Harsh Life Lesson

1. Protect yourself when traveling or you’ll regret it.

I traveled to South Africa 2 years ago to visit my uncle in Johannesburg. I thought it’d be a good idea to go a few days early, get sloppy drunk, and have lots of sex in Cape Town.

I succeeded on all three points, but got too drunk and woke up with no money, no ID, no phone, and no cards. I had to Facebook my uncle.

2. No one cares until you care

We each live in our own world where the primary concern is our self. If you want people to help you then you’ve got to give them a reason. Usually that entails you helping them first.

3. It’s really and truly about the journey.

I finished high school and was like what next, then went to college. I finished college and was like what’s next, then started traveling. After that I was like what next and started a small business. I’m like what next now and realize I’ll be asking this question for the rest of my life. Enjoy the ride.

4. Your hearts going to get broken. Repeatedly.

What can I say, we’re young, wild, and free. We love hard and fight harder. I love all my old partners because they’ve all taught me more about myself and life.

5. Your family matters. A lot. Cherish them.

I’m headstrong and have been in some pretty messed up situations. Jail, robbed, stranded. You know who helped me every single time? My family, especially my sisters. I’d give an arm for them (the left one) and wear it like a badge of honor.

6. Trust carefully.

I’ve had my small fortune stolen from me by my business partner and basically been told “there’s nothing we can do about it” you can read about that escapade here.

When we don’t know any better we trust based on words. Learn to trust based on actions and nothing else.

Also, I have thousands in uncollected debt from “friends”

7. You have to love yourself first

Looking outside yourself for unconditional love is asking for trouble. Loving yourself, being comfortable in your own skin, and doing what fulfills you is the most amazing aphrodisiac known to man.

8. You won’t survive without a thicker skin

I used to think every time a relative stranger said something or did something wrong to me, it was because of me. I’m slowly starting to realize that their behavior is a reflection of them, not me.

9. You also won’t survive without empathy.

People can usually tell when you’re doing something with an ulterior motive. I’ve traveled through some hard countries and almost wept at the way they were living. These people could sense my empathy and welcomed me with open arms.

On the flip side, an empathetic leader can sense when his people are out of sorts and will be able to react to that; improving moral. Here’s a cool article about it.

10. We don’t know anything about life.

If you’re twenty and think you know about life, you’re mistaken. I’m twenty six, have started multiple businesses, have lost a lot and made a lot. I don’t know anything.

  • My father survived a civil war.
  • My cousin had her first kid at 17.
  • I know a young family considered internally displaced persons (they have no where to go in their own countries)

You and I, we don’t know anything. Not yet at least.

11. The parents are right about 75% of the time.

The same way you look at a toddler about to stick their hand in the fire is the same way our parents look at us.

They know you’ll regret some of your decisions and try to guide us, but we have to make those mistakes on our own. Just ask them what they think and try to follow their advice. You’ll thank them later.

12. Shit happens

You plan, you research, you execute and nothing turns out how you wanted. It’s life, you gotta roll with the punches or get knocked out.

13. More shit happens

After you roll a few times, you get better at it. Life’s been throwing right jabs up until now. The next one’s going to be a left hook. You won’t see it coming. It will knock you down. The secret is to not let it knock you out.

14. Shit never stops happening

You’re an old pro by this point. You’ve weathered countless storms and have finally realized that life will always be trying to knock you down. Here’s a prayer I say every chance I get and try and live my life by.

God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

Courage to change the things I can,

And wisdom to know the difference.

15. If you want to be a life coach. Don’t

I never did this, but I know a few twenty somethings that did. You don’t know anything about life, who are you coaching?

16. Learn to stick your foot in the door first.

No one is going to lend you a million dollars if they’ve never given you ten.

The micro commitment is what strong relationships are built on.

Picture these two emails.


My name is Daniel and I’m a 26 year old entrepreneur who’s been featured in places like Hubspot, Entrepreneur, and The Huff Post.

I’d like to interview you for a new book I’m writing about business management in the 21st century.

It deals with:

– company Culture

– blue oceans

– media relations

– leadership

And a few other topics.

I’ve attached the questions to this email and would appreciate a response within a week.



Or this one.

Hey (first name),

My name is Daniel, I’m a huge fan of your work. I especially love (write why you’re a fan of them)

Anyways, I’m writing a short book on management and would be ecstatic if you could share a few insights.

It’ll expose you to a different audience and further solidify your expertise.

Could I send over a few questions?


The firs email gets almost no responses. The second email is hovering at about 45% depending on the request.

Focus on the relationship and ask what you know they can easily give before you ask for the world.

17. An interesting skill is worth it’s weight in gold

This goes beyond being a math wizard or reading comprehension.

I mean something like playing the piano or violin. Learning how to dance the tango or sing. Learning how to read body language or build rapport. The art of the physical touch. Making a Martini, learn to cook a few nice dishes, or psychology.

These skills have a very profound indirect and sometimes direct impact on our lives.

18. You need to read more

I read about one book a week plus or minus a hundred pages and I still need to read more.

There are so many benefits of reading, I can’t begin to name them. Just read a variety. Inspirational, fiction, and non fiction should all be part of the mix.

19. You need to write more

Writing is something we take for granted these days, but writing with power and conviction is an amazing skill. It helps you order your thoughts, and work through tough problems. Free writing is something I’ve done for years and hope to never stop. Check out this app https://750words.com

Here are some articles to get you started here and here.

My only regret is that I didn’t start sooner.

20. It’s the best of time and worst of times

I’m just 26 and I’ve had countless ups and downs. Met countless amazing people and have the energy to drink all night and still wake up at 6 in the morning to chase my dreams. To chase life.

It won’t always be like this, I know, but for now, it’s the best of times and the worst of times.

If you enjoyed this little piece, follow me on Quora: Daniel Ndukwu


Source: Daniel Ndukwu on Quora


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