1 Billion Seconds

Somewhere between the ages of 31 and 32 (towards the back half), every individual will log their 1 billionth second of existence outside of their mother’s womb. I threw that last bit in there as there will always be that one dude who points out that existence begins prior to birth (I do agree with him). And, having logged 1 billion seconds of existence, you ought to have a decent idea of what you are and are not in this life.

I mean, 1 billion seconds is a pretty large sample size. You’re probably not going to run into any more surprises, at least, not in regards to who you are as a person.

In order to have arrived at the 1 billion second mark with anything that can be measured as a success, a handful of skills will need to have made their way into your toolbox. Now, while these skills vary from person to person and from career to career, they still exist on some level.

Dan Dover, over at Life Listed, has put together a small list of the skills that he needed to develop in order to successfully arrive at the 1 billion second mark. Maybe your list is similar. Perhaps it is not. Let me know what makes you tick in the comment section below.

The instant that this blog post goes live I will turn exactly one billion seconds old.

Upon looking back on my first one billion seconds1, I want to share the learnable skills that have helped me the most in my life. In addition to sharing the skills, I also want to share with you the learning resources that proved most effective when learning the given skill.

I hope that by reading this, you are enabled to take action and make the most out of your next one billion seconds.

This is not meant to be a definitive list of valuable skills. Instead, this is intended to be an opportunity for you to benefit from my past experiences. Your experiences have been valuable too. Please consider sharing your perspective on the learnable skills that have proved to be the most valuable during your life in the comments below.


Every instant that I have spent improving my ability to tell effective stories has paid dividends. Whether it was public speaking, contract negotiation, speed dating or writing books, storytelling has been my primary and most effective tool for expressing my ideas and perspective.

The best learning resource: The Beginner’s Guide To Live Storytelling


Intimidated by the complexity, risk and “adultness” of investing, I wasted too much precious time avoiding learning the basics of investment strategy. Having now built a system around the fundamentals, I now have the global economy working for me. The dividends that public companies pay me regularly now make up a sizable and important part of my total income. This money in my pocket that is generated from the work of other people will now likely continue to grow and serve me for the rest of my life.

The best learning resource: The Simple Path To Wealth


In a world of abundance, those who firmly understand the value of plenty have the shortest path to happiness. In a world where the wealthiest and sexiest people in the world can instantly broadcast their successes and extravagance to the world, the idea of plenty becomes a rare skill.

The best learning resource: The blog of Mr. Money Mustache

Learning How To Learn

Meta-learning is the practice of learning how to learn. It emphasizes the acquisition of critical thinking skills rather than the acquisition of knowledge. Every step I have made in this direction has made me better and better equipped to handle the future.

The best learning resource: This free class on Learning How To Learn


Meditation is the best tool that I have found for putting life into perspective. It helps separate the important from the non-important and gives you access to the tools necessary to live life well.

The best learning resource: The Beginner’s Guide to Meditation


Rationality is consistently the most powerful tool that I have for navigating life. It has helped me avoid countless traps and has lit the path ahead of me for as long as I can remember.

The best learning resource: I don’t know what is the best learning resource for this skill. If you do, please share it in the comments.


It is remarkably easy to forget or lose perspective on how incredibly improbable it is that we all exist. Practicing gratitude helps you to appreciate how lucky we all are. It also has the fantastic benefit of quieting negative emotions.

The best learning resource: Simple practice. I have found it valuable to spend 60 seconds once a week practicing feeling grateful for something that I have never felt thankful for before. Be it my left foot or my ability to smell, these simple reminders help me make the most of life.

Mental Resilience

Life is hard. Problems are endless. Your only chance for thriving is to build up your mental resilience.

The best learning resource: While not easily reproducible, the best learning resource I found for this skill was to spent A Month Alone In The Wilderness.


My most productive thinking time doesn’t come in the shower or late at night in bed, instead, it happens while I am taking a long walk by myself. This extremely valuable use of time is free, easy for most and can be done almost anywhere. Be it dropping out of school, starting my life list or choosing my purpose, I’ve decided all of my most important decisions during solo walks.

The best learning resource: The best resource I have found for this is less about walking and more about journeys. Read The Alchemist.

Cultivating Relationships

By far the best time that I have spent during my life was that when I was cultivating a vital relationship. Other people are what make our time on earth worth living.

The best learning resource: There is no trick needed. Just spend more time with the people who are important to you.

Life is Strange. Live it Well.

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