34 Life Lessons I’ve Learned in 34 years of Living


Today is my birthday and it’s hard to believe I’m 34 because I don’t feel my age.

It doesn’t seem so long ago that I turned the big 3-0. I was living in Taipei and searching for a direction in life after reaching that milestone. I sat on top of a hiking trail overlooking the best view of the city I had ever seen anywhere (click to see my pic). I remember reflecting hoping the next 30 years would be the best years ever.

That next year of my life turned out to be the best of my life up to that point. I started kickboxing, which in turn introduced me to Eleanor, which led to living in Sydney and a few years later brings me to writing for people like you.

It’s a great start to my 30’s.

For my 21st  34th birthday I’m going to reflect on personal lessons from the last 34 years.

1. You have to be 100% responsible for your life.

I went through the latter part of my 34 years expecting things to happen for me.  I was doing what everyone expected me to do so where was my happiness? It eluded me because I wasn’t taking responsibility for my life. I didn’t make my own choices. I reacted instead of took charge.

Then I realized that this is my life and I make the decisions that shape my life. I control my thoughts and actions. No one else does. Once I began to do that my life started to take a direction I wanted. (If you want to learn more about this sign up to get my free ebook in the sidebar.)

2. You are better than you think.

We continuously don’t give ourselves enough credit for our talents and abilities. What we create might only be 80% in our minds but may be 110% to other people.

Don’t let those limiting beliefs hold you back. Belief and confidence will carry you to where you want to go.

3. Enjoy moments when you laugh so hard that you cry.

Those moments that make laugh us hard don’t happen everyday but when they happen, it’s really special. I can think of movies where I laughed uncontrollably and just random situations.

The last time I laughed that hard was when I came back from the restroom in the mall in Taipei. Eleanor had her cheeks puffed out (looks like when you’re holding air in there). I thought she had air in there so I just pressed against them to squeeze the air out. Next thing I know, I’m getting sprayed with water!!!! We both were laughing hysterically in the middle of the mall. I told her she should have told me she had water. She said she had no idea I was going to do that! Plus she couldn’t say anything! We laughed so hard and still laugh about it to this day.

4. Dancing in the morning is a great way to start the day.

One thing like to do is spontaneously start dancing with Eleanor in the morning. I don’t do it enough, but when I have done it, it brings a huge smile on her face to start the day.

Find ways to do fun things in your morning routine instead of the same old boring stuff.

5. We only have one shot at this life.

This is it. We’ve been given this great gift to enjoy everything that life has to offer. There’s no chance to go back and do things over again at the end.

Have you found the Fountain of Youth? In that case, this is still the only shot we have at this life. Make it great.

6. Don’t take more than you need to survive.

I wrote an entire post about it but I want to say it again cause it’s so true. There is a law that mankind breaks every single day. It’s a law nature has followed for billions of years. The law is nothing in nature takes more than it needs.

The biggest redwoods trees only takes water it needs. Lions don’t kill every single animal it sees for food. Sharks don’t eat all the fish. Just what it needs.

As for us? We’ve become a nation who buy more and more. We have what we need but it’s not enough. In our body, there is something takes more than it needs and eventually kills us and itself. That is cancer.

7. It’s okay to cry at sappy stuff. 

We’re all human and getting emotional is part of it. I’m a guy and suppose to be tough and manly but I tear up at movies. Heck it’s even happened in a comedy when something touching happens. It’s stupid I know but I can’t help it.

Let me share a quote from Jim Valvano, a college basketball coach who lost his battle with cancer eight weeks before this speech.

“To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. And number three is, you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.”

8. Money doesn’t buy you happiness.  

All the money in the world isn’t going to buy happiness if we’re spending a majority of our time at a job we absolutely dread. Money isn’t the answer to all our problems but I want money. Enough money to not be in debt, worry about bills, support my family, give back, and travel.

For me, it’s not about finding ways to work hard to make a lot of money. It’s about working smart to make money that allows me to have freedom.

9. There’s no avoiding the tough situations.

I’ve had to make some tough decisions in life. It’s never fun. Life isn’t about easy decisions and smooth sailing. I wish it always was, but I don’t think anyone has a life like that.

Some tough decisions may need introspection, a mentor, a trusted friend or family member to help you. You don’t have to be alone in making big decisions. Just make sure, in the end, the decision comes from you.

10. Never let anyone borrow money.

I’m lucky I don’t have friends who have hit me up for money, but my mom, being a business owner, has had employees asked for a loan. Sadly she was too nice and lent money to a handful of them. Some paid her back, but the there are ones than never paid her back. Some paid back some then left. Some got the money and took off a week later. I could write a whole page about the stupidity of it but I won’t. It gets me so upset just thinking about it. I believe my mom has learned her lesson.

Therefore I’ll never lend any money to anyone. I’d believe my max would be $100. If you lend money to family or friends, you have to think of it as a gift. Don’t expect it back. I’ve read stories of people borrowing money for emergencies only to see them spend it on a vacation.

When people want to borrow money, they’ll talk to nice but when you remind them later for a payment, they get upset that you are asking about it.

If you haven’t been in this situation before learn from my mom’s mistakes and don’t do it!

11. The world is so unique and full of amazing experiences.

I’ve been fortunate enough to have been able to travel to Europe, Australia and Asia and got to experience the cities, museums, attractions, culture, and food. The world is such a big place with so many amazing things to see. If you haven’t done much traveling overseas, find a way to go one day.

Plus I love being at the airport. I’m like a kid on Christmas when I know I’m going to the airport for a trip.

12. There’s never a perfect time to start.

If you keep waiting for that perfect day you’ll be waiting forever. You cannot wait for the moon, stars, and life to align perfectly to start something. Don’t say you’ll start tomorrow or next week. I don’t believe in waiting till January 1 to start making changes in my life. That perfect scenario will elude you. Don’t keep waiting to start.

13. It’s pointless to drive fast and aggressive.

I’ve found the older I’ve gotten the slower I drive. When I say slow I mean 5-10 over the speed limit only. I don’t speed up after a green light only to have to slam on my brakes at the next red.

