Growthlog by Tomas Laurinavicius
· Canggu, Bali, Indonesia · 4 Min read

Life Lessons I Learned in 2016

Ubud, Bali, Indonesia Ubud, Bali, Indonesia.

Today, I’d like to share life lessons of 2016. I dreamed, created, learned, traveled, read, wrote, meditated, exercised, gained, lost, understood, enjoyed, lived, laughed and loved.

If you are interested in my previous yearly reviews, check life lessons of 2013 and 2014 and 2015.

People will always complain. People believe in contradictions. Even toxic relationships give us something we enjoy. You can't change that. Quit news. Everything is designed to make you feel like the world is ending.

Pursue your dreams. There is always time for the things that matter to you. Even if it doesn't make sense to anyone else or even you. Make time to do things that make you happy. Make no excuses and find a way. To make you more confident, I’ll tell you that no one knows what they are doing. It just looks that they know. I don't.

Talent is not enough. Work hard, be nice and learn new things. Opportunities will come when you deserve it. It may look like challenges and hard work, but that's opportunities others can't see.

There is something you know that other people don't. Share it. Your work is not you. Don't get hurt, defensive or angry.

Learn to say no. By saying no to good things, you are saving yourself for great things. You have a limited number of things you can do in the lifetime. Don't waste your talent and energy on mediocre things and people.

Find a great partner. In business, gym, and life. You'll be more inspired and motivated to go big. In August, I partnered up with Justas Markus and started a creative content marketing agency. We landed two clients in the first month.

It's a lot about not doing than doing. Not reading news, not watching TV, not eating cake, not staying up late in the party. It contributes more than doing, like only sometimes eating salad or sometimes going to the gym.

There is always another level. Your mindset is the most important factor for your success. Adopt growth mindset. Knowledge is only a potential power. Knowledge combined with action is what will make you excel. Do less but better. Become essentialist. Don't stay satisfied.

Choose yourself. Choose your health, relationships, career and lifestyle. Invest in your future. Long gone are the days where there were guarantees in education, jobs and government.

Never take advice from someone you wouldn’t trade places with. The more successful you get, the more people want to coach you how to do one or the other thing. When you take or ask for advice, make sure the person is qualified in the field you want to improve.

Develop your personal brand. Whether you work on it or not, you have a brand. You must be consistent with it. Blogging, podcasting, social media and anything else takes the time to get noticed.

Habits are what most of your days are made of. Change habits to change your lifestyle. Your morning determines your day. Spend time to design your miracle morning.

Your desire creates suffering. You're never satisfied with what you have. Resistance creates pain. Resisting to what is now, makes you suffer. You'll never be fulfilled until you surrender to the present moment.

Life can end at any second. In October, I hit a car riding a scooter in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Luckily, I didn't get hurt badly. It reminded me that you never know when your time comes. Cherish every moment. Tomorrow you might not be around.

I signed with a literary agent. My stories about habits and lifestyle design went viral and were republished by The Next WebTIMEObserverThe Huffington PostPrsuit and Matador Network. All of that led a contract with an agent and book in the progress.

Take care of your body. Every day avoid death. You will have to spend the rest of your life in this body. Eat more vegetables and fruits. Make regular exercising your priority. Don’t overeat junk food.

We are animals. Our brain is focused on survival. That's why you get sweaty hands and dry throat before the presentation. Your brain thinks it's a threat to your survival. Everyone suffers pain. Become more compassionate and build meaningful relationships. We all want to survive.

You need a grand plan for life. If you don't know what you want from life how can you expect to get anything you desire? If you don't build your dream life, someone will build it for you, and there's a big chance you won't be that happy with it. If you want to do something, go and do something about it. Don't wait.

Transparency is scary therefore liberating. In 2016, I started publishing monthly lifestyle reports including sleep, productivity, fitness, income and more.

Choose what is right for you. In July, I decided to sell Despreneur and move on. I had to be strong to step down after three years of founding it. However, it is the right decision, and I'm excited about my mission to empower 1 million people to change lifestyle for good.

Build and launch. In 2016, I built and launched The Despreneur Podcast, Despreneur Academy and Despreneur Deals. Most of the time I didn't know what I was doing, but it was a fun and immersive way to learn business, marketing, sales, automation and more.

No one owes you anything. You are responsible for your life. How happy and healthy you are, how much you earn, how much freedom you have, how much you respect and are respected. You owe everything to yourself.

No, you can't have 5 minutes of my time. I can't fill your survey for your fake project that will never benefit anyone.

Books are the ultimate mentors in life. It's foolish not to read. To improve your life read more, here's my reading list.

Wherever you go, there you are. The physical place doesn't exist. The most important things in life are not visible.

Training people add extra hours to your day. In 2016, I hired my first virtual assistant. I've learned that it's a smart way to clone your skills and add extra hours to make your day more productive.

What day is it? It doesn't matter. It's today, always. Laugh, live and love.

Avoid regrets in life. Working on the “stop doing” or in other words “f*ck it” list is as powerful as working on the bucket list.

