I turned 30 only a few months ago. And I can’t believe I just wrote that…
Looking back on my 20’s, there are countless lessons that I wish I could have learned that would have saved me years of pain, heartache, and frustration.
I’m grateful for where I am today and I wouldn’t change anything about the past decade of my life.
However, if I had it to do all over again, knowing what I know today, there are thousands of things I would tell my 20-year-old self.
Here are the 25 lessons I wish I had learned before 25:
1. Be Self Reliant
Learn to help yourself and go after what you want without the approval or aid of others. There is where true power lies. No one is coming to save you. You must captain your own ship and take charge of your own destiny.
No one is coming to save you and the sooner that you take full ownership of your life the sooner you can live exactly the way that you want to. Your parents, your friends, and the government aren’t going to give you the life that you want.
If you want to live life on your terms then be self-reliant and make it happen.
2. Take Care of Your Health:
If you set good health habits in your 20’s the rest of your life will be much easier. I know people who are 30 who look like they’re 40 because they didn’t take care of themselves. I was lucky to pick up an exercise regimen and whole food diet in my mid-20’s but I wasted years with late nights, excessive alcohol, and lack of exercise.
If you are serious about becoming your best self, then it’s mandatory that you exercise at least 3 times a week, sleep 8 hours a night, eat whole foods, drink plenty of water, and avoid drugs. You can thank me later.
3. Don’t have unprotected sex:
Just don’t… The short term pleasure is not worth the possibility of a permanent STD or having a child with someone you have little connection with. Sex is amazing, there’s no denying it. But don’t throw away the next 18 years of your life for a quick orgasm.
4. Your Parents Don’t Know Everything:
Your parents, despite what you may have believed when you were a child, are people just like you. They want what’s best for you but might not know what is best for you. If your parents don’t have a specific result that you want, then you don’t need to feel like you have to take their advice. Respect them, of course, but don’t listen to them all the time.
You wouldn’t take fitness advice from an overweight relative just because they love you. And you can’t take life advice from your parents just because they raised you. Figure life out for yourself and make your own decisions based on the best evidence and advice you can find.
5. Be Careful who you listen to:
If you wouldn’t trade lives with another person then you probably shouldn’t take advice from them. It’s like taking financial advice from someone $100,000 in debt (unless they tell you what not to do but even then…)
Be very cautious about who you listen to and take very few opinions. Even if someone has all of the trappings of outer success, they could be completely emotionally bankrupt and miserable on the inside.
Be slow to listen to the opinions of others and quick to question advice no matter where it comes from.
6. Save Now, Enjoy Later:
Seriously, save at least 15% of every dollar you earn now. Like I talk about in my ultimate guide to finances, you need to build a war chest so that you can jump on opportunities and create real freedom in your life.
By saving 15-20% of my after-tax income, I’ve been able to quit my job and start Knowledge for Men, quadruple my investments in the crypto market, and make a killing on short-term business opportunities that would have otherwise been out of reach.
It isn’t an easy habit to stick to, but you will thank me later when you have a stack of cash and you want to quit your job or start that business.
7. You Aren’t Special and No One Cares:
I know that plenty of you were told that you are special. You’re not and no one cares about you. If you want to be “Special” then stop talking about what you’re going to do someday and go do something that is worth remembering.
Quit acting like you are the center of the universe or that you are somehow entitled to success. The world is filled with people who are hungrier and more driven than you are. Let your actions speak louder than your words and stop pretending that the world owes you anything.
8. Success Leaves Clues:
There aren’t many people who became successful through luck. If you want something, chances are, there’s a proven system for getting it. Follow those who have the results you want and you’ll likely get the same result. Yes, you need to be careful about taking advice. But when you find someone who is living the life you truly want, listen to everything they say and apply it immediately.
I’ve followed a small handful of mentors for the past few years and I was able to 10X my results by following the proven systems that they’d shown me.
9. Quit Whining:
Again, no one cares… Complaining does nothing but lower your value and piss other people off. Oh, andit can actually make you dumber. So I strongly recommend that you quit complaining and start owning your life. Everything is better when you are more positive and less bitchy.
