6 Big Lessons I Learned Last Year

Growing up

A year is a long time to learn. And in the last 12 months, I’ve learned some powerful lessons. Here are the 6 biggest ones.

Lesson #1:

Friends Matter

Friends Matter

I passed out of medical school over 30 years ago. There were 204 students in my batch.

In the course of 2017, I met nearly 50 of them in person at least once.

That’s 25% of a group of friends I’ve known for three long decades!

It’s amazing.

In a world where the rush and hustle makes most interactions and relationships transactional, having good friends who go back a long time is truly special.

I’m blessed. And value this connection deeply.

It extends to ‘virtual’ relationships I have over social media, email and other digital channels with many thousand others across the world.

I spend a LOT of time in my day engaging in interactions with these friends – because friends matter.

Friendships are my most precious, prized asset.

And you, my friend, are what makes life so special.

Thank you 🙂

I wish you many new friendships that last for years and years.

Lesson #2

Health Is Everything

Health is Everything

For years, I’ve eaten right. Exercise regularly. Take care of my health and fitness.

As a doctor, over 30 years I’ve seen the ravages disease and degeneration wreaks on the human form. And postponing it for as long as possible always seems a worthy goal.

Last month, I caught a nasty virus.

It knocked me out of action for 3 full days. I slept like a baby through most of them. And then, it took nearly a week to recover from the onslaught.

During this time, I was SUPER non-productive.

And that’s scary. Because despite living a healthy lifestyle, a stupid microscopic bug can lay you low – and keep you down for days!


If you’re in good health, rejoice in that fact. Treasure it. Be grateful.

Then, do all you can to sustain that state.

If you’re not, and it’s because of a lifestyle choice, make a new choice this coming year to change whatever you can to get healthier.

Then, do whatever it takes.

It’s THAT important.

I wish you good health and cheer all through the next year!

(Hey, that sounded like a mini-poem!)

Lesson #3

Time Flies

Times flies

It’s amazing how, as you grow older, time speeds up. A year used to last 12 months, 52 weeks, 365 days.

Now, it’s just half as long!

Or, at least, that’s how it feels.

Last week, I was getting some ice-cream with my wife. Watched a young mom hold her 2 year-old boy’s hand, as the little one licked excitedly on his treat. And it brought back fond memories of how I used to take my little girl out for ice-cream when she was that age.

It was 3 years ago. Or was it longer?

5, maybe. Or 10. Or even 15.

Time flies.

Seems just like yesterday – but magically, it’s years and years since.

So don’t put off for “tomorrow” anything you want to (or can) do now. Before you realize it, time’s flown – and it’s “too late”.

Today is a great day. Now is the best time.

Do it.

Build those memories.

Then you have the rest of your life to pull them out, enjoy them, cherish them, and add new ones to the collection.

Time flies.

Don’t forget that. Ever.

Do It NOW!

Lesson #4

It’s Hard To Let Go

Growing up

When they’re very young, every first is a happy one.

A first smile. The first step. First word.

When they’re older, though, the firsts aren’t so much fun.

A first goodbye. The first sleepover. First trip alone.

Maybe it’s because the younger firsts build a bond; the later ones weaken it… in preparation for a final break.

It’s bittersweet to raise a chid – and then let her grow!

Lesson #5

Focus Gets Things Done


I started last year with a bang – by pruning down my extensive activities to a core set of 5 projects.

Everything else was placed ‘on hold’.

A few months later, a couple more things got onto the list, because they seemed interesting enough.

And then, before I knew it, there were far too many to devote time and energy to – and complete.

Reviewing progress this week revealed how important focus can be.

On December 6th, I resolved to write my latest book (on how to form new habits that last a lifetime) and publish it by the 21st. I beat that deadline by 24 hours. It only happened because of focused action-taking.

And in the real world, you’re only rewarded for actions taken – NOT fond wishes, hopes or dreams.

Not even for firmly stated intentions and resolutions taken.

Only for actions taken.

Without focus and concentration, those actions will be scattered, undirected, incomplete.

Lesson #6

Passion (Still) Trumps Other Stuff

Passion Rules

If you haven’t yet read my PASSION Manifesto, get it here: for free!

I recently reviewed my year’s earnings.

Over 95% of my income came from things I’m most passionate about.

Being a doctor. And being a writer.

My time management program (Rescue Time) says that I’ve spent 2,779 hours just on the online component of my work in 2017 – which works out to around 7.5 hours daily.

Rescue Time report

What’s interesting is that I don’t recall feeling like I worked that much!

Because… I didn’t.

I was having fun!

YES, even while ‘working’.

Guess the wise (wo)man who said this (Confucius? Mark Twain? Someone else?) was right:

“Choose a job you love, and you will never work a day in your life!”

I got lucky that way!


And I hope you do, too, in the coming year. So that, when you look back after 12 months on the lessons you’ve learned in the 365 days since you read this post, you’ll smile!

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