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What Everyone Should Know at 20: Life Lessons That Nobody Teaches You

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Channing Tatum

After embarking on a year-long spiritual journey, reflecting on my life, and reading the works of some of the world’s most influential thought leaders, I have compiled a list of twelve ideas that will make life a lot easier and more fulfilling if practiced in your 20’s and beyond. During my time as a hotel desk clerk, I had the opportunity to interview dozens of strangers (some over age 65) about their biggest lessons in life. Some were truck drivers. Some were war veterans. Some were cancer patients. These are their life lessons.

These are the 12 things you should know (but probably won’t do) in your 20’s.

 

 

12 Life Lessons For Those Living In Their 20’s

 

1. Relax

Slow down. Take a deep breath. Don’t worry about the future, prepare for it. Life is lived in the present.

If you keep going at this pace, one day you’ll wake up and be 30!

 

2. Learn to love yourself now

You’ll never be younger, more attractive, more energetic, or more carefree than you are today.

Don’t waste your time being self-conscious. You’re hot! Enjoy it.

 

3. Take care of your body

You’re going to regret all of your smoking, drinking, and unhealthy eating habits when you’re older. I know what you’re thinking: “You’ve got to die from something, right?”, Wrong! I know that you secretly think you are going to die suddenly at around age 45 before you have to deal with your mistakes. I know you don’t really believe that you are going to live until age 60, and you may not, but what if you do?

The average person who reaches age 60 lives to be age 82. Don’t spend the last 20 years of your life in misery!

 

4. Stop caring about what other people think

Ninety percent of them, you’ll never see again. Ninety-nine percent of the remaining ten percent won’t even cry at your funeral! If everyone lived their truth, no one would have to pretend.

 

5. Follow your instincts

Gain the courage to always do what you truly desire versus what everyone else expects of you.

Trust your inner voice, it’s always right.

 

6. Vulnerability is not weakness: it is strength

Tell your friends how much you love them. Give a speech in front of a large audience. Have an intimate conversation with your significant other. Allow yourself to be seen.

Being vulnerable is the only way to truly connect with others, and that is truly what we all want.

 

7. Happiness comes from within

Regardless of your circumstances, e.g., homelessness, death of a loved one, loss of a job, etc., you can always choose happiness. It is not dependent upon external factors. Embrace the uncertainty of life. The way to overcome fear of change is to eliminate your desire for things to remain the same.

Life would be boring if you always knew what to expect.

 

8. Funerals are pointless

Appreciate your loved ones while they are alive. You don’t have to say “goodbye” when they’re gone if you’ve said “hi” while they were here.

 

9. Invest your money

Invest in yourself. Invest in your knowledge, your skills, your experiences, and your personal relationships. Purchase assets that will produce even more money for you in the future. Save for retirement. All of those designer clothes, frappé mochas, and movie tickets won’t help you when you’re old and broke.

The time value of money is your best friend. Don’t ruin the relationship.

 

10. Have a solid plan

Figure out what you really, really want and don’t give up until you get it.

 

11. You have nothing to lose

You don’t have a mortgage. Odds are, you don’t have any children, if you are in your early 20’s. You’re already broke! Stop pretending like you really own anything in this life. You are free! And your time is running out.

Don’t spend it frivolously.

 

12. You will ignore everything on this list

Like most 20-somethings, you’ll just ignore the elders advice, make the same mistakes, and wish someone had told you earlier. Prove me wrong.

I dare you!

 

 

If you enjoyed these life lessons, please share this article with your friends. They probably won’t listen, but hey, at least you tried!

If you have any standout life lessons that you have come across, please share them in the comments below.

Thanks! 

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74 Comments

74 Comments

  1. brenda

    Feb 22, 2014 at 4:26 am

    Well done!! Im 57 & I couldn’t have said it better.
    I have 1 for ya all….. “you’re never to old to set a new goal or to dream a new dream!”

    • Dan McDaniel

      Feb 24, 2014 at 11:23 pm

      Thank you, Brenda! And I agree. You’re never too old to grow.

  2. DCharles

    Jan 30, 2014 at 1:59 pm

    Great article my friend. thank you.

