113 Things I’ve Learned in 2013 which could be useful for 2014 and perhaps maybe for the rest of your life.
I am very excited about 2014. No big plans or resolutions for the year, just simple statistics: I was born in 1984. In 1994, I moved to Tennessee as a young boy and this shaped my childhood. In 2004, I discovered who I was and knew exactly what I wanted to do with my life (or so I thought). So, it is only fitting that 2014 holds great things, not just for myself—but for all of us. I’ve learned so much in 2013 and I hope I can leverage these learnings to make 2014 a milestone year of my life.
213. I think I read this before (maybe from Rules for My Unborn Son), but when you are a guest in someone’s home, you should get up and dressed at a decent time. No laying around in your draws eating the host’s snacks.
212. During a business dinner (or any dinner), it is common courtesy to wait until all members of your party receive their plates before digging in. If you’re first, just chill for a minute. If someone says, “please, go ahead and start without me”, reply “Oh no, I’ll wait” In the case they insist, then go ahead and start without them.
211. What if someone figures out your plan? In the words of Chicken George, “Get yourself another plan.” Staying one step ahead at all or most times is equivalent to this.
210. Material things are just that. Material. And they don’t mean anything. Just tools of engagement that take up time. I learned this the hard way when I was at a stoplight in Concord, NC and a Toyota Tundra decided the fate of my 2003 GMC Yukon Denali XL that was worth the world to me, but only $8,500 to the state. I thought I was in love with this fine professional grade machine, but it was merely a horse that was stable enough to support the memories gained upon the journey of life.
209. Traveling is awesome—and not too many people get to do it, so I will pray that you will visit a foreign country. Promise me you will eat the local food to learn about the culture
208. Jay-Z said it best, “Love” can be an Achilles’ heel. Don’t be afraid to walk with your upper body if needed.
207. These companies don’t give a shit about you, only what you can do. So do a good job. If you don’t like your job, quit. If you have kids or lack savings and faith, do it the right way. You already know the right way.
206. Street smarts are actually more valuable that book smarts/formal education. A formal education may provide you with a better life, but won’t save your live.
205. Pay attention to how folks comment and react to Kanye West. Says plenty about them.
204. Competition doesn’t exist. You are your only competitor. So I guess it does exist.
203. Learn another language and learn it well. Folks from all around the world are tri-lingual, smarter than us, but lack our same opportunities. The world really isn’t fair.
202. There is no difference between a dead rich guy and a dead poor dude. Let that sink in.
201. If you look back at your life, you already have the answer to your question. This is the response you should give if any person asks you, “Why am I still single?”
200. Play it cool at the airport at all times.
199. If you’re black and you don’t work with many black people, it is important that you defy each and every stereotype. Ignorance is at some times attributed to how the mind works. Or is it the other way around? I am not that great of a writer.
198. I remember years ago I told someone I was going to write a book and he told me I didn’t live enough to do so. Fuck all that. Do what you want to do.
197. A man (or woman) is a success if he (or she) wakes up every morning, goes to bed every night, and in between does whatever they want do to.
196. “No New Friends” is just a song.
195. Folks will always look out for their own best interest.
194. My friend reminded me, “If you don’t want to give money to the homeless, then just don’t do it. Don’t go into how they are going to spend it on drugs, etc.”
193. James Avery said it best. “All a man has is his word. All a woman has is her reputation.” Say that to your homegirl next time she asks, “When a man does this and that, he’s considered a player, but…”
192. Look people in their eyes so they can feel you.
191. Fast food is okay sometimes, not every day. Go ahead and spend a little more for some premium meats and veggies.
190. Read a book. So many books out there.
189. A BMW is made for folks who love and appreciate the art of driving. But what is that crayon smell though?
188. When folks “hate” on you, it usually has nothing to do with you.
187. A telephone is a two-way communication tool. Before you complain about folks not calling you, they 1) must be consistent in dodging your communication efforts and b) you must also have put forth effort to communicate. If 1 and b are both true, then yes, you may complain.
186. The world is actually small. You can go anywhere on this planet within a day or two. And people love their family. That’s universal.
185. Repair your own trousers. You can sew up a couple holes while watching the game.
184. Find different ways to make her smile. Tickle her, be silly, and surprise her with desserts. Freestyle a poem.
183. Sport culture is so cool. Brings the people together.
182. If you’re wondering how other people seemed to “get chosen” and you want to be selected, then choose yourself.
181. Fold your clothes. This minimizes iron use thus reducing your carbon footprint.
180. Flossing is probably just as important as brushing.
179. Genetics are a MF. Have to learn to counter and embrace, bob and weave.
178. Speaking of bobbing and weaving, everyone loves you until the chips are down. Look at Adrien Broner.
177. Speaking of weave, less is more (unless of course you have a condition).
176. Health is really important. Walk every day.
175. Don’t laugh at other people’s misfortune; but do smile at “dodged bullets.”
174. Don’t miss your high school reunion next time around. It is important that people remember you.
173. Don’t let people force you out of your comfort zone.
172. Save most of your money just in case.
171. Support live music!
170. If you ever take a transatlantic flight, eat light.
169. Your vehicle should be spotless at all times.
168. Same thing I said about Kanye West applies to LeBron James. Last time I checked this dude dropped 1 mil to charity during “The Decision” and MJ the hometown hero has always been an asshole.
167. On Duck Dynasty: I don’t watch Duck Dynasty or comment too much on social issues, but I think folks are missing the point. When you are a public figure of mid to low prominence, you cannot just say how you feel (Paula Deen). I don’t even do that and I’m nobody (really I am somebody to a couple folks) but if you think about it, television generates money from advertisements from various businesses. A&E is half-owned by Disney, the same Disney that had $45B USD revenue in 2013. Disney makes 50% or so from its TV stations, including A&E (don’t quote me on exact figures) so that’s $22.5B from the idiot box alone. Anytime you have someone affiliated with your business that makes a suspect or controversial comment about anything, you have to think fast and pull a chess move. It’s all about minimal risk and preserving the business model. At the end of the day it is all about money.
