11 Things I’ve Learned in the first 9000 Days of My Life

It’s official. I’ve been alive for 9,000 days.

Ross Simmonds as a Kid - Drake Meme

That’s 24 birthdays, more than a hundred handshakes, a thousand hugs, a handful of kisses, a few deaths, a couple births, four graduations, friends made and friends lost – decisions made and decisions botched. Simply, the last 9000 days have been a roller coaster of awesome people and awesome memories.

Since day one, a lot of things have changed. Not only have I grown a few whiskers but the world has changed in a remarkable way. 9000 days ago I had four grandparents and I now only have one (Love ya Nanna!). My interest in Dinosaurs and astronauts has diminished. Some of my favourite musicians and artists are either bankrupt, in jail, a hologram and/or dead. My favourite TV shows are no longer on the air and some of my favourite people are no longer just a call away.

As we go through our lives, change is inevitable. There is nothing we can do to avoid change. People will change, technology will change, our business will change, music will change and we will change. I’ve been met with a lot of change over the last 9000 days. Some caused by me and others by factors beyond my control. With change however, I have continued to adjust my way of thinking and adapt and move forward. I’ve learned a lot and I’m sure that the next 9000 days will teach me just as much and hopefully much more. Ideally, I’ll look back at this post and realize how little I actually knew.

Here is a list of some of the things I’ve learned in the first 9,000 days:

When you’re uncomfortable – magic happens

As a young chap, I was more likely to go with the flow and let things happen as the world saw fit. After university however, I started taking a different approach and began doing things that intentionally made me uncomfortable. Speaking at events before I knew anyone in the Marketing Industry. Going up to bat on ideas that I felt passionate about. Or taking a trip that didn’t make any logical sense. I can recall the concept of pushing myself to be uncomfortable coming to fruition after two summers of working at a Children’s Camp. Ever since, I’ve been pushing myself to get into situations that make me nervous and cause me to lose a little sleep. It seems the more uncomfortable I get, the more people tend to say I’m lucky.

People who talk a lot usually do a little

A lot of people talk about how you can make your business better or do your job better but very little actually take their own advice. Over time I’ve learned to know when to take what someone says for face value and when to add it to the pile of junk that I’ve come across in the past. It’s important to listen to others advice but it’s just as important to follow your gut reaction. Those who talk a lot are also the ones to keep an eye on. People who talk often know very little.

It’s easier to lose a friend than gain one

I’ve had thousands of acquaintances, colleagues and peers over the last 9,000 days and roughly a hundred people who I would have at one point called a close friend. Over time, many friends have come and many friends have gone. Some have moved away, a core group has stayed close yet for many of these friends we just drifted apart due to a variety of reasons. Whether it was a lack of keeping in touch or a hostile blowup that was never mended. I have realized how much effort goes into making a friendship work but also how quickly one can be destroyed. Friendships are meaningful and should be cherished.

Life is short, so live it

I remember signing year books in High School and writing: “Live life to the fullest – You only live once!” It’s a simple concept but one that still stands the test of time. Every day we are getting closer to our last. We will never be as young as we are right now. This is why I believe it’s important to do something you’re passionate about. For me, It’s much better to live than to simply exist. The fact that I exist is my motivation to get out and live. There have been days that have sucked and I’ve wanted to give up but I understand that suckiness will pass. Everyday is a page in our own biographies – I hope to make my book worth reading.

Like Beauty, Cool is defined by the beholder

Many know me as @TheCoolestCool on Twitter. It was created after listening to a Lupe Fiasco album back in University and it’s stuck. Many link it to an ego, I link it to the fact that @Ross just wasn’t available. To some, I’m not cool, but I’m 100% cool with that. When I was in Jr. High and the first two years of High School, I wasted a lot of energy worrying about being cool. As days have passed, I have realized that it’s way more fun to forget about being cool, and just be yourself. When you do that, you find your passion and you chase it without looking over your shoulder to check your cool-o-meter.

Growing up is a man-made concept

The entire concept of “Professionalism” and “Growing Up” is a concept that society has created. I understand the importance of being a professional and I understand the premise of “Growing Up”. That said, I’m not sold on them being the foundation in which you build your own personal mantra. I’m a big fan of working hard and playing hard. Furthermore, I’m a big fan of playing dodgeball, throwing parties, pranking my colleagues and doing what I love. That’s why I’m creating dreamr – People need to stop getting so caught up in their day to day hustle and bustle and focus more on optimizing their life for happiness.

9000 days went by quick

Time flies. It feels like yesterday I was graduating from University and a few weeks ago I was working at a Summer Camp. Time passes quickly and it seems to only accelerate as we get older. Keeping this in mind, I try to never waste a day doing something that doesn’t make me happy, help me grow or get closer to my dream.

Process driven is better than being goal driven

A lot of people have goals that sound something like this: “I want to have a $100,000 income by the age of 25″. If they don’t reach this goal they become depressed and all the work and effort that went into getting to $95,000 goes out the window. They focus on the fact that they didn’t achieve it instead of looking at everything they did to get there. I’ve become more of a process guy than a goal guy. I know where I want to be in a few years and I know the little steps that are required to get there. As a result, I make goals like “Write 12 blog posts a year” – “Grab a coffee with two people a month” – “Volunteer your time to help a non-profit once every two months” – “Unplug every 3rd weekend” – These kinds of things are all part of the process that will help me be happy. Doing this allows me to not only hold myself accountable but also allows me to quickly make adjustments as I see fit.

Experiences are better than stuff

I’ve made a lot of stupid purchases in my life. Whether we’re talking about an unnecessary stereo for my car or a gadget that I’ve never used. These items gather dust, get stolen and become sooner or later become obsolete. In reality, I’ve found that building things and experiencing things is much better than simply buying them. The experience of creating a business, planning a trip, launching a product or going on a unplanned trip far surpasses the satisfaction from being rung in at a check-in counter. Consume less – Get out and create and see more.

Romance is not all sugar plums and lollipops

Movies will make you believe that relationships should be smooth sailing without any speed bumps. They make you believe that arguments in a relationship or disagreements are a bad thing when in my opinion; they make things better. It’s the little disagreements that make you appreciate your partners perspective a little bit more. The arguments provide insights around what you can get away and how you can be a better partner. It’s a process and one that takes a lot of effort but with the right person, it’s worth it.

Self-Education is essential to progress

A lot of people go to school, graduate and then throw up their hands and stop learning. They stop reading, they stop researching their passion and thus stop growing. I’ve learned that the ongoing process of self-education is truly the key to continuous growth. Whether I’m learning about the newest App from a random video on Facebook or researching and writing about Happiness – I strive to learn something new as often as I can.

To all of you who have been a part of the last 9,000 days – I thank you. To my crew, males and females alike – You know who you are. Some of you I’ve known since birth and others just a few months.Here’s to the next 9,000 days… Let’s make them amazing.

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Want more insights on levelling up in life and business? I’m writing a book about Entrepreneurship, the Hustle and how you can use it to start being your own boss and living the life of your dreams. I’ll be sending out an email before launch but in the meantime, I’ll be sharing insights like the post above and more to those who subscribe to my regular newsletter. Don’t worry, you won’t get spamed. Mark my words.

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