101 Lessons Learned After 29 Years Of Living Life

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When I was young I wanted to live to 100. To my mind it might as well have been infinity. (I thought China was a different planet when I was 4 so maybe 100 was infinity.)

Then I got older and I didn’t want to live to anything.

Now I want to live to 100 again. As you know, I like the number 100. Actually, I’d like to live to infinity. (Wait, is China a different planet? What’s happening here? … help?)

Anyway, 29 is still very young, and I don’t claim to know it all. What I do know is what I know, you know? ;)

Much like Finding Your Right People I’ve had this post ready for a long time. I was a little bit afraid to post it, but it may be The Ultimate Filter (like The Ultimate Warrior with less color and no steroids). Maybe tomorrow I start with a blank slate.

Probably not.

I expected a lot of RSS unsubscribes after posting Finding Your Right People. Instead, my subscriber count increased by 83. For a regular traffic day that is incredible (for this site). Thank you for hangin’ out in my backyard.

This list was originally 99. Then I edited some out. Then I added some. Then I edited some out. Truth be told I think I could easily hit 1,000. But right now it’s 101. A nice, easy number we’ll also call Infinity + 1.

Infinity + 1 Lessons Karol Has Learned In 29 Years:

  1. Friends really do come and go. Some come back. Some don’t. That’s OK.
  2. Nobody cares about you as much as they care about themselves.
  3. Animals kill to survive. Humans kill for “fun” (also know as a psychopath) or because they’re ignorant of torture (I know I used to be).
  4. It’s OK to be different.
  5. Most people won’t agree with you.
  6. The people who really care will still care whether they agree with you or not.
  7. You don’t need anybody’s support to make things happen.
  8. Arguments are pointless. You can’t change anyone, don’t try.
  9. People will rationalize and justify anything and everything to be “right." Let them.
  10. It’s easier to take a small action now instead of a big action “some day."
  11. Some day never comes.
  12. If the music you listen to is on the radio or TV it’s pop music. Pop = popular. It doesn’t matter if there’s screaming or singing, loud guitars or soft piano, it’s pop music. I love pop music. I love unpopular music as well. ;)
  13. You’re not as different as you think.
  14. You can have anything you want.
  15. You never have to settle. Not in a relationship, not in a job, not ever.
  16. Somebody will always tell you your ideas suck. Take action anyway.
  17. You might think you’re not good enough, but you’ll surprise yourself when you try.
  18. Smoking is gross. Kissing a smoker is grosser.
  19. You don’t have to be promiscuous because you’re a male and you don’t have to be celibate because you’re a female. Do what you want.
  20. Don’t let the school system brainwash you into being average. They will try. Every step of the way.
  21. Society wants you to be average as well, but you can be exceptional if you’d like. It’s your choice.
  22. You will make mistakes. So what?
  23. It’s OK to feel sad.
  24. There is nothing wrong with you.
  25. Successful people read books.
  26. Passion can go a long way.
  27. Don’t kill yourself. It’s never worth it.
  28. Get tested.
  29. If you think you can do something you’re right. If you think you can’t do something you’re also right.
  30. The refrigerator light doesn’t always stay on.
  31. Whether you hear it or not, a falling tree always makes a sound.
  32. Money is not the root of all evil.
  33. Love of money is not the root of all evil either.
  34. You don’t need as much money as you think.
  35. Nobody cares what kind of car you drive. If they do, they’re not worth your time. (Also, replace car with: the kinds of clothes you wear.)
  36. Don’t be a pushover.
  37. Memories are priceless. Write them down daily. Even if they seem trivial.
  38. Nothing is trivial.
  39. Ask for what you want. If you don’t ask, you won’t receive.
  40. Don’t make the same mistake twice. If you do, don’t make it a third time.
  41. There will always be somebody more “successful" than you.
  42. Define your own rules for success. It’s a lot easier to rule your world than someone else’s world.
  43. Humans are the only mammals that drink milk after they’ve grown. They’re also the only mammals that drink another mammal’s milk.
  44. If you don’t feel good you probably don’t need a doctor. It’s your diet.
  45. Even if an apple a day doesn’t keep the doctor away it sure tastes good.
  46. Doctors aren’t all bad, but many will write you any prescription you ask for if you know how to ask.
