The 28 things I’ve learned in 39 years.


I turned 39 a few weeks ago and was asked if I was going to write a “40 things I’ve learned by 40” post. “HELL NO!” For 1, life is never that organized to teach you 1 thing a year (mine isn’t anyway) and 2, why wait for 40? There are sure to be a few you disagree with and probably some contradictions if you dig. If you do, I’d love to hear what you find. Also, while I consider these all to be true, some are comical and some will get dark. So fair warning. Here are the 28 things I’ve learned in 39 years:

  1. Having a backbone isn’t about aggression, it’s about character.
  2. There are 3 limitations in life. # 1 & 2, only you truly know. # 3 you’ll never know.
    1. Your imagination
    2. Your determination
    3. You lifespan.
  3. Don’t work for anyone but yourself. Work WITH others and be selective. This doesn’t mean you have to be self-employed, just make sure your value is understood.
  4. Bring value.
  5. When looking at past performance
    1. Past performance is the best indicator for future performance.
    2. Past performance is no guarantee of future performance.
  6. Staying in a safe place makes you less healthy & fit. Progressing health & fitness makes you safer in more places.
  7. Choose quality over quantity. While this sounds cliché, it covers everything: Goals, friends, food, experiences, opportunities… I have yet to find the exception.
  8. Communication is paramount in all relationships. This has less to do about talking than you may think. Listening to understand others points of view is a skill that must be developed. Entertaining additional points of view should be practiced. (especially those opposed to yours)
  9. Those that often point the finger at others as “bad communicators” are typically bad listeners.
  10. There are only 3 times it’s appropriate to wear skulls on your/as clothes:
    1. You have earned them…
    2. They’ve been given to you as a gift…
    3. You’re at Comicon.
  11. Sex first thing in the morning is better than sex just before going to sleep.
  12. Those complaining about a lack of work/life balance need to work on the balance in their life.
  13. Regardless of what all the science & facts say; if something feels right, do it. If it feels wrong, don’t do it. Science once told us the world is flat, 9 out of 10 Doctors preferred Camel cigarettes, and the 4 minute mile was considered impossible.
  14. If someone is always looking over their shoulder, you shouldn’t feel comfortable with them standing behind you.
  15. Everything is negotiable.
  16. There’s a time to study the root and a time to gather the fruit. Get good at both.
  17. If you’re offended by something on the Internet, you deserve it.
    1. Probably true outside of the internet as well.
  18. There are a few phrases you should never say: The 2 most common are; “You don’t understand” & “I don’t care.” The first implies you fully understand the others entire existence. The second isn’t true if you took the effort to say it.
  19. Everyone has thought about suicide. Realizing this is true should provide hope during dark times.
  20. The world is a mirror; you get out what you put in.
  21. Reality TV is for suckers. Yes, that show too.
  22. Sugar is a drug and is much worse for you than marijuana.
  23. Put your grocery cart back. There may be an exception or 2 to this rule but if you’re trying to come up with them, the rule was written for you.
  24. Someday quickly becomes never. Either set a deadline or let it go.
  25. Anyone who says, “It doesn’t matter what you meant, it’s what you said.” Probably won’t ever say anything meaningful.
  26. If you borrow a car, return it with a full tank. Both literally and figuratively,
  27. Everything I need to know about life, I learned through marksmanship: Slow is smooth, smooth is fast. Learn the fundamentals; focus on getting better at them. Then compress the fundamentals. If you try to be the “fastest gun in the west” you never will.
  28. If there is no risk involved, there is either no pay off or the venture isn’t completely understood.

Would love to hear your thoughts. Please share if you enjoyed it.

Defining Moments

How did you read that title? Was it, ‘a moment that defines you’ or ‘taking the opportunity to define the moment’? I prefer the latter but I feel most would hear/feel the former. This question came into my head during a workout earlier this week.

I was set for 5 sets of 400×2 on deadlifts. I’ve been spending too much time in bad positions (driving, sitting at a desk and the like) and wasn’t feeling good in my warm ups so I asked a guy I know to watch my pull and give me pointers.

Me: “I’m not sure I’m keeping a good position. Can you watch and give me your feedback?”

His response: “There’s only 315 on the bar.” (Even thought I try to keep it in check, my ego kicked in here and I felt the need to defend my workout. It happens)

Me: “Yeah. I’m scheduled for 5 doubles of 400 today”

Him: “You can’t lift 400?”

About 2 weeks before I read a post from Brett Contreras. If you don’t follow him, you should. He spoke about how he was set to pull 500 lbs for the first time. He was very excited, did all his prep work the week before, slept, stretched and ate as he was supposed to, but on the day he was set to hit his deadlift PR, he hit a “different PR” as he referred to it. He walked away from the bar after his warm up because something felt off on his back. Choosing health over ego, knowing that 500 lbs will be there next week and there is no competition in training. I loved this and even replied with, “I hope I can show the same restraint when the time comes.”

Me: “Pretty sure I can but want to be safe about it. Do you have the time?”

He watched and gave me a “Looks fine.” wave off.

I’ve known this guy for a while and he has the reputation of being a dick. Mostly because plenty of people have stories of “defining moments” like this. I’ve even had conversations with people where it’s been said, “It’s a shame because he is a great trainer, he’s just a shitty person.”

But we all have moments where we lose focus. I know there are plenty of people out there that are more than justified to call me an a-hole. That is why I regularly practice revisiting my mission and purpose. So when the time comes I can put my ego aside and define the moment and not let it define me.

BTW, I hit 400×2 on all except my 3rd set where my grip gave out on the 2nd rep. I tried to hurry and didn’t set up well. I felt the pang of ego kick in as I wanted to add more to the bar and show what I could do, but I chose to follow the program I had set. All in all it was heavy and easy… the way strength training should be.