Just last week I’m driving on the highway and a car is right on my ass. I guess I wasn’t going fast enough. So the pickup truck changes lanes, speeds pass me, and gets back in front of me. As we exited the highway and approached the stop light, I was right behind that very aggressive pickup truck. It’s so pointless to me to drive like that.

14. Sports are the best unscripted drama on television.

I used to love reality shows but watch it less now. There’s one unscripted drama I’ll never get tired of watching and that is sports. No matter what you expect will happen, there are games that you cannot fathom what just happened. Hollywood isn’t even that good enough.

For example, I’m a huge fan of soccer so I enjoyed every match during the recent woman’s World Cup, especially when the US played. That game against Brazil by far was the most exhilarating soccer game ever. The final game against Japan was just as unbelievable. If you watched the games, you know what I’m talking about. You can’t make up a story better than those games.

15. I feel much better when I exercise.

I’ve gone through long periods of not exercising and long periods of exercising. When I do exercise, I feel better the rest of the day. I feel more productive. I have more confidence. That rush of endorphins right after a work out wakes me up and puts me in a good mood.

It’s no coincidence I started this blog at the peak of my fitness this year coming off my second half marathon in five months.

16. Your mind is more powerful than you realize.

Whatever you want to achieve all begins in the mind. It’s the engine that’s running and all you have to do is push down the gas pedal and steer away from obstacles in your way.

What happens when you close your eyes and imagine yourself standing on the edge of a building 10 stories in the air then start to imagine slowly falling forward? You really feel it! You open your eyes and are glad that didn’t really happen.

Then there’s the placebo effect. Patients get medicine thinking it’ll cure their ailment when in fact they get a placebo. However they’re healthier and healed later.

The power of the mind is strong. Don’t doubt it’s powers.

17. Experiences are more valuable than possessions.

We’ll remember experiences forever but our possession will only make us happy temporarily. I’ve bought many things cause I thought I wanted it, but after I bought it I found I lost interest in it within a month. In 30 years, I’ll remember the trip I took to Bali this April than whatever I bought the same time.

18. Having a bunch of possessions is useless.

I remember moving into my college dorm was fun. Moving out was the worst part. Why? All the stuff I accumulated during that year! It never seemed like I added much but it slowly built up.

The same goes with my house. I’ve lived here for 8 years and moved in with just the basics and now I have a house full of little things hat serve me no real purpose. I plan on doing major de-cluttering very soon.

Now I’m more conscious before I buy. Do I really need it? What purpose does it serve me?

19. Do weird things if it makes you happy and it’s not illegal nor hurts anyone.

There’s something I do that you might find weird but I do regularly when I go on vacation. I take pictures of food. I’ve been doing it for almost 10 years but more since I lived in Taipei. I love eating and just love to remember my experiences with what I ate.

I know the trend is growing based on websites of people sharing their pictures, but I know there are some that think it’s stupid to do.

I love to do it. It doesn’t hurt anyone. It’s not illegal so I’m going to keep doing it.

20. Watching TV for no reasons absolutely wastes your time.

I love watching sports and some great shows on television but besides that it doesn’t do me any good to just sit on my couch and channel surf for hours all the time.

I used to do that often. If nothing was on I’d keep searching for a half way decent show. My free time at home was spent in front of my computer and television. Now I only turn on the TV if I’m doing something that doesn’t need my full attention or I really want to watch a particular show or sporting event.

I’m so much more productive because I’ve cut back.

21. Let others have the spotlight.

We live in a competitive world and sometimes feel the needs to be better than others. However when you’re talking with someone, take a moment to put your ego aside and let that person have the glory.

Let’s say I’m sharing an exciting experience I had. Right when I’m done, the other person jumps in and tops my experience. It’s as if they weren’t even listening. Instead they are waiting for the chance to share their story. How would you feel if you told your greatest story and the other person jumps in and tells you theirs? You’d feel pretty crappy. This is something I do not like and I don’t associate with people like this.

Don’t be like that. Let them enjoy the moment. Make a comment about their story. Make them feel good. In turn they’ll feel more comfortable around you and you give them a boost in confidence. If you do this with someone you just met, you’ll most likely make a great impression with them.

22. Be proud of who you are.

Growing up, mainly through high school and college, I wished I had blonde hair and blue eyes. I even dyed my hair blonde once on summer break in high school. The first time I did it, it looked orange. I had to bleach it even more. It looked horrible on me! I wanted to look more like the people I thought were cool. I wanted to be more accepted. I wanted more girls to like me more.

As I’ve gotten older, I love that I get to know two countries and culture. I’m proud of my parent’s birth place, Taiwan and proud to be an American.

I wouldn’t change my black hair and brown eyes and weird last name for anything now.

23. Life can be taken at anytime.

I reflected in a post that life can be gone in an instant. It’s scary to think that. We all want to think we’ll live forever and die naturally but life is so unexpected. Do as much as you can to live each day fully. Make sure you laugh, think, love, and make a difference everyday.

24. A smile goes a long way.

When you do anything, do it with a smile. If you ask for something, ask with a smile. If you see someone walk by you and you make eye contact, smile. How great did it feel when a cute girl or guy smiled at you? The world is a much better place when people smile.

25. Be thankful more often.

I’m not perfect. Without my glasses or contacts, I’m almost blind. I’ve grown a couple small bald spots (gasp!) on the back of my head that are slowly growing back after getting cortisone injections. I have a metal plate and six screws in my ankle from a soccer injury in high school. I wish I was taller and I bite my nails.

Despite all those I’m thankfully to be healthy. I’ve got two healthy legs to walk and run. I have two arms, two hands, and ten fingers to do so many things. I’m thankful.

Learn to be thankful for the things you have in life instead of focusing on what you don’t have. If you want help to get started see my 30 day gratitude experiment. 

26. Eat what you want but eat it in moderation.

There are so many different diets out there and I’ve had my share of healthy eating. When I haven’t been eating healthy, I’ve found I’m able to maintain my weight decently by watching my portion size. Most portion sizes at restaurant are so large to begin with. Try sharing it or saving half for another meal.

