4Ls at 40

4Ls at 40

So, I turned 40 a couple of months ago. I know, who would have thought it, right? With my boyish good looks and luscious head of hair. Ahem. Anyway, people kept asking: “How do you feel?” Erm, I feel fine, thanks. Great in fact. I’m not sure if they were expecting a mental breakdown of some description. Sorry to disappoint.

Four decades in, I feel grateful and content. I’m also reflective, and the interesting thing is I never had this sense of calm when I was 30.Turning 30 felt like a much bigger deal. It got me thinking… What did I do in my 30s that I didn’t do well in my 20s? I thought of four things that remarkably all begin with L. So whether you’re 20, 40, 60 or 80+, it doesn’t matter.

Here are my 4Ls that hugely benefited me in my 30s that I hope will benefit you, regardless of your age… 

1. Learn, everyday

At some point in my early 30s, I made the conscious decision to learn something new, every day. And I can hand on heart say it has been the number one contributing factor to my career success.

Reading a book for 10 minutes, listening to one useful podcast (often on the go) and reading a blog. That’s it. A simple set of daily habits that over the years has had the compound effect of making even daft old me, a little smarter.

Switch your aimless smartphone scrolling for this learning habit and it will change your life.

The Raman in his 20s never got this. Too much partying and not enough initiative around my own development meant I enjoyed a great decade but now I am making up for lost learning.

2. Lead, responsibly

Leadership in my 20s probably meant stealing the show and being the centre of attention. Now, as much as my team will laugh at me for saying this, I am past that now (most of the time) … at some point in my 30s the penny dropped.

A good leader must set the tone and lead by example sure, but also create a platform for others to thrive and shine. As my team has also grown, I’ve learnt to recognise the responsibility that comes with being a leader. I never watched my mouth in my 20s. Verbal diarrhoea was the norm. But being mindful of what you say and recognising that others will follow suit is a major learning that I only realised in my 30s. 

3. Listen, intently

The number one thing that annoys me about people these days is a lack of attention span.

Sitting on Zoom calls and watching people unable to concentrate is something I find infuriating. Hello, I can see you texting and switching windows on your laptop! Unless you are there to listen, don’t bother. Maybe I just didn’t value my own time in my 20s. Thinking that whatever I would say would be of more value to whatever I was passively hearing.

Learn to listen properly to what is being said as opposed to a running commentary in your head, preparing your response or just talking. Listening actively makes you smarter, sharper, and better informed. It is also simply good manners.

4. Live, presently

I literally cannot tell you what I did in my 20s. I had fun that’s for sure. But I was so focused on doing whatever I would be doing next, I never really stopped to enjoy the view. Arrogantly, I dismissed meditation as something hippies did.

Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.

Ferris Bueller

And, although I still struggle with it today, being present is such an underrated ability. It enables you to see the world, heighten your senses, appreciate those around you and just genuinely enjoy the moment.

Whatever you are doing, it is no doubt better when you are present. Just pause and be. It helps you focus. And it is beautiful.

Not for one second did I master any of these Ls in my 30s. But by simply being aware of them and being more intentional about them, I’ve made major strides over the last decade. Improvements that have benefitted me and those around me. I hope they help you too.

Until next time…