Growthlog by Tomas Laurinavicius
· Tulua, Colombia · 4 Min read

Life Lessons I Learned in 2018

Santiago, Chile Santiago, Chile.

What a year. Today, I’d like to recap and share my highlights, failures, successes and biggest life lessons of 2018. It’s been the best year so far, but that doesn’t mean everything went my way.


It’s hard to choose the best moments of the year as there were so many.

Nevertheless, here are the highlights of 2018:

  • Fell in love.
  • Explored Nicaragua.
  • Co-hosted Life in White Noise podcast.
  • Explored Colombia.
  • Explored Peru.
  • Learned conversational Spanish.
  • Joined Nomad Cruise.
  • Explored Bali.
  • Had fun with a jet ski.
  • Quit Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
  • Spent quality time with friends.
  • Had the best birthday party with Colombian food and a Mariachi band!


This year I failed a lot. But hey, life goes on.

In 2018, I failed to:

  • Publish more.
  • Meditate.
  • Write daily.
  • Read more.
  • Say “no” to opportunities and digital distractions.
  • Be in the moment.
  • Take breaks from work.
  • Be less serious about life.
  • Accept the adversity.
  • Manage time.
  • Manage money.
  • Maintain a balanced lifestyle.
  • Save money.


The year 2018 brought success on many levels.

This year I:

  • Fell in love with Isabella, a Colombian girl that changed everything I planned for 2018.
  • Improved productivity.
  • Exercised regularly.
  • Practiced intermittent fasting.
  • Traveled across four continents, visiting 17 countries: USA, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Colombia, Peru, Chile, Brazil, Spain, Malta, Greece, Lithuania, Denmark, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, and Thailand.
  • Redesigned my blog.
  • Explored Mexico (Playa del Carmen, and Tulum).
  • Visited Orlando, Florida.
  • Visited Fort Lauderdale, Florida (attended live show by Claptone).
  • Explored Nicaragua (San Juan del Sure and Granada) with the WiFi Tribe.
  • Co-hosted Life in White Noise, a podcast with Dustin Delatore and talked about independent work and life.
  • Explored Costa Rica (Playa Bejuco and San Jose).
  • Kept in touch with fellow nomads catching up every month and talking about nomadic life.
  • Explored Colombia (Medellin, Guatapé, and Salento) with the WiFi tribe.
  • Explored Peru (Cusco, Macchu Pichu, and Lima).
  • Explored Chile (Santiago, Valparaíso, and Viña del Mar).
  • Learned conversational Spanish. Qué bien!
  • Visited Buenos Aires, Argentina and had the best steak in my life.
  • Visited Rio de Janeiro (Copacabana, Ipanema, and Christ the Redeemer).
  • Joined Nomad Cruise for the second time.
  • Returned to Lithuania for the summer and found it very relaxing and beautiful.
  • Traded Lithuanian summer for the Chilean winter and returned to Santiago for my girlfriend.
  • Explored Seoul, South Korea.
  • Completed the Content Marketing Certification Course by HubSpot Academy.
  • Worked with Envato, InVision, Webflow, Monetha, Bloobloom, and WiFi Tribe.
  • Explored Bali (Ubud, Uluwatu, Nusa Penida, Lembongan, and Ceningan).
  • Had fun with a jet ski.
  • Quit Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
  • Explored Thailand (Bangkok, Phuket, and Phi Phi Islands).
  • Bathed with elephants.
  • Returned to Colombia (Tuluá and Buenaventura) and spent Christmas with my girlfriend's family.
  • Devoured more arepas and empanadas than I can count of.
  • Read 16 books.
  • Grew my blog to 335,360 annual visitors.
  • Reached over 3,000 subscribers on my lifestyle design newsletter.
  • Spent quality time with friends.
  • Had the best birthday party with Colombian food and a Mariachi band!

Life Lessons of 2018

In 2018, many good and bad things happened. Here's what I learned in 2018.

It’s easier to commit to 100% than 99%. Setting up rules and developing a personal protocol breeds integrity and eliminates the chance of stupid little mistakes that may not look big at the moment but may change your life’s course when reflecting years later.

Some lessons need to be relearned. The struggles and challenges that seem to reappear in your life have one objective – to teach you the lesson, even if it’s the same one. It will keep repeating until the lesson is learned.

You get what you ask for. There’s no such thing as a ladder in life, it only exists in our collective mind (think society norms). If you want to apply for that high paying job who’s stopping you? (Answer: you).

Tulum, Mexico Tulum, Mexico.

Attracting versus chasing. Chasing rarely works (unless you’re a lion in Africa). If you want health, wealth, love and fulfillment in your life, think about what you can do to attract these things in your life. It’s not about a trendy diet, new shoes, buying fancy things, nailing pickup lines or being interviewed by national television. Focus on taking care of yourself. Learn new skills, become a valuable and loving person, and you will attract what you deeply desire. The more you’re willing to walk away from something the bigger the chance you’ll get it in your life.

Everyone is selfish and wants to feel important. When you work with people, there’s only one thing you need to master. Make them look good because of you.

Prioritize questions over answers. What questions you ask are more important than what answers you’re getting. Stay curious, decisive, adaptable and ask thought provoking questions.