I’m don’t want to deprive myself of the foods and desserts I love, but the key is moderation and not overdo it all the time.

27. You can never get time back.

Time is something we can’t make more of. It moves on whether we want it to or not. So think about how you want to spend your time.

In five years, you will be five years older. Decide what you want to do in those five years. If you do nothing, expect to be the same person in five years but older and probably heavier while you sit there complaining about what you want but fail to take any action.

28. You can do anything you want.

You hear this often but it’s so true. We dreamt big as a kid but as we got older we were taught to think more realistic. It’s time to go back to thinking more like a kid.

If there’s a goal you want to achieve, there is someone in this world that has done the same thing. You want to start your own location independent based business? It’s been done. You want to climb Mt. Everest? It’s been done. You want to run a marathon but have never run more than a mile in your life? It’s been done.

If others are living the life you want, why can’t you?  What makes them different than you? Smarter? Probably not. Worked hard? Yes. Took action? Definitely.

29. Learn to appreciate the small things.

The cool side of the pillow, a parking space near the store, finding $10 on the ground, no cavities at the dentist, walking in the house and moments later hearing the heavy rain outside, getting a high five from a baby, or hitting all the green lights.

Enjoy the small things we take for granted. They are life’s little gifts to us.

30. You will fail.

That doesn’t mean you’ll always fail but there is no success without failure. Look at this list of famous people and read their stories of success despite countless rejections and failures. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve failed. You just have to be right once. Remember that.

31) You can’t please everyone.

Whether you’re selling a product or service, it’s impossible to please every single person. Take for instance a great meal at your favorite restaurant. You love it. Your friends and family love it, but there are people who have been there and say it’s nothing special.

What about a movie that’s a critical and box office success? You loved it. Most of your friends loved it yet there will be a minority of people out there that hated it.

No matter how hard the restaurant owner or director tried to create their best product, it won’t please everyone. In that case, just focus on the people you can please and not worry about the ones you can’t.

32. I don’t want to be on my deathbed and regret so many things in life.

When it’s my time I want to be happy with my life. I want to feel I lived a full life and did everything I wanted. I want to know I did as much as I could and impacted so many people. I want people to be happy that they knew me and continue to feel my impact I left in this world.

33.  Know why you’re doing something keeps you going through the low points.

Just knowing how to do the steps to achieve your goal isn’t enough. If you know why you’re doing something will keep you from quitting.

When I trained for my first half marathon, it was so easy to quit or take days off but my “why power” woke me up on early cold mornings to run.

I’ve had days when I wondered why I shouldn’t just quit this blog. It gets overwhelming or isn’t grow as much as I’d like. I have doubts. Every blogger goes through this. Yet here I still am and in it for the long haul. I love it. That’s why knowing the big picture and why you’re doing this will keep you going.

34. Learn to live in the present moment.

Too often we worry about what happened in the past or future problems coming up and neglect to live in the present. The past already happened. We can’t predict the future but we can control how we are living at this moment.

John Lennon once said, “Life is what’s happening while we’re busy making other plans.” While we’re busying making those plans life passes us by. Kids grow up too fast. We miss the little experience that show us how great it is to be alive.

There is no guarantee of tomorrow. We are only promised now. Stop worrying too much about the future and bring your attention back to the present.

Thank you!

It’s been an good 34 years (I’m still alive) and know the next 34 will be even better. At that time I’ll probably be writing my 64 lessons in life by talking to a computer the size of a quarter.

What can you do for my birthday? How about sharing this post with the share buttons on the left. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Stumbleupon. More than one would be great. It’s my birthday so I can wish big right?

See how easy I am to please on my birthday?

This post was inspired by Adam Baker’s 26 Life Lessons I Learned in 26 Years

Update: Chris Guillebeau has a great post about 34 Lessons he’s learned. Go and read that as well.

Photo by Lette Moloney
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122 responses to 34 Life Lessons I’ve Learned in 34 years of Living

  1. dang i didn’t realize you were so old ;P I thought you were in the 20s!! us asians look yoouung. it’s cool though.. i like that you are a late bloomer too, because that’s exactly how i feel. and yep, lending money is definitely something i’ve learned. in the philippines, when people ask to “borrow” money, expect that you won’t get it back. great list! i need to be reminded of a lot of these things, particularly i’ve been in a down funk lately. you ARE your thoughts, unfortunately, or empoweringly. YOU choose…

    • I can’t believe I’m old too Janet! 34?? So hard to believe! I’m glad I look young. I think people assume I’m 25-27. I’m happy with that!

      Yes I am late bloomer. Glad you know about the downside to lending money. There are some horrible people out there that would take the money and run.

      Yes our thoughts are so important. It’s hard to control our thoughts sometimes. If we’re in a bad mood we’ll constantly be thinking of one bad thing after another. It’s not as easy as snapping out of it. It takes practice.

      Thanks for your comment Janet!

  2. Hi Benny!
    Happy Birthday again (am I STALKING you!?) I’m impressed that you can think of a lesson for every year of your life, though not chronologically attached. My favorite is #3, though they are all great! I love it when we laugh to tears. In fact, it’s one of the goals I have for my vacation: Lots of laughter!
    One summer me and my family and cousins were all on our porch watching a spectacular thunder and lightening storm. The lightning got more and more magnificent until one flash lit up the whole compound. There was barely time to count between flash and crash. We were watching mesmerized when another flashed and simultaneously crashed SO LOUD that many of us screamed, we all jumped back and when it was over, one small boy was sitting in the lap of a cousin he hardly knew with his arms around his neck! We ALL, in fact, reached out for someone. We laugh about that to this day!
    Thanks for reminding me of this as I’m getting ready to GO!
    Hope it was a very happy day!

    • Hi Lori! Stalking is okay..hahaha. I have another stalker but we’re good friends now.

      I love it when we have moments when we laugh that hard too. That lightening strike sounds scary! I can imagine seeing the flash and hearing the crash instantly! However that’s so funny what happened!! I had a big smile on my face reading about that.

      Thanks for sharing that story!!

