11 Life Cheat Codes I’ve Proudly Stolen From People Smarter Than Me

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My first day in a dorm. I was sitting, feeling lost and uncertain about my future. It was a new place, and I didn’t know anyone. I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life or even what kind of person I wanted to be.

But as I sat there wondering what to do next, something clicked, watching the seniors pass by my room.

They looked confident, bold, and happy. I wanted to be like them.

They had their lives figured out, and I didn’t.

I realized that, just like those seniors, there were people out there who had already figured out the answers to the questions I was struggling with.

If I could just find them and learn from them, it would save me a lot of time and effort.

And so that’s what I did.

I reached out to people who had achieved the things I wanted for myself. I read everything I could get my hands on — self-help books, business books, personal development blogs… you name it, I devoured it.

Not only did it help me achieve my goals faster, but it also helped me become a better person. Because when you’re constantly learning from other people, you’re constantly growing.

It’s not quite as sexy as going it alone, but it’s a whole lot more effective:

  • It saves time.
  • It channels your energy.
  • It retains your focus.
  • It kills overwhelm.
  • It expedites actions.

And that’s how I learned that the best way to expedite personal growth is not to reinvent the wheel but steal concepts and strategies from people smarter than me.

I’m sure that if you can take at least one thing and use them, it will improve your life in some way, shape, or form.

Here are 11 life cheat codes I’ve proudly stolen from people smarter than me:

1.“Keep up with relationships beyond your spouse and kids."

I was sitting in a doctor’s office waiting room and struck up a conversation with an old man reading The Wall Street Journal.

I asked him the usual questions: How are you? What brings you here today?

He told me he was getting a regular check-up because he’d just turned 70.

Seemed healthy enough, so I asked him the question that always comes to mind when I meet someone close to my grandparents’ age: What are you grateful for?

He thought for a moment and said, “You know what I miss? Relationships.”

I must have looked surprised because he explained:

“I’m not talking about my wife or my kids. I have a great relationship with them. But all the other relationships are dead — friends, colleagues, work partners, neighbors, etc.”

It hit me like a ton of bricks. I realized that I was taking my relationships for granted. I know a lot of people, but I wasn’t investing in them the way I should have been.

The man in the waiting room taught me an important lesson: Don’t take your relationships for granted. Invest in them while you still can.

And it’s also a reminder that things/gadgets can never truly be your relationships. Only people can be your friends.

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2. “Nobody cares; work harder.”

When Dre Baldwin was a young basketball player, he’d watch the top players in the world and feel discouraged. He wasn’t as good as they were.

One day, a more experienced player told him: “Nobody cares, work harder.”

The words struck a chord with Baldwin.

He realized that the only person who cared about his success or failure was him. And if he wanted to achieve his dreams, he’d have to outwork everyone else.

Ever since I heard this story, I’ve been using it as my personal mantra. Whenever I start to doubt myself or feel like I’m not good enough, I remind myself: “Nobody cares, work harder.”

3. “Think before you think.”

I heard this line from one of Sister Shivani’s videos on YouTube. It opened a new spectrum of consciousness for me.

The basic idea was we’re constantly thinking without being aware of it. And those thoughts subtly create our reality.

Since we’re not careful about our thinking, we question the reality — “Why me?”

Whereas the circumstance, situation, and event are only the result of our past thoughts.

A slip of the tongue is BS. It’s used to cover a lie.

We’ve been thinking wrong about somebody/something unaware. And when we’re stimulated by an insult, negative comment, etc., the same thought transforms into verbal abuse, a slip of the tongue, etc.

Since this “thought-to-action” process is so fast, we feel, “I didn’t mean it…It wasn’t my intention, etc.” But the same thought had been running through our minds earlier, unaware. And it created a groove that was bound to result in action someday.

If you take a step back and think about your thoughts, you can choose which ones to believe and which ones to discard.

You can create the reality (situations, relationships, etc. ) you want by carefully selecting the thoughts you allow to take root in your mind.

Today most of us are focused on changing actions, feelings, and emotions. But the root cause of all of them is thought.

So, the key is AWARENESS.

Catch yourself when you’re thinking waste and change them.

Yes, it’s easy to think of the same negative thoughts repeatedly. But with a little effort, you can create new thought patterns.

Every hour ask yourself, “What am I thinking about — world news, work, social media, side hustle, etc?” You’ll know which kind of thought invokes what feelings.

When I started this experiment, it felt forced and unnatural, but with time and practice, my mind resisted less.

4. “Competition is for losers.”

This is what Peter Thiel, the billionaire co-founder of PayPal, told a group of Stanford students. He was talking about business, but it applies to life in general.

The idea is that if you focus on being the best at what you do, you will naturally succeed.

But if you focus on beating other people, you will always look over your shoulder and compare yourself to others.

You will never feel good enough, and you will never be satisfied.

The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday.

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5. “Obstacle is the way.”

Ryan Holiday popularized this Stoic concept in his 2014 book of the same name. The basic idea is that when you encounter problems and roadblocks, you should see them as opportunities to learn and grow.

