In the early years of my life, I learned what it means to be alive. Then, in my teenage years, everything I learned in the first years of my life no longer made sense; and I went crazy. I wanted to change the world, but it didn’t work out. I gradually started to comply, and once that came around, so did acceptance, or not. And then there were the responsibilities that announced the beginning of maturity. The family, the job. I’m over 25 now and nothing makes sense anymore.

Now, as I am turning 28, I think it’s important to look back on what I’ve learned and make a small inventory. I don’t mean the things that I consider healthy to do in general, but those truly guiding my life. Some are universally valid, others – not so much. The inventory is, first of all, an exercise. It’s like when you read a book and highlight the sentences you like and make sense to you. And then, they become the sentences you sometimes turn to, searching for an answer. This is what it’s all about in the end, finding the things that make sense to me, and if they don’t, to give them meaning.

1. The family and those close to me are the most important. In the time that matters, nothing else is more important.

2. It’s not acceptable to say “no”, but it is necessary. When I say “no”, I make sure I explain why I need to say “yes” as well.

3. To have the courage to live the life I want to live. Whoever says otherwise doesn’t have the courage I am talking about.

4. It is normal and necessary to be afraid. This is the only way I know I am doing the right thing. When I don’t have the slightest fear, it means that I didn’t correctly assess the risks and perhaps I’m not on the right track.

5. At the end of the day, it’s going to be me and my mind. If I can’t live with myself, then no one else will be able to either.

6. The truly beautiful moments, intimate or outside intimacy, will never appear on Social Media. It’s biology: before I take out the phone to immortalize the moment, the brain must produce the hormone of happiness.

7. I often make a difference between career and personal life even though I enjoy what I do professionally. The moment that I stop separating them, mentally and verbally, I will be able to say that I have all the time in the world to be happy.

8. What doesn’t kill me can’t wait to do it. And what does kill me once, will not be able to do so a second time.

9. More than the actual stories, I am interested in the lessons learned.

10. I was saying a while back that I do not trust doors that stay open for no reason. The years have passed and it seems that I was right: if a door stays open without anyone guarding the entrance, it means that it is not worth going in.

11. I thought I didn’t have too many options in life and in what I could do. But time has proven to me that I only have one option: to succeed.

12. I don’t like success stories that don’t also include the story of failure.

13. Digital Marketing is like sushi: everyone says they like it, but only few know how it’s made.

14. To be patient.

15. If I try to be the only sane person in a room full of crazy people, then I will be the only one who seems to be crazy.

16. Not to miss any opportunity to keep quiet.

17. When I can’t change something that’s going wrong in my life, to at least be able to make fun of it.

18. To not be motivated only by success, but especially by failure.

19. To listen more than to talk.

20. Everything that worked out well for me up to this point was exactly what I’ve been told that I wasn’t able to do.

21. Acknowledging my vulnerabilities makes me stronger than I’d be if I were to hide them.

22. To let go every day: to let go of small habits, opportunities that no longer suit me, to let go of Facebook or Instagram, to let go before I waste my time trying to win. And, in some cases, to let go of people.

23. All I can do to please everyone around me is to do exactly what I don’t want to do, to say what I don’t believe and to eventually cease to exist. Which is, of course, impossible.

24. If I feel like painting in my spare time, I should do it. If I feel like singing, like running, like playing tennis, like planting trees or simply sitting, the same – I should do it.

25. All jobs come with an unseen, dark side. The more interesting a job seems to be – and the more advertised as such – the more dangerous it is. If I can’t see any trace of chaos, then it’s not worth it.

26. To always start from the assumption that all people are of good faith.

27. Everything is politics: relationships between people, promotions at work or any choice we make. Where there is politics, there’s corruption. The only difference is that I cannot avoid politics, but I can avoid its corruption.

28. To find meaning in everything I do. And if can’t find it whatsoever, to stop doing it altogether.

Read the article in Romanian here [Forbes]

Laurențiu Ion