30 Bits of Advice for 30 Years

I’m turning 30 this year.

Inspired by Kevin Kelly’s incredible 68 Bits of Unsolicited Advice1, I collected bits of advice I’ve picked up over the years—mostly by people wiser than me.

Here they are, in no particular order:

  • Communication is your most important skill, get good at it.
  • Be kind first, be right later.2
  • Don’t make your problems other people’s problems.
  • Read more books.
  • Help others succeed, and they’ll help you succeed in the long term.
  • It’s only awkward if you make it awkward.
  • When giving presents, the perceived value counts, not the actual value (this goes in both directions).
  • Your vacation starts when you leave your house and ends when you’re back in your house.
  • People care more about stories than facts.
  • Find someone outside your bubble that you can talk to and make sure you’re both able to understand where the other comes from.
  • Think of yourself as the person you want to be, not the person you are.3
  • Trust is the most important ingredient when building a team.
  • Always choose the long-term option to leverage the compound effect.3
  • Create systems instead of chasing goals.3
  • Don’t let your expenses rise as fast as your income.
  • Make time for your brain to work without distractions to allow the mind to wander.4
  • Less is more.5
  • Always expand your knowledge, skills and network to be ready when opportunities arise.6
  • Curious people are smart. Be curious.7
  • Don’t be afraid to look stupid.8
  • Keep a can-do mindset.9
  • Don’t get discouraged because of existing work. Instead, try to find ways to put your own spin on it.
  • It’s never as easy as it looks.10
  • Perfection is the enemy of good.11
  • Good design requires as little cognitive overhead as possible to use.12
  • When creating, take all the shortcuts you can to get a prototype which you can iterate on.
  • Under-promise and over-deliver.
  • Always do extra.13
  • Keep a brag document.14
  • Surround yourself with people who are passionate about their work.

Thoughts? I’d love to hear from you!

  1. The Internet Archive has the full version.

  2. See Why Facts Don’t Change Our Minds.

  3. Atomic Habits (Clear, 2018) 2 3

  4. See The science of why you have great ideas in the shower.

  5. See Adding is favoured over subtracting in problem solving

  6. See How to Create Luck

  7. See Why Curiosity Is Better Than Being Smart?

  8. See Willingness to look stupid

  9. See The most powerful word in the world

  10. See Harder Than It Looks, Not As Fun as It Seems

  11. Philosophical Dictionary (Voltaire, 1764)

  12. The Design of Everyday Things (Norman, 2013)

  13. See Always do Extra

  14. See Get your work recognized: write a brag document