Discovering what life is about

Things I wish I’d known when I was younger

Things I wish I d known when I was younger



Things I wish I’d known when I was younger


Most people learn over time, but often learning comes too late to be fully useful. There are certainly many things that I know now that would have been extremely useful to me earlier in my life; things that could have saved me from many of the mistakes and hurts I suffered over the years—and most of those that I inflicted on others too.


I don’t buy the romantic notion that my life has been somehow richer or more interesting because of all the times I screwed up; nor that the mistakes were “put” there to help me learn. I made them myself—through ignorance, fear, and a dumb wish to have everyone like me—and life and work would have been less stressful and more enjoyable (and certainly more successful) without them. So here are some of the things I wish I had learned long ago. I hope they may help a few of you avoid the mistakes that I made back then.


* Most of it doesn’t matter. So much of what I got excited about, anxious about, or wasted my time and energy on, turned out not to matter. There are only a few things that truly count for a happy life. I wish I had known to concentrate on those and ignore the rest.


* The greatest source of misery and hatred in this world is clinging to past hurts. Look at all the terrorists and militant groups that hark back to some event long gone, or base their justification for killing on claims of some supposed historical right to a bit of land, or redress for a wrong done hundreds of years ago.


* Waiting to do something until you can be sure of doing it exactly right means waiting for ever. One of the greatest advantages anyone can have is the willingness to make a fool of themselves publicly and often. There’s no better way to learn and develop. Heck, it’s fun too.


* Following the latest fashion, in work or in life, is spiritual and intellectual suicide. You can be a cheap imitation of the ideal of the moment; or you can be a unique individual. The choice is yours. Religion isn’t the opiate of the masses, fashion is.


* If people complain that you’re too fond of going your own way and aren’t fitting in, you must be on the right track. Who wants to live life as a herd animal? The guys in power don’t want you to fit in for your own sake; they want you to stop causing them problems and follow their orders. You can’t have the freedom to be yourself and meekly fit in at the same time.


* If you make your work your life, you’re making your life into hard work. Like most people, I confused myself by looking at people like artists and musicians whose life’s “work” fills their time. That isn’t work. It’s who they are. Unless you have some overwhelming passion that also happens to allow you to earn a living doing it, always remember that work should be a means to an end: living an enjoyable life. Spend as little time on the means as possible consistent with achieving the end. Only idiots live to work.


* The quickest and simplest way to wreck any relationship is to listen to gossip. The worst way to spend your time is spreading more. People who spread gossip are the plague-carriers of our day. Cockroaches are clean, kindly creatures in comparison.


* Trying to please other people is largely a futile activity. Everyone will be mad at you sometime. Most of the people you deal with will dislike, disparage, belittle, or ignore what you say or do most of the time. Besides, you can never really know what others do want, so a good deal of whatever you do in that regard will go to waste. Be comforted. Those who love you will probably love you regardless, and they are the ones whose opinions are worth caring about. The rest aren’t worth five minutes of thought between them.


* Every winner is destined to be a loser in due course. It’s great to be up on the winner’s podium. Just don’t imagine you can stay there for ever. Worst of all is being determined to do so, by any means available.


* You can rarely, if ever, please, placate, change, or mollify an asshole. The best thing you can do is stay away from every one you encounter. Being an asshole is a contagious disease. The more time you spend around one, the more likely you are to catch it and become one too.


* Everything takes twice as long as you plan for and produces results about half as good as you hoped. There’s no reason to be downhearted about this. Just allow for it and move on.


* People are oddly consistent. Liars usually tell lies. Cheaters cheat whenever it suits them. A person who confides in you has usually confided in several others first—but not got the response they wanted. A loyal friend will stay loyal under enormous amounts of thoughtless abuse.


* However hard you try, you can’t avoid being yourself. Who else could you be? You can act and pretend, but the person acting and pretending is still you. And if you won’t accept yourself—and do the best you can with what you have—who then has any obligation to accept you?


* When it comes to blatant lies, there are none more egregious than budget figures. Time spent agonizing over them is time wasted. Even if (miracle of miracles!) yours are honest and accurate, no one else will have been so foolish.


* The loudest noise in the world is the sound of people whining. Don’t add to it.


Adrian Savage


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25 Things I wish I’d Learned Sooner in my Life


by Tia on June 25, 2010 · 54 comments



Back in 1998, fresh out of Grad school and working in my first ever “real” job as an Account Executive in an Advertising agency in New Delhi, I knew.


I knew that I was going to quit the corporate world within 5 years.


I lasted 4.


Out of which, I probably only worked a total of 23 months and took a lot of time off to travel or experience being in between jobs.


I should have known then, that life in a cubicle wasn’t for me.


It STILL took another 5 years for me to start my personal development and awareness journey with many twists and turns, to bring me where I am today.


A place of understanding, expansion, trust, happiness, knowing. I have learned, experienced, struggled, loved, lost and finally come home to me.


