My Birthday Gift to You: Thoughts That Guide Me

My Birthday Gift to You: Thoughts That Guide Me

Today on my 48th birthday, I wrote down a set of principles that run through my head on a daily basis. This is my gift to you.

  • You are always just one decision away from a totally different life.
  • The #1 skill for success in today’s world is to be indistractable. Distraction erodes your ability to achieve. Shut off your screens for an hour a day and focus on something that really matters to you.
  • Emotions are not typically caused by external events; emotions are caused by internal events. We get to choose the quality of our habitual emotions and therefore the quality of our life. Don’t allow what other people say or do to hijack your intentions for the day.
  • Change your relationship with discomfort. Embrace it instead of avoiding it. To achieve more, consistently get out of your comfort zone.
  • What’s your Perfect Day like? It’s hard to manifest a perfect day if you never envisioned it.
  • Live with gratitude. There are literally billions of people who wish they could have the problems I have; who wish they could have the disappointing salad the restaurant served; who wish they could have the clean drinking water I have; who wish they could have the pricey medical care I have; who wish they could have the hot shower I get; who wish they could have the safety and freedom I have. My simple life in America is equivalent to the luxuries that a king and queen had a mere century ago.
  • Great leaders don’t react emotionally to what’s going on; they respond intelligently after weighing options and consequences. Great leaders typically only need a few seconds to respond intelligently.
  • The words you use matter.
  • Know the outcome you want in every interaction. Adapt your behavior to achieve it. The strongest force in the human personality is the need to remain consistent to who we think we are. If you asked me if I’m an introvert or an extrovert, I would reply that I am whatever I need to be in the moment to achieve the outcome I want. I will not be a prisoner to an identity that limits me.
  • If you’re angry, count to 10 before saying something. If you’re really angry, count to 100.
  • Anger is sometimes useful. Much of the time the use of anger backfires, creating a different outcome than you want. To be angry at the right time, in the right way, is difficult.
  • I will not be a victim. Victimhood gives you comfort in the moment, yet in the long run it cripples you.
  • There is always another option to consider besides the two in front of you.
  • The average adult spends more time planning their vacations than planning their investments. When you spend more time studying how to build your wealth, you’ll create more vacations for yourself. Build generational wealth that will outlast you.
  • Know your Unique Capabilities – those are things you love to do, energize you, and are things you could do all day without really getting tired. When people see you operate out of your Unique Capabilities, they feel your positive energy and say that you are a force of nature. If you are stressed at work, you’re probably spending a lot more time on non-strengths than on Unique Capabilities. Intentionally spend 50% to 70% of your day engaged in your Unique Capabilities, and you’ll feel incredibly fulfilled and probably earn a lot more money.
  • Come from curiosity, not from judgment.
  • A naval officer always knows what to do, even when he doesn’t know what to do. A naval officer never says “I don’t know” because those words strike fear into the crew. A naval officer is all knowing, all powerful, and always “on.” When you’re in command, command.
  • Vulnerability is power. Give yourself permission to be vulnerable.
  • When you take care of the vertical (your prioritized relationship with God), the horizontal (everything else) takes care of itself.
  • When you grant grace to someone who was not graceful to you, you come across as elegant and in control. Perhaps they’ll even recognize that you didn’t respond to them with the same behavior they used with you, and they might appreciate it later.
  • Be growth focused and education based. Don’t allow formal schooling to interfere with your education.
  • People either bring energy to a room or they suck energy from the room. Bring it.
  • You can either be empowering, disempowering, or neutral with your words and deeds. Be empowering, especially with those who are disempowering.
  • Do you spend more time looking for what’s wrong, or what’s right? As a defense mechanism, the human brain is predisposed to first look for what’s wrong in the environment. Spend more time looking for what’s right.
  • Bet on yourself. Too many people bet against themselves, believing that they can’t do it or that they don’t have what they need. You have all you need – you have emotion, you have heart, you have connections, and you have God. Take that chance.
  • Exchange your expectations for appreciation, and your whole world will change.
  • Confidence is the sexiest thing a man can wear. Don’t rely upon others to give you confidence. Manufacture your own.
  • The average American adult spends over 4 hours a day watching TV. That’s at least 61 FULL DAYS a year of TV! What wonderful things could you do if your TV were turned off more often?
  • Almost every action you take is you auditioning for your next role.
  • If you want to be outstanding, you must stand out. To stand out is to invite criticism. Too many people seek to fit in and not stand out so they can avoid criticism. The strongest athletes, leaders, businesspersons, and performers don’t allow the thousands of criticisms they receive to take their focus away from their goals.
  • In the Bible, Jesus never rushes anywhere. When I’m rushing around, sometimes I tell myself to slow down and be more like Jesus. Even when I’m not rushing around, I tell myself to be more like Jesus.
  • Ask intelligent questions, and you’ll receive amazing answers.
  • When someone is upset with you, they’re telling you that something is important and that they feel that their values are being threatened. In an empowering way, ask them what’s important. You’ll de-escalate the situation quickly.
  • The conversation IS the relationship. While most conversations are not life-changing, any one conversation has the power to be life-changing for someone.
  • It’s okay to say “No.” A single yes to something important must be defended by a thousand no’s. “No” is a complete sentence.
  • There is a hidden opportunity in every moment and in every interaction. Discover it.
  • Want more money? Create incredible value for a lot more people, and they will gladly pay for the value they receive.
  • Spend more time listening to people who don’t believe what you believe. It’s healthy to challenge your own assumptions. Plus, you’ll create more allies and friends when you aren’t threatened by people who have different opinions than yours.
  • Too many people are killing themselves slowly with what they put into their mouths. Eat healthier.
  • We typically overestimate what we can accomplish in 1 year and underestimate what we can achieve in 10 years. To close the gap between where you are and where you want to be, attempt to achieve your 10-year goals in the next 6 months. You’ll likely not achieve those goals that fast, yet you will be much farther along than you ever thought possible because of the massive actions you took.
  • Every day, ask “Lord, how can I glorify You today?”
  • Things aren’t really hard if you break them down into small steps. A marathon is merely putting one foot in front of the other for a little while. Music helps.
  • Use music to be the soundtrack to your life, which is the best story anyway.
  • The best is always yet to come. It’s never too late to start.







Tai DeSa is a graduate of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.  He became a full-time real estate investor in 2004 after serving in the U.S. Navy.  Tai made colossal mistakes in investing (and learned some things along the way).  Tai has coached hundreds of entrepreneurs, real estate investors, and real estate agents on how to increase their income and net worth. He has helped hundreds of homeowners avoid foreclosure through successful short sales. Check out Tai’s books on Tai may be available for coaching and speaking engagements on a variety of real estate topics.  Send an email to

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