245 comments on “What it has taken me 33 years to learn

  1. “Don’t correct people. Unless their wrongness will lead to them getting hurt or hurting someone else. You’ll have a fleeting sense of superiority and they’ll resent you. Nothing worthwhile comes of it. This used to be so hard, but now I cringe when someone else does it.”

    I did that the other day with a friend and felt crummy afterwards. The topic was how to correctly do plank. See! Stupid! Things are okay between my friend and I, but I am going to try and apply this McElrism to my life more often.

    • Except I recently corrected my best friend’s squat technique and saved her knees! She is VERY grateful – oh, wait, you said it was ok if their wrongness was hurting them… right. 🙂

    • Working on this one myself… I am not out to hurt anyone when doing it, but I think it’s human nature to want to “feel right”, which sometimes can have a much more negative affect that we initially anticipated!

  2. Well said! Great advice top to bottom. And my daughter totally digs the french fries in the Frosty. Cheers!

    • See the third bit of advice.

      You can only do these things one at a time, moment to moment. In time, it will become habit, I promise. And you’ll always slip up, that’s part of it. God knows I do.

  3. This “Hot Pocket in the oven” talk sounds like sorcery. Do I have to put it on a plate afterwards, or can I still eat it over the sink? Does it cease to be a shame snack? Am I allowed to garnish it?

    Today I learned a new bachelor recipe.

  4. BTW, about the second to last one, I’ve always been something like a existential humanist, or as Angel once said: “If nothing we do matters, all that matters is what we do.”

  5. For someone who gives awful advice on a weekly basis, you did a pretty good job here. Thanks for the reminders and for making me laugh. Happy birthday.

  6. All I can hear now when I read Hot Pocket is Jim Gaffigan’s disembodied voice… It’s like he’s a culinary ghost.

  7. Listening to the podcast, I’ve learned things that would have taken me another decade to grasp, or more likely never. Thank you for your wisdom. I will share this with all my Facebook friends.

  8. “-You’re the only one who can let go of your grudges. It’s worth it, I promise. They’re not doing you any good.”

    I agree with this one! 🙂

  9. All very good advice but I’m intrigued: what’s a Frosty? I trust you and I want to try it… but what is it?? Is it ice cream or something? What??? Seriously tell me!

  10. Great list. We aren’t defined in life by our jobs, titles, how much money we make, how big our houses are, etc. but the good deeds we perform and how we treat others. Our friends like us because of who we are – not what we can do or provide for them.

  11. Great writing. Such a simple way to be, respect one another and be honest with yourself and every one around you. Empathy is necessary, i find for myself it can be overwhelming at times. The human condition – One bad thing happens, we erase 10 good things from our minds. But it’s our responsibility to loose our selfish patterns as we grow, and accentuate our selfless ones. Thank you my friend, by putting energy out as such, to the readers. You’re writing made me feel a little better about today.

  12. “Don’t read the comments.” I KNOW. But I can’t help it! Then, I end up losing brain cells.

    And I wish more 22 year olds knew “Don’t correct people.” At this age, we are all competing to be the most narcissistic pseudo-intellectual on the planet and it is annoying.

    I love this list!

  13. I will give you a good comment because you should get one. Your points are well taken. Be careful of the water. Believe it or not you can drink to much. Good blog.

  14. Great list! “Dip the french fry in the Frosty.” <— I do this all the time. The only ones who say "ew" are the ones who haven't tried it yet 😉 xo

  15. All points were well said and taken.
    I have noticed that as well several times that taking the name of the person you are talking to and asking questions really matters.
    Amazing blog … Followed it 🙂

  16. This is a fabulous list! I did something like this when I recently made 50 ..Which , btw, is the BEST age (but that is another topic for another time..) ; so trust & believe Justin it just gets better & better from 33!!! 2 thumbs UP on your write

  17. ~ I really like the one you wrote about EMPATHY. If only more people would know the meaning of that word, life would be lighter, right? Btw, what’s your favorite learning on your post? 🙂 Congrats on being FP! Cheers! – Bliss, The Lurker’s List