To the voice that was waiting to be discovered, to the courage I’ve always had but never known, to live life boldly on my own terms.


I don’t regret anything that I did or experienced, not even the painful events of my life and yet, when super awesome blogger Abubakar Jamil asked me to write a post on Things I Wish I’d Known or Learned Earlier in my Life, I was in like Flynn.


While I believe that our experiences are necessary for us to grow and evolve, there are a few gentle reminders that I wish I could have given myself – or should I say, started believing much earlier in my life. I probably wouldn’t have listened, but here goes.


What would I have told a much younger Tia (then known as Tina), to absolutely know and trust? What do I want to tell you?


1) It’s okay to not know what you want to be when you grow up. Not being able to pick a career or know what you want to do does not mean that you aren’t “living up to your potential” or wasting your life. One day, it will come together.


Till then, be okay with not knowing. Or, like me, never “grow up” and pick one thing to do for the rest of your life -keep sampling everything you’re passionate about and interested in.


(If you don’t think that’s possible, think again. I’ve made a career out of it. Ask me how tia at


2) You always have a choice. Even when life isn’t panning out the way you want, you can choose how to respond. Even when you feel completely helpless, you have a choice!


Don’t spend your time thinking you have to do what’s expected of you, wanting to be liked and making decisions based on all the wrong things.


3) You are Loved! When you think you’re all alone in this world, you’re not. You’re never alone or unloved as long as spirit lives within you. If you ever feel alone and needy, step outside and look up at the sky, the zillions of stars above you and think of me thinking of you.


4) Enjoy the in between spaces. The time it takes to make your dreams come true. The periods of singledom. The time spent in relationships. Don’t be in one situation and wish for it to be something else. That is truly a sad waste of time.


Cos you’ll look back one day and wish you were more present, instead of worrying about when things would change. And believe it or not, those are the things you’ll miss :)


5) Everything will be fine in the end. If it’s not fine, it’s not the end. I really truly wish I’d known that when life sucks, it isn’t going to suck forever and all one has to do is wait the wave out. Or better still, grab a surf board and ride the damn thing!


6) Your heart will get broken time and again and just when you feel you can’t take it any more, it will heal. And you’ll find love again.


7) Being selfish is not a bad thing.


8. Trust that feeling in your gut. Those times you said something but felt something else? INTUITION! Your inner guidance system that will never do you wrong. You already know. Trust yourself.


9) Don’t make excuses for who you are. Don’t pretend to like music your friends like, or change your mind, behaviour or tastes to become someone you’re not. If you don’t want a 6 figure salary or the life they want, own it. If you want to make a million dollars, own that too.


Whoever you are, whatever you want, is valid!


10) Scrap some words from your vocabulary - like should, must, but. Create your own. “Happying” “Vortexualising” “Magicking” (some of my faves)


11) It can be scary to be you - but if you stand up and say “this is me”, you give permission to yourself and others. It’s the highest form of self love and acceptance! Embrace your quirks. Be brave. The world needs you to be YOU.


For inspiration, check out Vancouver’s SPANDY ANDY, a man who embodies this 1250%.


12) Make decisions based on what you want to experience next, NOT on the basis of pros and cons. This is taken from one of my favourite personal development bloggers, Steve Pavlina.


13) Travel will change you. Be prepared to expand and grow like you never thought possible. Oh, and travel – the earlier, the better.


14) Create your own values. Make them yours. Know what makes you happy.


15) You are beautiful, you are loved, you are special. Never let anyone tell you you’re not.


16) Your parents are doing the best they can. Forgive them and quietly listen to your heart to tell you what to do with your life.


17) Failing at something does not make you a failure. Yeah I know how cliched this is and if only I’d believed that when I was younger … something I still struggle with sometimes.


Also, you WILL fail, without fail! And it’s fine to dislike it, as long as it doesn’t stop you from getting back on the horse!


18) Quitting IS an option. The sooner you accept that and stop trying to please everyone, the faster you’ll progress. Check out what Seth Godin has to say about quitting your job and when it’s a good time to quit on other things.


19) Throw tantrums in private. Express yourself fully but don’t take it out on people you love.


20) Some days, you won’t want to get out of bed. That’s ok. It’s normal. You will survive.


21) Nutella makes everything better. It really, truly does. Comfort food rocks!


22) Life is WAY easier if you go with the flow – row your boat downstream. If someone tells you you’re lazy, CELEBRATE. Love your “I’m taking the easy way or no way” attitude and if you don’t have one, cultivate it :)


23) Comparison is the deadliest disease. A little competition is healthy but know this – there is no race, you will not fall behind, there’s no one to catch up to, you have all the time in the world.


This one thing is probably one of your most consistent challenges & requires gentle reminders to self.


24) Don’t be mean. Just don’t.


25) Have more opinions and don’t be scared to share them.


