The Top Five Things I Wish I Had Learned Sooner

The Top Five Things I Wish I Had Learned Sooner

Tough Questions

I like to try to learn from other people who have already done what I am trying to do. Rather than try to re-invent the wheel, I try to figure out what works and what doesn't work by learning from others.

If you want to learn from others; you must be questioning and you must be watching. If you aren't questioning, you can't begin to learn. If you aren't watching, then even if you are questioning, you won't be progressing.

In a few my college classes, I became known for asking the instructors tough questions. I don't mean questions that were tough because they were factually-challenging "gotcha" questions or because I was asking the instructor to recall some tucked-away, barely relevant information from long along. The tough questions I asked typically required the instructor to explain reasoning, reference and describe his/her "philosophy" or style, or rank various entities. The ranking style questions are my favorite. "Top Five", "Most Important", "The Number 1 Thing", etc. are all examples of ranking questions.

My Favorite Question

What are the top five things you wish you had learned sooner in your life?

That is by far my favorite question to ask. I ask people who are smarter than me, I ask people who are in positions I want to be in, I ask people who are doing things I want to be doing, I ask people who I respect. The responses vary widely, because there is no rules or qualifiers on this question. I love that.

My Top Five

I may not be the most wise or experienced; but I've "been around the block" more times (and more blocks) than the average recent-college-grad. I've put a lot of thought into this list. The Top Five Things I wish I had learned sooner are:

  1. The importance of other people in your life (they make everything possible and make everything better)
  2. The unimportance of being "right" all the time (being wrong is often more helpful to your development, in the long run)
  3. The information in the book Incognito: Secret Lives of the Brain by David Eagleman
  4. How crucial it is to find your "thing" and dive in at full speed, and not to waste your time or energy on anything else after that. Balance and reasonableness in life is not something any great achiever has ever had.
  5. An acronym to remind me: BUIYATA00 – believe unconditionally in yourself and the abilities of others

A close honorable mention addition to this list: The vital importance of attention to detail in everything you do, especially the little things.

I'm sure as I grow and develop, this list will change and develop as well. I want to hear from you now though, What are yours? What are The Top Five Things You Wish You Had Learned Sooner?