  18. Thanks great blog. Just starting out on the blogging adventure myself after thirty -five years working in retail. “as long as ypu dont forgive ,who or wharever is is will occupy rent free space in your mind”

  19. Pingback: Episode 10: The ‘All By Myself’ Edition « Niall Everitt

  20. Pingback: Freshly Riffed 56: When It Comes To Cockneys, You’re Down On Your Knees | A VERY STRANGE PLACE

  21. I’m a tour guide. Whenever I ask for questions and the kids have things (questions/comments) to say, it’s a much better day at work. Even better day is when someone starts a question by addressing me with my name. I wear a nametag, so it’s not as authentic, but it’s still so nice that I get a little giddy every time.

  22. I picked up my bottle of water immediately I read it. That was good. I loved that and the grudges and the tip to be liked immediately and the inner voice….uhh…i loved ’em all….kudos and many thanks. congratulations on realising and sharing something so worthwhile…
    and the bit about correcting anyone…touche, my friend! bingo.

  23. I loved reading through this. I especially like the empathy thing. I am currently working on empathy and as you mention, it is doing me so much good 🙂 And everyone else, too, I think!

    Well done on being Freshly Pressed, too! I’m glad lots of people will get to read this!

  24. This is great! French fries in frosties taste like delicious waffles and the world needs to know! Today I’m going to try not to be an insufferable know it all and stop correcting. Thanks!

  25. Why do the food-related lessons stand out to me?? Fries and ice-cream: first tried it when working at Culver’s and a man ordered a vanilla shake to be mixed with fries. Elevating Hot Pockets: second only to pizza rolls. I’ll try the others. Thanks for the good post!

  26. I am 59, and I have little to add to these. it is a wonderful list. One piece that resonates especially with me is:
    “Make the person you’re talking to feel important without empty flattery.”
    That takes real skill. The most successful people I have met in the business world have this mastered.

  27. -You will remember the most embarrassing crap you do in your life forever and in perfect clarity!!! LAUGH OUT LOUD MOMENT – THANK YOU!!!

  28. Solid advice, except maybe for the Hot Pockets. They should be, altogether avoided, for being nutritional void. One, of course, can aspire to make their own from scratch. Definitely sound advice on empathy. Navigating emotional landscapes become much easier with knowledge and experience with possessing and wielding empathy.

  29. Cool you did well. It always good to know how to censor. I have to learn that. The picture looks funny. How did you learn that. Haha I could laugh a lot. So are you happy. Problems happen in life so we learn how to handle it. Bless. Okafor.

  30. Excellent post! I’m only 24, but happily I’ve learned my share of life’s little lessons. Except for the hot pocket in the oven…which sounds like some type of sorcery…which means I have no choice but to do it.

  31. “You’re the only one who can let go of your grudges. It’s worth it, I promise. They’re not doing you any good.”–Such sage advice! I think this one comes with age 🙂

  32. Ha ha ha….My head went BOOOOOM when I read the water drinking one…..need to find a way to say this one to myself and everyone around EVERY DAY……many of your maxims are eloquent and inspiring by this one so categorically true there can be no discussion….in a world of subjective judgements this objectively truthful statements trumps just about everything else…….tempted to promote it to ‘most useful sentence in the english language!!!!’ Bravo

  33. This was a sermon! Love every little thing. I want a Justin McElroy day-to-day quotable calendar. And I really hope you’re right about the embarrassing moments…

  34. Thanks for sharing–some good humour and some wisdom too. But I don’t believe you regarding the frosty. Hmm, well I think you’ve earned enough of my trust to venture out on this one. Here goes almost nothing . . . for Justin’s 33!

  35. Correction comment is true with many many people. Earlier in life I hated to be corrected, now I see it as personal growth! And yes on many occasions I have been resented, and thus learned to be still, and always assume good intent

  36. I was genuinely disappointed when the bullet points stopped coming. I think this a lovely post. Hopefully some of these points resonate with people, but in my experience it’s your own experiences that let you learn the lessons irrespective of whether someone has mentioned it previously. Mums must be a permanent state of holding in’I told you so’s. Nevertheless, I’ll try to keep these points with me.

