become the master of your craft. When you do, it will be the most rewarding thing ever.
- Wake Up Cloud - My good friend and fellow Swedish lifestyle entrepreneur, Henri Junttila writes a lot about "how to find your passion". Be sure to check his awesome blog out!
- Find Your Passion by Henri Junttila
10. Strive to be a better version of yourself every single day
Every day is to chance to do something great and make an impact in this world. You can improve and be a better version of yourself than yesterday. The day I stop learning and growing as a human being, I'm dead. It is really that simple. Work hard to always better yourself and don't be afraid to try new things that come your way.
11. The obstacle is the way
I recently read Ryan Holiday's awesome book, "The Obstacle Is The Way", and the title fit very well when I look at the experiences I've gone through in my own life.
Not that I've only had obstacles to overcome throughout my life, but I tend to turn adversity into my biggest advantage and to something great, and eventually to success.
My younger brothers sudden death was of course the worse thing that ever happened to me and my family, but I would let my brother down if I didn't do anything with my life and was sad all the time. My whole mindset shifted when he passed away, and I don't let time just pass away like I did before. Life is precious, and the obstacle is the way!
The impediment to action advances action. What stands in the way becomes the way. Click to tweet!
12. Read more books
Reading books has totally transformed my business and life. And that's an understatement.
Let me explain.
The best thing you can do if you want to position yourself as an expert in your niche, is actually to read a lot of books on this topic. Study it more than anyone else, and it also helps if you are passionate about it of course, so you can work on your craft every single day without giving up.
I still remember back in the day, when the teachers were giving me books to read in school. I “hated” it so much, I probably never read a single book before the age of 25-26, just because I truly wanted to read it, it was usually because I had to do it for some stupid exam I would forget about the next day.
This year I’ve been reading or listening to an average of 2-3 books per week on personal development, business, marketing, branding and all that good stuff. If you want to change your life, read more books, and take action upon what you read and you will see massive results.
My top 7 books that changed my life:
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
- The 4-Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss
- Crushing It by Gary Vaynerchuk
- Mastery by Robert Greene
- The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene
- Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz
- The War of Art by Steven Pressfield
I read a ton more books, but the ones I listed above are ESSENTIAL READING if you want to level up your life. Here's some of the best books of all time listed.
What are some of your favorite books? Let me know in the comments!
13. Everyone is winging it their first time
This is something Nick Reese said in our magic conversation recently for my podcast on premium positioning.
If you are doubting yourself, always remember that every one is winging it their first time until they've actually done it. The first time someone famous was on TV, or even the go-to-experts in your field were starting somewhere, and they were also winging it. You can also wing it! You are the hero in your own life, Get out there and keep hustling!
Building a strong and profitable personal brand online is definitely not a sprint, it's more of a marathon. It takes hard work, dedication, hustle and of course a lot of passion for what you do to become an expert and the go-to-person in your field. But it's definitely worth it in the long run!
That's why it's extremely important to do something you're passionate about, so you can work on your craft ever single day till you master it or at least become really good at what you do. If you don't care much about what you do, or simply aren't passionate about it, you will most likely give up before you see any substantial results in your business and life. Be patient!
14. Set smart goals
I've found that setting S.M.A.R.T Goals to be extremely important. Even before I knew about goal setting, and why it is important, I think I was using these strategies for sports, especially when I was playing soccer more when I was younger.
You need to set specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-bound goals. I like to be a little bit crazy, and I actually prefer to stretch it a little bit, but it has to feel like I can actually accomplish the specific goal by a set date. And don't forget to write your goals down on a piece of paper and keep it very close so you can see it every day.
For example, instead of saying, "I want 6-pack abs", say "I will go to do gym and do x exercises for y weeks by z date". That's a S.M.A.R.T goal, and you will be able to see why you didn't accomplish it by the set date. If you show up every day, you should be able to achieve most your goals.
15. Follow your dreams no matter what
My mum used to always say that it's never too late to follow my dreams, and it's very true.
It doesn't matter how old you are or how little experience or knowledge you have. You can always start, dream big and take massive action in order to achieve them. And why wouldn't you want to follow your dreams in the first place?
