Last Updated on 18 April 2023

I wrote this on my 40th birthday in 2009. I lived in Amsterdam in the Netherlands, and it is the Dutch custom – on your birthday – to bring your own cake or treats to your birthday celebration. While this tradition differs from what I’m used to in the United States, it’s what they do locally. Per tip #33… local tradition rules when you’re a visitor somewhere.

Since cake doesn’t ship well, my treat to you are slices of advice. These are bits of wisdom I’ve experienced, learned, or heard.

I hope you find a few that help you.


  1. Be nice to everyone. It’s a small world, after all.
  2. Avoid jargon.
  3. Don’t demean people.
  4. Treat people on an individual basis. Some people are jerks. They don’t represent all the people from that family, company, town, country, or religion.

Around Work

  1. Perception is reality.
  2. Save Often. Back-Up Regularly.
  3. Don’t expect it; earn it.
  4. Turn off the microphone before heading to the restroom.
  5. Where you work, be in business for yourself.
  6. Perform at the level of the role you want.

It’s Your Attitude

  1. Add value. Do more than is expected.
  2. Sometimes you have to fake it until you make it – whether it is to be in a good mood or how to pull together that big presentation.
  3. Hope for the best, and plan for the worst.
  4. Know your boundaries, and make them clear.
  5. You’ve got to do what you’re passionate about.
  6. Everything matters.
  7. Be yourself.
  8. No matter how bad you think you were, there will be those who thought it was great. No matter how great you were, there will be those who thought it was terrible.

Random, But Important

  1. Use the word quash, not squash.
  2. Your tongue will stick to frozen metal, and it does hurt.

Bigger Ideas

  1. Reading, travel, and new experiences make your brain better.
  2. Arrive with the solutions, not just the problem.
  3. Always have something with you to write with and on.
  4. Maintain a bulls-eye, a long-term goal for yourself on the horizon.

Staying Young and Creative

  1. You never have to grow up as long as you’re childlike and not childish.
  2. Visit the Disney Theme Parks.
  3. Mix things up. Take a different route to work… to life.
  4. Maintain your sense of humor.


  1. Take time to stop and smell the roses, literally.
  2. Prepare your house as if you were getting it ready to sell it. Fix the garage door. Give it that paint. But then stay.
  3. Different doesn’t mean wrong. Just because they sound, look, talk, or act differently from what you’re used to doesn’t mean they’re wrong. (Your difference probably seems wrong to them).
  4. Act like you’re moving away from your town. Do the things you’ve never done but said you would.


  1. When you visit another country, remember YOU are the foreigner – local tradition rules.
  2. Learn how to say hello, goodbye, pardon me, please, and thank you in the language of the country you’re visiting.


  1. Measure twice, cut once.
  2. Work smarter, not harder.
  3. Surround yourself with greatness.
  4. Be remarkable.
  5. Mistakes eliminate the wrong paths to doing something successfully.
  6. Be an asset-based thinker – focus on what you’ve got versus what is not.