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10 Things to Do Before You’re 40 – Part 1

Since founding the Center six years ago right up till the pandemic kicked in early last year, I have embarked on a fascinating and humbling journey to over 80 cities countries around the world. Apart from meeting with local leaders, I have spent most of my time teaching and imparting my knowledge and experiences in leadership to local communities. And during my countless interactions with people from all walks of life, one intriguing topic continually caught my attention: the ongoing pursuit of happiness and a meaningful life. 

Sonja Lyubomirsky, a professor of Psychology at the University of California, Riverside, argues that happiness is influenced by three different factors: 50 percent of it stems from a genetically determined ‘set point’, 10 percent from ‘life circumstances’, and 40 percent from voluntary actions or ‘intentional activities.’ The first factor would include family, upbringing and the disposition you’re born with; the second factor might include your education, your job, and your spouse. The third factor, however, affecting 40 percent of your happiness, differs from the other two in that it depends on how you design your life. We have limited control over our set points and life circumstances, but we can become substantially happier if we spend time shaping our own lives in a positive way: helping others, pursuing our passions and achieving our dreams. 

As a follow-up to my previous article, “10 Things to Do Before You’re 30,” I would now like to share another list: 10 things to do before turning 40. These suggestions are designed to help you make wise decisions for yourselves so that you can lead happier and more meaningful lives. 

In line with my previous article shared last week, here is my recommended list of the first 5 of the 10 Things to do before you turn 40. 

  1. Identify three attributes in yourself that inspire others. Every moment, you are building your legacy, regardless of your age and background. The intangible impacts that we make through our relationships with others, and in being a good role model, are great ways to leave a positive impact. 
  1. Identify your key weaknesses. History has shown that arrogance and ignorance can result in a ruin of once mighty empires. Everybody has weaknesses. Instead of letting them influence you negatively, you should strive to control your emotional reactions and prevent them from clouding your decision-making. 
  1. Give 5 percent of your time to others. Being generous can bring you far greater happiness and fulfillment than you might expect, and it can also help you deal with the hardships in life. Just imagine: helping others wholeheartedly by giving them a small portion of your time weekly can enable you to create a better world and experience genuine happiness. 
  1. Share 10 percent of your income with others. When you give, you are contributing positively to change the world. Larry Ellison, the founder of Oracle and the seventh wealthiest person in the world, is where he is today through the support of the parents of one of his friends, who helped him overcome his depressing childhood and encouraged his education pursuits in computer and software design. 
  1. Develop the habit of taking three steps forward and one step back. Throughout your 30s, you are building momentum toward the peak of your career. If you do not take time to reflect on your past and future, you will find yourself emotionally unprepared to take on future challenges. I have met many highly established leaders, and they all give the same token of advice: make your life worthwhile in your professional and personal spheres, so that you can look back with no regrets.

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