51 Tips To Win At Life (Reflections On My 50th Birthday)


I recently turned 50 years old and decided it was a good time to jot down what I’ve learned, from many failures and some success, at how to win at life. I’m sure I’ll have very different ideas in the future, but this pretty much wraps it up for now.

  1. Have an attitude of gratitude; stop focusing on what you don’t have, and start focusing on what you do have.
  2. The purpose of life is to live a life of purpose (Life is about making an impact, not making an income).
  3. Pursue meaning, not just happiness (it’s more reliable).
  4. Choose your environment carefully as it’s the #1 secret to “success.”
  5. Be mindful of who you spend time with as your social network is the #2 secret to “success.”
  6. Set goals as they are the #3 secret to “success.”
  7. Master your 1440 minutes each day because time is the #4 secret to “success.”
  8. Get up and move for your mental health.
  9. Sleep a lot, without feeling guilty.
  10. Have a lot of (safe) sex.
  11. Drink a lot of water.
  12. Don’t skip breakfast.
  13. Determine your values, and reflect on them each morning.
  14. Meditate.
  15. Buy experiences, not things.
  16. Tithe.
  17. We can’t always control what happens to us, but we can control our reaction to it (read Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning).
  18. Be vulnerable and authentic (read Brené Brown’s Daring Greatly).
  19. We become what we think about (read Napoleon Hill’s Think And Grow Rich).
  20. Listen more than you talk.
  21. Stay out of debt at all costs (except for buying a home and possibly a car).
  22. Get rich slowly with dollar cost averaging and the miracle of compound interest.
  23. Invest your long-term money in a great index fund like Vanguard 500 Index Fund (VOO) and a safe government bond fund like Vanguard Short-Term Treasury Fund Investor Shares (VFISX).
  24. Be an empowered patient as doctors and the health system is very, very fallible.
  25. Don’t be a bystander; silence is consent.
  26. Never say, write or do anything you wouldn’t want to appear on the front-page of the New York Times (or, Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat).
  27. Use a 90%/10% stock/bond mix for your long-term retirement savings if you’re younger than 40; then by age 40, use 80/20; by age 50, 70/30; by age 60, 60/40; by age 70, 50/50 (assuming stocks are extremely diversified index fund).
  28. Get up early.
  29. Make your first hour of the day your non-negotiable hour of power (body and mind).
  30. Set a get-ready-for-bed nighttime alarm as the first step to winning the next day.
  31. Remember, you become what you think about; thoughts are things.
  32. Opposites attract, but similarities last.
  33. Spouses should never miss a weekly “date night”; if you think you’re too busy or can’t afford it, remember you’ll be busier and poorer when you’re divorced.
  34. Replace your need to be right, with your desire to be happy.
  35. Discipline your small children with a three-count (read 1-2-3 Magic by Thomas Phelan).
  36. As a parent, cheer your kid’s effort not results.
  37. Don’t give your teenagers rules, give them guardrails.
  38. The family that eats together stays together.
  39. Remember that your actions teach your children more than your words.
  40. Don’t try to make your kids happy; prepare them to deal with the wide range of events and emotions they’ll experience as adults.
  41. Failure is feedback; there is no win or lose, only win or learn.
  42. Send hand written thank you notes—they are golden.
  43. Look for the magic moments—they occur far more often than the birth of your children or the day you got married.
  44. People will love you—your employees, your spouse, your children—when you help them to learn and grow.
  45. People will love you—your employees, your spouse, your children—when you show your appreciation for what they do.
  46. People will love you—your employees, your spouse, your children—when they can see a bright future with you.
  47. Know that attention is the first and most powerful step in persuasion; use it, and be wary of it.
  48. Beware of goals; they work, and can cause you to fail in non-goal areas of your life.
  49. Beware of limiting beliefs.
  50. Don’t chase your negative thoughts; it’s never the first one that hurts you, it’s the third and tenth and…
  51. You don’t need to become anyone, you don’t need to achieve anything; it’s ok to “be.”

Look for part two of this article, “51 More Ways To Win At Life” on May 2, 2067.

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CEO of LEADx, and NY Times bestselling author, of Great Leaders Have No Rules and Employee Engagement 2.0. Get a FREE demo of the LEADx platform at https://leadx.org/preview.