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For the past seven years, I’ve been writing these lists on my birthday of things that I’ve learned in the past year. This year happens to be 40. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that this year has, personally, been the hardest year of my life. This may come as a surprise to some of you who “know” me from our online social circles. It just goes to show that everybody is going through something. Every. Body. Your pain is no less important than mine, or the neighbor down your street. But there is hope. There has to be hope, because without hope, what have you got? Anyways, this will be the last list I make, I’m getting to old to try to keep up with all of this.

Follow the links to read Thirty Nine, Thirty Eight, Thirty Seven, Thirty Six, Thirty Five and Thirty Four if you’re into that sort of thing.

  • The best retirement plan is a good job.
  • A beautiful home in a beautiful location is worthless without the company of good friends.
  • Helping the poor, widowed and orphans is not the job of the government, it’s the job of the church–but church people aren’t into that.
  • If life is pain, perspective is how much it will hurt.
  • Pay off debt. Vacation at home.
  • Talk to your kids about sex, drugs and rock n roll. Be the one to shape their view.
  • Don’t ask a new friend: “What do you do for work?” instead ask “What do you do when you get off work?”.
  • Ask for as much critical feedback as you can. Don’t settle for “that looks rad!”.
  • Seek out people who are different from you. People with different political views, religious preferences, and family values. You don’t have to agree with them, but you can try to understand them, and maybe through that you can better empathize with them.
  • The best gift you can give to your kids is good health.
  • Health is our most precious resource, not time. Without your health, your time is worthless.
  • Assigning blame is a waste of time.
  • Everyone is broken, including you.
  • Product design has very little to do with pixels.
  • It’s easy to put someone down, but much more difficult to build them up.
  • Your design will be discarded within the year, your design process will be with you forever.
  • All my favorite bands are on classic rock radio. Damn.
  • If you are following a path that has no obstacles, it probably doesn’t lead anywhere.
  • If you were surprised by the election results this year maybe you don’t know your neighbors as well as you thought you did.
  • I idealize the past too much instead of embracing an exciting future.
  • I’ll take soft skills any day over hard skills. Unless we’re talking brain surgeons.
  • Negative thinking equals negative results.
  • The older I get, the more set in my ways I get. It’s like some bad movie cliche that stars Clint Eastwood on a porch.
  • On the contrary, I’m more open to new ideas and ways of thinking and viewing the world now more than ever. At least I’m trying to be.
  • The secret to a good marriage is compromise.
  • Say the minimal required to get the point across.
  • I’ve never had a bucket list and I’m afraid that because of this I’ll live a life less exciting.
  • Product design starts with writing.
  • Consistently show up.
  • Being too enamored with nostalgia can limit my perspective on the future.
  • Having a quality manager who invests in you and your professional goals is an unlisted perk of a good job.
  • The price of a bottle of wine has nothing to do with how enjoyable said bottle will be.
  • I have trouble remembering all of the things I’ve done in my life. I should have taken more pictures.
  • I am an includer. I want to make sure that you feel as valued as you should.
  • The Honeycrisp apple is the best apple ever. I will fight you if you think otherwise.
  • Stop taking offense at every little thing, geez.
  • Find a mentor.
  • Be a mentor. You think you don’t have something to share, but trust me, you do.
  • Everyone wants greatness without the sacrifice.
  • Hope is everything, without it, what have you got?

Article Credit

  1. Author: Noah Stokes
  2. Date Published: January 11, 2017

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I’ve always been interested in the idea of paying forward what knowledge I have—share with others what others have shared with me. I think it’s not only important, but it’s our job as veterans in this industry to set the next generation of leaders up for success.

If this resonates with you, and you want to meet with me, grab some time on my calendar and we can chat.