  3. Ron

    Dec 27, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    Thanks I much for this beautiful article!!! Came at the right time. Thanks!

    • Dan McDaniel

      Dec 28, 2013 at 8:17 pm

      You are very welcome, Ron. I hope I could help.

  4. Natalia

    Dec 23, 2013 at 2:56 pm

    As a 40 something mom of 5 with two kids in their 20’s I find your insite spectacular! In my life experience I would say “always be true to you because the only person who has your best interest at heart is yourself” never let go of who your are.

    • Dan McDaniel

      Dec 26, 2013 at 6:23 pm

      Thanks, Natalia! “Be true to yourself” is great advice. Good luck with Detail by Design 🙂

  5. Naren

    Nov 6, 2013 at 11:02 am

    I’m 23 and find these words inspiring. Your point on funerals shook me. I keep telling myself to lead an inspiring life. Too many people live lives with no intent. Great post!

    • Dan McDaniel

      Nov 7, 2013 at 2:22 pm

      Thank you! And it’s true. Too many of us live our lives for other people. If everyone lived for him or herself, everyone would be so much happier.

  6. @Mr_Ignitor

    Oct 17, 2013 at 6:08 am

    Happiness truly comes from inside… Some look for it in some future accomplishment only to realise the accomplishment doesn’t make them as happy as they hoped. It is important to stay happy always and enjoy the journey.

    • Dan McDaniel

      Oct 19, 2013 at 2:08 am

      Absolutely. Or the accomplishment only makes them happy for a short time, only to wear off when they desire something else.

  7. Dan McDaniel

    Oct 14, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    It’s true. And you’re welcome, bro!

  8. Sebastian

    Oct 13, 2013 at 4:35 am

    I didn’t expect the comment of people not crying on your funeral. Sad but true.

    Thanks man!

  9. Dan McDaniel

    Sep 30, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    Thank you!

  10. James@youdolife

    Sep 29, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    Brilliantly presented!

  11. lovelyroroa

    Sep 29, 2013 at 11:40 am

    I will happily except, wish me luck =)

  12. Tim Hodgetts (@jerseycyrano)

    Sep 23, 2013 at 5:29 pm

    This sounds so much like Baz Luhrmann’s 1998 single “Everybody’s Free (To wear sunscreen) and the poem it came from. I wonder what advice I can get my soon to be a teenager son to listen to?

  13. clay

    Sep 17, 2013 at 3:59 am

    Actually, a good suit is a good investment. 😛 And I think it’s not about not listening to what other people say, but more like carefully choosing who to listen to. If we’ll keep ignoring ALL of other’s opinions, we’ll probably end up as entitled, insensitive indiciduals who do not realize that some people are guiding us to the right path (like this article).

    These are all very inspiring. Not easy of course ( I cant listen to my inner voice very much because it isnt even sure what to tell me, haha, and creating a solid plan often ends up confusing me), but nonetheless I agree with all of it. Time to upgrade!

  14. Dan McDaniel (@ExtremeHonesty)

    Aug 30, 2013 at 3:12 am

    Thanks, Beautiful! I agree 🙂

  15. dniahsoutfit

    Aug 29, 2013 at 4:55 pm

    Your words are inspiring, I do love to add love and believe in yourself, because you cannot reach your full potentials if you set limit in yourself or have a no “I can’t do” mindset. Keep doing what you believe in and trust the process, it is not over until you win.

    Love & believe!

  16. Dan McDaniel (@ExtremeHonesty)

    Aug 28, 2013 at 3:22 am

    Unfortunately, it sounds like they will. But hey, it’s not your fault. At least you tried!

  17. shobee

    Aug 27, 2013 at 2:30 pm

    I am in my 40 now and these are the advices I give to my children. At this age, I learned so much and I try to spare my kids from being hurt due to ignorance. Yet, they do not listen. Yup, I told them to read this site, yet ignored me. I just hope they will not learn things the hard way.

