Danger: 30th Birthday Party
I just turned 30. Yes, I know. But, inside, I do not feel anything different. This is my first post on the grand 30 theme. I’ll be making a few interesting posts on this topic. Here are the quick 8 lessons that I would like to share to with my friends, those who are still in their teens and twenties.
No. 1 Lesson from surviving my 20s: Stay Alive and On the Course I have surpassed these peeps and therefore I am doing something “right!” Extreme of anything is not good. A well-balanced, happy life is a good thing. Tupac & B.I.G (died 25), Kurt Cobain (died 27), Jimi Hendrix (died 27), Jim Morrison (died 27), Brandon Lee (died 28), Heath Ledger (died 28), Caesar Caligula (died 28). Guess what! I am still alive. I am happy! I have survived a lot of things which could have gone wrong. Enough on this sermon. You folks are smart and know what I mean.
No. 2 Lesson from surviving my 20s: Fail Early and Often The difference between an unemployed 22-year-old with debt, no girlfriend & no work experience and an unemployed 25-year-old, with no girlfriend, in debt and no work experience is basically negligible in the long run (by the time you are 30). I wasted my year 20-22 in Delhi and Noida, which eventually led me to where I am today. Guess, my failing for two years straight opened the door to a better future.
I sold Amway for 2 years, ran Precog IT consulting company for 2 years, and taught Martial Arts for 2 years. All of this behind me is only a bag of experiences. This led to my journey into Fitness and better business know-how. I studied and practiced Church Life, lived a Zen life and learned about all the great religions in my 20s and now I have only peace (plus 0 opinion) on matters of religion, faith, afterlife, et al. This is like cleaning a huge clutter from my soul. Because spirituality is very deep in us, you can’t skip it. One day you have to face it. The earlier you do this, the better you’ll become in understanding other human beings.
No. 3 Lesson from surviving my 20s: Money Or Job is Not Happiness
Money is good, but wanting money kills happiness. Fame is good, but wanting fame kills your joy. Success is good, but wanting to be great can ruin your simplicity. Anything good is actually good, but you wanting it, trying to “force” it in your life will basically kill your happiness!
No. 4 Lesson from surviving my 20s: Value True Friendship There are many types of friends in life: one of them are like when you go away for a long time and come back, it feels like nothing changed. This is the only kind of friends whom you can call friends. They are there, and they will be there. They like you as a whole. Rest all other kinds — do not stress too much about them. Mostly, you build friendships over shared interests and these are most fun ones. But these are also the most flaky ones. Whenever I left a particular church or a sports or a city, I also lost all the friends whom I thought were my “true-best-friends”. These people will be quick in judgement, often immature and shallow. Understand, like everything else, some people come in your life and share your journey for a while and then part. It is just life. You cannot force a friendship. This is the time, you gotta make some true friends, invest time and energy. Make mistakes, have fun, break a few rules, watch movies all night, share music, get into fights, do all sort of things, trust me, you wont be able to do in your 30s.
No. 5 Lesson from surviving my 20s: Learn a skill (Sharpen a Talent)
20s is the time, when you should really, seriously, try to pick up a skill that interests you. It could be mastering jokes, playing a guitar, dance, a foreign language, anything. Trust me, you will never regret it and you’ll never get another golden second chance.
Education is important, grades are important too, but they are not fun. You want to have a side kick, a specific unique identifier that differentiates you. You anyways, have no freaking clue on what you are going to do with your life, so when the time will come to date a girl, or impress a new hiring manager or being fun on a group college trips or just sitting on the airport, train, bus — this uniqueness will fuel your voice and you wont act like some shy weirdo.
Most of us are insecure. It is human nature. Having a particular talent will pretty much guarantee that you will feel (and others around you will make you feel) that your life has worth and you mean something. It is important to have a boosted self-esteem. Later, in life, if you survive the 20s, still alive, you wont give much damn about these. But it is important when you are single, lonely, poor and still finding your “Self”.
No. 6 Lesson from surviving my 20s: Learn the “F***” Word Very Well
Disclaimer: Okay, this might seem offensive or ridiculous to some. My apologies in advance. But, f*** you! Back to the point: Understand, that the world in general does not cares about you. The world is a very big place with too many people in it. Everyone is trying to make something out of their time here. You cannot take their rudeness (or indifference) towards you seriously. Nor you should be afraid of unsettling a few apple carts.
Remember that you have a middle finger. The more you will use it (not in a real sense showing it to real people, but mentally), the more calmer you’ll feel, the less stress or hurt you’ll bag. Show it to things and people you do not want in your life. There are literally, asshats out there and many of them will look good and talk good. But they do not possess your best interest. Nor do they give a ratass about your existence. So, f*** all, that causes you harm and insults your soul. Dismiss it altogether. You’ll be doing it billions of time and by late 20s, you’ll really know how important “fcuk” is.
No. 7 Lesson from surviving my 20s: Facing Disappointments
You’re supposed to FAIL and NOT accomplish all of your goals. Okay, this was personally hard for me. But, over the time I realized that 20s is meant to fail (for the vast majority of us, humans. Yes, Mark Zuckerberg is actually an alien, jk). The more you fail during this decade, the more you increase your chances of getting successful in 30s and 40s. You are bound to fail in finance, sports, relationships and entrepreneurship, leaderships, direction, etc.
During my college years, I started a student organization TWOQ and had big ambition for it. I left it. I tried my hands in few business opportunities and unfortunately, I had to leave them all in middle. Why? Because, I was making mistakes in determining what I really want? Who to take as business partner? Where to finance my enterprise? There were just too many uncertainties and very little experience behind me. I had a fire in me. Having the fire in your chest in what keeps your 20s young. Let that fire burn as many things as it can. Don’t stop due to pre-judging an opportunity.
Guess what, may be, you are one of the aliens (Zuckerberg Brotherhood) and you can become a millionaire by age 30. But, in short: fail, fail, fail. Take pride in “failing-forward.” And of course, we all know, when you fail 10 times, you also have a few decent WINs in your lap!
No. 8 Lesson from surviving my 20s: Set Ambitious Goals (But Accept What You Achieve)
I had set a lot of goals for myself before I reach 30. The most outrageous of them was having 1 million USD in investment & liquidity and finishing my MBA from Harvard University. Well, I am far from both and to be honest there are atleast half a dozen more which were very personal and I could not achieve them (as of today). The lesson here is by setting these outrageous goals, I got a LOT done in the process. Instead of crossing them off at 30, now I might do them later at 31, 35, 40, 90… it doesn’t matter anymore.
When we are young, often times, we want to do things because we want to show it to others. Look, I have “it” in me. I can do it. I am somebody. But as we mature in life, we learn that the true goals of life are very personal and intimately tied to our soul’s purpose on this earth.
Anyways, so what am I doing next?
1. I wanted to visit all 50 states (USA) by 30. I have done 30 already. My new target is by the end of 2016, visit all 50 US states. (well, finishing at age 32 is not bad)
2. I wanted to visit all 29 states of India by 30. I did 15. New target is by end of 2017, visit all 29 (finish at age 33, not bad)
3. And, I added a new one. One even more outrageous and BIGGER. Visit and tour 101 countries of the world in next 5 years. Then make a book on it featuring one story from each country and few pictures from each country.
My budget for this one: < $39K USD. Expensive? Not really. A lot of decent commuting cars are more expensive than it. Will I be able to do it in 5 years? I don’t know. But I am going to try! And hard!
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Your turn. How would you celebrate someone’s 30th birthday? If you have suggestions, feedback and thoughts, please feel free to leave a comment and I will try to honor your requests. (The first 3 commenters are always my favorite.)