And for a bonus:


Dream more, make up stories of how you want things to be. When people laugh, laugh back at or with them. Years later, they’ll come to YOU for inspiration, advice and insights.


Over to you – what’s something you wish you’d known earlier? If you enjoyed reading this post and think it could help inspire someone you know, please go right ahead & hit the share / “like” buttons. They & I will love you for it! Thank


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20 Things I Wish I’d Known at 20


A couple weeks ago, in my letter to 20-year-old me, I was congratulating myself on not having been photographed topless. A few days later, I realized that wasn’t strictly true.


My roommate Jen Rector was a photographer, and she took a whole book of very reserved pinups. I’m amazed that I lived in an apartment with a photographer and a full bar and we still only managed to do 1940s-style damage.


It’s a testimony to how cautious I was, which is a shame because your early twenties is a great time to revel in stupidity. Play beer pong with bourbon. Pierce your tongue. Climb on the back of a motorcycle in Indonesia. What the hell.


When you’re young; you don’t have to make smart decisions to make sound decisions. You’re still mapping the territory, so failure is the quickest route between idiocy and enlightenment.


These are a few of the lessons I wish I’d started learning a little earlier. I haven’t mastered them yet, but now you get a head start.


1. Consider the source. If you’re worried about someone who dislikes you, first ask yourself whether they’re an asshole. If you don’t like them, and they don’t like you, that’s not a problem. That’s a mutual understanding.


2. Get off the couch. If you find yourself playing hard to get, don’t pretend to be busy. Just be busy.


3. Don’t waste your time. If you have to play hard to get, move on. You’ll know when you’ve found a healthy relationship because it won’t confuse you.


4. When in doubt, shut up. Silence is a smart negotiation tactic, the best option when you’re processing how to respond, and always more productive than lying about what you’re thinking.


5. Don’t complain. Maybe venting makes you feel better, but letting off steam can also lull you into maintaining the status quo. Unfortunately, the status quo is pissing you off, which is why you’re whining in the first place. If you’re frustrated, turn that energy toward fixing your problems, not bitching about them.


6. Don’t obsess. Worrying is complaint’s ugly cousin. Either use that energy to change your situation, or relax.


7. Find an age-appropriate style. No one wants to see a 20 year old in beige slacks and a wool blazer. Buy trendy clothes, wear the slutty dress, do something ugly with your hair. Be part of your generation, so you can laugh at the photos later.


8. Be polite. It keeps doors open, lessens the potential for misunderstandings, and increases the odds of getting invited back to the beach house.


9. But defend your boundaries. When someone isn’t taking no for an answer, clarify what you want, and then respond forcefully. Being polite to someone who isn’t hearing you is naive.


10. You look good. There’s no such thing as the hottest person in the room. Everyone is attracted to something different, so just take those odds and run with them.


11. Being nice is overrated. In fact, “nice” is the least interesting thing someone can say about you.


12. Keep it to yourself. “She seems nice” is an excellent thing to say about someone you don’t like. Particularly in the company of people you don’t know.


13. Know your audience. When you’re telling a story and someone interrupts you, let them.


14. Let your passion shape your profession. You know that thing your dad says? “If work wasn’t hard, they wouldn’t pay you to do it.” Please. There are professional rock stars, astronauts, puppy trainers, and bloggers.


15. Sex is personal. Don’t bother with one-night stands if they’re not your thing, and don’t judge people for enjoying them (or not). Waiting to sleep with someone doesn’t make you an uptight prude, and jumping into bed doesn’t make you a spontaneous adventure seeker.


16. Focus. The saying, “what you’re thinking about is what you’re becoming” isn’t just chilling, it’s a universal law. Be aware of how you’re investing your attention – including your words, and your actions.


17. Cut yourself a break. Don’t offer a running commentary on your own faults. When you do, the people around you listen. Give yourself space to change your character.


18. Don’t be intimidated. World travelers are just people who bought plane tickets. Pulitzer Prize winners are people who sit alone and write. You can break the most profound accomplishment down to a series of mundane tasks.


19. Choose good company. Ask yourself if a person makes you better or drains your life force. If the answer is B, you’re busy next time they call. And the time after that.


20. Enjoy your body. Odds are you’re more beautiful now than you will be again. Ask your roommate.


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20 Things I Wish I Had Known When Starting Out in Life


“Everything has been figured out, except how to live.” - Jean-Paul Sartre


I’m nearly 35 years old, and I’ve made my share of mistakes in my life. I’m not a big believer in regrets … and I have learned tremendously from every single mistake … and my life is pretty great.


However, there are a few things I wish I had known when I was graduating from high school and starting out as an adult in life.


Would I change things? I’m not so sure. I might never have gotten into a mountain of debt, but then I wouldn’t have learned the amazing satisfaction of getting out of it. I might have made better career choices, but then I wouldn’t have all the work experience that makes me the blogger and writer that I am today.