  47. The fact that gay marriage is not recognized is an abomination. If you support Freedom, you support gay marriage.
  48. Religion causes a lot of problems.
  49. Telling someone they’re wrong never leads to anything positive. Even if they’re wrong.
  50. You’ll never be good enough if you don’t define great.
  51. Being dependent on TV shows or sports teams is for children and teenagers.
  52. You don’t need more than 3 pairs of shoes. 1 athletic, 1 dress, and 1 casual. Even that might be overkill.
  53. If you wear the same pants every day nobody will notice.
  54. Write down your dreams/nightmares for 30 days every morning immediately upon waking up. Some trippy stuff will start happening.
  55. It is scientifically proven that if you eat meat you’re not an environmentalist. Don’t pretend to care about the environment. Care or don’t care.
  56. Whether global warming is real or made up, is it really so difficult to throw a cigarette butt in a trash can instead of the street? (Replace the following with cigarette butt: gum, paper, bottles, anything.)
  57. If you say you love animals and you kill them for dinner (physically or by shopping at the deli counter) there is a blatant disconnect.
  58. Just because somebody tells you something is true, doesn’t mean it is. Do your own research.
  59. Jealousy is mankind’s most useless emotion. Instead of feeling jealous, feel happy.
  60. Happiness is mankind’s most useful emotion.
  61. If you help people get what they want, you will “miraculously" get what you want.
  62. It’s OK to be a follower. It’s better to be a thought leader.
  63. It’s OK if you don’t like something. Just don’t pretend that you do.
  64. There are exceptions to every rule. That doesn’t make the rule invalid.
  65. You can’t break rules if you don’t learn them first.
  66. If somebody tells you they want the best for you what they mean is they want you to do what they say and follow the rules.
  67. You should play on a swing set at least once every year. It is guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.
  68. Don’t blame anybody for your problems. They’re yours. The sooner you establish this the sooner you can work on them.
  69. If you can’t sing, sing anyway. Especially at karaoke.
  70. Just because a billion people do something doesn’t mean it’s right.
  71. If you eat moldy bread you might feel like shit. Pun not intended. :)
  72. Don’t wish, do. “I wish I could…" is a waste of thought energy.
  73. Some people say you should do something every day that scares you. That’s a lofty goal, but even if you do something every week that scares you you’ll come out ahead.
  74. Do what scares you.
  75. If you think something is a bad idea, it might mean you should do it. Or it might mean it’s actually a bad idea.
  76. Stop watching so much TV.
  77. It really is easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission. Try it next time.
  78. It’s OK if you don’t want to travel the world. There are lots of things to explore in your own backyard.
  79. Don’t listen to anybody who tells you “you’re missing out" by not going somewhere or doing something. You’re only missing out if you believe you’re missing out.
  80. Don’t think of cost. Think of value.
  81. If something is expensive that doesn’t mean it’s worth it. If something is cheap that doesn’t mean it’s not. Usually, neither of those options are ideal.
  82. Maybe you can’t have it all. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try.
  83. You can change the world because you define your world.
  84. Jakfruit is hard to find, but so very worth it.
  85. Give away something you love. You’ll learn a) detachment and b) it feels great.
  86. Do activities by yourself. Solo Social Activities (movies, dinner, concerts, travel) can be a lot of fun.
  87. Stop depending on other people.
  88. It’s OK to complain sometimes. Don’t make it a habit.
  89. Do what you love even if you don’t get paid for it.
  90. Stop texting or checking your phone when you’re with other people. It’s rude and it’s sad.
  91. Drink more water.
  92. Show gratitude.
  93. Make more mistakes.
  94. There is no such thing as luck. No good luck. No bad luck. You either make good things happen or you make bad things happen. Nothing more, nothing less.
  95. The secret to winning is playing. Often. (This advice does not hold for games of chance.)
  96. Everybody lies. Trust people anyway.
  97. If you dwell on past mistakes you will get depressed. Dwell or don’t dwell, but know the outcome.
  98. There is always more you can do. But that doesn’t mean there is always more you should do.
  99. Don’t compare yourself to other people. Compare yourself to yourself.
  100. Low calorie does not mean healthy. Stop fooling yourself.
  101. Seek danger.