If you don't build your own dream someone else will hire you to help build theirs. Click to tweet!
16. Eat great and healthy food
This is something that always came very naturally to me, and I have my dad to thank for a lot of this. I love eating natural non-processed food, and it's very true that you are what you eat. Spend more money on your food (don't buy the frozen salmon, just because it is cheaper!) and make sure you eat healthy every day. This doesn't mean that you can't enjoy a piece of cake every once in a while of course ;)
Always remember, we’re nothing without our health! Click to tweet!
17. No moment is wasted if you learn the lessons contained in every experience
I used to think I made the biggest mistake of my life to go to law school. And yes, if I can go back in time, I would have never accepted my spot at one of Sweden's top law schools in the first place, but I don't regret it anymore.
It was an experience in itself, and I'm sure I learned a lot about myself, how to do research, and much more.
It's ok to change directions or pivot more than once in life. Without all the experiences leading up to what I'm doing now, I may have never found the path I'm on now.
For so long, I thought the 3-4 years I spent in law school was a total waste of my time. I was even a bit embarrassed for not completing it, and didn't speak to anyone about it. What I did instead was that I devoted myself to countless of personal development books, which led to attending seminars and then reading more about business and online marketing. That's the very "short version" how I found my true calling in life.
It was not until recently, and especially when Robert Greene during our conversation about mastery told me that "no moment is wasted if you learn the lessons contained in every experience". This was an "aha" moment for me, very powerful and I believe this now as well even more than before!
18. Face your fears and get out of your comfort zone
The best way to actually overcome your fears is to face them and get out of your comfort zone. That's what I've done, and I wouldn't be where I am today without facing my biggest fears. Live your life outside of your comfort zone to grow and become a little bit better each day. Only then will you be able to master anything and achieve greatness in business and life.
- The War of Art by Stephen Pressfield
19. Wake up early
I know myself very well at this point. I perform at the highest level when I wake up early around 6-7 a.m in the morning and get my most important things done after a nice workout or run in the park and then eating a great breakfast to start the day. I don't always wake up early, but that's my goal at least 5 days a week. Figure out what works best for you and stick to it.
Lose an hour in the morning, and you will be all day hunting for it. – Richard Whately Click to tweet!
20. Exercise daily
Do you want to know a little powerful secret? Most successful people have one thing in common – they work out!
Not only does it boost your productivity so you can get more done, but it also reduces stress, you get more energy, and it makes you feel so much better and energized after you’re done.
Here are some common questions I ask myself often:
- How do I get more energy?
- How do I get more confidence?
- How do I keep myself from getting sick?
- How do I find more time throughout the day?
- How do I stay focused on my projects?
- How do I look and feel better?
I answer every single one of those questions with – I work out!
The worst excuse of all time is to say “I don’t have enough time”. I can’t stand it, and I don’t care if you’re busy with an 80 hour+ workweek. I think a daily dose of exercise will only do you good, both for your business and life in the long run.
I’ve mentioned this before, and it’s worth saying again. Achieving peak health and fitness goes hand in hand with being a lifestyle entrepreneur. We don’t only want to be an entrepreneur, but we also want to look and feel our best on our path to success.
I personally really like to do my workout right after I get up in the morning, to jumpstart the day. Every day I do that I feel amazing, and I tend to get much more done! Ever since my brother passed away last year, I've struggled with this a bit and not working out as much as I used to, but this is about to change, and I even got a trainer now to prepare myself for a photo shoot as well so I can finally get some new images for my website.
What I love about fitness and working out, is that we are in complete control. If you’re unhappy with the way you look and feel, you can change it by working out regularly and forming this habit of showing up every day.
Show up and you will see results…I can promise you that if you work hard!
21. Experiences and adventures are much better than possessions
For many years, I used to buy tons of sneakers and fancy clothes. I probably spent way more than I should, and some stuff I didn't even use at all. Don't get me wrong, I still like to look sharp and occasionally I still buy stuff, especially if I'm in a city like NYC, Paris or London. I rather own a few more expensive quality items, than many cheap things that won't last very long.
