Growthlog by Tomas Laurinavicius
· Los Angeles, United States · 4 Min read

Life Lessons I Learned in 2014

Venice Beach, California Venice Beach, California.

Design your life you want to live every day. You are the designer of your life. Review your values, goals and vision for life. Cut off the things that don’t bring you happiness, hang out with people who inspire you, be more adventurous, adopt a growth mindset and enjoy every single day.

Quitting job. After the Dare With Us Eurotrip last summer, I returned back to London and was working at Studio N3RD. While it’s fun and not too challenging I wanted to build my own things and have more freedom. I feel very grateful for the opportunity to learn from people I call friends at N3RD.

Pursuing my dreams. One of the biggest dreams in my life was to go to America. More specifically New York. A land of opportunity. I am currently in Los Angeles and will be traveling to Washington D.C. and New York later this month. Another dream of mine was to travel around the globe, right after the USA me and Justas are flying to London and going back to Lithuania, that will end the long trip around the planet Earth.

Running half-marathon. I’ve been running a lot since 2012. A couple of thousand kilometers so far. My first serious challenge happened this summer at We Run Vilnius where I completed my first half marathon (21 km 97 m) in 2:11:14. I’ve realized that you can push yourself much more than you can think of.

Slow traveling. This is probably the most important thing of the year. Dare With Us has started out as a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo. Me and my buddy Justas tried to raise some funds to travel around the world. As you may know, our plan didn’t work out very well. However, I’ve decided to leave London and work on Despreneur and Refe for the most of the time while saving up some money for the world trip. Justas has quit his job and started freelancing. Now we’ve traveled in Europe, around South East Asia and will be hitting the United States in January.

Co-authoring a book. It’s extremely hard, you need lots of willpower to push yourself through the times of fear of self-doubt, find motivation and manage the life that happens in between. Start small, write about something every day. Build a habit, expand your capacity for writing and take up a challenge. Announce it publicly, find someone to help you, make it fun, push yourself a little. Eventually, you’ll have a book. Maybe second or third one will be a bestseller. Maybe not. The fact that people read it will make you feel extremely accomplished and happy.

Getting up early. I always thought that I am a night owl and night is the time where most of the stuff gets done. However, having the freedom to work for myself allowed me to experiment with my routines and I decided to give a try for early mornings. I’ve been interviewed on My Morning Routine where you can read more about it in detail. After reading “12 Lessons of Waking Up at 4:30 a.m. for 21 Days**” I decided to push myself even more and now I am waking nearly consistently at 5 am except weekends for more than 6 months.

Winning Startup Weekend Kaunas. My second time participating at Startup Weekend this time in my home country. I am honestly impressed by the quality of the event, organization, mentors and overall experience. The team I’ve joined was fortunate winning a couple of awards. Positive attitude is everything.

Meditating. I have been using Calm and Omvana apps to start clearing up my mind and getting rid of useless thoughts out of my head. Not every session helps me calm down and adopt calm mindset but taking time off, focusing on present, appreciating current moment and breathing will help you focus and be happier.

Saying “NO” more. It’s extremely hard to refuse great offers from friends or potential business partners. However, it is crucial to your success and peace of mind. Doing less but better will lead you to massive success instead of taking more than you can eat and being so-so in execution.

Building meaningful relationships. Meeting everyone in the room may be cool and you’ll have more exposure but what really matters to me is a meaningful and deep connection with an individual. I don’t like to pretend that I am interested in person so if I am not interested I prefer to connect with the ones who share similar views, values and work toward similar goals.

Becoming more patient. Some circumstances just force you to be more patient like missing a flight and being stuck in Singapore for three days or taking a bus ride for 10 hours. Some things are not in your control and the only thing to get along with life in these moments is to accept the facts and be patient. Stop whining. If you want to complain about something propose a solution, otherwise shut up and keep silent.

Being happier with less. Last year’s eurotrip has taught me to carry less and have more freedom and mobility to move. I thought I’ve learnt it, I was wrong. Packing up for the Dare With Us world tour I’ve once again had taken too much stuff but luckily on the way I was getting lighter and lighter. Now my life fits into a backpack and I have never been happier owning so little.

Learning Ruby. 2014 was called “Year of Code” and I spent some time playing around and learning Ruby. I’ve had some experience of PHP programming language so I’ve picked it up pretty quickly but honestly didn’t really find time to complete the whole course on Codecademy. Learning code is not so hard as you may think, if you want to acquire a new powerful skill in 2015 visit Year of Code.

No drinking challenge. I’ve started drinking just 3 years ago and it didn’t take me long to realise that it can be very harmful to you and your environment. Moderate intake is fine for social purposes mostly but other than that is just a waste of your life that could be spent experiencing the world, learning something new or spending quality time with loved ones.

Pain is temporary. When you hit the road running 10k or do exhausting leg day training in the gym with heavy weights you feel the burn, you push the limits, you feel the pain, the pain of growth. This pain is not comfortable and not everyone is willing to take it, that is why you grow every day by taking these temporary pain doses that make you stronger. Pain is temporary, glory is eternal. You’ll never be the same.

Serve others. Find your life’s purpose. Your life is worth nothing if you don’t make other people lives better. You will simply waste your life. Yes, you want to be happy, but happiness is more about giving and not so much about taking. Be grateful for what you get and make your happiness flourish by serving others and making them happy.

