30 Lessons I Wish I Knew Before 30

Memo to My Past Self: 30 Truths for Navigating Your Way to 30

This is the Roman Emperor Nero:

He died at 30. I’ve officially lived longer than an emperor!

To celebrate, here are 30 tidbits of unsolicited life advice, in no particular order, for my younger self.


  1. Daily running is one of the best habits you can have.

    • You can do it anywhere.

    • You’re guaranteed endorphins every time you run, forever.

    • It provides dedicated time for learning (podcasts and audiobooks), rather than scheduling learning time.

  2. Learn to love yoga and/or stretching.

    • You’re inevitably getting older, and stiffer. Staying limber is the solution. (Grandma -96 yrs old- still stretches every night! If she can, so can you).

  3. Learn to estimate calories.

    • Our family isn’t very health-centric. But turns out calories aren’t just Jenny Craig mumbo-jumbo — turns out it’s a real thing.

    • Don’t get it confused with kilojoules.


  1. Building wealth occurs as a result of the vehicle you choose, rather than how hard you work.

    • Look at anyone who is uber-rich, they are “close to the money”. They’ve raised money, sold something, or taken slices from high-value transactions.

    • The cruel part is that local business owners often work just as hard.

  2. The power of money is that it allows you to NOT do things.

    • People think money buys freedom. Money's best benefit is that it buys you freedom FROM things, not necessarily the freedom to do things.

  3. Wealth = being able to do what you want, when you want, with who you want, for as long as you want.

    • Being wealthy in the broadest sense is also connection to people you respect (and having them respect you back) — because you can't buy that.

Love & Relationships

  1. Small interactions with strangers bring joy

    • Daily micro-interactions have a disproportionate effect on your overall life happiness. You’ll discount it, but it works.

  1. Prioritize building relationships by scheduling time for meeting new people.

    • When you move on to a new endeavor, often people are the only asset you'll be able to take with you.

    • Don't be afraid to excuse yourself (politely) if you're bored — but don't write anyone off.

  2. Every problem can be solved with the right relationship.

    • Rather than research, or diving in — get in touch with someone who already knows.

  3. Expose yourself to as many different groups of people as possible

    • Weak ties present more opportunities than strong ties. You never know who you'll cross paths with later.


  1. Life is (actually) long.

    • You have enough time to build the life you want. But know that as you get older, time will feel like it’s slipping by faster.

  1. Make writing your default activity when you have free time or have nothing else to do.

    • Writing is thinking. It allows you to articulate your thoughts more clearly — this breeds confidence in explaining your ideas, beliefs, and vision.

    • Begin writing and publishing publicly as soon as possible.

  2. Read philosophy at night before you go to sleep.

    • Surely this is one of the secrets to perspective, success, and happiness.

  3. This is not a dress rehearsal — life is now.

    • Whenever you catch yourself going through the motions, remind yourself that this is it.

  4. Nobody is coming to save you. Or tell you what you should do.

    • Life is a single-player game. Even those who care about you are much more preoccupied with themselves. It’s on you.

  5. The best time was yesterday, the second best time is NOW.

    • Don't wait for conditions to get better. Just start now.

    • If you’re able to do the thing now, then do it now. By definition, it’s the right time, because you’re able to do it. If you weren’t able to do it, it wouldn’t be the right time.

  6. Travel all you can now, you'll crave routine later.

    • Life has different phases, when you have kids or start a family, you’ll be forced into a routine. So do non-routined things now.

  7. Enthusiasm will get you further than you think, lean into that.

    • Simply being genuinely more excited than everyone else in the room will get you far.

  8. The world is not logical, and it is not fair.

    • Use every advantage you have to achieve the goals you set for yourself. (Because everybody else is).


  1. Don't stress about your time estimates for achieving things — because they will be wrong.

    • You won't be able to accurately comprehend a one-year timespan properly until you're at least 28 years old. (As a percentage of your adult life, it’s still a long period of time).

  1. Who you surround yourself with is everything.

    • You'll inevitably compare yourself to your peers, so you may as well have successful peers.

  2. After who, selecting your environment & location is the next most important.

    • The future is not evenly distributed. Different geographies live at different times. (You can jump on a plane and land 5 years into the past, or in the future. E.g. San Francisco, USA vs Leh, India.)

  3. What you choose to do is more important than how you do it.

    • This is the generalized principle of wealth and vehicle choice previously.

  4. Different is better than best.

    • Everybody is weird. Identify your uniqueness and idiosyncrasies — because that will be what allows you to win. You need perspective to do this because what you think is normal, is not normal to others.

  5. Successful people have a handful of very well-defined traits — cultivate these for yourself.

    • Being formidable. Someone who seems like they'll get what they want, regardless of whatever obstacles are in the way.

    • Being a curious, independent thinker.

    • Being “full range”. Able to go from the big picture down to the smallest detail.

    • Being both systematic and creative.

    • Having high standards for other people and holding them accountable.

  6. Power = the ability to create the reality you want.

    • Take what you see in your head (vision) and make it happen in the world (execution).

  7. There is always a shorter path… if you're courageous.

    • Those who make a habit of consistently doing things that scare them, get there faster.

  8. Clarity comes from engagement, not thought.

    • Action is the first step of not overthinking. Learn something, then think later.

  9. To wake up early, move to a warm country with a nice view — start there.

    • It’s hard waking up early in the middle of a New Zealand winter. Don’t play the game on hard mode.

  10. Remember Buridan’s Ass:

    • A hungry and thirsty donkey can't decide whether to eat hay or drink water because they are the exact same distance away from him. So the donkey, trying to make the best choice, ends up not choosing at all because it can’t find a reason to pick one over the other. It ends up dying because of the indecision.

    • A donkey can’t think into the future. If it could, he’d realize he could’ve first drunk the water and then eaten the hay.

    • Don’t be an Ass. You can do everything you want to do. You just need foresight, patience, and most importantly—decision.

    • You can have it all, just focus on one thing at a time.

Whenever you get stuck or frustrated, revisit these lessons. I hope they’ll save you a little headache on your way to thirty.

Good luck!