Wednesday, May 21, 2014

40 Things it Took Me 40 Years to Learn

Today is my 40th birthday, and it feels like quite a milestone. I certainly don’t consider myself wise, but I think I have gathered a little wisdom over my four decades. Much of it has been learned the hard way. So here, in no particular order (except number 1) are 40 things it has taken me 40 years to learn.

40. If you want to be noticed at work, be the guy who always complains. If you want to be appreciated, be the guy who shuts up and does his work right. You’ll eventually be noticed also.

39. College teaches you a lot. But you’ll learn more in your first 6 months out of college than you did your entire time in it.

38. There are very few things in life that are worth truly being angry about. It is really important that you figure out what those things are. If you don’t, you’ll either always be angry about trivial things, or never be angry, even about really, really important things.

37. Fear is a terrible emotion to let run your life. It will prevent you from missing out on a lot that life has to offer.

36. Worry is not a virtue.

35. The best things in life are hard. If you never try hard things, you will miss out on some of the world’s greatest joys.

34. On a related note, marriage is really, very, super-hard. But it’s also great. If you knew how hard it would be going in, you would probably never do it. But if you’re willing to put the hard work it requires into it, you will be glad you did.

33. Speaking of marriage, my wife is much smarter than me. Realizing this would have saved our marriage a lot of difficulty early on. There’s a good chance, if you’re a guy, that you need to realize this also.

32. One of the best things you can do for your marriage is to decide from the beginning that your wife is the most beautiful woman in the world. Decide that, and eventually you’ll believe it. In my case, it is objectively true.

31. Don’t judge anything about your spouse based on the first three months of a newborn’s life. There is only one goal during that time – survive.

30. Anyone who tells you they have parenting figured out is lying.

29. Have high expectations for your kids, but also have big helpings of grace.

28. Social media means that we have more information than we ever have had before, but so much of it is absolute garbage. Before you post something on Facebook, check its accuracy. And then check it again. And again. Then wait 2 hours. And then post if you still want to do it.

27. There are few things better than a recliner, a good book, and a baseball game on in the background.

26. People say that people are basically good. I wonder if they've ever met people.

25. You can have a lot of information at your fingertips and still be really, really dumb.

24. Racism takes on a lot of forms. If you don’t think you have some racist tendencies, you probably don’t know yourself very well. Those tendencies are to be fought against.

23. The person who does not fight against pride every day is losing the fight to pride. If you think you’re humble, you most certainly are not.

22. If you will make a point to be a dealer of truth in love, you will stand out. Most truthy people are not very loving. And a lot of loving people are not very truthy.

21. Dealing in drama may give you a temporary high, but it will ultimately make you a miserable person.

20. You can get pretty far in life by just not being a jerk.

19. Sarcasm is best used sparingly. I’m actually still working on this one.

18. The older you get, the dumber you get. I had everything figured out at 25. I have much less figured out right now.

17. You’re never too old to stop learning.

16. Faith and doubt are brothers. You don’t need faith unless you have some doubts.

15. On a related note, a lot of things can be figured out with a pen or pencil and a Bible and prayer. But it will take time.

14. Sports are fun. Sports are not God.

13. Sex is fun. Sex is not God.

12. Everyone’s worshiping something or someone. What or who are you worshiping?

11. Money is like fire. It can be very beneficial when kept under control, but very dangerous when it gets out of control.

10. Your online bank account will tell you a lot about what you think is most important.

9. Those who tell you all Christians are meant to be rich have not read the Bible.

8. Those who tell you all Christians are meant to be healthy have not read the Bible.

7. Those who tell you all Christians are meant to be wise have probably read the Bible.

6. The resurrection of Jesus is pretty much the only reason I’m a Christian. It’s the one fact that I cannot escape from. If it’s false, I am following a false faith. But since its true, it must affect every part of my life.

5. There is a LOT of stuff out there that calls itself Christian that is actually garbage. If you think you hate Christianity, let’s talk about it. I might hate what you’re talking about also. Jesus may not like it too much either.

4. Outrage is not a fruit of the Spirit.

3. A lot of Christians spend far too much time talking about the things they are against, and very little time talking about the things they are for. Strive to do the opposite.

2. True Christianity is not found mainly in the things you avoid. It’s found mainly in the things that you embrace.

1. Jesus really is better than anything. It took me most of my 40 years to realize this; wish I’d realized it sooner. I’m hopeful you figure this out sooner than I did.