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47 Things I’ve Learned (47/365)

Learning has a consistent theme of my life from August 2020 to August 2021. In honor of turning a year older and (maybe?) a bit wiser, here are 47 (+1) things that I've learned through experience.

(Special thanks to Tony Sinanis and Kevin Kelly for inspiring this idea for a blog post.)

1.The comeback is always stronger than the setback.

2.Many hands make light work. (Plus, they build a culture of collective efficacy).

3.You can probably count - on one hand - all that truly matters in life.

4. My day always goes better when I drink half my body weight of water, in ounces.

5. Being around kids restores my energy and gives me hope.

6. “Kids today” are pretty amazing. But...we’ve got to create spaces to listen to them, and honor that commitment.

7. “Mutual respect” is hard to establish, and even harder to maintain, but not because of the other person involved (an adolescent).

8. Concentration doesn’t come easy for me. But I find it’s the best way to practice self-discipline, and to find “my flow”.

9. I can still enjoy ice cream after dinner. But only when I commit to a workout before the sun comes up.

10. I still have a strong dislike for reading fiction. But I know it helps with creativity, so I won’t stop trying to enjoy it.

11. I still don’t like walking. But because it’s been proven to help with processing ideas, I’ll do it.

12. It’s important to do hard things every day. And those things are different, depending who you are and the life you live.

13. Kids grow up way too fast.

14. Dad jokes really aren’t that funny. But I have to admit, I love hearing them...and telling them.

15. Bite off more than you can chew. Then, over-deliver.

16. I always feel better after I do push-ups and sit-ups.

17. The telephone is still the most valuable (and underutilized) piece of technology accessible to us.

18. Listening is hard. But it’s the most important aspect of communication.

19. Assume that people bring the best versions of themselves to a given situation.

20. Help others find and delve into their learning passions, even (especially?) when they’re beyond what happens in school.

21. When times get tough, focus on helping people, even if it’s one person at a time.

22. Invest in rich and meaningful collaboration practices. Don’t just talk about it, do it.

23. Being predictable builds trust.

24. Removing obstacles builds trust.

25. Look for qualities in a person that can help someone else grow and thrive. Then get those people together, and take a step back.

26. Write something every day. Then model courage and vulnerability by sharing it.

27. Play more board games.

28. Read more, especially when it involves turning paper pages.

29. Develop a daily gratitude practice.

30. Never underestimate the importance of modeling: especially kindness, patience, empathy, and learning.

31. Be forgiving of imperfections in people...especially of ourselves.

32. Remember, we all make mistakes. Be quick to forgive. The important thing is to learn from mistakes so we can improve.

33. Every day is a fresh start, for everyone.

34. Realize we can learn something from someone younger than us, as much (if not more) than we can from someone older than us.

35. Every day is a job interview.

36. Celebrate - especially small, personal victories that represent progress.

37. Find a kid expert on a skill and ask to be taught how it’s done.

38. Don’t deal in rumors or gossip.

39. Drink less coffee. But if you “have to” drink it, drink it black.

40. Shoot hoops in the driveway or in the school yard. Throw and catch a ball of some sort.

41. Identify two areas of professional focus: one in which you need to grow and the other, in which you glow. Use these as filters for every action you take, professionally, for one year. Track daily progress.

42. Don’t stop trying to mediate, or be mindful, spiritual, or reflective. Even if it’s for two minutes at a time each day, make space for “white space” in your life.

43. Surround yourself with people who make you laugh, who challenge you to think differently and to grow, and who you want to become more like.

44. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Whistle, sing, play music, dance, tell dad jokes. Be silly.

45. Eat more protein. And be comfortable, feeling a little hungry, at times.

46. Control what’s within your control. Influence what’s beyond your control, to the best of your ability. Just don’t let it master your thinking.

47. Ferris Bueller was right. (“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once I awhile, you could miss it.”)

And one, “for good luck”: In the timeless words of my grandfather, “Bumpa”:

“It’s be nice.”

What have you learned this year?

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