I met Brett Denton about two years ago when Mateo invited me to workout with him at KVELL. I was visiting Boise for the weekend and I figured it couldn't hurt to get a workout in because I was going to be eating out more than usual. That Saturday morning I got more than a workout, I ended up getting on the email list for KVELL. It turns out Brett writes very inspirational email blasts and today on his birthday he wrote something that in my mind is a gift for all who dare read it. Brett calls this piece "37 lessons I have learned over the past 37 years". There are so many of these lessons that speak to me and I hope that you find some gems that will enrich your life as well. Brett thanks for giving us the gift on your birthday... Happy Birthday.   

Here are 37 lessons I have learned over the past 37 years.

1. People are the most important variable in all things, from business to love to happiness.  Treat people right, nurture them, and support them, and you will go far.

2.  You must move your body rhythmically and often.  This will keep your body young, supple, and ready for action.  15K steps per day is a good goal to shoot for while sitting less than 4 hours per day.

3.  Doing comes before being and having.  You must do things to be and have.

4.  Sleep hygiene is critical to a long, happy, healthy life.  Do everything in your power to get 8 hours of quality sleep per night. Part of this is spending the necessary resources to acquire good linens and beds.  Sleep Challenge Checklist


5.  Success is a result of readiness, luck, and psychology.  If you are missing any one of the three, success will elude you.  Don't beat yourself up if you fail – learn from it and keep trying.

6.  The easy way rarely is.

7.  Anger, hate, and frustration need to be captured and focused like a laser for good, not evil.

8.  Arguing rarely ever does anybody any good.  Intelligent non-emotional debate, on the other hand, can help to find the best solution.

9.  Start earlier: reading, learning, exercising, personal development, eating well, investing, loving, laughing, enjoying life.

10.  Do more: of the things you enjoy, money-saving, spending time with those you love,  outside.

11.  Do less: of the things you hate, wasting time, spending, caring what other people think, fitting into societal norms.

12.  Have a child's mind instead of being a no-it-all.  You will learn more and people will like you more.

13.  Most people have no idea what they are doing or what they want.  We are all figuring it out as we go.  Figure out the next best step based on what you know and where you currently stand, and then take it.  The yellow-brick road isn't a moving walkway...you have to take the steps.

14.  Children are very likely life's greatest challenge and greatest joy.

15.  Your body is your most important and valuable tool.  Treat it accordingly.

16.  Understand all sides of an issue before concluding.

17.  Understand the differences between truth, fact, and evidence.

18.  Eat 90% whole foods.

19.  Resistance train at least 2 times per week

20.  Be humble but not timid.

21.  Have faith that if somebody else did a thing, then you can do the thing.  The only real limits – for most things – are self-imposed.

22.  Personal development is repetitive for a reason...keep at it.

23.  Self-discipline, willpower, and persistence are rare and in high demand.  Build your muscles in these areas for a better life.  Practice and improve your sisu.

24.  Our habits determine our health, wealth, and success.  Be a master of your habits.

25.  The bigger the problem, the greater the learning and the more valuable the solution.  Work to solve bigger problems.

26.  Money may not be the key to happiness, but it helps to pave the way.  Pay strict attention to your finances.  Don't chase money for the sake of having more of it.  If you are going to chase money, chase it for the personal development and growth the journey requires.  Chase it for all the good you can do with it once you have it.  Chase it for something that has an impact and makes a difference.

26b.  This goes for goals as well.

27.  Be authentic.  Be you.

28.  Have a powerful reason to get up every morning.  Find your ikigai.

29.  Practice kaizen.  Get 1% better every day.

30.  Sometimes days...weeks...months...years fall apart and go to hell.  This is life.  You cannot control that which is external to you.  You can only control how you react and respond to it.  The reaction will come from your habits, while your response will come from your mind.  Work on both.

31.  See the good in the world while seeing the facts.  The world is not all sunshine and roses.  However, we can choose to envision how great things can be.  We can work towards that vision.  This is hope.  Without hope, there is nothing to look forward to or work towards.  Keep the hope alive by seeing the good that can be.

32.  Use your reticular activating system.  Focus on the things you want in life and not the things you don't.  Focus on the things you want to hit, not the things you want to avoid.

33.  Practice gratitude in a real way – don't give it lip service.  Feel gratitude with all of your mind, body, and soul.

34.  Memento Mori.  Death is just around the corner and may strike at any moment.  Live with purpose and urgency.

35.  Once you find something to pour your heart and soul into, other people's opinions don't matter, nor do other people's accomplishments compared to yours.  Find that thing.

36.  You are your own worst enemy.  Love, befriend and trust yourself.

37.  OWNIT.  Life is meant to be lived.  You are responsible.  Let no one victimize you – most of all, yourself.  Focus on what you can do instead of what you can't.  

Brett "37" Denton

Rent Your Own Private Island in Idaho

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