  3. “Sports are the best unscripted drama” …haha, my girlfriend always tells me that sports are just drama tv for men.

    And how do you find the energy to dance in the morning???

    Oh, by the way…happy birthday!

    • I love sports!! Yeah it’s great TV drama for men. It’s better than watching one girl try and pick twenty idiot guys!! LOL.

      I find the energy sometimes to dance. It doesn’t last too long. Maybe a minute or two but it’s fun.

      Thanks for the birthday wishes!

  4. Happy Birthday!

    Wow, this is an epic post. So much honesty, so much truth, in every one of those 34 items… you could spend months pondering each of them. Thank you so much for sharing this, it really resonated with me. I can tell it’s one of those posts that came straight from the heart, which are always the best ones 🙂

    That’s a beautiful picture of the skyline, by the way.

    • Hey Andrew! Thanks for the comment about the picture. Seeing the picture just doesn’t do it justice. I’ll never forget being up and and how quiet it was. Right in front was, at the time, the tallest building in the world and there I was with this amazing view. A great place to reflect for sure.

      I’m glad you enjoyed this post! It totally came from the heart and those are lessons I’ve learned so far. Look forward to continue to learn and grow these next 34 years.

      Thanks for commenting Andrew!

  5. Happy Birthday! And, of course, Shared. Everything you wrote is the truth. I liked “you only have to be right once” and of course, The Present Is A Present so live in it already lol.

    • Thank you thank you Julie! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. We do just have to be right once or get that one person to say yes and give us a chance. I like that…hahaha..the present is a present. It truly is! Thanks for sharing!

  6. A very happy birthday to you! Thanks for sharing some great life lessons to remember.

  7. This is an excellent post, man. I love Jim Valvano. What you included here may be the single greatest quote ever about living life. And that soccer! That game against Japan was incredible! Happy birthday to you, will tweet for ya…

    • Hey Joe! Thanks for your RT today. I saw that. The Japan game was so incredible! Though i was pulling for the USA I can’t be upset that Japan won. They deserve all the credit for tying the game twice! I thought after the US went up 2-1 Japan would give up. I”m glad you like that Jimmy V quote. I don’t know if some of the younger kids know him or that quote but it is a great one. Thanks for the birthday wishes Joe!

  8. HAPPPPPPY Birthday to you! This was so great. I was nodding my head YES! YES! YES! to every one. You hit it right on. My favorites are:
    3. Enjoy moments when you laugh so hard that you cry.
    4. Dancing in the morning is a great way to start the day.
    17. Experiences are more valuable than possessions.
    21. Let others have the spotlight.

    I must say you have learned a lot in your 34 years. Thank you fro sharing your wisdom. I am turning 28 and I wouldn’t be able to come up with this great of a list. Thanks for sharing this today. It made my day! 🙂

    • Hey Meg!

      You can totally come up with 28 lessons. Or you can do a post like 28 things you didn’t know about me or 28 thing I’ll never do and 28 things I’ll always do. Lots of fun things to do with the number 28! Can we trade and I’ll be 28 again?

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post. I’ve learned a lot in 34 years but I feel like I’m really starting to learn more now since this year. Thanks for the RT today and your comment as always Meg!

  9. Hey Benny!Happy Birthday Bro my favourite is number 4.Dancing in the morning – I can’t think of a better way to start to day after meditation that is, Dancing in zen mode with a smile

    Happy birthday again Dance lots. you done a great job over at Jks Notebook.


    • Thanks Lloyd for coming over from JK’s blog and reading my post. Sounds like you know how to get energized in the morning and start the day right! Thanks for sharing Lloyd!

  10. Happy Birthday Dude,

    I clicked on all 4, so this better not be like a barmaid I used to work with. Who would pretend it was her birthday, just to get the attention.

    I’ll be watching to see if you have another birthday in 3 months time;)

    As someone who is blonde with blue eyes, I went through school, wishing I had dark hair:)
    Happy Birthday Benny

    • Hey Jim! Hahaha..yeah that’d be pretty bad if someone faked it was their birthday only to get attention and beg for favors. I better make sure to remember my birthday is July 21 every year or else you’ll bust me!

      Guess we always wish we looked a different way huh? Thanks Jim for your comment. Always makes me laugh for sure. 🙂

  11. Don’t remember how I got to this post, but, like Lori you made me remember how much I like to laugh. I laugh more frequently now than I ever did in my 30’s or 40’s! Such a fun post! Happy Birthday from a stranger!! http://betsycross.blogspot.com/2011/07/betsy-theyre-dead.html

    • Laughing is the best. I know if we laughed every single day, it’s a pretty good day. I’ve read stories of patients who are ill who used laughter to cure them. It’s pretty amazing. Thanks for coming by Betsy and leaving a comment. I really appreciate the birthday wishes!

  12. Okay first off:

    ??? Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Haaappyyyy Birrrthday dear Benny, Happy Birthday to you! ??? and many more!!!!! 🙂


    Wow, what a list and what a great list that is. Everything we go through in life we do for a reason. To learn the lessons we are meant to learn. So thank you my young dear friend for sharing these with us. You’ve just given me inspiration for my birthday post.

    Have a fabulous day! Happy Birthday!!!


    • Thanks for singing happy birthday first of all!! If we’re not learning in life from our past we’re not going to become a better person in the future.

      When is your birthday? I totally look forward to reading your birthday post. I’ll even sing for you in the comments! LOL

      Thanks Adrienne!

      • You are so welcome. I see my musical notes didn’t make it. Darn it! Oh well..

        Have been thinking of doing a post like that, little did I know you had the same idea and your birthday is just weeks before mine. August 1st is my special day! Yep, I’m a Leo! Hear me roar..

        Hope you enjoyed your day.

        Thanks Benny

        P.S Love the new look of your blog by the way! Nice.

  13. Dude, I love this. Feels like you tapped directly into my mind for a lot of them!

    [22. Be proud of who you are.] This is so on the money. I felt the same way as you, growing up as an Asian American. I spent so much time when I was younger wishing I was everything that I’m not. Now that I’m older, I realize that the differences I used to hate – in my looks, culture, and otherwise – led directly to who I am today. I’m so proud of who I am and wouldn’t have it any other way.

