Growing up is something I used to hate. Somehow, I still don’t like it but I’ve accepted that I’m only growing older and started focusing on what I’ve learned along the way.

The lessons you’re about to read are things I’ve learned until now and that I find vital for living a decent life. And I decided to write them down so in a few years I can look back at the list and see what changed and what stick.

Table of Contents

  1. The people around us are part of us
  2. If you really want something, you’ll get it
  3. Focusing on the goal is harder than setting the goal
  4. Opening yourself to others is the hardest thing but it brings a lot of joy
  5. Helping others is always a priority, otherwise you’ll end up being alone, sad and forgotten
  6. What today seems hard, tomorrow will be easy
  7. Being different is good but is not easy
  8. Money is just a tool
  9. I’ll always miss emotions but sometimes I have to move on
  10. Every step you make right now defines the things you get at the end of the journey
  11. If it hurts, keep going
  12. Be an optimist if you want to have a life filled with positivity
  13. If you force things, you’ll lose them
  14. Putting your business ideas into practice is the best experiment you can make, no matter if you end up earning $10 or $10.000
  15. If you have a dream and you give up on that dream, it will change into regret
  16. It’s good to be an idiot, especially if you have some friends who could join you
  17. School, the way we used to know it, is bullshit
  18. Your personal brand will get you what you need
  19. A mentor to learn from is better than 100 books
  20. If you don’t measure, you don’t have results
  21. Entrepreneurship is not only about making money, but about being an inventor with a story to share
  22. Growing up is like a hand that’s not only slapping you, but also takes all your toys
  23. Personal development has nothing to do with what you read, but with what you practice

1. The people around us are part of us

I remember a moment between 2014 and 2015, that lasted for 9 months.

In that period of time, I was enrolled in a personal development course with acting methods. It was an amazing moment of my life and I loved being part of that community.

That was a place where I was feeling like home – a place where I was being myself. Actually, that is where I learned more about myself and discovered most of who I am.

When everything was over, I felt sad. That’s when I understand that moments like that never go away but stay with me through the people I spent my time with during that moment.

2. If you really want something, you’ll get it

A marathon, a half-marathon, and an ultra-marathon. In this specific order.

When it comes to my ability to get what I want, I almost instantly think of my craziness. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have dared to even think of running a 64-km competition.

Was it hard? Yes, it was. But it was so beautiful that it felt like it wasn’t hard anymore.

I wanted so much to finish every running competition that I didn’t care that my training wasn’t perfect, that my feet hurt, that I finish last or that there’s a chance a bear may kill me.

I only cared about being present and enjoying an extraordinary experience while having the opportunity to finish the competition. And that made me get what I wanted.

3. Focusing on the goal is harder than setting the goal

Starting tomorrow I’ll stop eating junk food. Starting tomorrow I’ll start walking daily. Starting tomorrow I’ll read 10 pages every day. Starting tomorrow I’ll stop saying ‘starting tomorrow’.

Setting the goal is the easiest part because you’re not putting any effort into it – you’re simply stating something. And whatever you’re stating has no value unless it’s put into practice.

And here’s something you probably won’t like hearing: if you do things without value, you won’t have value. After all, the value you provide to people is made of experiences, not statements.

It happened too many times to say that starting tomorrow I’ll do something and do nothing the next day. But I’ve realized that if I don’t do something, I don’t know if that something is working, has value, or is any good.

And if it doesn’t work then how am I going to be capable of providing value to others? I won’t be able to guide others towards decisions that will help them have results.

4. Opening yourself to others is the hardest thing but it brings a lot of joy

A few years ago, I was into public speaking and I was speaking at least a few times a year at various events.

I remember that in one week I had to do it three times, at a conference I was part of the organization team, at my own workshops and at some high school leadership volunteering thing.

I loved that week, but I had to do something I wasn’t really comfortable with. I had to open myself to others. Even though I like doing it, it doesn’t always feel comfortable.

The good thing is, even when the comfort is missing, you’ll get to interact with those who are listening and watching you. I usually work hard enough on the preparation of a speech and it makes me get positive feedback from people, which is great for overcoming an uncomfortable situation.

That feedback is part of the joy I get when I speak in front of people. The fact that they tell me the information they got from me is useful makes me feel like I can help.

5. Helping others is always a priority, otherwise you’ll end up being alone, sad and forgotten

A few years ago, when I wrote Shift to Passion, I got to an interesting idea that sounds like this:

If you involve people in your life, they will help you improve your life. If you involve people in your business, they will help you improve your business.

If you take a closer look at the other side of the coin, it means that if someone gets involved in your life or business, there are higher chances that you keep that person in your life, right? You don’t really want someone who is there for you to get out of your life.

This makes me think that helping others should be a priority. And if you do it, you will have as a result their help. Instead, if you’re only helping yourself, you’ll end up being alone, sad and forgotten.