Listen, listen, listen. Many people listen with an intention to respond but not to understand. I know many people who don’t even need your response, they need a great listener to talk to. That’s enough. Without saying a word and just listening you can make someone’s day better.

Everyone has a story. Silent ones have the best ones. It may take some time to make the introverted person to open up and trust you but don’t rush the process, listen carefully, relate to that person and be patient. Great things are worth waiting for.

Accept the things you can’t change. This thing has been bothering me for a long time, but I finally got to a conclusion that I need to enjoy life as it is without worrying too much about the things I can’t change. Instead of worrying, figure out what is in your control and start taking action.

You can’t change people, change your attitude or change your environment. I just love some people but I’d love them even more if they have changed their mindset or attitude towards life but it’s too hard. Instead find new people or deal with them as they are.

How many people want to see you succeed? You don’t need millions of fans to make a living. It’s enough to have 1,000 true fans who really care what you do and will support you with their time and money. Pay it forward, start building deeper and more meaningful connections instead of trying to appeal to everyone.

Quit more often, try it, if it doesn’t work discontinue. Quitting is not for losers. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is what defines a loser. Try more things, push a little bit more and see what happens, if you don’t like the outcomes — quit. No regrets or hard feelings. There are too many things to try out in life.

Building a startup is an all-in activity. Try it. Experience it and learn from it. Unfortunately, Refe doesn’t look to be the “all-in” project for me and the team has lost interest in it so I’ll see how I’ll go about it next year.

Admit that everyone is better than you at something. Can be very hard if you have this winner mindset and are very stubborn as I tend to be. However adopting a growth mindset and admitting other people’s strengths and empowering them will do more good for both of you.

Don’t make ideas die because of your ego. I wanted to get all the credit, I wanted to be the one everyone adores, I wanted to be known for my work. But this strong desire to be important and not share anything is killing the collaboration possibilities, your ego might be going against you so stop for a minute and think if it’s not about the time to let go your ego and start living for others.

Getting noticed is a result of passionate and hard work. One of the biggest acknowledgment this year was probably an interview on Forbes magazine, one of the most prestigious and globally recognised success publishers. I was quite surprised when Kavi, Forbes contributor reached out and asked me if I would have time for an interview as he sees me as an expert in the design and technology fields. I was extremely happy to share my insights.

Some people will come to your life and will totally change it, if you will allow them. Sometimes it’s hard to take up new challenges, let go people who do not really support you or share similar beliefs. Let the life happen, be open and brave, some people will change your life for good if you let them.

**There are moments in life that matter and teach us more than others.**Identify goodwill, honesty and kindness everywhere you go and take everything you can from these positive and extremely powerful moments.

Peace of mind is everything. Once again I’ve learned that doing less is more, having less is more, experiencing less (but very genuinely and deeply) is more.

Eating clean is a lifestyle, not a diet. I take care of my body so my mind is clean and ready to do great things in life. Eating clean is challenging but worth it and it’s not a diet, there is no deadline for clean and healthy lifestyle. I’ve made a decision to take care of my body and live healthy for the rest of my life.

World is not just sunny beaches and rainbows. World is a very dangerous and unfair place where people suffer from crime, poverty, hunger and diseases. But you and me are the privileged ones to have an option to ignore everything and just live the life as we want. However, having this privilege you get a responsibility to make sure that your existence will make a change. Learn more about sustainability and green living. Donate some money to your favorite charity, spread the word that helps the non-profits, support companies that give back: TOMSSevenlyCharity:water.

Learning new skill is not hard but becoming great at it takes years. Just recently I’ve turned entrepreneur from being a designer and had to learn many new things like accounting, recruiting, team building, public relations and much more. While it is relatively easy to learn something new it takes years to get great at it. Don’t waste your time.

People are amazing. This year I’ve met so many people and most of them are amazing, their attitude, their beliefs, their passions and their stories are simply unique sources of inspiration. See the good side of people, you’ll be surprised how many amazing people are surrounding you.

Technology breaks when you’re not ready for it. My MacBook’s SSD has crashed and I basically lost everything, luckily I had around 90% of my data in Dropbox. It’s 2014, the cloud is so powerful and making lives better, take advantage of it, use Google Docs instead of Microsoft Office, backup your files automatically on Dropbox, Google Drive or Box. Upload your photos to Flickr, they give 1TB for free, upload your videos to YouTube and have everything, everywhere you go.

Discipline is the ultimate key to productivity. It may take some time to organize things daily, weekly, monthly, yearly. But it is essential step in order to make clear actions for achieving your goals.

Slow down. The world is not going to break if you don’t push yourself this time. It’s hard to take time off of the things you enjoy but doing too much of the same thing day in and day out will result in burn out and lost passion.

Stay true to your values. You can read, learn, watch and say one thing and in a certain situation do totally opposite thing. Don’t allow stress and pressure change your values, if you are about helping people help them even if you are the one who needs help.

Become a connector. I am pretty sure you know someone who would like to read this article, don’t wait for them to find it, initiate the action, send the link, say why you think they will like it. I’ve been introduced to so many people this year and tried to connect like-minded people that I know to give back. Results are amazing.

Open mind and positive attitude will win no matter what. Yes, you think that this startup idea won’t work, yes, you do think that it should be done differently, yes, you have doubts whether it work or not. Screw these negative thoughts, always be the supporter, encourage things to happen. At the end of the day not ideas or projects matter but relationships and experiences with people.

If you are interested in my previous annual reviews, check my life lessons of 20132015, 2016, 20172018, and 2019.