I might not have gotten married that first time, so that I would never have gotten divorced … but then I wouldn’t have my first two beautiful wonderful incredible children from that first marriage.


I don’t think I would change any of that. However, looking back, there are some lessons I’ve learned that I would probably tell my 18-year-old self. Do I share them now to share my regrets? No, I share them in hopes that younger men and women, just starting out in life, can benefit from my mistakes and my lessons.


What follows isn’t an exhaustive list, but it’s one that I hope proves useful to at least a few people.


“I hope life isn’t a big joke, because I don’t get it.” - Jack Handey


1. How to control impulse spending. If there’s anything that got me in trouble financially, it’s impulse spending. Buying clothes when I don’t need them. Buying gadgets because I gotta have them. Ordering stuff online because it’s so easy. Buying that new shiny SUV because … well, because it was going to help me with women. I’m not proud of any of that. I’ve learned to control my impulses, at least a little better. Now, I give myself some time to breathe. I think over my purchases, see if I’ve got the money, think about whether it’s a need or a want. That would have been a useful tool 15 years ago.


2. You gotta stay active. I was in track, cross country and basketball in high school, but once I started college, the running and basketball began to slowly fade away. Not right away — I played pick-up basketball for years after high school. But even that went away, until I became sedentary. Playing with my kids outdoors winded me. And I began to get fat. I’ve reversed that trend, and am very active now, but I’m still trying to burn the fat I gained in those inactive years.


3. How to plan finances. I always knew that I was supposed to budget and track my spending, when I became an adult. I just was too lazy to do it. And I didn’t have a good idea of how to actually do it. Now, I’ve learned how to plan, and how to stick to that plan. Sure, I deviate from my plan, but I’ve learned how to handle that too. Maybe that’s not a skill you can learn from book reading. You just gotta practice. Well, I hope to teach it to my children before they go out on their own.


4. Junk food will come back to bite you in the butt. Yeah, it wasn’t just the sedentary lifestyle that got me fat. It was all the damn junk food too. I would eat pizza and burgers and Twinkies and sugar cereal and desserts and donuts and … well, you get the picture. As someone used to being able to eat whatever I wanted, it never seemed like it would be a problem. Bad health was something to worry about when you got old. Well, my jeans began to get way too tight, and to my horror, I climbed several pants sizes and developed a gut that only now is going away. I wish someone had shown me an “after” picture when I was young and downing the Big Gulp sodas.

5. Smoking is just dumb. I didn’t start smoking until I was well into my adult years. I won’t go into why I started, but it didn’t seem like a problem, because I knew I could quit anytime I wanted. Or I thought I could, at least, until several years later I gave it a go and couldn’t do it. Five failed quits later and I realized with horror that my addiction was stronger than I was. Sure, I eventually beat the habit (quit date: Nov. 18, 2005) but it took a piece of my soul to do it.


6. Fund your retirement, son. And don’t withdraw it. This piece of wisdom, and probably all the ones above, might seem blisteringly obvious. And they are. Don’t think I didn’t know this when I was 18. I did. I just didn’t pay it serious attention. Retirement was something I could worry about when I was in my 30s. Well, I’m in my 30s now and I wish I could slap that little 18-year-old Leo around a bit. What money I could have invested by now! I had a retirement plan, but on the 3 occasions when I changed jobs, I withdrew that and spent it frivolously.


7. All the stuff you’re doing that seems hard — it will be of use. This is the first one that might not be as obvious. There were times in my life when work was hard, and I did it anyway, but hated it. I did it because I had to, but boy did it stress me out and leave me exhausted. Hard work isn’t as easy as I wanted it to be. But you know what? Every bit of hard work I did without knowing why I was doing it … it’s paid off for me in the long run. Maybe not right away, but I’m using skills and habits I learned during those times of high stress and long hours and tedious work — I use them all the time, and they’ve made me into the person I am today. Thank you, younger Leo!


8. Don’t buy that used van without checking it out closely. I thought I was being smart by buying used, but I didn’t check it out carefully enough. That dang van had loads of engine problems, a door that nearly fell off when I was driving, a door handle that snapped off, a side mirror that fell off, no spare tire despite three tires that were ready to blow (and did), windows that didn’t roll up, rattling noises, an eventual blown radiator … I could go on and on, but let’s just say that it wasn’t my best purchase. I still think buying used is smart, but check things out closely first.


9. That guy you’re going to sell your car to? On a gentleman’s agreement? He’s not gonna pay you. I sold another car to a friend of a friend, who I was sure would pay me even if I had nothing in writing. That was smart. I still see the guy once in awhile on the road, but I don’t have the energy to do a U-turn and chase after him.


10. Make time to pursue your passion, no matter how busy you are. I’ve always wanted to be a writer, and get a book published. I just never had time to write. With a family and school and a full-time job, there just weren’t enough hours in the day. Well, I’ve learned that you have to make those hours. Set aside a block of time to do what you love, cut out other stuff from your life that take up your time, and don’t let anything interfere with that work. If I had done that 15 years ago, I could have 15 books written by now. Not all would be great, but still.