    [26. Eat what you want but eat it in moderation.] Might I also suggest that some people try eating more meals throughout the day? I eat every 3 hours and it’s automatically changed my portion sizes. I don’t need to load up on a ginormous amount of food when I know I’ll be eating again in a few hours. And my energy levels are much more stable throughout the day.

    Awesome post man. Oh and I think there’s something wrong with your RSS feed. Fix it, cause I wanna google read this blog!

    • Thanks Jaemin! I’m glad you could relate on so many levels. Maybe lots of other Asians have felt the same way too when they were younger? Going through school I was the only Chinese boy in my grade most of the time. Now I embrace it and love that I’m an Asian American.

      Yes eating 3 hours is a great idea! I’ve done that before and really loved smaller meals a day. Most people load up on 2 or 3 big meals a day and they wonder why they’re sluggish!

      I’ll have to check my RSS. Thanks for letting me know!

  14. Hi Benny! Happy birthday kid:-)) You from Taiwan? I was fortunate to study there for one semester, awesome city Taipei! I studied at Chengchi University and lived on campus, even though a little remote, I made sure to get in to down town several times a week.

    Hope you have a great day! Jannick

    • Hey Jannick! Yes my parents are from Taiwan! I had been back many times growing up but from 2007-2009 I lived in Taipei to study Chinese at Shida. I love the city! That’s so cool you got to live in Taiwan for a semester. Any plans to go back one day?

      Thanks for the birthday wishes!

      • I was there in around ’04, and haven’t been back there or Asia since. Would love to go back, even though it’s not in my plans at the moment (simply because of money).

        We students got offered 50 Chinese lessons, that was an experience, a very different language! I enjoy listening to it.

        I did a course on the dispute between China and Taiwan, back then our professor’s opinion was to maintain status quo, which seemed like the only option Taiwan had. Do you know if it’s still like that? Or has there been any development?

        • That’s a great opportunity. Lots of foreigners who I met in Taipei grew to love the city.

          To be honest, I don’t know much about China and Taiwan’s relationship. I know there is an upcoming presidential election and one party wants to unify with China while the other one wants to remain independent. I believe. I’m not 100% sure. I think most Taiwanese citizens want to remain independent. I don’t know where there are so many problems. Taiwan gets lots of tourists from China and vice versa. Lots of companies have factories in China. There are direct flights from Taipei to China. Don’t know exactly why there is still tension.

          Thanks for replying back!

  15. OK, so I thought you were going to tell us lies about things you made up but I was really impressed that you actually learned something over all those years.

    Just kidding of course Benny. This post was great. It was like a free ebook on getting busy on how to live….Imagine that.

    I’m still not sure why you didn’t show mr. truck punk how an M3 could wipe his ass all over the road….I guess you’re growing up.

    Happy Birthday Man!

    • I could have shown Mr. Punk the power of the M3 but i’m an old fart now so I just let him being a douche and I just go about my business. Maybe the younger Benny would have done something different.

      Thanks Brad for sharing your wisdom around GBL. It’s not the same w/o the King.

      Thanks for the birthday wishes!! Maybe next year you can captain a yacht and we’ll throw a party with a bunch of cool bloggers on there!

  16. Benny – 34 years old! Happy Birthday man!

    Your lessons learned have been great ones. The very first one stood out to me the most:

    You have to be 100% responsible for your life.

    This is what I live by. If I were to have a life motto, this would be it. This includes everything that I stand for from parenting, loyalty, family, worth ethic and so on.

    What a great thing to have in common.

    Have a great upcoming weekend. I’ll be camping with the wife and kids in Nebraska.


    • JK!! I have no idea how I missed your comment. I thought I had responded to everyone but when I came back to see this post I saw I missed four of them!

      Wow this is back when you went camping in Nebraska and was getting attacked by those bugs!!

      Thanks for the birthday wishes. Feels like just last week when I wrote this post.

  17. Happy birthday Benny and thanks for the great post!

    I also turn 34 this year (in October) and I’m starting to learn a lot of these lessons too – about time I reckon 😉

    • Hi Milo!

      I’m sorry I didn’t reply to your comment! I thought I had but now going back through this post I saw I missed 4 of them!

      Thanks so much for the birthday wishes! Yeah it’s never too late to start learning lessons in life. Turning 34 isn’t so different so you’re not missing out on anything right now. Haha.

  18. Benny,
    What a great list!!! (and Happy Birthday!!)

    #11 (amongst many others) – love that!

    And ti reminds me how this life is what we choose to make it…

    Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Hi Lance! I’m so sorry I missed your comment. I thought I had replied to everyone but missed some that I see!

      Thanks for the birthday wishes for sure!

  19. I hope you don’t mind but I would like to add a lesson I learned in 18 years of living: the truth doesn’t hurt.

    Great post, thanks!

    • Hugo, I’m sorry I missed this comment. I thought I had gotten to everyone but going back I see I missed a few!

      The truth doesn’t hurt is a great one for sure! Maybe I’ll add that when I turn 35 next year. 🙂

  20. Great article, Benny! I have learned many of the same lessons! Here are my favorites on your list:

    1. You have to be 100% responsible for your life.
    I wrote an entire post about this recently!
    2. You are better than you think.
    3. Enjoy moments when you laugh so hard that you cry.
    This is why I married my husband- we laugh together a lot.
    4. Dancing in the morning is a great way to start the day.
    Dancing anytime is a great way to relieve stress!
    9. There’s no avoiding the tough situations.
    We’ve all been through them, and I’ve learned to do so with kindness and strength.
    11. The world is so unique and full of amazing experiences.
    The world is full of unique and amazing people!
    12. There’s never a perfect time to start.
    19. Do weird things if it makes you happy and it’s not illegal nor hurts anyone.
    20. Watching TV for no reasons absolutely wastes your time.
    So does browsing the internet for no reason!
    21. Let others have the spotlight.
    22. Be proud of who you are.
    25. Be thankful more often.
    I write gratitude lists every day.
    31. You can’t please everyone.
    34. Learn to live in the present moment.

