On the back of Sam Altman’s ‘What I Wish Someone Had Told me’ list blog going viral, a reader shared this ‘Life Lessons’ list from Byron Wien, the nonagenarian ex-vice chairman of Blackstone’s Private Wealth Solutions group. Wien first created this a decade ago when asked to speak to an audience at a conference on what he had learnt from his experiences, which he has since built upon. We feature our favourites of the 20 here:
- “When you meet someone new, treat that person as a friend. Assume he or she is a winner and will become a positive force in your life. Most people wait for others to prove their value. Give them the benefit of the doubt from the start. Occasionally you will be disappointed, but your network will broaden rapidly if you follow this path.
- Read all the time. Don’t just do it because you’re curious about something, read actively. Have a point of view before you start a book or article and see if what you think is confirmed or refuted by the author. If you do that, you will read faster and comprehend more.
- Younger people are naturally insecure and tend to overplay their accomplishments. Most people don’t become comfortable with who they are until they’re in their 40’s. By that time, they can underplay their achievements and become a nicer, more likeable person. Try to get to that point as soon as you can.
- Every year, try doing something you have never done before that is totally out of your comfort zone. It could be running a marathon, attending a conference that interests you on an off-beat subject that will be populated by people very different from your usual circle of associates and friends, or traveling to an obscure destination alone. This will add to the essential process of self-discovery.
- Never retire. If you work forever, you can live forever. I know there is an abundance of biological evidence against this theory, but I’m going with it anyway.”
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