WiFi Tribe in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua.

WiFi Tribe in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua.

You’re not in control. Economy, politics, weather, people and many other things are outside of your control. Accept the world as it is or suffer the internal resistance.

It’s all luck. The wildly rich and famous, the most successful people and businesses you admire are the way they are because of random chance. People try and rationalize why it worked out one or the other way, but most of the time it’s pure luck. Embrace your life and appreciate being alive. If you’re reading this, you’re lucky.

You must define success. The definition of success differs from one person to another. It’s crucial to remind yourself why you do what you do and why it matters to you. Do you really want to spend your life being the “Instagram Influencer?” I’m sure you can do better than that.

Popoyo, Nicaragua

Popoyo, Nicaragua.

Put the phone down when someone enters the room. It’s just a little gesture (that may go unnoticed), but it shows that people are more important than technology.

Just because it worked yesterday, it doesn’t guarantee it will work today. Humans are horrible predictors. However, we love predictions, whether by other people or our own (think New Year resolutions). Stay away from predicting and think of shit-hits-the-fan scenarios to prepare yourself for the highly unlikely.

You may feel lost sometimes, do something. No one knows what they are doing. If you find yourself in the middle of the ocean with endless choices, don’t overthink. Choose a direction and keep moving forward. Action leads to clarity and clarity feeds motivation.

Guatapé, Colombia

Guatapé, Colombia.

Improve your productivity by defining the next step. It’s easy to overcommit and feel lost and overwhelmed. Move forward with your personal and professional goals by determining step. Your only job is to figure it out. Not the whole, just the next smallest step you can take.

If it’s work, it can wait. Most of the problems solve themselves. Put people first.

Don’t take yourself too seriously. You’re dying. Sooner or later. Have fun.

Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu, Peru.

Quit social media. People will become numbers. You’ll become an algorithm controlled puppet and may seriously harm your health.

Practice prevention instead of solving crises. Avoiding stupidity is easier than seeking brilliance. Charlie Munger confirms, “It is remarkable how much long-term advantage people like us have gotten by trying to be consistently not stupid, instead of trying to be very intelligent.”

You see what you focus on. If I told you to look for blue around you, you would see it more than before. The same is with life, if you search for the bad, you see the nasty and the ugly, if you look for the good, you see more of it. Try it.

Buenos Aires, Argentina Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Surrender and accept. Suffering from ego is a wrong way to live a good life. The easiest way to improve your life is to give up expectations.

10-10-10. What are the consequences of my decision in 10 minutes? In 10 months? And in 10 years?

Appreciate what you have today. Think of your health, relationships, experiences, memories, and achievements. Is it something you dreamed of long ago?

Ipanema beach. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Ipanema beach. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

When you burn out, get back to basics. When the world seems to fall apart, don’t try to fix it. Get back to fundamentals. Get enough sleep, exercise, drink more water, eat clean, read and talk to people that matter to you.

Listen to what’s not being said. In business, health, money and other areas of life, you’ll hear bold and sexy statements promising you results. It’s common-sense, repetitive and rarely works. Listen to what’s not being said and ask uncomfortable questions.

Prevent your life from being shitty instead of seeking the best experience. What if you focused on not making your life suck instead of making it better? What if, on a daily basis, you made sure you don’t get sick, you don’t eat crap, you don’t get dehydrated, don’t get lonely, don’t get lost in mindless consumption?

Nomad Cruise. Olympia, Greece Nomad Cruise. Olympia, Greece.

You’ll never feel like you have enough until you define what’s important to you. You have enough time, resources, knowledge. What you lack is a value system. Crystalize your values, prioritize your goals and ignore the rest.

Life doesn’t change overnight. Consciously design systems that will move you forward to the life you want to live. Think of small daily actions you can take that will eventually compound and lead to significant results.

Quit news. The world is ending, and you’ll die. Who cares? You know it already. Focus on what matters.

Nusa Penida, Indonesia

Nusa Penida, Indonesia.

Why some people click while others don’t? Why I connect deeply with some people while I don’t with others? While traveling the world, I met people with a different world view, values, and motivations. I realized one thing. I only connect with people who love life. I don’t care about your background, achievements, status and other bullshit. I feel when you love life and want to make the most of it. Most of the time people who love life are generous, patient and kind. Think of what is one thing that makes you click with the people in your life?

No one wants to hear your complaints. First, it’s a victim mentality. Second, it’s annoying. Third, you can do better. Finally, eat your complaints for breakfast (coffee is optional) and take responsibility for your life.

Garuda Wisnu Kencana statue in Bali, Indonesia

Garuda Wisnu Kencana statue in Bali, Indonesia.

Having a plan is not the answer. Having Ione, however, helps in moving forward, you may find a path you didn’t plan for, but without having a plan in the first place, you wouldn’t discover the way that’s right for you.

Your future depends on your ability to learn. Don’t focus on learning a specific thing, most likely it will be irrelevant soon. Instead, focus on learning to learn things fast, and you’ll own the future.

Favorite Books of 2018

I hope these lessons and things I learned in 2018 will make you stop and think for a moment. Get out there and design your life.

If you are interested in my previous yearly reviews, check my life lessons of 201320142015, 2016 and 2017.