    I have to say I’d change “never loan money” to “never loan anything you don’t need for yourself and wouldn’t willingly give to that person as a gift.”

    Other lessons I have learned:
    ~Take care of yourself first. You can be anything for anybody if you’re not taking care of you.
    ~Saying “no” is a good thing and “no” is a complete sentence.
    ~Play by your own rules. You don’t have to respond to dominance, aggression, hate and rudeness with the same.
    ~Labels and stereotypes don’t define you, or anyone else for that matter.
    ~Happiness is a choice. Choose to be happy today.
    ~Life is what you make of it.

    Thanks for this great post, Benny! Happy birthday!

    • Hi Chrysta,

      I’m sorry I replied late. For some reason this comment missed my eyes till tonight!

      I like your lesson about never loaning anything. That is so true! Saying no is a great thing. If we always say yes then we leave less time for ourselves to do what needs to be done.

      Thanks for sharing your favorite for my list and sharing your own! Hope you had a great weekend!

  21. Happy 34th Benny!

    You’ve gained some great insights/wisdome over the years sir – you have the makings for an awesome life and the ability to make some significant contributions to many 🙂

    Cheers to making the world and lives of those we touch better!

    • Thank you Mark! I’m sorry for the late reply to your comment. Somehow I missed it. I appreciate your continued support!

  22. Benny,

    This is an awesome summary of a life well lived! Thanks for sharing your insights!

    Michele B.

  23. Happy Birthday Benny!

    Are you serious dance in the morning? What if I have two left feet?

    More Birthdays to come.

    Armand Polanski

    • Hey Armand! I’m serious. Just a little slow dancing. I’m not break dancing or doing any hip hop movies. 🙂

      Just dance like no one is watching. That’s living free and having fun!

      Hope you’re doing well my friend. Thanks for the birthday wish!

  24. Hey Benny! First, Happy Birthday!

    Second, I find many things on your list to be true. I’ve always wanted to find answers for my own situation but that’s never been the case. I’ve had to & will have to make tough decisions. The worst part is telling my parents but it has to be done.

    Anyway, I hope you’re enjoying your birthday. Here’s a Tweet for you!

    • Hey Moon!

      It’s always tough when we have to deal with our parents when it comes to tough situations. It has to be done but it never gets any easier. But they are our parents and we only have one set.

      Thanks for the birthday wishes and the RT! I’m so easy to please on my birthday. LOL.

  25. Its always good to be THANKFUL. It’s always necessary to appreciate what we have. Some people don’t, I DO. You gotta thank your creator for what you have because it could be gone tomorrow. And the things we take for granted are always the things we wished we cherish more, when it’s gone!

    • Hey Jonathan! It is better to be thankful. Years ago I would always just focus on what I didn’t have. No wonder I constantly wasn’t happen. Now I appreciate even the little things in life. Things we usually would take for granted.

      Thanks for sharing!

  26. hi…loved your post here. i’m new and am immensely enjoying your posts and your great attitude. something like this is great to read/reflect on when we are going through bad times…and make our own list. i’m in a better spot now thank goodness. your upbeat and refreshingly real attitude made me wish i didn’t take things so seriously and started doing more of what i love…so i will start again today! btw i loved taipei/taiwan when i was there in 1987 for a week (student ambassador program – spent 6 weeks in asia!) 🙂 and happy birthday!

    • Hey Marina,

      Welcome! Thank you so much for leaving a comment. I love to meet new people.

      I’m glad I could inspire you to not take too things too seriously. You should try a post simliar to this to reflect on the positives you’ve learned in your life.

      That’s great you visited Taipei! You’re the second person I’ve met that’s left a comment. I’m happy when people do visit Taipei. It’s a hidden treasure. 6 weeks in Asia must have been fun!

      Thank you for the birthday wishes!

  27. Hi Benny (new visitor here), I saw your about page and thought you were 25! I’ll just consider you my bigger brother from now on.

    Anyway, I really liked this post. You’ve outlined many life lessons that I agree with. Plus, I didn’t know that you took pictures of food. ALL Taiwanese people do that! (Haha J/K) Thank you so much for writing such a transparent post of yourself. I hope you had a nice birthday.

    P.S. The girl’s World Cup Finals was the craziest soccer game I’ve ever seen! That’s awesome that you saw it!

    • Hi Hulbert,

      Welcome! Thanks for commenting for the first time.

      I do look young. Thanks! It’s the Asian genes for sure. I’ll take looking like 25 every day since that’s pretty much how I feel.

      I’m glad you enjoyed the post! Yes many Taiwanese people do that, except for my fiance. LOL. I just don’t see as many people here but I know it’s slowly growing. It’s not for everyone but I love to add those photos to my memories.

      Yes I watched the final and then the replay right afterwards on ESPN 2 because I couldn’t believe that game! Such a great game. Glad you saw it too.

      Thanks for sharing and don’t be a stranger. Anyone who says I look 25 is okay in my book. 🙂

  28. Awesome Post! It’s amazing how much in life we take for granted. It’s such a breath of fresh air to see such open, genuine and touching inspiration. It makes me feel good and makes me want to keep pushing forward. I can do anything! 🙂 Not to mention, dance in the morning. You have a new fan.

    • Thanks Richard! I’m glad you really enjoyed it! Try dancing in the morning. It’s pretty fun 🙂

      Thanks for sharing!

  29. Happy belated birthday!

    There are so many wonderful things on your list and it was difficult to select just one to comment on: gratitude.

    Why gratitude? It is so simple to express gratitude and the powerful effect it has on our lives is unequaled by any other practice of its kind. There is a special kind of magic in gratitude–it heightens our awareness, recharges our energy,
    enhances our self-worth, and strengthens our spirit.

    I am grateful that I found your wonderful blog!

    • Hey Rachael!

      I’m glad you really enjoyed the list. You picked a great one. I didn’t realize the power of gratitude till late last year. Before I always thought about what I didn’t have and wished to have. Once I turned my focus it changed everything you mentioned.

      I’m glad you understand how something so simple as gratitude can bring so much positive benefits in our lives.