Photo Credit


Ivana Sendecka

I am speechless…my silence is loud…
cheers from Slovakia


Thank you Ivana! And thank you again for tweeting this article!


Hey Karol. Great post, lots of good points.

Cheers to #29 & #47

In regards to #56, imagine if everyone just picked up a bit of trash everyday while they were out for a walk, the world would be clean! My wife and I have started doing this, its truly disgusting how much litter there is.

#76-Can’t say enough about this one. Recently we’ve been drastically limiting our TV usage and we’ve made leaps and bounds towards achieving our dreams. Its like getting another day per week if you stop spending so much time in front of the TV.


Thank you Bill! While I’m not above picking up trash, I think a good start is just to stop trashing. :) Kudos to you and your wife for making a difference.

It’s funny how much “found” time we have when we turn off the TV, huh? That’s why I got rid of cable in 2006. I lived in an area that didn’t get any free channels so I used my TV for DVDs only.

grace b

Check out my friend who is picking up trash across the U.S! He and his friends just started and are looking for help along the way!



Thanks Grace, I’m checking it out!

Scott Kostolni


Thanks for this post. Out of all the blogs I’ve followed this year, yours has been the most impactful.


That rocks Scott! Thank you!


#49 is so true, as are all the others. Thanks again Karol. Great post and I’m glad you shared it.


Thank you Robin!


# 75 -”If you think something is a bad idea, it might mean you should do it. Or it might mean it’s actually a bad idea.”

Or maybe both ? :)


HA! Well, if the result won’t be jail or death then I’m all for acting on bad ideas.

Kent Peterson

Good stuff Karol. Here’s one person’s take on #56:

Cleaning Up This Town http://bit.ly/9lEUb2

Keep adventuring and learning,

Kent “Mountain Turtle” Peterson
Issaquah WA USA


Great article Kent! That’s awesome that “mystery woman” is doing what she’s doing.

Haidn Foster

A little off-topic, but I’m from Issaquah! Well, Sammamish, but it’s just up the hill… Small world. :-)

Anyway, carry on with the real comments.


Danny Cooper

In #49 are you insisting we shouldn’t tell people they are wrong? Or do it with the understanding it won’t lead to anything good?


Yes, that is what I am suggesting. It’s not worth the negative energy to “get into it” with someone knowing nothing good will come of it.


Karol, great list! Thanks for the food for thought.


Thank you Laura!


Hey Karol!
Awesome list man, I truly enjoyed reading it! So many things you say are so true!

Great job!! :)


Awesome Diggy! Glad you’re into it.


Excellent post! There are several that resonate with me, namely #1, 8, 9, 66, and 83.

Only found your blog recently and it’s a definite read for me now.


Hi Misty,

Thanks for finding my blog! I appreciate your support.



So I love this. I think we should all make a list of things we’ve learned and man do I feel strange about the milk I just put in my coffee. Maybe I’ll get some water instead.


Thank you Jenny! Black coffee is better anyway. (and water too) :)

James Schipper

Good list of truth. There are a lot of items that most people don’t ever learn in an long lifetime.


Thanks James!

William Cain

Karol, thank you for this. I think this is actually the most valuable post you’ve written so far! Made my day!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go get a big glass of water and an apple on my way out the door to do something I’ve always wanted to do :)


Thank you William! Comments like yours make me wonder why I waited to post it.


Really enjoyed #57. Too many adults lose their free spirt of being a kid.

Nice blog :) Found out through MVD. Keep up the good work!


Thanks Robert! And thanks for finding me through Baker!


This is a great list Karol.

Regarding the vegan-related ones, all of the environmental calculations regarding meat are taken from animals that were fed grain, not grass, which drastically reduces it’s environmental impact.


Thank you Alex. Gonna take my own advice from the list above and leave this comment at that. ;)


Hats off! :)


Love the list Karol! Thanks for the all the ways in which your blog inspires me to make changes large and small, slow and fast. I especially like the statements about interpersonal relationships, such as “Everybody lies. Trust people anyway” and the one about not buying into celibacy/promiscuity gender stereotypes.

