50 Things I’ve Learned at 50

A few weeks ago I turned 50. I wish I had more of life figured out, but I don’t. But here are 50 Things I’ve Learned at the age of 50:

  1. We learn the most from pain and failure.
  2. Life is a lot of both of the above.
  3. Keep looking for the answers to your big questions, but it’s going to be some variation of the same answer every time to every question.
  4. The answer is love.
  5. I’m completely wrong about something I am sure I am right about…
  6. I just don’t know what it is yet..
  7. and so are you…
  8. …and neither do you.
  9. We are more alike than we are different,
  10. but it takes a mature person to sit patiently with someone in the differences…
  11. and those people are our only real hope in the end.
  12. Nothing is more exhausting or ultimately futile than centering your life around what other people think of you.
  13. Accomplishments matter way less than relationships.
  14. Every decision we make is based on the story we believe about ourselves and others.
  15. Facts are true, but they aren’t the ultimate truths.
  16. Ultimate truths can only begin to be explained in story and/or metaphor…
  17. so the most important thing in your life is the story that you are telling yourself about yourself and others.
  18. 99% of life is improvised…
  19. but make the best plans you can anyway…
  20. but the most important thing to plan is how to improvise because that’s most of life.
  21. It is harder to hate someone face to face…
  22. so have face to face conversations with people you are tempted to hate. (See #9.)
  23. Practice non-violence. Because it’s a better way even though it’s not always natural.
  24. Anger is powerful…
  25. so save your anger for the injustices of others…
  26. because if you unleash your anger for yourself, it will consume you. Like a raging fire.
  27. We overestimate what we can do in a short time but underestimate what we can do in a long time.
  28. When it comes to your job or career, you will one day be replaced and quickly forgotten, but…
  29. this isn’t a bad thing.
  30. You know that one thing you should stop doing. At least admit it to yourself even if you can’t stop doing it.
  31. You know that one thing you should start doing. At least admit it to yourself even if you can’t start it.
  32. Ask for help.
  33. If you don’t ask you may die prematurely.
  34. What you do with your money is the truest indicator of what you think will make you happy.
  35. Art is therapy – both creating it and experiencing it.
  36. We were never meant to stop playing. Healthy grown-ups play.
  37. There are three kinds of amazing friends: those for a lifetime, those for a season and those for a moment. They are ALL a beautiful gift…
  38. and it’s ok that they aren’t all for a lifetime…
  39. but the ones that are for a lifetime are rare and worth whatever it costs to maintain them.
  40. Giving makes you happier than receiving.
  41. Learn to be ok being alone and quiet while doing nothing.
  42. Get therapy because you need it.
  43. Life isn’t fair. We were all born with certain advantages and disadvantages…
  44. If you commit your life to understanding and assisting those with less advantages than you, you will be happier…
  45. If you commit your life to protecting your own advantages, you will be miserable.
  46. There are existential mysteries we cannot yet explain…
  47. but it is ok to try to explain them as best we can…
  48. until we forget they are, in truth, still mysteries and not facts.
  49. Life is one of these profound mysteries. We have no business actually existing. We are cosmically so rare that it’s impossible to attempt to explain or discuss,
  50. So…anything that has life in it is, for lack of a better word, a miracle. You are a miracle. We all are. So are dogs and cats and birds and spiders and gnats and worms and trees and flowers and the smallest of all living things. You are surrounded by miracles. And you are one. Proceed accordingly. And humbly.


Joe Boyd

Leadercast CEO Joe Boyd is a storyteller and entrepreneur. Before Leadercast, Joe led Boonrise, a highly successful creative agency, and production company. He is passionate about leadership development and speaks about improvisational leadership, storydriven living, and embracing failure.

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