26 Things I Learned At 26

Inspired by the homie Dev Basu, here are some lessons I learned this past year (with a shoutout to the people who inspired/underscored them).


1) Say yes to everything until you shouldn’t.

Stretch your personal, professional and academic limits. Unless you push yourself, there’s no way to learn what you’re truly capable of.

(via John Austin)


2) A respectful no is better than a half-assed yes.

Your creative process is paralyzed when you’re juggling bullshit that you wish you never committed to. Say yes to yourself by saying no to others.

(via Joann Lim)


3) Disconnect fully, disconnect often.

Frequently take time away from work and tech. Slow down and recalibrateyour focus by connecting instead with friends, family and nature.

(via Sahl Syed)


4) Balance your media diet.

The adage “You are what you eat,” extends to the realm of the mind. If you subsist on low quality input, you will produce low quality output.

(via Janakan Srimurugan)


5) What’s urgent isn’t always important.

By confusing the two, you will ultimately drain your energy and be left with very little to show for it at the end. The important things usually take time.

(via Simon Rayner)


6) Difficult conversation? Cringe fast, cringe early.

Don’t delay. Don’t sugar coat. Instead of trying to dull the inevitable impact, just lead with the punchline and then follow up with a solution.

(via Faizan Mohammad)


7) Everyone is fighting a battle you know nothing about.

Be patient, kind and compassionate. As the saying goes, “People won’t remember what you said, but they’ll remember how you made them feel.”

(via Saad Siddiqui)


8) Half of success is about showing up.

No need for a redundant (and presumptuously flaky) “Are we still on for later today?” text. Just show up like you said you would.

(via Arzan Bharucha)


9) Don’t die with your music still inside you.

You owe it to yourself to fully realize the ideas, dreams, abilities and talents given to you by life. You, and only you, can give your gifts life.

(via Justin Marek)


10) Your only competition is staring at you in the mirror.

At best, you can only become the second rate version of someone else. Instead, strive to be better than the person you were yesterday.

(via Sulaiman Mohammad)


11) Focus on amplifying your strengths instead of fixing your weaknesses.

A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself, “Can I be the best in the world at this?” And if you can’t, then outsource it. Don’t waste time on weaknesses.

(via Rumeet Billan)


12) Vulnerability is a strength.

Embrace and understand your feelings. The act is cathartic and the process is empowering. In the end, even T-800 knew why John Connor cried.

(via Rachel Barreca)


13) Share your big idea.

Do it often. Step outside of the office. Talk to people who will benefit from it – they will be among your first customers. Validate it before you build it.

(via Mustefa Jo’shen)


14) Execution is everything.

Ideas are easy. Doing stuff is hard. Very few people cultivate the discipline, drive and dedication necessary to achieve their dreams.

(via Amir Balkhi)


15) Failure is a powerful motivator.

Once you taste the blood on your lips, nothing can stop you. Recycle the pain of failure to work smarter, harder and faster.

(via Zuhair Syed)


16) A leader’s job is to inspire and motivate.

Don’t tell people how to do it. Simply illustrate your dream, attach a deadline to it, then empower people to find their own ways to reach it.

(via Glen Weppler)


17) Build self-sustaining systems.

Visualize success, then plan rigorously to achieve it. Build, stabilize, repeat. And if your enterprise can’t run without you, then you’re doing it wrong.

(via Allan Grant)


18) Some things in life are worth breaking the rules for.

Override your system for things like friends and family. It’s okay to trade possible happiness tomorrow for guaranteed happiness today.

(via Liza Arnason)


19) Manage your priorities, don’t let your priorities manage you.

Don’t be a slave to your system. Your passions should ultimately govern your life; your priorities are simply part of a system that helps you focus.

(via Sid Naidu)


20) Success depends on a combination of time, energy and attention.

You have the same 24 hours as Kobe Bryant. But he used his time, energy and attention in a very precise combination that made him Kobe Bryant.

(via Bailey Parnell)


21) Beware of burnout.

There’s a fine line between being in the zone and falling down the slippery slope of mental, emotional and physical exhaustion. Look out for the signs.

(via Rudhra Persaud)


22) Ask yourself, “What would a great person do?”

Whenever you find yourself at a moral crossroad, imagine what the best version of yourself would do. Then do what they would do.

(via Drew Dudley)


23) Winners rise at 5am.

Waking up at 5am isn’t fun. But once you’ve tasted the psychological edge of a four hour head start on the rest of the world, there’s no going back.

(via Jen Gonzales)


24) If you don’t know the answer, admit it and then follow up.

It’s better to be trustworthy and without an answer, than it is to be an unreliable know-it-all. Unless you’re on Jeopardy, of course.

(via Ian Crookshank)


25) Celebrate the small victories.

You win some, you lose some. Set healthy boundaries and celebrate the milestones between now and your end goal. It’s all about progress.

(via Lesley D’Souza)


26) Teamwork makes the dream work.

You can only go so far by yourself. Work with people that are smarter and more talented than you to help realize the dream.

(via Kareem Rahaman)

This post was originally published on Medium.