11. All that stuff that’s stressing you out — it won’t matter in 5 years, let alone 15. When things are happening to you right now, they mean all the world. I had deadlines and projects and people breathing down my neck, and my stress levels went through the roof. I don’t regret the hard work (see above) but I think I would have been less stressed if I could have just realized that it wouldn’t matter a single bit just a few years down the road. Perspective is a good thing to learn.


12. The people you make friends with are so much more important than your job or the things you buy. I’ve had a few jobs, I’ve bought a lot of things, and I’ve made a few friends over these last 15 years. Of those, the only thing

that still matter to me are the friends. And I wish I could have spent more time with friends (and family) than on the other things.


13. All that time you spend watching TV is a huge, huge waste of time. I don’t know how much TV I’ve watched over the years, but it’s a crapload. Hours and days and weeks I’ll never have back. Who cares what happens on reality TV, when reality is slipping by outside? Time is something you’ll never get back — don’t waste it on TV.


14. Your kids are going to grow up way faster than you think. Don’t waste a minute. I just had an Oh My God moment recently. My oldest daughter, Chloe, is 14 going on 15 next month. I have 3 years left with her before she leaves my house and becomes an adult. Three years! I am floored by that single fact, because it really doesn’t seem anywhere near enough time. I want to go back to my younger self and whack that younger Leo on the head and say Stop working so hard! Stop watching TV! Spend more time with your kids! These last 15 years with Chloe (and my other wonderful kids) have gone by much, much too fast.


15. Forget the drama. Focus on being happy. There have been many things that have happened to me, professionally and personally, that seem like the end of the world. And while these things were bad, they get blown up in our heads so that they become major drama. They caused me to be depressed from time to time. What a waste of time. If I realized that it was all in my head, and that I could be happy instead if I focused on the positive, on what I did have, and what I could be doing … I could have skipped all the moping about.


16. Pay more attention to blogs when you first hear about them. They’re more than just journals. I first read about blogs 7-8 years ago, but when I took a look at them they didn’t seem like anything of interest. Just some people’s journals about stuff they read on the web. Why would I want to read those? I have my own thoughts about the web, but I don’t need to share them with the world. I spent a lot of time on the Internet, on various sites and forums, but every time I happened upon a blog I would brush past it without interest. It wasn’t until a couple years ago that I discovered what wonderful things they could be (I mentioned some of my early favorites in my list of influences). If I had gotten into blogging years ago … well, I wouldn’t have been wasting all that time.


17. Speaking of which, keep a journal. Seriously. Your memory is extremely faulty. I forget things really easily. Not short-term stuff, but long-term. I don’t remember things about my kids’ early years, because I didn’t record any of it. I don’t remember things about my life. It’s like a lot of foggy memories that I’ll never have access to. I wish I had kept a journal.


18. Tequila is seriously evil. I won’t go into details, but it should suffice to say that I had some bad experiences, and I’m not sure I learned very much from them or benefited in any way except to learn that tequila is the drink of the Devil.


19. Yes, you can do a marathon. Don’t put this goal off — it’s extremely rewarding. Running a marathon had always been a dream of mine, since high school … something I wanted to do but thought was out of reach. Or if I ever did it, it would be years and years later. Well, I learned that it’s not only achievable, it’s incredibly rewarding. I wish I had started training when I was young and light and fit … I could have had some good finishing times!


20. All these mistakes you’re going to make, despite this advice? They’re worth it. My 18-year-old self would probably have read this post and said, “Good advice!” And then he would have proceeded to make the same mistakes, despite good intentions. I was a good kid, but I wasn’t good at following advice. I had to make my own mistakes, and live my own life. And that’s what I did, and I don’t regret a minute of it. Every experience I’ve had (even the tequila ones) have led me down the path of life to where I am today. I love where I am today, and wouldn’t trade it for another life for all the world. The pain, the stress, the drama, the hard work, the mistakes, the depression, the hangovers, the debt, the fat … it was all worth it.


“Let us so live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry.” - Mark Twain


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17 things I wish I’d known when starting my first business


Growing up I was surrounded by entrepreneurs. All of my uncles on my mom’s side of the family ran successful businesses, and I learned that working for yourself was a great way to improve your lifestyle.


No surprise then that I now own a few businesses of my own. But I made lots of mistakes getting started, mistakes I could’ve avoided if I’d known a few things.


Here are seventeen mistakes that you should avoid:

Sell Something Legal


Selling something legal may sound obvious to anyone in business, but trust me, when it comes to wanting to make money you will likely consider a lot of ideas… some legal, some illegal and some in between.


While still in high school I sold CDs and black boxes. I was only making a few dollars off of each CD, so I turned to the black boxes, which made me a little more money. Unfortunately at that time I wasn’t clear on exactly what was legal or not so I decided to get out of it.