  18. Benjamin

    Aug 23, 2013 at 11:27 am

    excellent punch line 🙂

  19. Dan McDaniel (@ExtremeHonesty)

    Aug 19, 2013 at 3:09 am

    Happy 50th birthday! And great advice about the processed foods. If it’s not in its natural state, don’t eat it! It’s great to have a real-life case study right here in the comments. Sounds like you’ve had quite an interesting life. I’m sure that’s gonna be an excellent book 🙂

  20. Marilynn Tebbit

    Aug 17, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    I could not agree more!! Especially the part about taking care of your health. I rode motorcycles in my 20’s. I didn’t think I’d see 30. I did. I bought an RRSP. Before 40, I got very sick from unhealthy eating, staying up all night & crazy work stress. I went on a big time health diet, lived past my mother’s age & just celebrated 50. Through it all, I worked on my dreams. I weight trained, which saved my life twice, maybe more (survive bike accident; cleanse lymph). And kept writing. My first e book is coming out in 5 months. Yeah, live for today, but, quit processed foods so you won’t live a slow death in case you do make middle age +

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Life

How to Harness the Power of Your Personal Narrative

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personal narrative
Image Credit: Pixabay

Are you “living up” or “living down” to your personal narrative? When you set out to achieve an important goal, you’ll come face-to-face with many obstacles, such as starting a new business and not having your prospects reply to your prospecting emails. Perhaps you’ve had an interview for a new job and learned you didn’t make the final round of applicants. 

In those difficult moments, you have to have an internal conversation with yourself, known as self-talk. What do you say? How do you feel? You may find yourself succumbing to negativity or failing to believe in your own self-worth. If so, it’s nothing to be ashamed of. We’re all easily overwhelmed by our doubts and fears, because it’s what makes us human.

However, these feelings can not only shape a sense of identity, but also allow our doubt and fear to determine the outcome. When this happens, it’s vital to understand how to have the courage and conviction to move forward despite the obstacles. This includes moving forward in the midst of struggling, even when success seems lightyears away. This may seem daunting, but the answer is right in front of us. It lies in our personal narrative.

“We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things because we’re curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths.” – Walt Disney

What is a personal narrative?

A personal narrative is a life-script that is often followed without question or protest. The conversations you have internally, known as self-talk, make up the core component to our personal narrative. Your self talk represents a powerful belief system that’s baked into our day-to-day existence.

Each of us possess a personal narrative that encompasses a belief system that shapes us and what we see as possible in our lives. As a result, we either ​live up or ​live down to that personal narrative.

While a personal narrative is the starting place, it’s a powerful one. On one hand, when a negative narrative becomes suffocating, it can be hard to escape. This will lead you to foster the belief that you’re incapable of accomplishing something, ensuring that you’ll be less likely to continue to take the necessary steps in the direction of a dream

Your narrative may be so powerful that you may just assume the worst, ending any possibility for you to put in the necessary time, effort and perseverance required to achieve a different outcome.

“The inner speech, your thoughts, can cause you to be rich or poor, loved or unloved, happy or unhappy, attractive or unattractive, powerful or weak.” – Ralph Charell

Cultivating positive narratives

On the other hand, what if we possessed personal narratives that were more positive? This  is not just positive thinking, because it is the practice of consciously cultivating a narrative that you could live up to instead​. Imagine how a more positive narrative could support more preferable outcomes.

In life, this may sound like, “I plan to do well in this interview, so I am going to take every action to support that expectation – like working with a career coach.” Or it may sound like, “Because I am someone who tries hard even when I am overwhelmed or uncomfortable, I am going to ask for help if I feel stuck.” That way, when a challenge arises – as they always do, you will grow to trust in your ability to navigate it.

The more you practice this, the more you will come to realize that your personal narrative really represents the essence of who you are. Your self-talk will evolve into someone who plans to do well during an interview, a business meeting, or a workout class because you become someone who invests in their personal well-being as an extension of your self-concept.

Cultivating positive narratives is not a what-if situation. It is an intentional practice that everyone can benefit from. It provides the framework for who you can become. Most importantly, it’s the key to help us transform into the best version of ourselves, while defending our dreams against a spiral of fear or self-doubt.

So, what does your personal narrative sound like? And how can you live up to it? Share with us below!

