40 Things I Have Learned in 40 Years

I recently turned 40.  In doing so, as many do, I got to do a bit of reflection.  So I decided to write down some of the things I have learned in the 40 years I have been on planet Earth.  So here ya go….enjoy.


40 things i have come to know in 40 years.

1. Listen to a person’s words but watch their actions.  Their actions will always tell you just what is in their heart

2. Giving to others can really change your perspective on the world around you.  I have used it to dig myself out of the depths of depression.  Give as much as you can without strings attached or resentment.  Only give in abundance…and joy.  Give for the sake of giving itself.

3. Everyone deserves to be treated with dignity and respect until they give you ample reason not to.

4. Human nature is basically chicken shit.  Everyone has had a moment in their life where they should have taken responsibility for their actions but didn’t.  It happens to all of us.  Once you admit it and recognize it…we can move on and get things fixed up faster.

5. Stop being so scared of failure.  Failing is feedback.  Sucking at something is the first step to being kinda good at something.  Fail…a lot.

6. You can have all the gold in the world…but there’s only room for one thing in everybody’s grave

7. Stop being so scared of death.  Talk about it.  Think about it.  Realize that we are all going to die one day.  What are you doing with the time that you have left?

8. Dream Big!  Be Bold!  Chase down your dreams!

9. Luck and Fortune are two completely different things.  Luck is for lottery winners.  I don’t believe in luck.  Fortune is working so hard that when opportunity comes knocking you have the necessary skills to open the door.  Be fortunate.  Build your network, your skills, your life, so that when you get the chance for doing amazing things..you can own up to them with clarity and purpose.  Don’t wait around hoping that luck will find you.

10. Be nice to people.  Everyday people are dealing with things you know nothing about.  We all have secrets and struggles.

11. Making judgements about large groups of people says a lot  more about you than it does the large group of people you are judging.

12. The older I get the less I seem to give a shit about what other people think about me….and that is a really good thing.

13. If you want something, work as hard as you ever have for it….then work even harder.  You will get it.  You can do anything that you really want, as long as you are willing to stretch your life and work for it.  No shortcuts.

14. Surround yourself with people that are a level up on you.  If you are the biggest fish in the pond it’s time to jump to a bigger pond with even bigger fish.

15. As you find success sometimes people will become jealous.  It’s not their fault.  It just happens.  Pay it as little attention as you can and keep working.  The only response that matters is working on your own game.

16. Be Grateful (and Hustle) The Rest Will Follow – I have quote this on a piece of art above my desk and I believe it to be 100% true.

17. If you are standing up for your beliefs you are bound to piss someone off.  Great!  That means you are doing it right.

18. Tell people like it is.  Call it like you see it.  Get things out in the open….holding things in will lead to resentment and possibly passive aggressive behavior.  “Whatever comes up comes out.”  Get it out it the open so that we can all deal with it.

19. Many times in your life you need to say that you are sorry.  Apologize. Especially when you are wrong.  Sometimes even when you aren’t wrong.

20. Treat all people the same.  Separating people by religion, color, financial status, celebrity, etc is a useless tool of confusion.  We all breathe the same air…We are all bound to the earth……we all die in the end.

21. Procrastination sucks…every time.  I’m not saying that I don’t procrastinate.  I am saying that it sucks.  If you have a chance to do it now…do it now.

22. Say no….Say no early and often.  If you can’t agree to do something don’t tell people ‘maybe’ or ‘sounds cool….’ say ‘NO’.  The earlier you can say no the better.  Then the person can change their plans and act accordingly.  If you drag it out to the last minute you are not respecting their time.  Also say No when you need to respect your own time, energy, and work.

23. Cry.  Sometimes cry a lot.  Cry when you are sad.  Cry when you are happy.  Cry just cause you need to.  Don’t ever let anyone tell you different.  If it helps you get through this world on your own path…Cry.

24. Laugh hard every day.  Try to find something funny to laugh about, that includes laughing at yourself.  Laugh with your friends and family…about anything.  At the end of your life you can look back at all the funny things you laughed at.  How amazing will that be?!

25. You don’t always have to be the hero.  Just do a lot of little things right.  You are going to do stuff wrong as well…But enough small victories add up to great victories.

