Life can be short and unexpected – in the time we have, stand in your own circle and unapologetically be yourself.

 On Saturday, I found out that my friend had been hospitalized. By Wednesday, he was dead. Eton and Yale-educated, he was one of the smartest people I’ve ever known. Effortlessly posh but deeply connected to the troubles of the common world, he had a mistery of a modern James Bond, with puzzles of his life carefully pulled out with respect to those he was talking to.

We became friends in our early twenties through the lux et veritas Yale circle and have followed each other through extraordinary professional successes. When I needed to phone a friend, he was the one I would call, irrespective of the time zones we found each other at. Whether he was in England, Afghanistan or America, he was ready to pick up the phone in the middle of the night and offer the most sobering advice about success, struggles in life and give you mental strength when you felt you did not have any left to continue.

The last time we spoke on the phone, I did not know that this would be our last conversation. Faced with his sudden and early departure from this life, I would like to share with you a few notes on life.

1. Life can end at any moment

That really is true. That really is true as it does not take for a war, accident or a shooter with a gun to happen for your life to end. Protect your health, protect your wellbeing and most importantly, protect your finances. Have medical insurance. Do regular checkups. Care about yourself and live your life without fear. When you realize that life can end up at any moment, you will know that nothing really matters more than yourself. You are the only one who matters.

2. You should absolutely not care what haters say about you

On the sidewalk of your path to success, there will be haters, trolls, those who will try to attack you, intimidate you, disparage you, diminish you. I do not know how to convince you of this, but the truth is, you should not care. If they try to defame you, send your legal team after them.  If they are cyberstalking you, document everything and call the FBI. Remove them out of your way without any warning, let the legal and law enforcement authorities deal with them and just keep going. If you are still upset about what someone says about you, ask yourself if this person will be attending your funeral? Exactly. There is no reason for you to care.

3. Life is not fair, make sure you cut yourself the best deal possible

If you do not take care of yourself no one else will. If you do not protect your own best interests no one else will. I would recommend everyone to take business classes, or at least read books on business. Like Steve Forbes once told me, “business is the common sense approach to life”. You must assure that you are getting what you deserve. Never undersell yourself and never accept to work under your market value, unless it’s a charity or a good cause. If you do not know how to act in your best interest, get a mentor. Treat yourself like a million-dollar enterprise.

4. Follow your intuition when it whispers to you to say no

I am the CEO of my independent media venture The Pavlovic Today and many times I get approached by people who ask me to hire them. As a White House Correspondent, I get many offers from potential investors who want access, whose intentions do not correspond with mine and to whom I need to say no to. No is a complete sentence and if your intuition is telling you that something is off, there is no one single reason for anyone to convince you otherwise.

5. Do not extend your energy to anyone who does not deserve you

Once you realize that you do not need to extend your energy to others, once you understand that you do not need to smile or go out of your way to be nice and please others just to have them on a good side, you will start to value yourself more. Standing in your own circle is the best gift you can give to yourself. Do not do anything you do not feel like doing just because it’s expected of you. Be you. Talk like you. Act like you. And make sure you know when it’s warranted not to give a damn. That’s all it takes.  

Read also: 25 Resolutions For 2018: New Year, New Commitment To Integrity And Self-Development

Ksenija Pavlovic is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of the Pavlovic Today, The Chief White House Correspondent. Pavlovic was a Teaching Fellow and Doctoral Fellow in the Political Science department at...

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