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Life

5 Reasons It’s Important to Understand What You Want to Do With Your Life

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No matter your age or your place in life, it is perfectly normal to not know exactly what your next steps should be. There are many factors that can contribute to this situation but it is always important to remember that everything happens for a reason and that this will help you build a much happier you.

There are many ways for you to understand what you should be doing with your life and there are just as many reasons why you should work towards getting a better understanding of those reasons.

If you wish to turn any situation around and start working towards finding your purpose, here are some of the most important reasons why:

1. You will be able to set long term goals for the future

Setting long term goals is one of the things that will help you feel more secure and certain about your future. Instead of relying on living day by day and trying to figure out what your next steps will be without having a future ultimate goal, you will now be able to plan accordingly so that your every step will bring you a step closer to making that dream come true.

One of the things many people forget though is that every plan, no matter how well-organized and planned out it is, will need to be adapted to every situation the person is experiencing. Knowing what your ultimate goal is will help you handle every change of plans with more confidence and will allow you to manoeuvre every situation and turn your problems into positive outcomes.

2. You will get rid of a lot of anxiety

One of the best things about finally getting a better understanding of what you wish to do with your life is that you will finally start feeling less anxious and unsure about the future. Having a certain plan you can follow and looking forward to making a big goal come true will help rid yourself of negative thoughts and allow you to be able to focus on achieving your dreams.

Anxiety is a very common problem in the time we live in and it can make a lot of people feel less productive and scared to take risks, especially in a professional manner. As a result, they tend to hold themselves back and do fewer things than they are capable of, simply because they are too scared to dare.

Realizing what you wish to do in your life and working towards achieving your goals will help you feel less stressed and even if you do, this type of anxiety could actually help you be much more productive and eager to do your best in order to make your dreams manifest into reality.

3. You will be much happier

Understanding what you wish to do in your life will truly help you finally figure out what you are meant to do in your life. For some people, it can help them find their purpose and give them a new perspective on everything they do in their everyday life.

This will help you feel a lot happier and will put your mind at ease, as you won’t have to continue wondering if the path you have chosen to follow is the right one for you or not. Feeling more certain of your decisions will help you feel a lot more confident and happier since you will feel strong enough to overcome anything that might come your way from now and on.

4. You won’t lose time or energy on smaller goals

Setting shorter goals without knowing what you are meant to do in the long run will cost you a lot of energy and time. This will happen as you will spend a lot of time planning out your every move and it will cause you to feel stressed and worried about every little thing going wrong.

Smaller goals will still be important but you won’t spend much time planning them as you would if you didn’t know what your end goal would be. Saving energy and preparing both mentally and physically for reaching your goal will help you achieve a much healthier outlook on dealing with everyday situations and it will make you more excited to complete your ambitions.

5. You will become an expert in one field

Last but not least, another important reason why you should try and understand exactly what you are meant to do in your life is that you will be able to focus all of your time and energy on learning as much as possible and growing only in one certain field.

The uncertainty of having a set goal for your future can make you feel like you need to know many different things in different fields in order to be able to succeed in life and make a living. While having knowledge in various fields is something that will prove to be useful, you will never fully be able to become an expert in one field and make a name for yourself in that sector.

A long term goal will allow you to either study or work full time on one subject you truly enjoy and are good at. This will help you build your reputation, make connections and allow yourself to enjoy and love the path you have chosen even more. As a result, you will be much happier and content with the end goal you have chosen and you will be able to work even harder to achieve all of your dreams.

Working towards a happier you

You might be at a point in your life where you feel like not a lot of things are truly worth your time but the truth is that every little thing you do will help you find what you are meant to do. This will help you feel happy and content and allow you to tackle every issue you come across with much less anxiety and fear.

You will find a lot of stability and comfort in setting a big and important goal for your future and this will allow you to start being more productive and happy to tackle every problem that might come your way. Your life will always be full of surprises and unplanned events but hard work and dedication on your goals will allow you to become the best version of you and enjoy every step of the way.

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Life

3 Ways to Stay Strong and Push Through When Hardships Arise

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We all have trials and tribulations, and most times they are out of our control. I believe that’s why it can be so frustrating when trouble arises, because we feel powerless. But this isn’t true! How we perceive these times gives us power, and will ultimately dictate the quality of our lives.