A rule I live by is “Fashion magazines will make you feel bad about yourself, but especially Vogue. Never read Vogue. Scrawny New Yorkers with too much money do not have a monopoly on style”. Also, “Condoms work” and “It’s okay to admit you don’t know something”.


Thanks Brandi!

Yes, great inclusion: “It’s okay to admit you don’t know something.” So true, so good. Thank you. :)

David Damron

My biggest problem is arguing. I can’t lie. I love to do it despite you being right that it rarely if ever gets me anywhere. If I can move past the differences, I usually enjoy life more.

Great list Karol…

David Damron
The Minimalist Path & LifeExcursion


Kudos for admitting it David. :)


Glad to see that a 29 y/o person has come to very similar insights as me (22) ;-)


Not quite sure what that means, but thank you…uhh…q12. :)


Great list Karol. :) So much wisdom.


Aww thanks Jen. Great teachers make me look good I guess. :)


Thank you dude.

Yesterday I had one of the worst days at college: a professor directly told me to drop my career and join a vocational. If only I had remembered there is not need to follow other’s path I would not have such a low down.

Thanks Karol!


Man, fuck him. That’s bullshit. In my whole school career (Primary thru University) I only had one teacher who wasn’t a piece of crap brainwashed minion. They’re hard to find, but they’re out there.

Don’t let one guy who probably hates his life get you down.



The funny thing is that today during a corridor talk, with one probably the best professors I have ever had, the incident came out. The first thing he said was «That man is an idiot. He knows I hate him and have not talk to him in years. Do even think of him, you should aspire to working at the CERN or alike.»

That’s exactly why I say it: one shall never hear anybody who does not want you the best.

Thanks for the post and insight!


Wonderful post, Karol! The fact that you’re only 29 years old (yes, I’m a wee bit older…) and have created this terrific list is awesome.

And I agree: A plant-based diet is the best way to go.

Great job!


Thank you Christianna!


GREAT post Karol! I’ve just read the list and find myself agreeing with pretty much everything on there. Some of the points I already do, and some I will implement. Think I’m gonna print this off! Thanks


Awesome, thank you Tom!


That’s such a great list – one of those that you can return over and over again for an extra boost of general inspiration. And I’m a big believer in #79 – we each need to do our own thing in life and not simply follow the popular ‘must-see’ and ‘must-do’ lists of the world…


Thank you Earl. And yes, even though it’s #79 it’s big on my list as well. :)


Good stuff, Karol. Though I dispute a few of your ideas:

“Humans are the only mammals that drink milk after they’ve grown. They’re also the only mammals that drink another mammal’s milk.”

I agree with the statement per se. (Though I note that my cats will happily drink cow’s milk if I give it to them, but that doesn’t happen in the wild so I guess that doesn’t count.) However, I dispute the implication.

The implication, I take it, is that drinking milk after childhood is a bad thing, because it’s something that only humans do. But that’s a poor argument. Humans are also the only mammals to use computers; that doesn’t mean computers are bad. I’m not saying that your veganism is unfounded; I’m just disputing this particular argument.

“Telling someone they’re wrong never leads to anything positive. Even if they’re wrong.”
Um…what if they’re a reasonable person and they’re open to criticism?

“It is scientifically proven that if you eat meat you’re not an environmentalist. Don’t pretend to care about the environment. Care or don’t care.”

You’re treating “care” as if it were binary. Isn’t it possible to care by half-measures, or to care for one particular part of the environment? Someone can eat meat and still be concerned about air pollution, can’t they?

Anyway, good post.


Hey Sonicsuns,

See #s: 5, 8, 9, and 49. ;)


Jonny | thelifething.com

I’m 5 years behind you but am gonna catch up fast, watchout boyo. Great list also.


ain’t nothin to catch up to ;)

Thanks Jonny!

Ben Shearon

Hi Karol

Thank you so much for the postcard! I was genuinely surprised and happy to get it.

Great example of how to make the world a little better ;)


:) You’re welcome Ben!

