32 Life Lessons I've Learned As I turn 32

I turned 32 over the weekend and wanted to take some time to reflect on things that have served me well so far in life.

I'm writing this hoping you might find some useful tippets for your own journey so that next year, I can look back and alter and adapt the list as I change.

This is in no particular order, I'll keep the list as chaotic as I keep my desk...

  1. Get up Early: For years, I've been getting up early to give myself time to learn and focus on my own learning. Getting up early means going to bed early. But the peace and productivity I have, while nobody can distract me, is worth the early nights.
  2. Embrace Failure: Every failure is a lesson. It's not the opposite of success but a part of it. As Thomas Edison once said, "I haven't failed, I've found 10,000 ways that don't work."
  3. Continuous Learning: If your pursuit is money and comfort, being a lifelong learner isn't an option; it's a necessity. Continual self-improvement not only protects your current position but also opens doors to new opportunities, ensuring long-term career relevance and growth.
  4. Networking: People are important, but as adults, we often stop making new friends. Networking is just making friends for adults. If it feels sleazy and fake, then it is. Nurture genuine relationships. Meeting new people that I wouldn't normally bump into at work has helped me learn, opened career opportunities, and ultimately, just made life a lot more interesting.
  5. Balance is Key: Work-life balance isn’t a luxury. It's essential for long-term productivity and mental well-being. For years I stupidly bragged about how little I slept and how much I worked. I now try to change that attitude in people I see doing the same. After all, what is the point of all the work if you can't enjoy life?
  6. Avoid Comparison: Your journey is unique; comparing only robs you of joy. There are always people doing better and worse than us. It's funny how we tend to only focus on those doing better...
  7. Avoid Multitasking: Focus on one task at a time. Multitasking diminishes quality and efficiency. Stop pretending you are good at it. None of us are!
  8. Celebrate Small Wins: They keep you motivated and remind you of the progress you're making. I'm guilty of not stepping back enough and realizing how far and well I've done at times. It's on my calendar each week to pick a win I have had in the last week. No matter how small, pick one!
  9. Don't Self-Select: By not self-selecting out of situations, whether it's applying for a job, pursuing a new hobby, or asking someone out, you embrace every possibility and potential growth experience. "Don't Self-Select" is a call to give yourself a chance, even when you think the odds might be against you.
  10. Value Your Time: It's the one resource you can't get back. Use it wisely.
  11. Learn to Say No: Not every opportunity or request aligns with your goals. If it's not a "HELL YES," then usually it's a no from me. You'll get a lot more time and mental space back when you say no more.
  12. Feedback is Gold: Constructive criticism helps you grow. Embrace it. Pro tip: Make sure the feedback you take is from trusted people. Not all feedback is created equal.
  13. You Can Act, Don’t React: Considered responses are always better than impulsive reactions.
  14. Goal Setting: Break down your ambitions into tangible, achievable steps. Be willing to change your big goals. On the journey, you might find some goals aren't serving you. Be flexible and make sure your goals are working for you.
  15. Challenge Yourself: Comfort zones rarely lead to great new things.
  16. Prioritize Health: A healthy body helps everything else. This is something I took for granted for too long, and I hope I can stay on top of it for the rest of my life. If you haven't fit this into your life, drop something else.
  17. You Don't Need an Opinion: You don't always have to have an answer or an opinion. Life is a lot less stressful when you don't feel the burden of having to take a stance on everything.
  18. Have the Tough Conversations: Never has avoiding "those" conversations led to a better outcome. Face it head-on. It's always better to pull off the band-aid fast.
  19. Invest in Yourself: Courses, books, or even travel. Spend money on growing you! You are worth it. These things compound into long-term success and happiness.
  20. Know Your Worth: Don’t undersell yourself professionally or personally.
  21. Be Patient: Time brings so much clarity and learning. And great things take time; don't rush the process.
  22. Be Humble: No matter how much you achieve, there's always something new to learn. Everybody has something they can teach you.
  23. Mindset Matters: A growth mindset will open doors, while a fixed mindset will shut them down.
  24. Consistency is Key: Small, consistent efforts yield big results over time. Consistency is one thing we can control to make sure we are going in the right direction. It's not sexy, but it works.
  25. Know When to Quit: Not everything is worth pursuing. Recognize when to let go.
  26. Embrace Change: Growth often requires leaving the comfort zone.
  27. Integrity: Simply put, this means being honest and having strong moral principles. Know your values and live them.
  28. Limit Distractions: Airplane mode on your phone is the best productivity hack.
  29. Mentor: Find someone you can help out. Seeing people grow is immensely rewarding. It's most of the reason I run Codú.
  30. Prune your friends: You don't have to be friends with anyone. We all change. If you have people in your life (and I think we all do) who drain your energy or time rather than revitalize you, get rid of them. I wish I had started doing this a lot earlier in life.
  31. Be Authentic: Your genuine self is your greatest asset (unless you are an absolute tool 😅). Authenticity has been hijacked by corporate lingo, in my opinion. Be you in work, life, and everything in between. Trying to behave a certain way to fit in is exhausting. If people don't like you for who you are, you'll be doing yourself a favor by letting them self-select out.
  32. Have fun: Don't be so serious. Don't forget to play!

What is the most valuable lesson that you have learned in your life so far?

I'd love to hear it in the comments. 👇

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Written by Niall Maher

Founder of Codú - The web developer community! I've worked in nearly every corner of technology businesses; Lead Developer, Software Architect, Product Manager, CTO and now happily a Founder.

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