Another birthday has come and gone. This time I’m 26 years old. On paper, things look similar to where I was last year. I’m working in a different role at a different company, but I’m still in New York and in terms of my day-to-day life and how I spend my time, not a ton has changed.

Mentally, on the other hand, the feeling is different. There are things that gnaw at me of course, often in pretty intense ways, but I’m more content than I have been in a while. As I talked about in Meditations on Time, I’m at peace. Or at least mindful of peace as a goal, which is quite different from the “improvement at all costs” attitude that I’ve championed in the past. And while a past version of Conor would have been skeptical of this, I feel like I’m still ambitious, productive, and effective.

Things are good, and they won’t always be good, so I’m grateful. Now without further ado, let’s get more concrete by laying out the ideas and principles that shape where my mind is at 26 years into life on this pale blue dot.

Author’s note: I’ve added a ⭐️ next to the items that are new this year. Part of the fun of this is seeing how my mindset changes from year to year. This should make that more evident.
  1. Time moves fast. Mindfulness is the antidote.
  2. Nothing is preventing you from being happy. Even if it seems like it.
  3. Life is better with people you care about.
  4. Both bad and good things happen in waves.
  5. Both in business and life, always double down on what works.
  6. Take time to understand how you have been programmed.
  7. Work backwards from the outcomes you want to see.
  8. You can’t enjoy the highs without experiencing the lows.
  9. Playing the long game is a superpower.
  10. Mental health is just as important as physical health, if not more.
  11. Nobody can teach us the things that matter in life.
  12. Explore the perspectives that you disagree with most.
  13. The things that are worthwhile are never easy.
  14. When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.
  15. Most decisions should be made on 1-2 variables alone.
  16. Don't identify with success. It won't last forever.
  17. A little gratitude goes a long way.
  18. Never stop learning. Especially outside of your career. ⭐️
  19. Comfort isn’t always weakness. ⭐️
  20. Intelligence doesn’t mean pessimism. ⭐️
  21. You’ll never really “have your life together,” and that’s okay. ⭐️
  22. When you don’t want to do something, interrogate the reason. ⭐️
  23. Find things to care about. Even if they are silly. ⭐️
  24. Make time for reflection. It doesn’t happen naturally. ⭐️
  25. Actively limit the things you depend on. ⭐️
  26. Go on walks and talk to people. It helps. ⭐️

If you're interested in running back the tape, you can find all my reflections from previous years below. I hope you found something here that resonated. See you next year.

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