6. What today seems hard, tomorrow will be easy

A few days ago I found some old text I wrote back in 2009, about friendship and the trust behind friendships.

That text has less than 150 words and I remember thinking that it’s way too long. Now I find it funny simply because meanwhile I learned so much about writing and I wrote so much, 150 words is not much at all.

Actually, I went from considering 150 words is too much to write a book of 53k words in 20 days, this happening last year.

Therefore, I encourage you to do whatever you want even though now it may feel like a burden. The more you work, the more you’ll evolve.

7. Being different is good but is not easy

I’ve learned that the less common the stereotype I am is, the fewer people like me I will find whom I can understand.

I look closely at people when I tell them my ideas. Oftentimes, people ponder on them. But even more, people look at me really weird and usually refuse to listen until I finish what I have to say.

Maybe I am too literate sometimes. Or maybe my ideas are too uncommon for them.

I could have chosen to change myself, but I don’t think that’s a viable option. As long as there is at least someone whom I can share my ideas with, then I’m going to be more than fine.

8. Money is just a tool

The world we’re living in has changed money into a need. And because that wasn’t enough, the society has changed money into a solution for the same need.

I’ve worked with many people and I ended up having qualitative collaborations. But many of them have disappeared because their values and principles were opposite than mine.

As long as I work for giving something to the community I’m part of, I can’t work with people who are only interested in making more money.

I’ve seen people who considered themselves successful but were always postponing payments. I’ve seen people being so blind that they cared more about the results of their business than the people who were bringing the results.

Money is just a tool. A tool for growing and having a better way of living this life that we’re only living once.

9. I’ll always miss emotions but sometimes I have to move on

That girl that I was with a few months ago. That project that suddenly stopped for weird reasons. These two situations are now emotions that are eating an important part of my attention.

But there’s one rule I’m trying to apply as much as I can when I get stuck in my past: NEW IS ALWAYS BETTER.

Anything new you get will usually be better than the thing you had. And not because it will have new amazing features or whatever else, but because the new thing is always connected to the present moment.

Right now, I’m thinking about the version of myself from when I was in high school. I can’t say I don’t like it, but I like more how I am right now.

If you think your past is better than your present, it means you’ve done something wrong on your way to the present moment.

10. Every step you make right now defines the things you get at the end of the journey

I would’ve never been able to run a 64-km ultra-marathon if, at first, I didn’t start running and then, years later, create myself a small running schedule.

I would’ve never been able to write a book if, at first, I didn’t write small texts of 150 words or less.

I would’ve never been able to speak in public if, at first, I didn’t organize my workshops and go to conferences to see what is actually happening on stage.

Life is made out of moments – some are better than others. But the good part is that every moment is followed by another one and that’s how we learn.

If the moment you’re in right now is not one you like, take your time and let it manifest. After you’ll reach its end, enjoy the next one – it may be the best moment of your life.

11. If it hurts, keep going

I’m thinking about two different things: running and career.

There are moments of running where the pain was present – either I was feeling it in a leg, in my spleen or somewhere else. And the physical pain generated by an activity is really interesting because when you stop the activity that’s generating it, then pain will also stop.

But when you stop, you usually stop doing what you have to do while chasing your goal, not after you achieve your goal. Even more interesting is when you actually keep doing what you have to do, no matter how painful it is. Eventually, your body will get used with the sensation of pain and won’t send signals to your brain anymore.

When it comes to career, the pain is more emotional than physical.

At the end of 2015, I was in a spot where I wasn’t able to tell anymore what to do with my writing skills. I was sick of writing for others, on topics such as washing machines or drapes – so sick I wanted to stop, but I needed money for food.

And I stopped. And I realized I did something really dumb. And I started writing again.

And then I actually noticed that it was more of a break than anything else. A well-needed break.

12. Be an optimist if you want to have a life filled with positivity

I can understand that if you’ve had a negative moment, at that moment you feel disappointed and you were not enthusiastic anymore.

But do you want to feel like that for the rest of your life? Do you really think that the negativity will persist?

If you experienced something negative, it doesn’t mean that everything in your life will be the same. If you screw things up once, it doesn’t mean that you will do the same again.

Just take some time and think about your past negative experience. Learn from it and do it differently next time.

13. If you force things, you’ll lose them

Patience is golden and most times enthusiasm kills patience.

When I think of enthusiasm, I think about all the moments of my life. Instead, when I think of patience, I think about all the moments that I could have had.

Many times, I wanted things to happen right away and I lost them. Other times, I had amazing experiences.

But I’d rather lose them. I’d rather lose everyone who’s not willing to be there with me from the first second or who’s getting stuck in the process of thinking and procrastinate until the last moment.

Because, at the same time, I’ll get to keep only those who are on the same path I am, who are brave enough to do what they want to do.

14. Putting your business ideas into practice is the best experiment you can make, no matter if you end up earning $10 or $10.000

Here I have a funny story that involves condoms.