166. It is important to make it to as many weddings as you can.
165. When in Canada, please do try the bacon, eh.
164. Reality TV is real life entertainment and nothing more.
163. Trying to switch careers can be tiresome and damn near impossible. But you must fight.
162. Being great is a lifestyle.
161. Fantasy football actually takes out the joy in watching football.
160. Be very careful when recording pertinent information. Just might miss an opportunity to send beats to Kool Moe Dee.
159. Offer to foot the bill at least once a year. Not to boast, but in all kindness.
158. A beard equals respect worldwide. Know when to grow it out, and keep it close.
157. Phase 10 is a great game. But with any game, you must have a strategy to win.
156. Speaking of winning, if you win more than half the time (more than .500) then you are considered a winner. It’s all about how you play the game. Winners play differently.
155. You can have a receding hairline and still be handsome.
154. If you want to know what you really look like, you must look at yourself from all angles.
153. Chewing your food properly is an important piece of thorough food digestion.
152. California is one of the most beautiful places in the world.
151. Kendrick Lamar’s verse was great, but Jay Electronica may have the potential to be one of the greatest MC’s of all time.
150. Speaking of greats, Drake could be one of the greatest rappers of all time on the basis of his three albums and the fact that he made a whole country relevant.
149. Museums are free and so are libraries. There is no excuse to not be cultured.
148. If you can make yourself an Excel or database wiz, your will win in Corporate America.
147. Walk like you own the place.
146. Play your role, know your position. In life and on the court.
145. You don’t need that many friends. Even if you have one who is also a relative, it still counts.
144. God is real.
143. Be careful. Some people are really demons in the flesh.
142. If you can figure it out, you can do it. If you can’t figure it out, you can find someone who is an expert in figuring it out, and still do it.
141. Listen to music that does not follow computerized sequence, such as live jazz and blues.
140. Probably the best corporate advice I received this year—“Amaze.”
139. No shame in not being able to fit clothes any more. Buy new clothes, but not too much in case you plan to get down to your fighting weight.
138. Write a letter to folks and corporations who offend you. Let yourself be heard.
137. African and African-American culture is still relevant world culture. Shame on all Jeopardy! Contestants who did not know what “jump the broom” means.
136. Would you rather help some folks get healthcare or cry about an extra $15 being taken out of your check?
135. Diversify your circle.
134. Keep a pocketknife near the driver’s seat in case you have to cut yourself loose in the event your vehicle is submerged in water.
133. Pick your battles wisely and know when to let stuff go.
132. Small leather goods show your sophistication and swagger to others.
131. If you want to learn anything, you must learn on your own.
130. There is no such thing as a missed opportunity. If you passed on it, someone else will take it.
129. If you are in a foreign country, it is the perfect time to learn how to cut your hair. Folks won’t notice a difference in your appearance.
128. Women who cannot cook are in trouble.
127. Men who cannot fix anything better be able to think fast.
126. It actually takes longer to make some garments of clothing than it takes to assemble an entire vehicle.
125. Don’t work any place where you cannot afford the company’s product or service.
124. Pimping ain’t easy, nor is it a lie, but it is a personal choice.
123. Google “life hacks” to save precious time.
122. Don’t’ be mean to children. Even if they are ignorant AF. Unless they are in their teens, in which you must humble them for adulthood.
121. Any monetary investment in your personal or professional growth is a good investment.
120. Always do a cost/benefit analysis when investing in your vehicle. Figure out how long you plan on keeping it vs. the total cost of a new car before dropping $3K on a rebuilt transmission and performance tires.
119. It is actually normal for utensils to be placed directly on a bare table. Let’s just hope the table is clean.
118. TerRio is a legend.
117. I’ve learned to appreciate the moon and stars on a clear night.
116. There is nothing wrong with washing your car in the rain. Still looks better than it was before, even after the rain has stopped.
115. Sometimes you just gotta get lost in order to find yourself. If you keep using Google or Apple Maps, you may not be able to recall even the simplest of directions. Take this how you wish.
114. Call your folks at least once a week.
113. High mountain tea is worth every penny.
112. Never pay MSRP for new clothing. Choose styles that will last at least the next two seasons.
111. Sometimes it is best to let people talk. But always throw in your two cents to make it sound like you’re engaged.
110. Learn to ride the wave for as long as you want or need to, but know when to get off the board. And remember you must know how to swim in order to jump off the board.
109. Too much formal education out there—not enough leveraging of tools to teach oneself.
108. “Guess that Rapper” in which you impersonate a rapper and other parties must guess who you are emulating, is a great game.
107. Growing a garden or even a plant from an orange seed is so very soothing and can make you happy.
106. 12 Years a Slave was not that good of a movie, unless you watch “Django” right afterwards.
105. Listen to your heart. Might be that voice in your head depending on who you are.
104. Instead of going to your favorite home team sporting events all season, go to a couple home games and get front row seats. A whole different experience.
103. Surviving and thriving are two different things and I’ve seen them both. Blessed to be thriving.
102. Don’t ever let a rookie outdo you in your field. No need to play dirty. You got it.
101. Nothing wrong with rehearsing a blessing or speech so that you will always be prepared.
100. In life, after you die, folks will go about their merry lives. Your boss will find someone to replace you, and sooner or later, you will become an afterthought. However, there will be a small group of people who will always have a hole, an emptiness in them, in which they will have to learn to live without. Live for those people.