You don’t want to make a lot of money and then lose it all because you are on the wrong side of the law.

Sell Something People Can Afford


Neil Patel


I once took a job selling high-end vacuums. I enjoyed the challenge of trying to convince people that they needed the vacuums, and it helped that I would shampoo and clean their carpets during my sales presentation for free.


But these were $1,600 vacuums and most people couldn’t afford them. I did happen to sell one to an Indian couple, who are known to be frugal, but they returned it a week later!


Find out what people can pay for a product before you design it, and while you won’t get rich quick this way you’ll definitely find it easier to sell your product.

You Must Market Your Product to Succeed


I enjoyed working and finding new jobs because each time I was making a little bit more money. I liked making more money because I wanted to change my lifestyle and eventually help other people do the same.


But I realized it was going to take me forever unless I figured out how to create a $100 million dollar company.’s business model and the amount of money they made fascinated me, so I decided to build a competing model. I called it Advice Monkey.


I spent five grand building the product and watched Advice Monkey go nowhere. I needed to market it or it was going to sink.


I ended up hiring a total of three companies to help me market this business, but all three wasted my money without any kind of return! That’s why I decided to learn Internet marketing.


In time I grew the site to be pretty popular and even created some buzz in the media, but I ended up having another problem: it couldn’t do credit card transactions.


If people don’t know about your great product, then they can’t buy your great product. It’s that simple.

Make Payments Easy


The lesson I learned from Advice Monkey was that if you wanted to make money you needed to make it simple for people to pay you.


Of course you have to provide a valuable product, something people want or need, but if you don’t make it easy for them to pay you, you’re business will suffer and eventually fail.


I’ve learned that whether you are providing a service like consulting or a product like software, you should provide the simplest, most common and fastest way for people to pay.


If you make it hard then you are simply giving people an excuse to delay paying you or even giving them an excuse to go to your competitor who does make it easy. Don’t do that because it could be a million dollar mistake.

Solve Problems Customers Are Facing


My really first successful company was Crazy Egg. It was successful because my business partner and I realized that the best way to build a business was to find some problem people or companies have and try to solve that problem.


Besides, it makes it really easy to close sales when you can show a potential client what their problem is and how your product solves that problem. The best businesses are the ones that solve problems.

Do It in a Simple Way


Have you ever noticed how simple the best products are? You don’t need a degree in rocket science to understand how to use a bicycle, drill or personal computer, nor do you need one to understand how they can help you.


I’ve seen lots of products and ideas fail because they were too hard to understand. They might’ve solved your problem but it cost too much to do it or they took too many steps to do it.


Remember that people want their problems solved in the easiest way possible, so keep it simple.

Be Patient


My business partner and I thought we had struck it rich when we started Crazy Egg. Here was a product that was simple and solved people’s problem. The money should roll in, right?


Not exactly.


We watched the popularity and interest in the company grow, and knew it was just a matter of time before somebody offered us $10 million dollars for it.


It never happened and we eventually had to bootstrap it to keep it going. We didn’t understand why this was happening, but we loved Crazy Egg and so kept with it.


I’m glad we did because about three years after we started Crazy Egg it became profitable. The lesson I learned is you must be patient when it comes to software companies because it takes a few years for them to take off.

Charge More


I think the tendency when it comes to running a business is to keep your fees low so you attract a wider audience. The only problem with that is you will also attract more people who will complain.


Charging premium prices, especially when you are consulting, does a few things for you:


• You appear as someone who knows what he is talking about.


• You will hear fewer complaints. People and companies who have the money to afford you won’t usually make snarky comments about how much they are charging you.


• You can work harder for one person rather than work mediocre for a lot more people.


• Your reputation will grow as your provide excellent customer service.


Know what your competitors are charging so you can price yourself right. You may be surprised at what people are willing to pay.

Go After the Big Guys


One thing I like to tell people is to offer to do the work for a small paying client for free if they can make an introduction for you to a large paying company.


Does doing work for free scare you? Think about it this way, if that small company is paying you $5,000 a month, but that large company can pay you $100,000, you will make $95,000 more.


That’s a huge increase in income, so think big and go after the big guys!

Conserve Cash


I understand I am young, but I have experienced a lot of bad times in the business world, and the number one thing that I learned is cash is king.


If you don’t have cash coming in, you will not survive. And if cash is coming in, especially a lot of it, you need to learn how to save, both for the business and for yourself.


Because the economy is like a rollercoaster you could enjoy a few years of making a lot of money. But trust me when I say there will come a time when you will not make very much money.


Resist the urge to pay yourself handsomely and buy expensive office furniture. Your business will weather any financial storm and your employees will thank you!

Never Stop Closing


One of the most important things to remember when you are building a business is that you must always be looking for clients and ways to get them to work with you.


Never get comfortable because you have a handful of clients locked down or you have momentum with your software product.