It was 2012 when, together with a friend, I was searching for methods to make money. Finding various methods, one of them was about buying condoms at a really low price and selling them at a higher price.

That summer we ended up making a few hundred dollars profit, after buying 1000 condoms.

15. If you have a dream and you give up on that dream, it will change into regret

When you’re a child, you have many dreams that can be reached right away.

Either you want an ice cream, or a new toy, you can have these things pretty fast. And because they’re many dreams, you can easily give up on them. Or maybe you get them if you cry long enough.

Instead, when you’re grown-up, in most cases you’ll have only one dream. And if you give up on that dream, you’ll think it’s a disaster.

When you give up on your dream as a grown-up man, you give up on yourself. You give up on everything you are, as a human being, because there’s no other dream. And if there’s no other dream to fight for, it’s like having no reason to keep going. It’s painful.

Whatever your dream may be, invest in it, every day, for at least 10 minutes.

16. It’s good to be an idiot, especially if you have some friends who could join you

Yes, an idiot.

Being an idiot means to behave foolishly. When you behave foolishly and you do it alone, people will think you’re nuts. Instead, if you have someone beside you, doing the same thing, then you’ll laugh every time.

We’re all idiots. And by that I mean that we all want to have those moments when we behave foolishly.

Be an idiot and enjoy life among friends.

17. School, the way we used to know it, is a bullshit

I’ve spoken with entrepreneurs, employers, and employees. All believe that diploma you get at the end of college is not worth the time and money. Having this in mind, the system asks for a diploma. Or that’s how society wants you to think.

I’ve been through college but I decided to quit it. I don’t need a diploma and you won’t need one either. All you need is experience, and you can get that experience without any diploma.

Yes, education is important, but not the one you get from school. Your parents are educating you, the NGOs are educating you, the entrepreneurs are educating you. The school is bullshit.

18. Your personal brand will get you what you need

From 2012 since now I’ve had many things I wanted or needed. And guess where it all started from?

Everything started with me wanting to make my passion visible on the internet and I decided to present myself as an optimist. At that time, I had no idea that I was about to make the most important step I’ll ever make.

It was the step that helped me know people, collaborate with them and grow a little business around me. Even more than that, it was the step that got me closer to running, writing and public speaking.

If I didn’t make that step and invest in my personal brand, I wonder what would have happened. But I don’t ponder too much on that idea. Instead, I choose to think about what will happen from now on.

19. A mentor to learn from is better than 100 books

In 2012 I met my first mentor because I wanted to learn how to better speak in public.

I developed that ability and even more than that. Actually, the process of thinking I have right now is a result of having that mentor, and I don’t think I could have learned this from books.

More than that, the life and business experiences of a man of 40 years old will be more important than any information found in a book. Books are helping us create ideas and work better, but they will never guide us towards reaching our goals the way a mentor does.

20. If you don’t measure, you don’t have results

If you’re starting to eat healthily or read 10 pages every day, just measure it.

The easiest way of measuring it is with a calendar of activities. Maybe, at some point, you’ll eat again junk food or you’ll forget about the 10 pages that you have to read. That is the moment when you’ll punish yourself and you’ll want to quit.

And it won’t happen right away. Maybe you’ll screw it up a few times in a row, but the thing that really matters is not giving up.

The calendar of activities will help you stay focused on what you want to do. If, after three weeks of eating healthy you decide to eat only pizza on the 22nd day, then you may feel like you failed.

That’s the moment when you have to analyze your calendar of activities and see how much you achieved. One day out of 22 of not respecting the schedule won’t mean anything in the long term.

21. Entrepreneurship is not only about making money, but about being an inventor with a story to share

The one who makes money is a salesman. You have to sell something to get something.

The entrepreneur is someone who creates and knows how to offer the world his creation in a unique way.

If you want to get money right away, then you are a salesman. Instead, if you want to build something, if you want to live in a better world, if you want to help others, then you’re an entrepreneur.

The long-term vision is an essential element that makes the difference.

22. Growing up is like a hand that’s not only slapping you, but also takes all your toys

The more time passes, the more I feel like the child that lives inside me is getting sadder and sadder.

Maybe it’s just a feeling, and I don’t know if it’s good or bad. I just realize that the more time passes, the harder it is to have fun.

23. Personal development has nothing to do with what you read, but with what you practice

The more you read, the smarter you believe you are.

The smarter you believe you are, the more you will consider yourself better than anyone else and you’ll think you don’t have to move your ass from your couch.

But when you’re stepping into the real world, you’ll understand that what is happening has nothing to do with what you read. That’s the moment you should be testing.

The authors of the books you’re reading are only providing you the results of their tests. And their results may have zero things in common with your results.

If you only read, you are at the same level as someone who’s watching the same Avengers movie over and over again. Get your ass out there and practice what you read.

With love and optimism,
David