Each event can have many interpretations. You can ask two people about a situation they both went through, and sometimes you’ll get two completely different answers! Most times this isn’t because one was being truthful and the other wasn’t, but because of how they perceived the events that took place.

That’s how powerful perceptions are, so why not use this power to our benefit? Instead of thinking on what was lost, think of what there is to gain. When you think positively, it helps you from not feeling stuck, and helps you look towards the future. 

Below are three things to consider whenever a hardship comes your way:

1. This is an opportunity for me to grow

Viewing troubling times as an opportunity to improve and grow will give you a sense of freedom and happiness because you’ve decided to lead your life, as opposed to just accepting your life. Some people just accept the things that happen to them/around them. When you have this mindset, you are telling yourself there is nothing you can do in that situation, and you are giving away your power.

This will affect not only your mood, but also the people around you, especially if you’re a leader. They feed off your energy and body language. When you focus on growth, you can think more clearly on solutions, which is what you want. It’s ok to feel sad, frustrated, or confused. If you want to be successful, you will feel all of these, and quite often. When you do, recognize what your feeling, but don’t feed it. If you do, it will grow.

“If you don’t design your own life plan, chances are you’ll fall into someone else’s plan. And guess what they have planned for you? Not much.” – Jim Rohn

2. Don’t focus on the problem, find the solution

This sounds pretty simple but how many of us focus more energy on the problem and why it happened or who did it, instead of trying to focus immediately on the solution? I learned this in the military. If something goes wrong, my superiors were less concerned with who did it and more concerned with finding a solution to the problem, and as quickly as possible.

But I was once guilty of this thinking, and sometimes I slip back into that mode of thinking when my emotions are strong. Changing your mindset to focus on solutions will give you a sense of power, which will calm you, because you feel in control. This in turn, will help you think clearly and rationally, as opposed to emotionally. Furthermore, being in a more relaxed state of mind will allow you to absorb information more clearly so you can learn from the incident and become a better you.

3. Determine how the hardship improves your character

What was being tested during your hardship? Patience? Empathy? Communication? Understanding? Endurance? I remember working for a boss I did not like. He seemed to pick on me, and I couldn’t understand it. I went above and beyond what was asked of me, but people were still being promoted quicker than I was.

To give a little depth on my perception at the time, I was born and raised in Brooklyn NY. Not poor, but close to it. So respect is something that is valued greatly in neighborhoods I come from, because we don’t have much else. Respect was your money, and could get you things money couldn’t buy.

Now everyone wants respect, but me, I need it that much more. So when I felt he wasn’t giving me respect, I almost convinced myself to handle these matters. Imagine the people you train, passing you by and you know their work ethic doesn’t match yours. It sucked.

I talked to my dad, who always gives great council, and he told me it wouldn’t be wise. He told me to look for ways to grow, and I did. And let me tell you, during that time I learned things that cannot be taught in classrooms because you can only be learned through experience. My endurance was really challenged, but made me wiser and stronger, which made me better equipped to deal with future troubles I’d have. Because of those lessons, I was able to teach others about my experience and give wise counsel.

“Lead a life of your own design, on your own terms. Not one that others or the environment have scripted for you.” – Tony Robbins

When those times come, ask yourself where you’re weak and what you can you do to improve on that weakness. Finding something you’re not good at should make you happy, because it gives you a chance to improve! If you suck at something, do something about it! Don’t wallow in self-pity. It’s not a fruitful exercise.

When hardships come your way, your perception is a powerful weapon that you must manipulate, don’t let it manipulate you. Ask yourself how can this help you grow, what positive opportunity is hidden in the hardship and focus on the solution, not the problem. Doing these things will put the power back in your court. Give it a shot, it changed my life!

How do you keep your head up high when hardships arise? Share your thoughts and advice down below!

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Life

7 Essential Mindset Shifts From Gary Vaynerchuk That’ll Help You Have an Amazing Life

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Image Credit: Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary Vaynerchuk is full of little gems to success if you listen with an open mind. His unfiltered way of sharing old school values mixed with modern day approaches is remarkably simple and highly contagious. In this world of instant gratification, everyone is focused on doing things faster in order to produce exponential results.