Try new things. Have fun building and breaking. Read books that don’t look good for teachers or parents. Watch movies and everything possible to form your opinion.

Listen more. Actively monitor and analyze what you are hearing. Question everything and try to make connections. Relate. Any fool can judge and critique, but only smart one will try to empathize and make connections.

You have no limits. If anyone tells you can’t do something, they’re showing their limits. Most of the time these people will be the closest to you, your family, friends, lovers. Love them but don’t listen to their limitations on you.

Make self-development a priority. Read more about the things that excite you, question everything. Learn how to become a better speaker, writer, storyteller, son, friend, leader.

Start writing. Clear communication is a key to personal and professional success. Practice writing every day. Write about the things that excite you. Tell stories. We evolved with stories. Writing well is about simplicity. Simplify. If you can say it with fewer words, do it.

Don’t try to be important. Your ego will demand attention, ignore it. Serve anyone without expecting anything in return. Amazing things will happen once you shift your mindset and start enjoying helping others. You will see how paying it forward comes back in the most beautiful and unexpected ways.

Meditate.  A quiet mind is a myth. You can observe your mind, but its job is to think. It may sound like a woo-woo, but it will solve most of your problems. Calmness, peace of mind, confidence and stability. These are some of the benefits you will gain from meditation.

Fear nothing. If it doesn’t threaten your life, fear nothing. Want to start a blog? Do it. Want to speak at an event? Do it. All these acts outside your comfort zone will scare you to death but will enrich your life 10x.

Life has no rules. Everything is made up. If you decided to drop out of school, make sure to develop a plan what are you going after and do it immediately. It’s not worth your time suffering and letting your creative talent fade.

Be bold. Stand for yourself. If you believe in something, go all in and don’t soften when people start pouring their sh*t on you. Trust your intuition. You know the best what is good for you.

Don’t be fooled by the surface. You already know what you want from life. It may look attractive to work in one or the other industry, but most of the time you will be fooled by the surface. Don’t question yourself just because someone is successful selling running shoes. You only see success in the mass media. Nobody talks about behind the scenes.

When you love, love with all your heart. Love is scary because it makes you vulnerable. But it’s the ultimate life experience. If you love, love with all your heart. You will get hurt but don’t abandon love. It comes and goes. Love yourself, people and life anyway.

Always do good. You want to be the bad girl or boy. You want to break the rules. You want to be recognized. It is your ego looking for the external approval. Always do good. It will make you feel good internally. It's always the right time to do the right thing.

Don’t drink too much. It’s nice to have drinks with your friends and do stupid things. But it’s not worth wasting your best days laying in bed with a hangover. Drink responsibly.

Give up sugar. You don’t need sugar. Tea and coffee taste amazing without sugar. Enjoying a cake and ice cream only on the weekend has a different meaning. Your thinking will become sharper. Your body will perform better.

Apply the 20/80 rule. You learned that people who work hard get what they want. Unfortunately, it’s not true. You can work little, be smart about it and get what you want. Learn what works and do more of it. Ignore the rest.

Master money consciousness. Invest your time in learning about money. How money is made, how money acts, how to manage and grow money. Learn the difference between assets and liabilities. Start building up your assets. Money is just an idea. Having numbers in your bank account mean nothing. People agreed numbers mean something, but they don't. Money is not the answer but focusing on making money will make your life easier.

Listen to your heart. You might be stubborn with your decisions, beliefs or ideas. It will make no good for you, listen to your heart. It has all the answers. It has all the solutions. Be courageous to let your mind connect with your heart.

Let other people in. Your life is about making meaningful connections. Strangers can become your best friends, soulmates, business partners, mentors and even lovers. Keep the door open and make the entrance welcoming.

Think long-term. Thinking a year in advance is not a long term thinking. Think 10-20 years in advance. Great things take time. Be patient.

Don’t try to win alone. It’s fine to ask for help, not to know everything, to be lost and vulnerable. People relate to real people with their strengths and weaknesses.

Don’t judge. First, don’t judge yourself. You’re enough. Second, judging others is not fair. You don’t know the context. You will never know all the context. Judging creates negative emotions inside of you and that is worse than cancer.

Unlearn. Learning is essential to your personal and professional growth, but unlearning things like resentment, self-pity, anger and over reacting will help you more that learning something new.

Open your mind. The world is a big place. Every person you meet knows something you don't. Don't judge, respect everyone and try to see things in different perspective.

Do what you love, people will recognize. In 2016, I enjoyed what I like, expressed my thoughts, lived the way I wished. Just being myself and focusing on my craft was enough to get noticed. I was honored and nominated for Lithuanian Names Famous Globally by Global Lithuanian Leaders.

What are your life lessons of 2016? I’m curious to hear your ups and downs and learn from you. If you enjoyed this article, please share it with someone who might find it interesting.

If you are interested in my previous annual reviews, check my life lessons of 20132014, 2015, 20172018, and 2019.