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A mentor once told me, “Your twenties are for learning. Your thirties are for taking action.” It’s funny I remember that now, the day I turn 30 years old.

I’ve spent some time thinking about what it means to reach this age. So far, it’s been a humbling reminder of how long and short life really is. I’m lucky to have made it this far, yet there’s still so much ahead. When we reach a “milestone birthday” there’s only so much time for reflection before we have to ask, “What do I want the next 5, 10, or even 30 years to look like?”

Throughout my twenties, I made it a habit to write down any quotes or pieces of advice I came across that seemed valuable. Going through those notes now, I’m shocked at how many great pieces of wisdom I’ve collected. Certain pieces I wrote down years ago, but am just now beginning to understand. There are others I wish someone had told me when I turned twenty.

One of my favorite books is Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius. Besides its overwhelming amount of straightforward wisdom, I love the idea that the Emperor of Rome (the most powerful man on Earth back then) sat down each night and wrote advice to himself on how to be a good person.

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Leonard Cohen’s first album, Songs Of Leonard Cohen, turns 50 this year. The late, great Zen poet was a master of his craft and a man who never let his creativity stop moving. When I listen to his lyrics or read his words, I can’t help but think, “Man I wish I’d written that.”

I can’t go back and steal his poetry, but I can use his philosophies for being creative. Cohen made a lot of beautiful music, but he also shared plenty of wise words on the craft of songwriting. Here are 11 laws of creativity I stole from Leonard Cohen:

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The other day, I beat my girlfriend, Ava at Gin Rummy 7 times in a row!

Our tournament started a few months ago in the Galapagos Islands. Warm ocean water, friendly sea lions, and no WiFi (gasp!). So, when it’d get too hot, we’d find shade and play cards.

We traveled for 3 months and learned that we had to mix adventure and relaxation with real PLAY.

It wasn’t just cards. We’d go bowling. Find water slides. Only speak to each other in foreign accents. Anything to stay playful. Anything to be silly.

When I play, time becomes invisible. I forget about goals and lists. I become a human being. Not just a human doing.

Sometimes I forget to play.

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