My father always thought chiropractors were a bunch of charlatans. That is, until he threw out his back when he was 56. There he was on the 18th hole, swing and pop, he felt something go. He found himself on the ground unable to move. His friends had to carry him off.
Despite his negative image of chiropractors, on his friend’s advice he went to see one. It only took a few trips before he was back on the links.
My father, like many people, learn things too late. I only learned to take care of my back after I had sciatica. My wife only started taking care of her teeth after she had eight cavities and had to spend a small fortune on fixing her teeth.
I might not have a time machine to fix my mistakes, but my hope is that you can learn from my experience. With everything on this list, it’s important to remember that it’s never too late to get started. Here are seven things I wish I could tell my younger self.
1. Compound Interest is powerful
Einstein once said that “The 4th wonder of the world is compound interest.” Most people think of compound interest as related to money, but it applies to so much more in life. Effort, time, health, and stress are just a few of the things. Martial arts are a perfect example of compound interest in action. The secret to earning a black belt are simply showing up consistently and trying. That’s why the sooner you get started the better your chances of success are.
2. Your education is up to you, not your school
In Asia, education is revered. It’s seen as the key to a better life. Unfortunately, many people think a good school means a good education. While a good school helps, the real key is you. We have access to vast amounts of knowledge thanks to YouTube, podcasts and books. The only problem is most people are more interested in watching the latest episode of CSI or Game of Thrones rather than educating themselves. Don’t leave your education up to someone else, your education is squarely in your hands. Get a mentor, pick up a book.
3. Health plays a major part in success
Exercise, hydration and sleep are three key ingredients to living a good life. There are those people who focus on money, but neglect these three. It’s a mistake. We’re not robots and as we age, our body needs more care. I like to tell clients, “You can only do as well as you feel.” That’s why I encourage people to do a little yoga every day. It’s amazing how powerful a few simple stretches can be. Boho Beautiful has an excellent video on yin yoga for your upper body if you’re looking to get started in yoga.
4. Learn how to cook
Think of your body as a Ferrari. You wouldn’t put cheap fuel into a Ferrari, just as you shouldn’t put bad food into your body. Food is your fuel. If you want to perform at optimum levels, you need to give your body good food which is why it pays to learn how to cook.
5. Books rock
Books get a bad rap. I blame teachers who force us to read drivel in school as the culprits. That’s why I’m not surprised when I hear people say, “I hate reading.” I find that a bit misleading because I think what they really mean is “I hated reading books in school.” If you’re wondering what books I recommend, start with this list.
6. Take notes of everything
It’s amazing how much we forget. I learned this in my 30s and since that time, I’ve done my best to capture everything in journals. Ideas, stories, quotes, and anything I think could be valuable gets written down. I might never need it, but as least I’ve got it. As Earl Shoaff used to tell his protégé Jim Rohn, “Don’t trust your memory.” I agree wholeheartedly.
7. Be careful who you trust
Amazingly, research shows that, in 2018, 92% of financial professionals failed to beat the market. People often confuse sincerity with competence. The truth is good people make mistakes all the time. I’ve learned the hard way that some financial advisors are nothing more than sales people in disguise. The only test of competence is results. My advice – learn to invest in people, not companies. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Warren Buffet might not have an immaculate track record, but their success speaks for itself.
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