30 Life Lessons you Must Learn Before it’s too Late

Chris Herd
8 min readSep 20, 2017

Kindness: If you are giving back you’ve already taken too much.

Looking at those billionaires who hoard wealth their entire lives to ‘philanthropically’ give it away with their impending deaths.

Evolve and grow: Life’s about progress, we can either move forward and relentlessly improve or be consumed and surpassed by the horde which stands in wait behind us. Standing still is proportionate to regression.

Resources: Time is your most valuable resource; there are no refunds or second chances for that which you waste. Retire from social networking, break free from TV, and reduce the arbitrary drains on your time each day.

Experiences: Spending the 6 months prior to your death completing your bucket list is no way to live as everything you do will be done with a tinge or sadness and regret. Live your life as if you are terminal, you are, and do the things you want without a reason for doing so. Create memories and experience living or your time will expire.

Spend time doing the things you love with the people you care about most. You don’t get extra marks for putting up with people you dislike

Ideas: Just because you think it is a good idea, doesn’t mean it is a good idea…

Ideas 2.0: If you have an idea never be precious with it. Share it with people and gauge their reactions. Test it’s viability and ensure you aren’t making a mistake. Never be scared of people stealing your ideas — if nobody want to steal it the chance are it doesn’t have much value. Besides, implementation of your idea is everything — that is where all value is created. An idea is almost worthless on it’s own without any action.

Words: Think before you speak. Words have the power to cause irreparable harm, always choose them carefully.

Actions: Think before you act. You can take a second to do something you haven’t properly considered, that isn’t a true reflection of your character, and it can undo a lifetime of kindness and generosity.

Alcohol: Alcohol impairs judgement and you don’t need it to have a good time. If you do it’s time to question the choices you are making.

Parental Advice: Your parents were more right about the things they said growing up than you will ever care to admit:

1. School really were the best days of your life.

2. If you worked hard at school you are reaping the benefits now.

3. Choose your friends carefully, you are the average of the 5 people you spend most time with.

4. Always give your best at everything you do, people are always watching.

5. Always treat people the way you want to be treated and you’ll receive the respect you deserve from almost everyone you meet.

6. Everyone is simultaneously different and the same. Regardless of someones race, culture, gender and sexual orientation everyone is equal.

7. Listen more than you talk, ask more question than you answer. Be inquisitive about everything you see or hear. Let other people be the centre of your attention.

Hobbies: A hobby which you love, hopefully which keeps you fit, is the best investment you can make in your own longevity and prosperity.

Saving: Save a little money every week/month. Nothing gives you happiness like a financial buffer, believe it or not. Every penny your earn over $70,000 does not make you markedly happier. You’re disposable income remains relatively fixed at $20,000 whether you earn $70k or $400k, your expenses simply increase.

Never stop learning: Whether that is reading a book, listening to a podcast or completing a MOOC online. You need to take continue to take responsibility for your own learning and actively pursue means to improve. Read for 1 hour every single day. By reading one hour a day, regardless of your perceived level of knowledge, you can become a world leading expert in any subject in 7 years. If you begin now, you could become a world leading expert in your chosen field in less than 10% of your lifetime. It obviously requires commitment and consistency but its incredibly easy to sit and read if you are literate.

42% of college graduates never read another book after college so think how far ahead that can get you.

Do something different: If you zig when others zag you will avoid being in the majority making it easier to rise to the top. Its far easiest to be great in a smaller pool.

Unmercifully pursue your dreams: 10,000 of hours of dedication to something is what it takes for someone to be the world-class at something.With that being true I would advocate another route being inherently more useful as the world moves towards a more diverse future. Spend 1,000 hours on 10 different subjects. You won’t become the best in the world at any one thing but you will become a world leading generalist which will ensure you can benefit from most of this new exciting post-capitalist world. The benefits of being better at 10 things than 90% of the global population than better than 99% of the world population at one are monumental. The crossover between your skills will lead to new unimaginable opportunities.

Compete against people better than you. Go places where you know you will be at a disadvantage. Competing against superior performers will expose you to strategies which enable you to alter your own. You’ll learn tricks andspot hints to improve your own performance you won’t learn in years of competing against rookies.

