23 Lessons in ‘23

Adebola Adeniran
4 min readDec 29, 2023

It’s 7:15 am on Friday, Dec 29. I woke up with the last 8 lessons in this blog on my mind. I also woke up giving myself a pep talk on how I need more than the 4 hours of sleep I’m currently getting. It finally feels complete —like I have been able to get all my lessons for the year out of my head on paper. This post has sat in my drafts for the past 3 days and it’s now ready.

Adébolá in London

I usually never write “motivational” quotes or quotes to live by. In fact, I turn my nose up at people who do but growing older gives you so many new perspectives on life. In the past year, I’ve found myself on Quora reading materials like What Are Life Lessons I Should Know Before 40? What are biggest lessons you have learned in the corporate world? What did you look learn too late in life? etc. And the algorithm keeps serving me that content. I guess I have become one of those people who think about and answer those questions.

Without further ado, these are the 23 Lessons I learned in 2023 —

  1. You might be doing the right things in the wrong place. Consider that.
  2. Your life can change drastically in 2.5 months. Embrace the changes.
  3. Startups are hard. You need a combination of luck, magic and connections. I have learned the importance of having a deep and valuable network.
  4. Delay is not Denial. Some of the things I wanted two years ago, only just happened this year — without a lot of effort on my part.
  5. Romance is important. You’ll miss it when it’s gone. That gentle, soft, love that gladdens your soul. In the same breath, learn to let go. You deserve the fullness of joy.
  6. Money is important. Make it.
  7. You are the prize. Never forget.
  8. Talking to people from different backgrounds, of different ages, in different times of their life, of different social classes can change your mindset. When you change your mindset, you change your life.
  9. Bad times do not last forever even when they feel like they would.
  10. Ambition is contagious. Be friends with people who Dream AND Do.
  11. Show up even when you don’t feel like it. I started working out this year and I still struggle to get myself to the gym but I make sure to show up 2–4 times a week. Some people work out for the health benefits, I work out for a sexy back.
  12. People are important. Be kind to them. Hold on to your friends.
My friends at my surprise “Japa” party

13. Stay curious. Never lose your wonder for life. Remain wide-eyed. Mystified. Be just like a child.

Adébolá in Lagos

14. When you’re faced with a choice, choose yourself.

15. Learn to cook and bake. It’ll bring you little joys.

16. Save; You’ll need cash to unlock the opportunities that come when the sun is out not just for rainy days.

17. Confront yourself. Write down the things that scare you and walk through them.

18. Get a skincare routine and stay consistent with it. Don’t forget your sunscreen.

19. Drive an Electric vehicle at least once; they’re worth the hype.

20. See a Dentist; Brush twice daily. You’re getting older.

21. Hire a Virtual assistant. Optimize your time to focus on the things with the greatest ROI.

22. Don’t say YES to everything. You’ll burn out.

23. Heartbreak leaves a mark on your soul forever.

In pure Adebola fashion where I express myself in many words, Here are 6 bonus lessons:

24. Date kind women. When love fades, and attraction dies, kindness is all that’s left — a healthy consideration for others.

25. We all size each other up. People make judgements about you from the moment they meet you: where you work, what you do, where you’ve lived, who you know, what you know. Always leave a lasting impression.

26. Marry up.

27. How you say things is more important than what you say. People love stories. Never let the truth get in the way of a good story — Mark Twain.

28. Do great work. People respect that.

29. Done is better than perfect.

Here’s to not repeating the mistakes of ‘23 and learning new lessons in ‘24.

Ire o.

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Adebola Adeniran

Chief of Staff at Moni (YC W22) | Developer Advocate Building on Tezos