30 Truths I’ve Learned In 30 Years

30 Things I Can Say With Certainty At 30

Since today is my 30th birthday I thought it fitting to share 30 things I understand now that were complete mysteries to me just a few short years ago.  These are simple lessons about life in general that I picked up while traveling, living in different cities, working for different companies (and myself), and meeting remarkable and unusual people everywhere in between.

  1. There comes a point in life when you get tired of chasing everyone and trying to fix everything, but it’s not giving up.  It’s realizing you don’t need certain people and things and the drama they bring.
  2. If a person wants to be a part of your life they will make an obvious effort to do so.  Don’t bother reserving a space in your heart for people who do not make an effort to stay.
  3. If you want to fly, you have to give up the things that weigh you down – which is not always as obvious and easy as it sounds.
  4. Doing something and getting it wrong is at least ten times more productive than doing nothing.
  5. Every success has a trail of failures behind it, and every failure is leading towards success.  You don’t fail by falling down.  You fail by never getting back up.  Sometimes you just have to forget how you feel, remember what you deserve, and keep pushing forward.
  6. When you get to know people with different ethnic backgrounds, from different cities and countries, who live at various socioeconomic levels, you begin to realize that everyone basically wants the same things.  They want validation, love, happiness, fulfillment and hopes for a better future.  The way they pursue these desires is where things branch off, but the fundamentals are the same.  You can relate to almost everyone everywhere if you look past the superficial facades that divide us.
  7. The more things you own, the more your things own you.  Less truly gives you more freedom.  Read The Joy of Less.
  8. While you’re busy looking for the perfect person, you’ll probably miss the imperfect person who could make you perfectly happy.  This is as true for friendships as it is for intimate relationships.  Finding a companion or a friend isn’t about trying to transform yourself into the perfect image of what you think they want.  It’s about being exactly who you are and then finding someone who appreciates that.
  9. Relationships must be chosen wisely.  It’s better to be alone than to be in bad company.  There’s no need to rush.  If something is meant to be, it will happen – in the right time, with the right person, and for the best reason.
  10. Making a thousand friends is not a miracle.  A miracle is making one friend who will stand by your side when thousands are against you.
  11. Someone will always be better looking.  Someone will always be smarter.  Someone will always be more charismatic.  But they will never be you – with your exact ideas, knowledge and skills.
  12. Making progress involves risk.  Period.  You can’t make it to second base with your foot on first.
  13. Every morning you are faced with two choices:  You can aimlessly stumble through the day not knowing what’s going to happen and simply react to events at a moment’s notice, or you can go through the day directing your own life and making your own decisions and destiny.  Read The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
  14. Everyone makes mistakes.  If you can’t forgive others, don’t expect others to forgive you.  To forgive is to set a prisoner free and discover the prisoner was you.
  15. It’s okay to fall apart for a little while.  You don’t always have to pretend to be strong, and there is no need to constantly prove that everything is going well.  You shouldn’t be concerned with what other people are thinking either – cry if you need to – it’s healthy to shed your tears.  The sooner you do, the sooner you will be able to smile again.
  16. We sometimes do things that are permanently foolish just because we are temporarily upset.  A lot of heartache can be avoided if you learn to control your emotions.
  17. Someone else doesn’t have to be wrong for you to be right.  There are many roads to what’s right.  You cannot judge others by your own past.  They are living a different life than you.  What might be good for one person may not be good for another.  What might be bad for one person might change another person’s life for the better.  You have to allow people to make their own mistakes and their own decisions.
  18. Nobody is perfect, and nobody deserves to be perfect.  Nobody has it easy.  You never know what people are going through.  Every one of us has issues.  So don’t belittle yourself or anyone else.  Everybody is fighting their own unique war.
  19. A smile doesn’t always mean a person is happy.  Sometimes it simply means they are strong enough to face their problems.
  20. The happiest people I know keep an open mind to new ideas and ventures, use their leisure time as a means of mental development, and love good music, good books, good pictures, good company and good conversation.  And oftentimes they are also the cause of happiness in others – me in particular.
  21. You can’t take things too personally.  Rarely do people do things because of you.  They do things because of them.
  22. Feelings change, people change, and time keeps rolling.  You can hold on to past mistakes or you can create your own happiness.  A smile is a choice, not a miracle.  True happiness comes from within.  Don’t make the mistake of waiting on someone or something to come along and make you happy.
  23. It’s much harder to change the length of your life than it is to change the depth of it.
  24. You end up regretting the things you did NOT do far more than the things you did.
  25. When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.
  26. One of the greatest challenges in life is being yourself in a world that’s trying to make you like everyone else.
  27. Enjoy the little things, because one day you may look back and discover they were the big things.  Read The Book of Awesome.
  28. Anyone can make a difference.  Making one person smile can change the world.  Maybe not the whole world, but their world.
  29. Everything is a life lesson.  Everyone you meet, everything you encounter, etc.  They’re all part of the learning experience we call ‘life.’  Never forget to acknowledge the lesson, especially when things don’t go your way.  If you don’t get a job that you wanted or a relationship doesn’t work, it only means something better is out there waiting.  And the lesson you just learned is the first step towards it.
  30. Regardless of how filthy your past has been, your future is still spotless.  Don’t start your day with the broken pieces of yesterday.  Every day is a fresh start.  Each day is a new beginning.  Every morning we wake up is the first day of the rest of our life.

