This week I was feeling especially old. I’ve been struggling with a torn calf muscle and an overwhelming amount of work that I need to wrap up this side of Christmas. But I wouldn’t have it any other way. In fact the struggle to fit everything in is what I love. It also forces me to concentrate on the most important things (and removing stuff that isn’t) which helped inspire my article this week – a compilation of some of the more interesting lessons and insights I’ve learned or observed in the past 20 years.

Here are 12 things to think about:

  • It’s a reasonable probability that your oldest friends will turn out to be your best friends. They knew you when you were gawky with a face full of pimples and couldn’t get a date to save your life. Treasure them. You’ll need them when the years start mounting up.
  • Money doesn’t buy influence, or friends, that last. If you need to ‘pay to play’ then you’ll find yourself easily replaceable by the next dude with a bigger wallet. And there are always plenty of those. Instead, be someone special with unique skills that people really want.
  • Don’t expand your lifestyle every time your income expands. Fancy cars, boats, planes etc. on your personal or company balance sheet might make for good conversation but they all devalue over time. Not smart.
  • Wealth takes time to build. Play a long game. Shortcuts mostly lead to dead ends or cliffs.
  • Debt is (mostly) bad. Negative gearing is silly. And don’t ever invest in tree plantations to save tax. Making a loss for years on end because you’re reducing tax just doesn’t make sense.
  • When a taxi driver gives you stock tips, sell everything FAST. The bubble is about to burst.
  • The media isn’t your friend – they’re agnostic – they’ll write about you equally if you’ve won the lottery or are going to jail. Then they’ll move on to the next story.
  • Nobody ‘owes’ you anything. Friends, family, colleagues or anyone else. You are 100% responsible for your own destiny.
  • ‘Helping out’ those that need it (incl. the less fortunate) is wonderfully fulfilling and if you don’t do it, who will?
  • Be yourself. Don’t brag about your accomplishments or (importantly) exaggerate them. Instead spend your time doing more and achieving more.
  • Every time you cancel a meeting or don’t deliver what you promise leaves a negative impression. Do it too much and people will label you a ‘flake’. And that’s (really) bad.
  • Being cool is (way) overrated. The hipsters, ‘movers and shakers’, and the ‘it’ crowd take themselves far too seriously. Same applies for anyone trying to ‘keeping up with the Joneses’. It all seems like bloody hard (pointless) work.

And, finally, invest in finding a quick, painless way to remove tattoos. In 25 years you’ll be richer than Gates!