  37. Great list! I definitely agree about using peoples names and making them feel special.
    This has another benefit as well because apparently, recent research has shown that those people who use others names regularly are much less likely to forget them.

  38. Great insights! It’s taken me years to quit correcting people, but it’s been worth it. I don’t like being corrected unnecessarily, and I’m sure my friends appreciate me not correcting them. Isn’t it amazing how a little empathy can change your perspective?

  39. What I learned from this:
    1.Don’t be a jerk
    2. Don’t take anyone for granted
    3.Enjoy the moment
    4.Be honest (always)
    5.Be humble
    6. Be kind
    7.Allow endings
    8. respect other’s wishes
    9.Fail openly
    10. and enemies are not enemies their just friends that don’t like you!!!!

  40. -Doing the good, brave, kind things can feel silly if you let your internal critic get in the way. Reminder: No one else can hear that guy.

    That is perfect towards my current chain of thoughts, but why is it better to not listen to my inner critic?
    Better question and more direct May be: how do you handle a lack of appreciation for your good, brave and kind acts and your inner critic starts screaming that you’re a blooming idiot for allowing yourself to be used?

  41. I really enjoy this and it is true, life is all about how we deal with the situation. Being 43 makes me a happy camper, although I have not fully meant the career goals that, I need to but I have certain degrees which means nothing if you do not have family and friends t

  42. I loved your life lessons especially the about Empathy. When I realized there was a true method to the madness, I was set free.. 🙂
    Oh and I also loved the tip about the hot pocket. I love those things. I started buying them for my then teenagers and as it turned out I cant stop eating them.

  43. Smart. Very smart. Had a few faves of my own – some of which I need to personally work on….including (but not limited to) gettin myself a frosty and fries for dessert tomorrow! 🙂 Thank you! Glad I found you featured on FP! 🙂

  44. Reblogged this on Marie Abanga's Blog and commented:
    I remember telling my mother at age 33 (that’s 1 year ago) that I had learned so much in the past 3 years than I had in the first 30 years of my life. Well the statement was made in a particular context but sure we need to live on to learn more and acquire wisdom along the way – or rather …

  45. Great piece, a list done well can be a fine thing 🙂

    I correct too much and reading this has made me resolve to stop, its a trait of a dick…

  46. I really truly enjoyed reading this. And when I say I enjoyed I really just mean felt like I got a sense of it. You are only slightly older than me but you certainly seem wiser. It’s crazy how much sense you make. Thanks for this. You really have me something to think about.

  47. Great list!
    I’m from Australia so no idea what frosty’s are – but maccas chips in ice cream = orgasm in your mouth

    Also I’m now thinking I’ll have to read this again if the only thing I took away from it is about fries

  48. Using people’s names and asking more questions about them. That is an extremely important point. Thank you for reminding me!

  49. Yes! This! And especially the Hot Pocket one! Anything frozen is always better revived in the oven! 40 minutes for a pan of pre-made lasagna isn’t usually what you “want” to do, but so very, very worth it!

  50. I really like the one where you said “Don’t correct people.” That’s something I can learn from (and thanks to you, hopefully I can get that down before I reach 33). I’ve also heard it described as “Don’t sweat the small stuff” or as my dad once said, “the key t a happy marriage is asking yourself, “Will this matter 5 years from now?” ha! Well-written. I like your humor too.

  51. It is to your credit that you have learned all this within 33 years! It took me 40 to realise that my internal critic isn’t the good human part of me.

  52. Thank you so much for the encouragement. You have validated some important things I recently realized and gave me hope pertaining to others. Truly appreciative.

  53. My generation has an infatuation with lists — probably because of ones like these, that so wonderfully capture truth in bulleted form! great stuff!

  54. Thank you for being genuine. I feel like you’ve helped a lot of people better themselves by your example. Also you funny af, so thanks for that too.

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