26. Come to know and understand what your truths are.  What are the things that make up YOU?  These are undeniable, unshakable, unbreakable truths that no one can take away.  Rely on them like a code.  Live your life and make your decisions based on these truths.

27. Say ‘Thank You’.  Being grateful for the things you have and are given says a lot about you.  Plus it will help you to stop complaining about things.  Appreciate even the smallest of things.

28. More often than not the right choice is harder than the wrong choice.  It’s usually harder to do the right thing than it is to not do the right thing.  Don’t get lazy.  Go big.

29. Single moms, nurses, teachers, and armed service people deserve your ultimate respect.  So do elderly folks.  It will serve you better in life to understand that these people have made huge sacrifices that you may never understand.  So seriously, be cool to them.

30. Learn something new…you may not be able to do this everyday.  But take on the role of the learner for your entire life.  No one can possibly know all there is to know.  Find something that interests you and learn about it.

31. Sometimes you just have to admit that you don’t know.  You don’t always know what you are talking about….what to say….what to do…who to be….how to act….where to go.  It’s ok.  Nobody else does either.  Just admit it.

32. There are no art emergencies.  This one is mostly specific to artists but some others may apply this knowledge to their life.  Basically it means stop panicking.  Art isn’t brain surgery or nuclear physics.  We are not firefighters or air traffic controllers.  If you miss a deadline or fudge a gallery meeting the world will still turn.  The show will go on.  You will learn from failing and get better at what you do.  But staying up all night panicking won’t be good for you.  Trust me….In the ER this year, right before being hospitalized for a serious infection that covered 1/3 of my body, I was bargaining with the doctor to let me go home because I had a deadline.  Seriously!  Cut that shit out.  There are NO art emergencies.

33. Fall down 7 times….Get up 8.  In your journey you are gonna take some lumps.  You’re gonna fail….You’re gonna get beat up and face monumental challenges.  You cannot give up.  No relenting.  If you seek a destination do not rest until you get there.  No matter the struggles.  When life punches you and knocks you down….get up, dust yourself off, wipe the blood from your lip and say ‘You hit like a bitch!’ And start kicking some ass.

34. Happiness comes from within.  I know it doesn’t feel like it and we are certainly not told this.  In our culture, we are told that if you go to college and get a great job, buy a huge house, a nice car and buy stuff on the weekends we will be happy.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Lasting and authentic happiness come from inside of you.  Being true to yourself, learning new things, and kindness and compassion will foster your inner happiness.

35. Everything is connected.  All beings are bound to the earth.  When you take action, that action has ripple effects.  Know this to be true even when you don’t see it.

36. Be uplifting to your friends.  Be strong and kind and giving to those around you.  It will pay you back ten fold every time.

37. Make a lot of mistakes.  The only way you really learn anything is by screwing up a lot.  This is the reason pencils have erasers.

38. I know it sounds like a cliche….and at times in my life I have heard it and ignored it.  Your health is the most important thing that you need to take care of.  Without being in decent health you can’t do any of the things on this list.  You need to understand that it is the foundation for all things.  Take care of the temple so that you can create all things.

39. Stop dieting.  Diets rarely work.  And most of the time they are making you lose money and when you fail at them you gain the weight back that you lost….sometimes you even gain more weight.  For me, losing weight (I have lost over 125 pounds) is about being mindful if your food choices.  Work with your doctor (TV Doctors don’t count).  And go hiking or biking….get moving by doing something you like to do. Dieting can be dangerous and extremely frustrating and depressing.  I could write a whole book about this one.

40. And finally, live a life.  Don’t just survive.  We are not meant to work hard just to pay the bills and watch tv all night.  Life is about exploring new things, having fun with your friends, and doing the things you love.  It doesn’t have to cost a lot…..mostly I find it’s more of a time commitment than a money problem.  Once you make up your mind to do something  the rest will follow.  So figure what you wanna do….and go do it.

Thanks for reading.


About giftprolific

My name is Joshua Coffy and I am an artist living in San Francisco. You can see my art at www.undersong.com as well. Thanks for your time.
This entry was posted in Daily Painting. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to 40 Things I Have Learned in 40 Years

  1. Tom Coffy says:

    Very cool that you would 1) take the time to figure these things out and 2) share them with the world.

  2. James Rogers says:

    Awesome…made me think, smile and laugh and think again.

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