      Thanks for finding my blog and hope to see you again soon!

  30. Excellent! These are some really nice points you’ve made. I like the first one, I think its crucial.


  31. I believe this kind of mature perspective on life can only be obtained by through traveling the world and experiencing all the different ways of life on this planet. All your 34 lessons ring true and have inspired me to flip back through my travel journals to relive all my aha moments abroad.

    I’m 35 now and have two small children. We are excited to show them the world too but are starting small – might be awhile before I cross any oceans again. In the meantime, we’ll live out life lessons like these 🙂

    Great post – happy birthday!

    • Hey Adrienne!

      Thanks so much for reading! Isn’t traveling just so much fun? I wouldn’t be the person i am now if it weren’t for traveling. There’s still so many places I want to go too. You kept journals? That’s so great to be able to really remember your life during those times.

      Since you have a love of travel, I’m sure you’ll share that with your kids in the future. Perhaps and trip to Disney World here in Florida one day? 🙂

      Thanks for your comment!

      Thanks for sharing with us!

      • very funny you should say that. This December we will bring our three year old for his second visit to the most magical place on earth and, of course, the inaugural visit for our newborn. If you’ve got inside info on how to get the most of Disney with a five month old… I’m all mouse ears!

        • That’s exciting! That is funny that I mentioned that. Glad you’ll be coming in December when it’s not hot and humid. As for getting the most out of a 5 month old, I can’t help you out there! 🙂

  32. #7 was my favorite. When I came back to the States last week to visit my family and my brand new niece, I was so amazed at how beautiful, tiny and innocent she is. She seriously takes my breath away every time I look at her. The other night I was laying on the couch with her and just started to cry at how much love I have for her. It is hard to describe, but it feels so nice to have her in my arms and watch the silly faces she makes. I am so thankful for her and her older sister – my two favorite girls in the world!

    • Hey my friend!

      That sounds like such a sweet moment! Little kids are so precious. I don’t have kids but last time I went back to Taipei, I bonded with Eleanor’s cousin’s three daughters. Her and her cousin are basically like sisters cause they are the same age and grew up together. The three little girls are so precious. 9, 6, and 2. When I had to leave them after two months, the oldest one made me a card with a picture of us together and said they will miss me. Let me tell you the tears came out for that! I was sad I had to leave them.

      Thanks for sharing such a personal moment Julia!

  33. Happy Birthday!

    > fun things in your morning routine
    That’s a great way to set the pace for the rest of the day.

  34. Hey Benny – Happy Be-lated Birthday, man!

    Wow, man what a list of life lessons learned. There are so many things I could say but in particular I love what you had to say about smiling every day even when asking people to do something for you, living every day as if it were your last and about the the world having so many amazing places.

    So many people are scared to get out of the safety net that is the confines of their city or state that they never get to go out and explore new lands, new countries, new people, new ideas, new perspectives, etc. I could go on and on.

    I definitely dont want to be on my deathbed and regret not having done something or not having achieved a goal because I was scared or did not want to go through a tough situation!

    Definitely lots of stuff to think about in this post, Benny! Awesome stuff bro. Again, Happy belated-birthday! I hope you had an amazing one my friend!

    • Hey Hector!

      I recognize your name and your picture around so thanks for coming by and reading. You’re right that many people don’t try and see new things! Living a life of regret is not a way to live. I’m glad to hear you push aside resistance and go for your goals!

      I had a nice birthday! Thanks so much for the birthday wishes! Thanks for reading and leaving a comment.

  35. I am 29, I had so much fun reading your post. It is so amusing how much I can relate to most of your lessons, really got me thinking. Like you, I look younger than I look, which I also think is great. One thing I keep reminding is to achieve as many things as possible. Yes, I don’t take time for granted like I used to, I don’t want to feel regret as well. I am confident about my capabilities and I have been doing more. Belated happy birthday Benny thank you for the post.

    • Hey Kevin! isn’t it great to look younger than your age? I’ll never get tired of that.

      It’s great you realize you don’t want to live a life of regret. You have to constantly remind yourself that when facing things you fear doing. Thanks for commenting Kevin!

      • Benny: touche! 🙂

        As they say, on your deathbed, you’ll only regret the things you didn’t do rather than the things that you did.

  36. Lot of lessons you have shared here Benny. I found myself thinking about what you’ve said about never let anyone borrow money. Though I wanted to heed your wisdom on this, there are instances that there are borrowers who are sincere and legitimate, and these I always fall for. 🙂

    • Hey Walter. Thanks for reading. If you can find honest people who borrow money and pay it back, then that’s great. It’s just the bad ones that make lending money something I won’t do. Instead of choosing whether I will or not, I’ll just say no. However I’m glad you have found honest people.

      Thanks for sharing that Walter!

  37. DAMN IT. i’m sorry i missed your b-day. Better late than never.

    Benny, this was an amazing post. Each point hit home for me. I was nodding my head in agreement the whole time. Especially the ones about money. And the one about experience being more valuable. Don’t you wish you knew what you know now back when you were in your 20’s? It makes me so mad that i had my priorities all screwed up.

    You’re making leaps and bounds in self discovery and inspriing lots of people in the process. I’m really proud to have you as a friend.

    p.s. hugs for you belated birthday…


    • Hey Annie!!!!! My birthday post wasn’t complete w/o a comment from you. 🙂

      Did you have experience lending money to people? I hope not a bad one. You bet I wish I knew all this stuff when i was 20. I would have started much earlier working harder at finding what I love to do instead of wasting my time.

      I’m glad to have met you along this journey and have bonded. You seem to get my weirdness and I get yours too. 🙂

      Thanks Annie!

  38. Hey Benny,
    I read these 34 life lessons a week ago and I have to say that I’m impressed by how informative these are!

    The two points I like the most at #19 and #31.

    #19 keeps life relaxed and fun because you can do anything within reason if it makes you happy and isn’t so “by the book” socially.

    #31 is probably the most important tip. They will be the skeptics, haters, and those who criticize what you do. All you need to do is keep going.