When our visions don’t become an instant reality, we play the comparison game and judge ourselves. This ultimately leads to a decline in our health and crushes our visions. Many of us want to be an overnight success but need a better psychological framework to endure the ride.

Here are 7 perspectives that Gary Vaynerchuk is currently popularising that can help your mindset game be stronger:

1. Aim for happiness 

Gary Vaynerchuk’s definition of happiness is “being able to do what you want at all times.” This does not mean quit because your work doesn’t make you happy right now, especially if it is the stepping stone for your ideal lifestyle. 

For a period of time you will need to grind and do tasks that are unenjoyable. If happiness is not within your metrics of success, you will eventually suffer from an irregularity in your mental or physical health, which in turn has a downward ripple effect on your valued relationships. 

2. Enjoy paying your dues

Every industry has its own set of rules to work up the chain of command. You need to learn to love each role and responsibility that comes with that. Going in with a curious and enthusiastic energy is bound to shine through and show those around you how serious you are. 

Be present and learn from every experience you encounter. This is a journey for bigger and better things but you need to put in the time, work and sacrifice to be rewarded. Life is all about what you put into it. You don’t know how these earlier stages will serve you in years to come, so take pride in the journey and appreciation for the lessons and people you meet along the way.

3. Obsessively love what you do

You should always be doing what you want, especially if you have a clearly defined purpose. Purpose is such an energizing force, regardless of whether you are earning $40,000 or $4,000,000. If you really love what you’re doing and it’s where you want to be then you’re already winning. 

Always start with what you love because the only way you’re going to hustle hard enough is if you love it. It’s hard to get going around something you’re not passionate about. When you learn to love the game more than the trophy, the game gives you, and you’re on your way up.

“You have to understand your own personal DNA. Don’t do things because I do them or Steve Jobs or Mark Cuban tried it. You need to know your personal brand and stay true to it.”- Gary Vaynerchuk

4. Don’t be driven by the money

To do extremely well in the game of business without disrupting other pillars in your life, you must wake up each morning pondering what solutions need to be found today. You need to be wildly curious and driven by the game of business on a micro level while seeing the macro outcomes. 

When you’re excited to play the game, you become absorbed in mastery over playing with your phone, gossiping with friends and watching mindless content. You relentlessly invest in yourself and your growth, which in turn is remunerated with wealth.

5. Have gratitude

Have you ever thought about the fact that the odds of being a human being are 400 trillion to one? You must create an unbelievably clear perspective of how lucky we are to be human. This in turn makes it a struggle to dwell on things that don’t matter. 

Focus your attention on the things that you value and appreciate. Appreciate your good health and family, because you’ll value it more. Appreciate your gifts, friends, work and life. By doing this, your perception begins to shift. You see the blessings of your life, versus the broken parts.

6. Adversity is your superpower

Adversity and humble beginnings is an incredible framework to happiness, especially when you layer positivity and optimism around your difficulty. We all have hardships and various scenarios that throw us off balance along the way. 

Our super power is when we use that as fuel to drive us to be less audacious and experience more, instead of being held back. What you think and focus on grows. Shift the perspective in your mind so your adversity doesn’t define you, but instead drives you.

“It’s insane to me to ask anybody to be what they’re not. Know what you know the best, love the most. That’s always going to be the answer to the thing that you have the best shot at winning at.” – Gary Vaynerchuk

7. Be excited everyday because you get to play

Learn how to start your morning well and continue that energy throughout the day. That vigour builds momentum that will allow you to actually make your mark. Be fired up that you have given yourself a clear vision and your making moves to play a strong game. This type of mindset gives you an intrinsic pull to do and be better daily rather than external motivation, which over time dies out.

Mindset is everything and it all falls down to your perspective of things. Don’t judge yourself by what you accomplish daily, instead, judge it yearly. It takes years of great creative work to be recognized. Be patient. In the meantime, look at your daily habits and ask yourself if they are causing you to evolve or revolve. Are you moving forward, or just moving in circles? Take constant action to move forward and be grateful you have the opportunity to play in the game of life. 

What’s your favorite Gary Vaynerchuk mindset from the article? Share your thoughts below!

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