#60 – 30 for 30 – Life Lessons for the Wise

When I turned 30, I did not know what to make of it. Lots have asked me, how did it feel? To be honest, it didn’t feel any different biologically than turning 21. Well, that isn’t entirely true. I can’t jump as high, run as fast, or eat as much but I have become wiser. Instead of jumping high or running fast, I have opted for practices like yoga or meditation. Instead of eating lots of unhealthy food, I have opted for more greens and pasture-raised meats. I wish I knew about these things when I was younger but I’ve learned you can’t look at life that way. What we go through is a catalyst for something better. Through mediums like this blog, I am able to share what has worked for me, and maybe it can work for you.

What I wanted to share with you today are the timeless lessons that I have learned thus far and how these lessons will continue to help me live a life of abundant love, unencumbered happiness, and relentless compassion. Turning 30 is a milestone in anyone’s life and I thought it would be appropriate to share 30 lessons that you can adopt into your life.

30 years old — 30 life lessons I have learned

  1. I’m no longer in a rush — Life is extremely beautiful and precious. I have learned to stop and smell the roses. Try spending quality time with nature, with friends, and with family. At the end of your life you will not think about what you haven’t or have accomplished. You will think about all the people you love and why you didn’t spend more time with them. Start now!
  2. Be less angry — Sure we all have our days, but the next time you think about getting angry, have a quick dialogue with yourself. Is what you are angry about going to matter tomorrow, next month, next year, or in the next 10 years? If the answer is no, then don’t waste time being angry.
  3. Make peace with your negative past — Thoreau said, “Don’t look back unless you plan on going that way.” The past is done; it has no room for the future. The more you look at your past as a means for reason, you are invariably hurting yourself and negating the present. Be kind to yourself and concentrate on the path you are walking right now.
  4. Meditate — In the Buddhist monastery I visit, there is a large wall of quotes, reading , “When in action, perfect all actions, and when in rest, rest all thoughts.” Sometimes we have the ability to work 100 mph and neglect rest. Meditation and relaxation are times to rest all thoughts and gain wisdom from the concentration of nothingness. By doing this, you free yourself from the daily grind and fall into a space of peace and serenity.
  5. Smile — Look at people and smile. I do this often and the rare occasion that someone makes eye contact, they tend to smile back. Smiles are free and uplifting. It also takes less facial muscles to smile then to frown!
  6. Attachment — Understand that everyone you love can be taken from you at any time. When you have made peace with this frame of thinking, the way you treat people will change. Don’t waste time being angry and if disagreements come up, forgive, forget, and move on. Life is too short to hold grudges. By making peace with yourself, you will make peace with others.
  7. Adopt a healthy diet — It’s hard for some and it was very hard for me, but being a health conscious eater does more than give you amazing bowel movements. It makes your soul softer and more connected with this planet. You start to see the oneness in everything.
  8. Invest — I think money is trivial. It’s a manmade thing that makes people go crazy but it’s a function of our life and the more we have, the more comfortable we can be. Put money aside in a 401k, IRA, Mutual Funds, Treasury Bonds, in Real Estate, and live below your means. There is only so much we need in life. Less material items means less clutter for the mind and more mindfulness for things that are priceless.
  9. Practice gratitude — Be thankful every morning and every evening before going to bed. Be thankful for the people in your life and what you have. When you do this you invite true happiness into your life
  10. Love yourself — Look yourself in the mirror and say, “I love you.” It’s a weird exercise, but I tried it for a month and I started appreciating a lot about myself. What I started appreciating was deeper than what was on the outside.
  11. Follow your passion as if money did not exist — Too many times we are contrived to spend our times in careers because of monetary reasons. I understand that we all have to make a living, but follow your passion on the side if you can. I can’t write all the time because I do have a demanding job, but I do it when I can and hope one day it can be a source of income.
  12. Love your parents –My parents are crazy! They brought me into this world and have been my biggest teachers. It is not what they taught me directly, but instead I learned from them in the ways we interacted. They tested my patience, questioned my motives, challenged me, and are till this day, my biggest fans. If your parents are alive, treat them like the kings and queens they are.