MS Scientist

Wow! 51 comments! I have never been more than, like #17, or something…

N E ways… great post. Arguing doesn’t help a relationship… communicating your thoughts/beliefs/ideals/etc does… Knowing you better, Karol, is good for all of your RSS followers… even if they dropped you after this post.

I’m still here tho. See you soon!


Hey MS Scientist, Thanks for the insight regarding people dropping the RSS and thank you for sticking around!

Brother Howe

It’s true about the pants. I always wear my pants two days in a row and no one has EVER paid any attention or said anything. Saves on laundry too! I may not agree with every item on the list, but I appreciate the content of this blog too much to leave the RSS feed (who wants to be that petty anyway?). Your advice and articles aren’t only interesting and fun to read, they are USEFUL. Keep up the good work…


Thank you Brother Howe! I’ve been wearing my pants for 60 days in a row. Previous record: 106. I’m going to beat it soon enough. :)

Thanks for your compliments. They rock and really mean a lot!


Love #36, going to Seattle by myself b/c spousal unit doesn’t want to.


hehe, gotta do what you gotta do ;)


Great post yet again! Some new interesting points as wel, thanks!


Thank you Roderick!

Karol K.

Great list, really. This is the best post i’ve read this week so far!


Thanks Karol! :)


you say: “There is no such thing as luck. No good luck. No bad luck”

yes there is, a lot more than we think, but we are to blinded by our incapacity too see it, or we are too biased to perceive it as such

I suggest you to read Taleb’s book “Fooled by randomness” and you will see what I mean


Taleb’s books are great. He’s a smart man. Also, see #s 5, 8, 9, 49.



you say: “Telling someone they’re wrong never leads to anything positive”

yeah, it seems you don’t have children;

your list is great (although there are some points i don’t agree with) — proof that i have recommended it to my contacts;

i am 36; at 29 I had ideas VERY different of those I have today; and I have learned to stop being too categorical in my beliefs;
as Taleb wrote, all we know for sure is we don’t know anything for sure


Thank you Daniel for voicing these things. I feel that this list creates a strange loop, discouraging healthy debate about the list itself! Regardless, lots of good information.
Thanks to Karol as well, enjoying the blog as usual ;)


Whoa, a little overload. In good sense. :) Thanks, I’ll take some time through this. Just in English won’t be enough, so: danke, gracias, te?ekkürler.


hehe, thanks Baran!

The Christian Heretic

Some great advice and ideas there.

Regarding number 94, have you read Richard Wiseman’s book, “The Luck Factor”?


Thanks TCH!

Nope, I haven’t read that book.

The Christian Heretic

You might like it. It’s an interesting take on the snowball effect of one’s beliefs about how lucky or unlucky they are.


Cool, thanks, I may check it out if it’s available on Kindle. :)


i enjoyed reading your list… made me think alot :-) thanks for sharing them


Thanks Flip!


Thank you very much!
(drinking water) ;)


You’re welcome and thank you Sheryl! :)


I can see that you have learned a lot in your 29 years of life!
Probably it would be a good time to start to summarize the list in a few principles?
Best regards,


Thank you Boris! The list is a summary of my principles. ;)


Thanks Karol.


You’re welcome Caleb!

Erin Wilson

I kept marking this as ‘unread’ in my reader so I could keep coming back to re-read it. I’ll be happy gal the day I master #99.

Thanks + peace


That is wonderful, thank you Erin! #99 is a tough one. And it’s stolen from Henry Rollins. (Hence the link to The Iron Mind.)



This is not specifically about this post, I wanted to say thank you for your articles, the freedom fighter’s course and the postcard of course .That was a great surprise !
I’m really looking forward to reading more of what you want to share. So thanks again !! Delphine.


Hi Delphine,

You’re welcome and thank you for posting! :)



This article is amazing! What you say on your blog truly resonates with me. I post your articles on my facebook page so all my friends can get some value from your many words of wisdom. Keep up the good work! :)


Nice! Thanks Kyle! I hope your friends love it as much as you. :)


Wonderful. Now I’m inspired to make my own list! I’ve got lots more years; I hope I’ve got at least 101 lessons!


Awesome Katherine! Feel free to come back here and link to it if you make one. :)


Thank you for this, I needed it a lot today.