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  • Writer's pictureDallas Vaughn

31 Lessons

I turned 31 today. Here are 31 life lessons I’ve learned in 31 years on this earth, that I would gladly give to myself 15 years ago if I could:


1. Take a deep breath, and punch perfectionism in the face. Nothing in this world is perfect and having the expectation that it will be is a recipe for disappointment.


2. Money is more important than you think, but only to a certain level. After that, it just becomes a spitting match to see who has the nicest cars. Find balance.


3. Only a small percentage of people actually think for themselves. Most people are driven by emotion and popular narratives, much more than logic and reason.


4. Teaching people how to become a better version of themselves is way more effective than trying to guilt them into it.


5. The world is never as bad as the media makes it out to be.


6. There is a lot of value in Stoicism and detachment, but it can also be taken to an extreme. There’s a reason God incarnated INTO the world.


7. Start exercising and taking physical health seriously today. It only gets harder the older you get.


8. Age is just a number. There are 30-year-olds who act 70, and 70-year-olds who act like teenagers.


9. Any skill can be learned with enough drive and enough time.


10. Most people fake competence and understanding in order to get through life unembarrassed.


11. Understand personality theory well, but don’t treat it as fate. People have tendencies but they can also rise above them.


12. Listen more than you talk.


13. Steep yourself in the wisdom literature of the Bible.


14. A lot of philosophy and theology is speculative intellectual entertainment, which is fine for entertainment’s sake, but don’t become dogmatic in areas where the Bible is not dogmatic. Focus more on finding common ground, even as you express disagreements.


15. Likewise, speculative philosophy and theology can be fun, but it’s not inherently productive or fruitful.


16. Be mindful of how you use your time, because time passes quicker than you think.


17. Do not get stuck in paralysis by analysis. Be biased towards action.


18. Stop trying to please narcissists, radicalized people, immature people, etc. Be okay with having the right kind of enemies.


19. However, learn how to be so intoxicatingly friendly that even those who hate you can’t help but like you.


20. Be confident in the triumph of goodness, godliness and beauty over evil in the world.


21. Spend time every day thinking about things you’re grateful for.


22. The academic system, for the most part, is an inflated scam based on elitism. Beware of the assumptive pride that often comes with PhDs.


23. The medical system is not much better. Most doctors are taught to follow directions, not think critically. Find doctors who think about the body and mind holistically, and who don’t have a gnostic view of the human body and soul. They are salt and light in a dark industry.


24. Likewise, don’t uncritically pump drugs into your body just because an idiot with a medical license tells you to. Your body is your garden to tend— don’t put things in it without thinking through the implications.


25. Learn a new language. It creates mental flexibility, helps you learn how to relate to people who are different from you, and opens up the world in ways you wouldn’t believe. นะครับ


26. Addiction is never just about addiction. Addiction always has roots that go down to trauma or emotional issues of some kind.


27. Being a parent can either be one of the most amazing experiences or one of the most painful experiences, and that mostly depends on how wise you are as a parent. Educate yourself well, enjoy your kids, and relax.


28. The negative emotions we attach to bad situations and circumstances are what hurt us more than those events themselves. We can’t control what happens, but we can control our emotions.


29. You are capable of literally anything. However, if you lean into your strengths, you will double your effectiveness.


30. Know something about everything. It will give you the ability to have conversations with anyone from anywhere.


31. Don’t be too impressed by anyone. Your favorite celebrity, politician or billionaire is a human being who scrolls social media on the toilet, just like you.


32. BONUS: Jesus is king. When you submit your life to his will, you will live under his blessing, no matter what life throws at you.

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