It’s so important to constantly network, look for business and sell people on working with you. And if you get in a situation where you can’t handle the extra workload, hire temporary help to handle it until you can justify bringing in more people.



Boy, was I all over the place during the time I was learning all of these lessons about business. And I think that hurt me because I was spreading myself too thin.


One of the reasons Steve Jobs and Apple were so successful was they focused. They didn’t have a bunch of products, even though you might think they did. They had only a handful.


That allowed them to do several things very well:


• They could listen closely to what their customers were saying.


• They could create the products to meet the needs and desires of those customers.


• They could make those products the best in their category.


If you are not focused you will not be able to do a good job on your business. Find the things in your business that make you the most money and focus on them. Eliminate everything else!

Always Find Your Passion


When I was doing Internet marketing for companies I was making a lot of money. I was very grateful for that and I was very grateful to the people who helped me build that company.


But it wasn’t very much fun. It felt like a job, and I knew that if I was going to be successful long-term I needed to find what I really enjoyed doing.


Why is this important?


I work 70 hours a week on my businesses, and I’m sure most entrepreneurs work that hard. Some may put in more hours, some may put in a few less.


But I don’t really think of it as work because I enjoy what I do. I really have a passion for it. If you’re not passionate about what you do, stop right now and think about what you really want to do.

Learn, Learn and Learn Some More


Even when I was in high school and working on my own business, I was taking classes at the community college. My uncles had taught me that entrepreneurs never stopped learning.


I loved learning so I kept doing it.


Learning is hard work and I can’t say that I’ve always enjoyed working so hard to learn. And sometimes I even felt like I knew everything about a certain business or topic, so didn’t need to learn anything.


How wrong I was!


I encourage you to keep the mindset that you can learn from anybody no matter who they are, and that in the end you don’t know everything. If you do this I’m certain you will grow wise in the ways of business.

Good Help Costs Money


When I was starting out I didn’t pay much attention to who I hired. Sometimes I’d hire people I knew or I’d hire someone based upon a recommendation from a friend.


I learned that was not the right approach to hiring people. Some times people are just looking for a job and need a paycheck, and soon they take you for granted they don’t work as hard as when they first joined.


Spend time finding good help and don’t be afraid to pay them good money. Think of it as an investment, where you need to figure out your ROI on that person. And then measure their success.


Do this and I’m pretty sure they’ll turn out to be a great benefit to you.

Emotions Rule


It would’ve been really great to know that people buy things based upon emotion when starting out. What I mean by that is the purpose most people buy a product is because of a feeling they have, like fear or pride.


For example, people buy car insurance because they are afraid of losing all their money if they get in a wreck. Parents send their children to Ivy League schools because they want to brag to their friends.


What you have to do is figure out what emotions will resonate with your customers when it comes to your product.


And don’t let people who say they don’t make emotional decisions about money fool you. Even the most analytical accountants or engineers make decisions with emotions.

Listen to Your Friends and Family


Starting a business can suck up all of your time and energy. It becomes your life and that will not end well if you don’t listen to advice.


I have the best family and friends not because they are fun to be around, but because they also care about me and want to help me when I’m making a mistake.


Unfortunately because I was so busy I would ignore them, only to have my problems come back around and bite me. If I would’ve listened to them in the first place I would’ve never had that problem to begin with!


If you don’t like what they have to say, that’s fine. But at least give them the benefit of the doubt and hear them out.



I hope that by sharing these experiences with you that you’ll be able to avoid some of the mistakes that I made. I can’t promise you that you won’t make some of your own mistakes, but if you do, I encourage you to learn from them.


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Things I Wish I'd Said Instead

There are times when we say things that we wish we could take back. Here is a list of things parents have said that they wish they could take back. Our hope is that by reading through this list you will think before saying those irretrievable words!


Related: What You Should Never Say in Front of the Kids


We suggest trying:


1.) Great game! INSTEAD OF Maybe if you played harder, you would have won!


2.) A wrap tied over that cami would make a great finishing touch. INSTEAD OF You're wearing that!?


3.) That's great! I know how hard you studied for that test. INSTEAD OF An A-? Maybe if you studied a little harder you would have gotten an A.


Related: Nurture Your Child's Natural Talents


4.) I'm really sorry. I'm here if you want to talk about it. INSTEAD OF I'm glad you broke up, I never really liked her anyway.


5.) I would love to read it. INSTEAD OF Can't you see that I am busy? Ask your father to read it.


6.) Wow, second place is incredible, you are so talented! INSTEAD OF You should have won first place. You were much better than the girl who won.


Related: 5 Most Common Mom Dreams (and What They Mean)


7.) I just bought some fresh fruit, do you want some? INSTEAD OF You're getting fat. You eat too much junk food!


8.) I'd like to get to know your new boyfriend. INSTEAD OF Your new boyfriend looks scary with all of those tattoos and piercings.


9.) I'm here if you need me. INSTEAD OF I told you so!