10. Toughen Up:
Life isn’t fair. People can be mean. Get over it and toughen up. Again… NO ONE CARES. You’re 1 person in a world of nearly 7 billion.
11. Stop Setting Arbitrary Goals:
No, you don’t need to be a millionaire by 30, but you should be financially independent as soon as possible. Set goals with purpose, don’t set them because that’s what society or some crazy dude on youtube wants you to do.
When you set goals that are meaningful to you and congruent with your deepest values and beliefs they are easier to achieve and will feel more satisfying upon completion. There’s no joy in achieving someone else’s version of success so stop letting other people define what you want.
12. Self Knowledge is Key:
If you don’t know yourself, then you will wander aimlessly throughout your whole life like a leaf in the wind. Understand yourself and your whole life will change in an instant.
It’s not easy to do the deep internal work required to achieve massive self-knowledge. But it’s essential to your success.
13. Success Takes Time:
Overnight success isn’t a thing and if you want to be successful then you need to be patient. Want to be a millionaire by 25? Good luck… Play the long game and enjoy your millions at 40 while all of your friends keep spinning their wheels trying to get that promotion.
14. Don’t Get into a Serious Relationship Yet:
At 20, you don’t know yourself well enough to know who you want to spend the rest of your life with. Date around and experience plenty of different people, don’t settle down until you are closer to 30.
An added bonus of staying single is that it will give you more time to focus on your own personal growth and will save you thousands of dollars in dates, presents, and an expensive divorce if things fall through.
15. Sleep at Least 7.5 Hours a Night:
This might sound funny but it’s true. If you sleep less, then you are destroying your performance and odds of success. Sleep more and sleep better. Don’t feel guilty about sleeping more.
16. Invest in Self Development:
Personal growth isn’t “cheesy” or “woo woo”. It’s effective. Read Tony Robbins books, attend seminars, hire a coach, do whatever you need to do to become the strongest version of yourself.
No one ever regretted improving themselves and becoming stronger. Neither will you.
17. Take it Easy on the Booze:
No one dies wishing they’d had more drunken nights where they threw up on themselves and passed out. Chill out with the liquor and you will save yourself money, embarrassment, and time. Most of your biggest regrets and mistakes will come from when you were overly intoxicated.
It’s totally ok to enjoy a few drinks with friends but learn the art of temperance and don’t overdo it on a regular basis.
18. Sex Without Connection Isn’t Worth It:
Look, you don’t have to save sex for marriage if you don’t want to, but don’t go screwing every person that you find somewhat attractive. Save it for people you connect with and you will enjoy it much more. Don’t give away the most intimate thing you can do with another human to just anybody.
19. Live Below Your Means:
Even if you start making 6 or 7 figures in your 20’s, don’t live like it. Save, invest, and grow your wealth so that you can do whatever the hell you want in your 30s and beyond. This will set you free.
You’ll never look back and say “Damn why did I take that trip to Southeast Asia, South America or Europe!” You won’t regret it. Book it now.
21. Laugh More:
Life is too short to be serious all of the time and so focused on “getting ahead”. No one cares where you are in life they care more about how you make them feel.
22. Be More Open to New Things:
Have some humility and be open to new experiences. If you live your life in a box you’ll miss out on so much that life has to offer.
23. Avoid Narcotics:
Look, if you want to smoke pot or try out psychedelics, I won’t judge. But for the love of god, avoid hard drugs. I’ve seen many people who had a lot of potential throw it all down the drain because of drugs. It all started on the weekends for fun they said…
24. You Don’t Know Everything:
You’re not that smart and I’m not that smart. Stop holding onto your need to be right and focus on the truth. Be curious instead.
25. Be Happy Now:
Seriously, you have everything you need right now to be happy… Just appreciate things more and enjoy your damn life today in this moment. If you can’t do that then you’ll certainly throw away your 20s no matter what you do.
You only get to live your 20s once so don’t miss it…
And if your in your 30’s, 40’s, or even 50’s? These lessons are just as applicable to your life if not more so. The sooner you can learn and implement them, the better you will be. No matter what your age is now.