Photo by: Hamish Irvine


  1. says

    This is indeed a very refreshing and inspiring article! Articles like this should be posted on a wall near our bed as a constant reminder about what life is really all about!
    Thanks for posting this.

  2. Stacy says

    I found myself saying “amen” over and over again. I am printing this out so that I can read it over and over again. And let my teenage daughter read as well.

  3. katheryn says

    Marc ~ first post of yours I’ve read as it was just forwarded by a friend. You have amazing ability – writing, sharing knowledge/lessons learned, giving of yourself. So many do not learn to be happy and comfortable with who they are until so much later in life. Happy Birthday and here’s to the next 30 – you will touch so many lives in your lifetime by your words. Thanks and God bless!

  4. ILE says

    I will be 31 in December and it also took me 30 years to learn and understand most of the things you have written. Some others points I have just learned from you! Thank you for this great post

  5. says

    a mouthfull of truths. Like one of the other readers, my fridge will also get a copy. The best about this, its free. Now I can direct my friends in truely poor countries to a free site with a wealth of information which can help them living happy lives. Thank you!

  6. says

    Thanks for sharing such inspiring words! I’m 22 and I could relate to most of the things you mention, some of them because I’ve also learned them and others because I’m aware of the fact that I should learn them soon!! Unfortunately, we learn the hard way most of the time! So perhaps it’ll take me some more time…anyway, it’s good to know where I’m trying to head to!

  7. Shawn says

    “Someone will always be better looking. Someone will always be smarter. Someone will always be more charismatic. But they will never be you.”


  8. says

    That is a very amazing post! Thanks for sharing your 30 truths that you have learned for the past 3- years of your life! My favorites would be numbers 11 and 19.

    11. Someone will always be better looking. Someone will always be smarter. Someone will always be more charismatic. But they will never be you – with your exact ideas, knowledge and skills.

    19. A smile doesn’t always mean a person is happy. Sometimes it simply means they are strong enough to face their problems.

    Keep on inspiring others! :)

  9. says

    I’m impressed by what you have shared here with us. I’m a bit older than you and not sure I would have been able to put all these thoughts together as you did, thanks.

  10. says

    The best post ever!!! I’m going to link to it on Monday As part of my readers’ assignment for LushLunes!

    Thanks for this!


  11. thao nguyen says

    This post just makes me smile from ear to ear after reading it. Gave me a better understanding of why people treat people the way they do, for me to not waste my life on waiting for someone to make me happy and not to take every thing to heart. Have a great day Marc!!

  12. ladyT says

    The first one was exactly what I have been doing for the last 2 years… OMG, so when i finally stopped and realized that i don’t want love that doesn’t want me, it was like a moment in paradise and the very next day i seemed to stumble across your list. Needless to say, you know it’s strange, but somehow it was right on time! Awesome post! Ever since I have found it, I have read it every other day.

  13. belle says

    I’m turning 30 this month :) thank you for sharing these words with me. Whatever with the past has brought, the best is always yet to come.

  14. says

    Beautiful post, thanks for sharing all of this with us. I am going to print it and put it in my wallet because all of these things are things that I need to remember and take into consideration on the daily.

  15. herecomes30 says

    In different parts of the world,
    Accompanied by different people,
    Going through different events,
    We have learned the same things!

    Great read! :)

    Definitely printing this out now!

  16. Laura says

    Amazing, I certainly hit the right website today. And yes, I live in love and pass it around like it’s going to run out. It never has. But today I certainly needed a reality check, a boost and a hug from. And look where I got it… online from a total stranger. Life gets better everyday, every moment, under every rock.

    Thank you for sharing these beautiful lessons.

  17. JBK says


    I am sharing this with a friend who just suffered the loss of a parent, immediately followed by the end of an intimate relationship.

  18. Miss Jan says

    Wow! and Wow! This is just what I needed!
    All day I’ve had questions on what to do but no one to trust with my convictions to…Then came you…You are Simply The Best! Wisdom beyond years is what you are Blessed With! Looking forward to your emails…

  19. Baoquan Dinh says

    This post is very inspirational. Thank you for posting this one because it has helped me look at my life differently. I am only 19 and life is just starting and I shouldn’t let love destroy my life no matter how hurtful it is!

  20. Kulvinder says

    Thank you Marc for posting 30 truths… Really they are very inspirational…. I feel good after reading these inspiring truths.

  21. says

    Every word speaks to me as if its alive. It hits towards my direction on a bulls-eye. Amazing. Thanks a lot for the post. Sometimes life’s realities are best shared. Looking forward to more.

    Your fan,

  22. Akira says

    Amazing post! Thank you so much for sharing to us what you learned from your 30-year journey.

    I’m turning 30 this May and I agree with every single word you said. 😀

    Life is really the best teacher. :)

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