    Thanks for this post! Extremely informative.

    • Hey Matt!

      Well you learned first hand about #31 with those haters you got about your post that went viral. Even some guys will think the hottest girl in the world is just blah. And I’m sure we do so many weird things that makes us happy but that’s what makes everyone unique.

      Thanks for coming back and sharing Matt!

  39. Hell yea man… I was enjoying EVERY ONE you threw at me!!!

    Especially the John Lennon Quote! Big fan… Love it dude, there is a lot to learn from this post…

    Possessions are a waste, experiences are everything… Here is to living in the moment!

    Surfs up,

  40. AHHH Benny! I missed your b-day, but Happy Belated birthday anyway!

    I’ve learned a lot from you in these last few months about life, and I’m looking forward to more greatness to come.

    A lot of these lessons hit hard for me so it was a really interesting and fun read. All the best and congrats on another year!

    • Hey John! No worries man! Better late than never! I’m glad you enjoyed them. I look forward to doing 35 next year!

      Yes i’m glad as well we’ve crossed paths as well. You constantly give off great vibes. Thanks John!

  41. I knew you were off to a good start with this post, Benny, when you stated that you do not feel your age. There is a difference between being in denial and not feeling your age, so it’s good that it’s the latter for you. What you have here is an excellent list of life essentials that is as applicable to a 34 year old as it is for an 84 year old. Life truly is about lessons, and what you have here is more wisdom than knowledge. I do have my favorites, such as “Money can’t buy Happiness” and “Experiences are more valuable than Possessions”, but I agree with everything you pointed out. You are fortunate to realize this much about life at the ripe age of 34. I know people in their 80’s who still don’t get it, and it’s such a shame to have lived life for the wrong reasons.

    • Hey Ceejay,

      Thanks for that. I’m glad the post resonated with you and you could relate with many of them. I know we all have lessons from our own lives that we can share with everyone. I’m happy to have shared mine here.

      Thank you for your comment!

  42. Happy Belated Birthday. Awesome monster post. You are wise beyond your years. All your 34 lessons are dead on so I’ll just focus on the last one, Learn to live in the present moment. All that matters is right now. The past has already happened and can’t be changed, unless you have a time machine, and the future hasn’t happened yet. Powerful stuff. Have you read Eckhart Tolle? Keep up your amazing work!

    • Thanks Buck!

      I have not read Eckhart Tolle but I have heard great things. I will definitely have to read one of his books.

      Thanks for sharing here!

  43. Money doesn’t buy you happiness … but it sure as hell helps! Thanks for this awesome post Benny. It’s always a pleasure to read these types of articles to be realigned back on track. You’ve made so many great points here sir, this is one of these things that should be re-read periodically.

    • Hey Vitaly! It’s true. Money isn’t the answer to all our happiness but I sure do want some. I want to travel and buy nice things. I love computers and gadgets so I’ll need money for that. Hey if I make millions, I’m not going to complain but as long as I’m making my money through my passion.

      I’m glad you enjoyed this post! You should definitely do a post like this for your next birthday. I know you’ll have fun writing it and your readers will learn something from it.

      Thanks for your comment!

  44. The World According To Benny! Happy Birthday Sir. Such wisdom for 34 years in a 13.75 Gigayear old Universe.

    You do understand that you are that Universe that has achieved consciousness and now seeks to understand itself ………

    And no I have not been drinking! 🙂

    • Hey Jeffery!! The world according to me. It may be a bit odd but that’s my life. The universe is 13.75 gigayears? I never thought about it that way. Very cool.

      Feel free to drink anytime and come by here! There’s no rule for not drinking. 🙂

      Thanks for coming by Andrew and the birthday wishes!

  45. Arrived here via Mind of Michael.
    I like your blog.
    It’s like “The Secret” without the phony baloney BS.
    Yeah, I want the ebook!

    Blog On!

  46. This is lovely, and it also made me a little emotional, which I guess is no. 7 taken care of. Thanks so much for sharing this. 🙂 Happy birthday – I genuinely hope the next 34 are wonderful for you.

    • Hi Vicky,

      Thanks so much for coming by and reading this. Your comment really made my day! I’m so glad you found it lovely. I’m sorry to make you teary but it’s definitely okay to cry at stupid stuff like I said. 🙂

      Thanks for the birthday wishes and I know the next 34 years will be my best yet.

      Thank you Vicky!

  47. Hey Benny, you made me remember something that makes me laugh, this is should be read periodically..

  48. Happy Belated Birthday!

    I’m so glad I read this post. These are some really amazing and inspirational words.

    I couldn’t agree with you more about #17 and #34.

    I base my life around experiences. I have very little material possessions. What I do own is basically what I need to work (computers, camera, etc) and play, with a few exceptions in between. Although I find it hard not to get souvenirs when traveling. I travel a lot and always am looking for something small to supplement my experience(s) from my travels. For me those are almost as important as the actual experience.

    I recommend taking lots of pictures too. Life goes by in a heartbeat. You always want something to look back on.

    Great post Benny.

    • Thanks Cal for the belated birthday wishes!

      Experiences are great. When I’m daydreaming that’s what I always think about. The places I’ve been. The things I’ve done. Those bring eternal happiness. Stuff will but it won’t last a lifetime.

      I love to take pictures! When I go on vacation, I’m the one in the relationship that takes all the photos. I love it. Love to look back on my experience through pictures.

      Thanks Cal for sharing!!

  49. I love black hair. I wanted a “fro” so i permed mine when I was younger. So I understand.

  50. Thanks for this!
    Today is my 34thbirthday and youreallygot me thinking. I’m posting up this link on my blog I wish you a wonderful life and luck in all. Your endeavours!

  51. A great way to get motivated is to write up a bucket list so that you don’t end up old and grey and full of regrets. But are old and grey and full of memories of things that you have done and achieved. I found a great inspirational site at http://www.thebucketlist.org.uk might be worth taking a look. Lee

  52. 35. Ditch your TV altogether. I have been doing without TV for about 5 years now and it’s awesome! So much more time, so much less i fluences, ad’s, crappy talking heads, the list goes on.

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