The more difficult the situation, the greater the opportunity for you to develop your character and become a better person.

This way of thinking has helped me immensely in my own life, and it’s something I try to remember whenever I’m facing a difficult situation.

Here’s how I’ve used it in my own life:

When I was jobless, I saw it as an opportunity to pursue my dream of becoming an entrepreneur.

When my first e-commerce business idea failed, I saw it as an opportunity to learn from my mistakes and start anew.

When my WordPress website failed, I saw it as an opportunity to use other writing platforms.

In each of these situations, I wallowed in self-pity for a while.

But, since it didn’t change anything, I was forced to see the obstacles in my life as opportunities.

Negative experiences truly change you as a person. It makes you stronger and more resilient.

6. “Love is best spelled T-I-M-E.”

On Diwali, I felt particularly guilty about not taking time for my loved ones and asked my grandparents how they’d managed to stay married for over 50 years.

My grandpa looked at me and said, “Love is best spelled T-I-M-E.”

He meant that the key to a lasting relationship is simply spending time with each other.

It’s not about grand gestures or expensive gifts.

It’s about the small, everyday moments that you share.

And he’s right.

Gifts were meant as a token of care and appreciation. But somewhere down the line, we attributed them as the “ONLY” way to express love.

The best way to show your loved ones you care is to be there for them.

Don’t just say it; show it.

7. “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Eleanor Roosevelt said this line, which changed my life when I first heard it as a teenager.

It permitted me not to take shit from anyone who would put me down.

It made me understand that their opinion was just an opinion. And it didn’t have to become my truth.

An insult can be a state of mind.

An insult can be ego.

An insult can be a perception.

An insult can be a return Karma.

An insult can be unsolicited advice.

But an insult can NEVER be the truth.

This is a powerful weapon against bullies, bigots, and jerks. It also makes it easier not to be your own worst critic.

You don’t have to believe everything you’re made to think.

RELATED: I Tried Hypnotherapy For The First Time & Ended By Thanking Julie Andrews

8. “You are and become what you see, listen and read.”

This one is again by Sister Shivani. It’s one of the most basic laws of human psychology.

The thoughts you think to create the feelings you feel. And those feelings dictate your actions.

That’s why you constantly absorb information from your environment that confirms your beliefs. Scientists call this psychological phenomenon confirmation bias.

And the information you soak indirectly influences your thoughts, feelings, and actions.

You can do a simple experiment to realize this fact. Watch any movie — crime, thriller, action, suspense, horror and see what you think. Then some other day, watch a light-hearted movie — comedy, romance and note your thoughts.

You’ll see a drastic difference. A crime thriller will most likely create thoughts of hatred for the antagonist. And slowly, that will translate into your life in the form of irritation, anger, and annoyance.

If you’re not careful, you can easily become a product of your environment.

But if you’re mindful of what you’re taking in, you can choose to fill your minds with positive, uplifting, and inspiring information.

You can surround yourself with people who make you feel good about yourself. And you can read books that teach you new things and expand your horizons.

9. “Remember, everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something, and has lost something.”

H. Jackson Brown Jr. wrote this in his book Life’s Little Instruction Book, which I bought at a train station. It’s one of the wisest things I’ve ever read.

We’re all just walking around with these big emotional backstories, and if we could remember that, I think we would treat each other with much more compassion.

10. “The less expensive stuff you have, the less there is to worry about.”

I read this in a book called The Simple Living Guide which resonated with me.

We’re constantly bombarded in our society with messages telling us we need to consume more.

And for a long time, I believed those messages.

I thought the more expensive, nicer things I had, the happier I would be.

But it turns out that’s not true.

In fact, the opposite is often true.

The more stuff you have, the more you have to worry about: keeping it clean, repairing it when it breaks, finding a place to store it, and so on.

For example, you don’t just buy a high-end phone. You then spend on the accessories, warranties, etc.

When I downsized my possessions a few years ago, it was liberating. I no longer had to worry about taking care of all that stuff, and it felt great to live with less.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your possessions, I highly recommend getting rid of some of them. You might be surprised at how good it feels.

11. “You can be anything or anyone you want, just act like it.”

I read this in a book called The Power of Habit, and it’s one of the most useful pieces of advice I’ve ever come across.

It’s based on the concept of self-fulfilling prophecies. If you believe you can do something, you’re more likely to do it.

For example, if you believe you can be a successful writer, you’re more likely to sit down and write every day.

On the other hand, if you believe you’re not a good writer, you’re less likely to try.

I’ve found that this principle applies to just about everything in life.

If you act like the person you want to be, you’re more likely to become that person.

So if you want to be confident, act confident. If you want to be successful, act like a success. And so on.

RELATED: 3 Mind Hacks That Will Get You Everything You Want In Life

Darshak Rana is a writer, poet, and the founder of Spiritual Secrets and Candid Conversations.

This article was originally published at Medium. Reprinted with permission from the author.