Give yourself too little time: Purposefully give yourself less time than you know you need to achieve something. You’ll surprise yourself or be forced to invent creative ways to improve your efficiency. It might help you spot trends from alternative industries/activities/sports you can utilise in a new way. In business it is often better to repackage and existing average idea and improve on it to achieve greatness.

Set goals: write them down. recording your goals will make you 100% more likely to achieve them. Write short, medium and long term goals and actively track your progress against them. It will give you a sense of achievement which will inspire you and spur you on.

Be more original: Following the status-quo may help you achieve short term academic success, it might assist in enabling you to pass exams and get into university, but ultimately it is going to detrimentally affect your creativity.Take risks, spot chances and dove in. Share your ideas and get feedback. Be brave.

Put yourself out there: Meet people, reach out and talk to people; never be afraid to ask advice. I never let somebodies reputation scare me into submission. I’m a vehement believer in the adage that if you never ask you’ll never know and find this particularly true of those people who have ascended to the highest heights. I’ve exchange correspondence with everyone from Arianna Huffington, Bob Keiller, Gareth Williams, Adam Grant to name but a few. It’s worth remembering even the most successful among us are people to.

Travel: Broaden your horizons, open your mind and deepen your well of exposure. Understand the idiosyncrasies between cultures and experience living. Go to the places on the periphery and understand the countries you visit. A resort with a pool and a sandy beach could be anywhere. Go to places and distil their true meaning and gain enlightenment. By understanding how different cultures and communities operate our lives are enriched with understanding, compassion and appreciation for people unlike ourselves.

Constantly evolve: Make at least one improvement that makes you better at something every single day. It sounds daunting, but improvements don’t have to be huge, they can be really small which incrementally leads to huge change. Think improving just 1% each day and build upon that every single day. Doing so has a dramatic effect and will make us 37x better, not 365% (3.65x) better at the end of the year. Wake up every day and ask yourself what is the 1% improvement I can change to make myself better personally and professionally.

Imagine yourself making 1% changes every day that compounds and will make you 37x better by the end of the year. Imagine if everybody was doing the same. Imagine how much better you and the world will be next year.

Never wait for things. You need to fight to improve. Good things come to those who go out and get them, nobody achieved greatness waiting for it to find them.

Don’t trust the wrong people: Aligning yourself with the wrong groups can set your career back years. Office politics are a thing and hitching your wagon to the right people can help you ascend dizzy heights quickly but be careful of the price you pay.

Find mentorship: Finding a relevant mentor who can advise you on the things you should concentrate on, the things you should do and the experiences you should seek.

Don’t prioritize salary over learning: the most important thing early in your career is that you are in an environment which exposes you to and involves you in every element of the business enabling your education to prosper. It is this you will be compensated for later.

Don’t specialize too soon: Generalize and give yourself an opportunity toserendipitously discover what you are best at.

Don’t expect opportunities to come to you: Instead of exploring the self-generation of opportunity through building relationships or research I was happy to wait in expectation that my knowledge and expertise would gravitate people towards me. It didn’t.

Write sooner: Give yourself every opportunity to establish yourself as a key person of influence in your industry. Write a little every day. Write a lot once a week. Try to write a book.

Learn a language: Learn something useful. Speaking one language is fine, particularly if it is English for obvious reasons. I’ve always found it a bit ignorant. It enables you to communicate and connect with people far easier and it has the added benefit of burning new cognitive pathways which make you smarter.

Don’t think you need to work long hours to impress people: Recognize the value of your free time and defend it, nobody lay on their death bed wishing they had worked more.

Trust Yourself: My Biggest regret is not trusting myself to build something of value sooner. Everything around us was made and created by people no smarter than we are. We can change and influence anything, we can build and create our own things that other people use and consume.

Our influence is only constrained by our lack of imagination. Dare to dream, create, lead and change our world.

Chris Herd

CEO / Founder / Coach @FirstbaseHQ Empowering people to work in their lives not live at work ✌️✌