5 Life Lessons To Excel In Your 30s

October 26, 2019

A few weeks ago, I was 30 years old. On my birthday, I wrote an article about what I learned in my 20s.

But I did other things. I sent an email to the subscriber (subscribing here) and asked the readers aged 37 and above how they would give their 30-year self-recommendation. My idea is that I will get life experiences from old readers and write another article based on their collective wisdom.

The result is amazing. I received more than 600 responses, many of which responded to more than one page. It took me three full days to read everything carefully and based on the quality of the insights I sent.

Therefore, first of all, I sincerely thank all those who have contributed and helped this article.

The most surprising thing about browsing emails is the consistency of some suggestions. The same 5-6 recommendations appear in hundreds of emails in different forms over and over again. It seems that there are some core recommendations that are particularly relevant to your life in this decade.

Here are the 5 most common topics that appear in 600 emails. Much of this article contains dozens of citations from readers. Some are anonymous. Others listed their age.

  1. Start preparing for retirement now
    “I have spent more than 20 years without a consequence, but 30 years old should be a big financial effort. The retirement plan is not going to be postponed. It’s very important to understand boring things like insurance, 401ks and mortgages because It’s all on your shoulders. Self-study.” (Kash, 41)

The most common advice – so common that almost every email has at least something to say – is to start getting your finances in order and start saving for retirement… today.

The recommendations are divided into the following categories:

It will be a top priority to repay all debts as soon as possible.
Retaining the “contingency fund” – the horror stories about people falling into financial collapse due to health problems, litigation, divorce, bad business, etc. are numerous.
Hide a portion of each salary, preferably in a 401k, IRA or at least one savings account.
Don’t understate. Don’t buy a home unless you have the ability to get a good mortgage at a high interest rate.
Don’t invest in anything you don’t know. Don’t trust stockbrokers.
One reader said: “If your debt exceeds 10% of your total annual salary, this is a huge danger signal. Give up spending, repay debt and start saving.” Another wrote, “I could have been in the contingency fund. Save more money, because the unexpected expenses really kill my budget. I should have been more diligent about retirement funds, because now I look very small.”

  1. Start taking care of your health immediately
    “Your brain is 10 to 15 years older than your body. Your health will be faster than you think, but it will be hard to notice, especially because you don’t want it to happen.” (Tom, 55 years old)

We all know to take care of our health. We all know that eating better, sleeping better, exercising more, etc., etc. But, like retirement savings, the response of older readers is loud and consistent: stay healthy and stay healthy now.

So many people said that I don’t even quote others. Their views are almost identical: the way you treat your body has an additive effect; it’s not that your body suddenly collapses for a year, but has been unknowingly collapsed. This is a decade to slow this damage.

  1. Don’t spend time with people who don’t treat yourself well
    “Learn how to say “no” to people, activities and obligations that don’t bring value to your life. (Hayley, 37)

Bad poem
Gently let go of those who can’t make your life better.
After calling to take care of your health and financial situation, it is interesting to look back at the most common advice of those 30-year-old self: they will go back and strengthen the boundaries of life, and dedicate their time to better people. . “Setting the boundaries of health is one of the most loved things you can do for yourself or others.” (Christine, 43)

What does it mean specifically?

“Don’t tolerate people who are not good to you. Period. For economic reasons, don’t tolerate them. Don’t tolerate them for emotional reasons. Don’t tolerate them for the sake of your child or for convenience.” (Jane, 52)

“Don’t settle for mediocre friends, work, love, relationships and life.” (Sean, 43)

“People who are far from suffering… they will consume you and consume you.” (Gabriella, 43)

“By you, just date those who make you better, show your best, love and accept you.”

People typically struggle with boundaries because they find it difficult to hurt someone else’s feelings, or they get caught up in the desire to change the other person or make them treat them the way they want to be treated. This never works. And in fact, it often makes it worse. As one reader wisely said, “Selfishness and self-interest are two different things. Sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind.”

    “Show up with and for your friends. You matter, and your presence matters.” (Jessica, 40)

Conversely, while enforcing stricter boundaries on who we let into our lives, many readers advised to make the time for those friends and family that we do decide to keep close.

“I think sometimes I may have taken some relationships for granted, and when that person is gone, they’re gone. Unfortunately, the older you get, well, things start to happen, and it will affect those closest to you.” (Ed, 45)

    “Everything in life is a trade-off. You give up one thing to get another and you can’t have it all. Accept that.” (Eldri, 60)

In our 20s we have a lot of dreams. We believe that we have all of the time in the world. I myself remember having illusions that my website would be my first career of many. Little did I know that it took the better part of a decade to even get competent at this. And now that I’m competent and have a major advantage and love what I do, why would I ever trade that in for another career?

“In a word: focus. You can simply get more done in life if you focus on one thing and do it really well. Focus more.” (Ericson, 49)

Another reader: “I would tell myself to focus on one or two goals/aspirations/dreams and really work towards them. Don’t get distracted.” And another: “You have to accept that you cannot do everything. It takes a lot of sacrifice to achieve anything special in life.”

A few readers noted that most people arbitrarily choose their careers in their late teens or early 20s, and as with many of our choices at those ages, they are often wrong choices. It takes years to figure out what we’re good at and what we enjoy doing. But it’s better to focus on our primary strengths and maximize them over the course of a lifetime than to half-ass something else.