The 32 Most Important Pieces Of Advice I Learned By My 32nd Birthday

Image via Instagram/ndimengo

Without being too sappy and digging deep for additional birthday wishes, I turned 32 years old this past Monday, September 12th. And because I always get emotional and reflect on my life with each passing year—which is well-documented on my Instagram account—I figured I'd share some knowledge I've picked up as I embark on another year.

Whether it was a lesson learned on my own or something that I picked up somewhere, here are the 32 most important pieces of advice I've learned in my life so far—which will, hopefully, help you become a better man.

32. Keep good people close. They're the backbone of who you are and who you're trying to become.

31. Sing... loudly. It's OK to embarrass yourself as people pass you on the highway and you belt the words to some '90s rap song.

30. Always try to do the right thing. It's a tough one to do, but you know the difference between right and wrong, so try to actually practice it.

29. Forgive and forget. Life's way too short to stay mad at the world, friends and/or family forever.

28. Never give up on your goals. You know when I knew I wanted to become a writer? At six years old. Want to know how long it took till I got there? 20 years. It's a long journey to achieve your dreams, but never stop reaching for them.

27. Never settle. Whether that's with work, in relationships or anything else, you've got talents in yourself that need to be shared, so don't hold yourself back for any reason at all.

26. Don't sweat the small things. Self-explanatory, but we all need the reminder—worrying about small things will only knock off years from your life.

25. Find mentors. It doesn't even need to be anyone you actually know, just someone you need to look up to and want to model your own life after. Sometimes, in weird ways, those mentors actually become trusted friends/colleagues, too.

24. Embrace change. As a creature of habit, it's easy to fall into a routine and be comfortable—don't let that happen. Change is inevitable, so when it happens, don't fight it.

23. Cry. You're not supposed to be an emotionless robot who doesn't have feelings. Crying can come when your favorite team wins a title for the first time in 52 years, or when you feel alone in a new city—both of which I've experienced this year.

22. Stand up for what you believe in. Sometimes, yes, it's OK to be stubborn and stick with what you truly believe in. Don't be demanding or pushy, but don't be taken advantage of, either.

21. Run. I hate it—and this is coming from someone who runs about four miles per day. But, trust me, if it weren't for pounding the pavement, I'd be a crazy person.

20. Love everyone. Stop judging and start loving.

19. Volunteer. Your time might feel important—to you—but when you actually sacrifice it for someone or something else, it's a good deed that feels good and leaves a bigger impact than you might imagine.

18. Be loyal. Much like forgiving and forgetting, loyalty should be high on your list of priorities—even if it's not always reciprocated.

17. Take chances. True story: I ran a startup a few years back with a buddy of mine, so we figured we'd look for an investor. Naturally, we emailed Mark Cuban in hopes of getting a reply... and he did! You're either going to get what you want or you aren't, but you never know till you take a chance to try it.

16. Never forget where you're from. Rags to riches happen, and when you reach the success you hope or strive for, you better be the same person who started the hustle in the first place, remembering those who helped along the way.

15. Be a gentleman. Open doors, pull out chairs, swallow your pride.

14. Find someone you can spend the rest of your life with. Trust me, all of life's experiences are a hell of a lot better when you've got someone you love next to you to do them with.

13. Admit mistakes and say sorry. You're not always right, so don't be afraid to own up to that when it happens.

12. Have no regrets. Frank Sinatra once said, "regrets, I have a few." Sinatra was the man, and if he said it, it's something every man should live by.

11. Be a good brother, son, boyfriend, husband. Blood runs thick, so make sure you take care of those who will always be there for you.

10. Take pictures. Your memory isn't going to last forever, so don't be afraid to pull out a camera to capture all the adventures in your life and share them with people.

9. Make an ass out of yourself. You're not perfect, so go ahead and laugh at yourself—even if it means having others laugh at you.

8. Smile as much as possible. Even when you're down in the dumps and feel like life's too overwhelming, your smile can help lift someone else up.

7. Forget about time. Not entirely, of course, but it's important not to live like you always have to be somewhere. This is something I'm kind of still working on.

6. Be patient. Another one I'm working on, patience is, indeed, a virtue. We all want things in our life to happen now, but they're going to take time and come along when least expected.

5. Faith. Practice it. Whatever the hell it means to you, have it.

4. Sleep. Your body needs it, your mind needs it. Sleeping can reset your day, so don't be afraid to do it.

3. Travel. It's a big world out there, make sure you see as much of it as you can before you roll over and die.

2. Stay humble. Don't be the guy no one likes, man.

1. Enjoy the journey. A well-known journalist told me this last year and, I must tell you, it might be the best thing I've ever heard. Rather than get caught up in the day-to-day struggles and worry about the future, enjoy each opportunity the day gives you and take advantage of it.