10.) I love you. INSTEAD OF Saying nothing at all.


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56 Things I Wished I’d Known When I Was Younger


About Steven Aitchison


I am the creator of Change Your Thoughts (CYT) blog and love writing and speaking about personal development, it truly is my passion. There are over 500 articles on this site from myself and some great guest posters.

If you want to learn more about my products you can check out Steven Aitchison's Products or check out my books and Kindle books on Amazon


Listen to the audio version of this article at


Today I would like to offer you a different type of post, following an invitation from my fellow blogger friends Abubakar Jamil and Farnoosh Brock . They have gathered lots of different personal development bloggers on a topic which everyone can relate to: life lessons. All of 70+ bloggers who have participated have different life lessons to share so it is well worth visiting the life lessons page.


I’ve learned many lessons in life, and every single one of them I am grateful for. So without further ado here are 56 Things I wished I’d known when I was younger.

56 Things I Wished I’d Known When I was Younger



I wish I’d known that failure was an option.


I wish I’d known there’s a difference between friends and drinking buddies.


I wish I’d known honesty, in all situations, is always, always, always the best policy.


I wish I’d known how to grow a pair and be more assertive.


I wish I’d known how to feel comfortably weird about being a little weird.


I wish I’d known how much my mum and dad really loved me, and all the warnings I got came from a place of love.


I wish I’d known that my thoughts don’t have to dictate my life.


I wish I’d known that home really is where the heart is.


I wish I’d known that intelligence is not something you’re born with, it’s something that can be worked on.


I wish I’d known that being positive can really change your thoughts which can indeed change your life.


I wish I’d known how to be myself more and not tried to imitate Tom Cruise’ (Top Gun) confidence (Although singing, ‘You’ve lost that Loving Feeling’ to girls sometimes did work :) )


I wish I’d known that the jacket of life could be altered to suit me.


I wish I’d known how to say No!


I wish I’d known that the phrase ‘just try it’ should apply to everything we do in life.


I wish I’d known that not being perfect is okay, and, in fact, striving for perfection is an impossible task.


I wish I’d known that not being ‘well off’ didn’t mean I didn’t have a rich life.


I wish I’d known that losing myself in a book wasn’t a substitute for living.


I wish I’d known that my thoughts actually control how I feel, and how I feel affects the way I see the world.


I wish I’d known that sex is a physical act and that love is something different altogether.


I wish I’d known that having two strong sisters was a blessing.


I wish I’d known that formal education was only one option in life and not the only, or best, option.


I wish I’d known that starting a business didn’t require as much planning or money as I’d thought.


I wish I’d known never to settle for second best, whether it be in relationships, product choice, or employment.


I wish I’d known that loving yourself was a pre-requisite to truly loving others.


I wish I’d known how to plan my finances better.


I wish I’d known that everything I ever stressed out about would not matter one year later.


I wish I’d known that TV numbs the mind.


I wish I’d known that my mistakes would define me as the person I am today.


I wish I’d known that perfection is never going to happen.


I wish I’d known never to actively participate in gossip, it’s the black death of the soul.


I wish I’d known that nobody can be changed, no matter how hard you try to change them. People change because the pain of changing is less than the pain of not changing.


I wish I’d known how to express my love more.


I wish I’d known that my regrets in life stopped me from moving on. When it’s done, forget it and move on.


I wish I’d known that helping others was the real path to helping every area of my own life, business, and personal.


I wish I’d known that change is inevitable, and rather than fighting it, I should have befriended it.


I wish I’d known not to waste my time and mental energy on people who didn’t matter in my life.


I wish I’d known that life is a balance and I dictate the ratios.


I wish I’d known that it’s okay not to know everything.


I wish I’d known to live in the moment, and not in the future or the past.


I wish I’d known that trusting myself would allow great things to happen.


I wish I’d known that not all people are bad, but not all people are good either.


I wish I’d known that what’s right for me is not necessarily right for others.


I wish I’d known that although responsibility can seem scary, when embraced it gives understanding acceptance and choice.


I wish I’d known that one of lifes skills is to be able to spot genuine people.


I wish I’d known that things have to come to an end to be able to experience new, exciting things in the future.


I wish I’d known that learning doesn’t finish when you leave school.


I wish I’d known how to trust my instincts more.


I wish I’d known that the world is as big as you allow it to be.


I wish I’d known that I had choices, and my route may need to change but perseverance always got me through.


I wish I’d known that the world does not owe you any favours, you have to step up to the plate and be counted.


I wish I’d known that happiness is not defined by financial wealth.


I wish I’d known the importance of working out what was right for me.


I wish I’d known that all actions, always have a consequence.


I wish I’d known that my needs and desires would change over time.


I wish I’d known that doing what I wanted to do was not necessarily me being selfish.


I wish I’d known that where you are born does not dictate where you will end up in life.


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Categories : Life purpose    Themes : Wisdom
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