62 Bits of Advice I Wish I had Known Earlier (Part 2).

June 5, 2022

62 Bits of Advice I Wish I had Known Earlier (Part 2).

May 29, 2023

As a follow-up to yesterday’s Wisdom Well blog post, here’s part 2:

32. Change is situational or circumstantial. Transition is psychological or spiritual. Seek the latter, as doing the former means you’ll just complain about your next spouse or boss just like you did the last one.

33. If you commute, take a new way home at least one day per week. Open up new highway synapses.

34. “Great leaders don’t make mistakes.” Wrong. “Great leaders learn from their mistakes.” Bingo.

35. Cultivating and harvesting wisdom is the key. Say the Serenity Prayer while taking a shower each morning: “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” Become indifferent to what makes no difference.

36. Stop talking about the weather outside. Pay more attention to the weather inside you. It makes for much more interesting conversations with your friends.

37. When interviewing a candidate for a job, ask them, “What’s the #1 way you’re commonly misperceived in the workplace?” Be prepared for a “deer in the headlights” reaction.

38. Document the “process wisdom” you’ve developed over the course of a long career and share some of that organizational savvy with those brilliant folks younger than you who are less seasoned at knowing how to get things done in a company.

39. Men, please ask for directions. Women, please ask for love. All of us, please ask for forgiveness (as I’m sure some people will be offended by this one).

40. Spend a month replacing the words “leader” and “manager” with “role model” whenever you’re working. We show up differently when we believe people are watching. This is especially true with your kids.

41. Cultivate “environmental mastery,” knowing which habitats will allow you to flourish.

42. Read my favorite leadership book Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search for Meaning.” once a year, as it will remind you that your life isn’t so bad. Be careful of letting your mind become a prison.

43. Recognize that the art of a catalytic question can illuminate a room or a life.

44. Create a habit of offering two pieces of positive private recognition to various people at work every day.

45. Once a year, ask yourself, “what do I know or have I done now that I wish I knew or did 10 years ago?” Then, apply that learning to 10 years from now. What will you regret if you don’t learn or do it now? Anticipated regret can be a wise motivator.

46. Give people a reputation to live up to. For almost everyone, assume the best intentions and try to understand things from their point of view, even if you despise their political tastes.

47. Remember that humor and humility have the same root as the word “human.”

48. The first half of your adult life is focused more on accumulating: success, responsibilities, family, friends, hobbies, and identities. A midlife crisis is often about feeling weighed down by all of this. Focus on what's most important in your life and start the process of editing that which doesn't serve or nourish you or those around you.

49. Be prepared for your primary operating system to change from your ego to your soul around the time you hit midlife, and the shit starts hitting the fan.

50. Just know that age 47.2 is the low point of the U-curve of happiness, although your mileage may vary. Going through big challenges between 45 and 50 is normal.

51. Our extra longevity doesn’t mean we have added metaphorical bedrooms in our backyard or more years of being old. Make some time for your “midlife atrium,” when you can appreciate the space, light, and time to reflect. A “gap year” might serve you well.

52. Starting at age 50, place Erik Erikson’s wise sentence on your bathroom mirror: “I am what survives me.” Read it daily.

53. You’re likely to become comfortable in your own skin just as it starts to sag. Just remember, you are not your body. It’s a costume.

54. If you’re 54 and are going to live till 90, you’re only halfway through your adult life (if you start counting at age 18). Your best years are ahead of you.

55. Anxiety = Uncertainty x Powerlessness. When going through a scary time, focus on what you know (or can learn) and what you can influence.

56. As you get older and pursue a new job or sell a younger client, show up with curiosity and passionate engagement. They won’t notice your wrinkles. They’ll notice your energy. Good energy is a magnet.

57. Make a list of your ten closest non-family friends. How many are more than ten years younger or older than you? At least once per year, find joy in making a new friend from a different generation.

58. If you’ve been successful in your career, become a “mentor capitalist,” someone who trades in wisdom to those younger than you.

59. We are all devotional to something. Do an annual ranking of the top 5 things or people you invest your devotion to.

60. After age 60, stop buying anything that doesn’t nourish you. The world (and you) doesn’t need all that crap. Art and books nourish me. Clothes and gadgets don’t.

61. Don’t stop moving, learning, or loving, no matter your age. Most importantly, don’t be predictable.

62. Unless the Silicon Valley whizkids have their way, dying isn’t optional. But, living is. Live a life your descendants will be proud of.

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