But as time went on, my priorities changed, and now I value experiences and adventures much higher than possessions. Travel to cool places around the world, do cool things like skydiving (which I still have to cross of my bucket list soon), totally trumps possessions any time of the day!
22. Plan tomorrow today
I recently had a great conversation with the sports psychology coach Todd Herman (founder of the 90 Day Year) for my podcast The Lifestyle Architects, and he said that a common trait champions and successful people have in general, is that they plan tomorrow today.
This is a game changer ever since I implemented it in my business and life! I occasionally struggle with it, but I'm getting much better, because I know how important it is for my productivity in order to get shit done quickly. The day's I don't plan my day the night before, I feel overwhelmed and I don't know what I should focus on as much, and I tend to be all over the place instead.
23. Invest in yourself
I've interviewed many successful entrepreneurs, and they have all invested in them self to get to the point where they are today. Personally, I've probably invested more than 20,000 dollars in my non-formal education, everything from mentors, books, online courses to seminars. And I will continue to do so in order to grow and take my business to the next level.
If you're on a budget, and I could only recommend you start with one thing - it would be to buy and read more books (some you may even find at your local library). If you don't have time to read, you can listen to audio books, which is what I do most of the time, and it works great for my preferred style of learning.
24. Give more than you receive - it will pay back big time!
I wouldn't be where I am today without all the amazing people I'm surrounded with that support and and push me to get to the next level. I always start with the mindset of giving them as much value as possible before I ask for anything in return. The more I give, the more I get in return.
For example, if you want to have a very successful entrepreneur on your podcast, start to provide value to them by simply leaving thoughtful comments on their blog, connecting with them on social media or even buying their products or coaching.
I have the same mindset when it comes to the content I create for my audience (YOU), and most of my blog posts and content I create takes a lot of time. In the end, it's worth it since you're building your personal brand in a very powerful way, and it makes you stand out from the crowd as well.
You can get everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want. - Zig Ziglar Click to tweet!
25. There's no such thing as failure. There's only feedback.
This is one of the mindset hacks I have incorporated in my system over the last few years. If I saw everything as failure, then I would have given up long ago because I've made a lot of mistakes. But that's okay!
Instead of looking at something that doesn't go your way as a failure, I like to see it as feedback to move in a slightly different direction. It's like playing a game, if it doesn't work out the first time around, you just keep doing it till it works.
26. Everything happens for a reason
By saying this, I don't mean that you should wait for things to happen to you, that's the last thing you should do.
You should definitely go out there and take massive action every single day towards your biggest goals and dreams in life.
And when you do this on a consistent basis, beautiful and magical things will start to come your way, and they often happen for a reason.
I've seen this so many times personally, whether it's in business, sports or any other important aspects of my life such as relationships.
27. Act before you're ready!
There will never be a perfect time to get started. For so many years I was waiting for this perfect moment to follow my dreams and do the things I enjoy.
There will never be a perfect time to start a business, get a girlfriend, get married, get kids, get in shape, change your habits or whatever it is you want to do.
There will never ever be this perfect moment your'e waiting for. So what can you do instead?
Well, as I always say... act before you're ready. Just do it, and take massive action!
Only then will you grow and find your path so you can achieve greatness business and life.
If show up and work on your craft every single day, then you will achieve greatness in business and life.
28. Never ever give up!
I will not write much here, but let the inspiring video below speak for itself. Enjoy and always remember to never ever give up on your dreams or whatever it is you want to do in your life. Impossible is nothing!
Now It's Your Turn!
And there you have it… the wise life lessons I learned over my first 28 years living on this planet! Yea I know, I’m a very smart person ;)
Want to give me the best birthday present ever? There's two things (and a little bonus thing if you want to give me something a little extra) I'd love for you to do right now:
1. Leave a comment below - It doesn’t matter how old you are, what’s one thing you’d tell your younger version of yourself? And please share your story, what have you learned from following my blog, podcast and the work I do?
Thanks so much for reading and supporting the work I do, I appreciate YOU!
Until next time... stay inspired,