  13. Volunteer — I have been involved in many volunteer organizations and still am today. When you give time to a cause that has no direct monetary benefit to you, you have just invited compassion into your heart. With volunteering you will start to realize that the people you help are giving you way more than what you could ever give them. I call it unconditional irrevocable bliss.
  14. Minimalist — Eliminate clutter. How many things do you actually need? If you have an abundance of clothes that you don’t wear or don’t wear that much, give them away! Someone who does not have the money for clothes can use it and use it more often. My life has become very simple and it’s been a blessing in disguise
  15. Treat everyone as one– Whether President Obama graces your presence or the local garbage man, treat them the same. As people, we tend to hold our titles as an image of who we really are. Our titles, our alma maters, our cars, or what we have does not encapsulate who we are as people. The essence of a person is something amazing and something I look for, and because I do, what someone has or is, is irrelevant. The true essence of a person is what makes them beautiful. We see it in our loved ones and perhaps we can look for it in strangers as well.
  16. Laugh more — Go to more comedy shows, make fun of your family and friends, and make sure they make fun of you! Laughing is great and it burns calories.
  17. Spend less time on your smart phone — Smart phones should have been names stupid phones. I always see people with their heads down, staring blankly into a small rectangular screen. Talk to people more often, go out in nature, and do things. You will save yourself neck cramps.
  18. Social media — Echkart Tolle brought this up when I went to see him at a Dreamforce convention hosted by Salesforce. He talked about how social media might make some depressed as they see others in their circle enjoying life. The content people post on their profiles often portray a false reality. Everyone struggles. The reality is is that life isn’t always as exciting as the pictures people post.
  19. Think good thoughts — Lao Tzu said it best, “Watch your thoughts; they become words. Watch your words; they become actions. Watch your actions; they become habit. Watch your habits; they become character. Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.” Think good thoughts and good things will happen.
  20. Be more loving — Kiss and hug those close to you more often. Show love to all that come into your life.
  21. Procrastination is the cousin of death — Rapper The Game said, “Sleep is the cousin of death,” but I have to disagree. Sleep is important and it prevents those heavy bags under your eyes. If you understand that life is short and it would be an injustice if you are not doing something fruitful with your life while you are awake. Read more, write more, take time out for the people you love, walk with nature, etc. These are all good things.
  22. Expand your mind — Find what you love and read about it. Read more books, listen to audio tapes to gain some more insight, and share it with others. Look at lectures on YouTube and documentaries on Netflix about subjects that interest you.
  23. Spend time in nature — Find a scenic hike and take a stroll by yourself or with some friends. Bask in the amazingness that is our planet. It’s extremely cathartic and will leave your mind free and clear and hopefully charged to make a positive impact in our world.
  24. Cook more — When time permits, cook your food. Take ingredients at their freshest and make something. Food tastes better when you put your hard work and love into it. Invite people over and eat together.
  25. Call or see people in person — With the texting revolution, I feel that we are falling further and further away from the human connection. Text messages don’t excite me. If you are in my life you will see that I don’t text that often. I’d rather call to hear your voice. I hope you try to do this as well.
  26. Contemplate more — The ancient philosophers of the past had fewer things to deal with which made more time for contemplation. Carve out time to think about our world, what’s good with it, how you will leave your mark and make it better than how you found it.
  27. Exercise — Sleeping, eating, and breathing are things we don’t have a choice over, we just do them. Make exercise just as important. Try to find 30–45 minutes a day and do something active. The benefits are endless. Just google it!
  28. Gossip — Refrain from gossip about anyone. If you have nothing good to say about something or someone, then don’t say it. Negativity breeds negativity.
  29. See the good in all people — Everyone that is in my life today is amazing and they do amazing things. I consider myself very lucky to have everyone that is in my life today. I have deep admiration and love for all of you.
  30. Strive to be a better version of yourself everyday — Every day we are alive is a blessing and treat it as such. We are blessed with 86,400 seconds everyday to improve ourselves. Maximize your time by making life more pleasant for yourself and others. By incorporating some of what I said above, you can make this all happen!

With Love,

Anand Swamy

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