As I turn fifty years old this week I am revisiting a blog post that written in in 2006 as "40 Things I Learned by 40" and then again in 2011 as "45 Things I Learned by 45". I am modifying the post here, but stand by all the advice added in years past. Life keeps going. I am happier today than I was in the past, and am not bothered in the least by the number 50. My perspective is different from others, as my own father was 52 when I was born, so I view age as only a number (he lived a very active and full life until his late 90s).
50 Things I Learned by 50
by Thom Singer
50. There is nothing wrong with getting older. It happens no matter what, so just enjoy the stacking of experiences. We live in a youth oriented culture, but don't believe that the best years are in the past.
49. You are responsible for the choices you made in the past. Don't be embarrassed by failure, it is part of the road to success.
48. Sadness and depression happen, but we rarely talk about it. Be honest with yourself and don't hide from your own feelings.
47. Treat yourself to something special on a semi-regular basis.
46. Don't hide behind "busy". Everyone is busy and it need not be your badge of honor.
45. Everyone wants to feel significant, but you can never achieve significance alone in a field. You need other people. Help them find significance and they will return the favor. Don't and you will be alone.
44. Social media is not a fad. You must have a LinkedIn profile if you are a grown up with a job. But do not mistake the number of contacts with the number of people how know, like, trust, respect, and understand who you are in your soul.
43. Read the Wall Street Journal. The economy (good or bad) does impact your career... no matter your company, industry, job title, etc... Do not stick your head in the sand.
42. Embrace Change.
41. Don't worry too much about what others think about you.
40. Everyone has an ego. Tread lightly as to not bruise them.
39. Nothing produces results as much as taking action. Be a person of action.
38. Don't gossip. What you say will always find its way back to the person.
37. People do business with people they know, like, and trust. In our social media crazy world this is more true than ever.
36. Jealous and petty people are just part of life.
35. Say "please" and "thank you". It will make you stand out from the crowd.
34. When you need help, ask someone.
33. Having written goals is an important step you achieving your dreams and remain focused.
32. Over using credit cards will stall your financial future.
31. A supportive spouse is so important. Be one and honor the one you have.
30. A true friend is excited for you about any event that makes you happy. Show that high level of excitement when those around you have positive events.
29. True friends are rare and should be cherished. Those people who are "Forever Friends" (the ones that never judge you too harshly or fire you over minor things) are worth their weight in gold.
28. No job is secure. Have a "plan B" and don't be surprised if you have to pivot.
27. Always find the best in other people. Do not focus on their flaws. Everyone has flaws, so what.
26. You are not what you drive or what you wear. Do not judge others by their cars, clothes or zip code.
25. You are a "brand". No matter what you do it impacts your reputation.
24. Luck does not happen by accident.
23. Start saving money when you are young. 10% of your income should always go to your 401K. I didn't do this, but envy my friends who were disciplined in this area.
22. Dedicate time to think about your future. Know what success looks like so that you will recognize it when it happens.
21. You cannot love your kids too much! And they grow up too fast.
20. Treat everyone with respect. You never know when they might circle back into your life.
19. If you are not knowledgeable about wine...Don't fake it.
18. Be-friend your competitors. Many of them are great people who will help you be more successful.
17. Regardless of your political beliefs - attend a presidential inauguration once in your lifetime. The whole thing is very cool.
16. Find a mentor. The right guide makes the journey easier.
15. Be a mentor. Few things are as wonderful as helping others avoid the same pitfalls that held you back.
14. Staying physically fit gets harder as you get older. But do it anyway.
13. You do not have to be smart to be successful. Tenacity trumps intelligence.
12. Having a strong network of professional contacts is the best career safety net. But you have to work on it always, as out of sight is out of mind.
11. Read a lot of books, magazines, websites, blogs and newspapers. Knowledge is power.
10. Writing a book is hard work. Promoting a book is harder work.
9. Develop your public speaking skills. Join a Toastmasters group and participate actively for two years.
8. There is no substitute for integrity.
7. Have friends who challenge you to be a better person.
6. If you know someone who wrote a book, read it. The biggest compliment you can give an author is to read what they wrote.
5. Helping others always comes back to benefit you. Make others a priority and people will notice (and vice versa).
4. Find a good lawyer, accountant and banker before you need them.
3. Learn to cook. Life is better when you have good food.
2. Opportunities exist. You just have to look for them. Don't whine, go make success happen.
AND THE NUMBER ONE THING I HAVE LEARNED:
#1 - Those who have achieved REAL success in life (financially, emotionally and spiritually) will never criticize your dreams and aspirations. Instead they will look for ways to share their own experiences to help lift you up to higher levels. Successful people are rarely jealous and welcome the achievements of others.