I turned 29.
From running from the police, being in jail and, broke with $15 in my bank to 4.0s in college, managing retail stores of 100+ employees and, falling in love a few times to building a multiple 6 figure business, speaking on stage in front of 100s and sharing these lessons.
I look back on this decade and can’t help but cry and smile at the same time.
Hellen Keller said it best:
“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”
I’ve found that you can break whatever narrative you’re stuck in and create the life you want – the choice is completely up to you on how you want to live your life.
A question I often ask on my podcast, Knowledge for Men: “Imagine you had 60 seconds to sit with your 20 year old self. Knowing what you now know today. What would you tell him to do and not to do?”
The real question is, though… the one that you should seriously consider as you read this article is…
Would that 20 year old self even listen to you?
Why would I ask this?
Because this article is intended for two types of guys – the first is a guy, maybe you, who’s past his twenties. The second is the guy who’s in his twenties and has an opportunity to make some radical life changes and to begin laying the ground work for an amazing life.
No matter which of these guys you might be… it’s never too late to absorb a little wisdom and mold your future into greatness.
So, (besides smacking my 20 year old self in the face) this is what I would tell myself…
1. You will be heartbroken…several times
But it’s actually okay – let me explain.
If I married the first girl I fell for, I would likely be divorced by now and paying child support to a woman raising my kid with another man.
Most couples will break up or get divorced by the time they hit 30 if they got together in their early 20s.
Yes, even that fairytale couple you know, posting all their perfect photos on social media… they too will be broken up I know it’s hard imagine.
Here’s the real kicker: you won’t be the same person at 20 that you are at 30. You really don’t know who you are and what you truly value at 20, so you’ll likely to dive into a relationship with someone who won’t be aligned with who you’re going to be by the time you’re 30.
You really shouldn’t be hard on yourself if things aren’t working out and you sense the need to break up. The sooner you do it, the easier it will be for the both of you.
Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional. – M. Kathleen Casey
Men often settle because they are scared they are never going to find anyone else who would want to sleep with them or love them back.
You don’t only have one shot at finding this special person who you can recreate this feeling with.
The old idea that there’s one special person out there for each of us is complete BS! And it’s foolhardy and even dangerous to try to cling onto something unreal because of fear, uncertainty, or the need to make the other person happy.
What about your own needs and happiness?
It’s important to get clear on what you really want in a relationship partner, and then become the type of man that that woman would be attracted to both physically & emotionally. Then go where you’re likely to find her will ultimately increase your dating success.
Most guys don’t go out at all, with the excuse that they don’t have the time or guys are looking for the women they really want in all the wrong places.
When you’re older you’ll really wish you were more courageous with women when you were younger.
You really don’t realize how much larger of a dating pool you have in your early 20s than when you get older. It won’t ever get any better than that.
Women in their 20s mostly don’t have kids, haven’t been married, and have more availability for dating; later in life as women become more career oriented, have kids, move to new cities for job opportunities, and have more serious obligations in their life, the pool gets exponentially smaller.
If there’s one area of your life that will bring you the most happiness, it is in relationships. Guys, don’t neglect this area with the stupid self-defeating excuses that you don’t have time or you’re too busy with work.
What are you working so hard for anyway…?
Stop lying to yourself and face your fears and start making more moves. You’re only getting older every day and women that you would love to be with are getting taken by other men who are making more moves
All in all, don’t ever settle with a woman out of scarcity. Accept that devastating break ups are a part of finding the right woman and know that you will find love again… and again in your life.
2. Women do not flock to you once you have money.
And if a few do, you should probably run like hell!
There has been no increase in the amount of women in my life even as my income has ballooned 10x, from being broke to today, where money isn’t an issue in my life.
Women look at me exactly the same way… as they should.
I’ve heard it before but didn’t believe it. So you’ll likely have to work your ass off for years to experience it for yourself, and learn that in the end: that money is not going to bring you the women you truly desire.
I have found that women like it most when:
1. She feels safe & protected, which allows her to feel comfortable in her femininity.
2. You create an environment that brings out the best aspects of her personally & professionally.
3. She can be 100% herself around you without any fear of judgement.
4. She’s laughing uncontrollably from the belly.
5. You stand up for yourself and your own values, as well as hers.
This is not at all to say that you shouldn’t make money and achieve financial success right away; just don’t get confused that once you have more money it will suddenly attract the women you want in your life.
I know too many men who say, “once I am worth X amount then I will start to focus on women and then I can ask her out.”
If you think this way, please grab your right hand, slowly lift it up in the air as high as you can and quickly slap your self in the right cheek.
More money means you’ll just live in a bigger house, have a nicer car and shinier shoes and be just as single, swiping right on Tinder with a premium account.
I know a lot of 7 and 8 figure earners who struggle with women or have settled with women out of scarcity.
More money won’t bring you the woman of your dreams… Only your character, personality and bold moves can make that happen.
3. Sex without an emotional connection is ultimately unfulfilling and a waste of time.
I used to pursue the one night wonders like it was the epitome of being a “man”.
Looking back at all the women I’ve truly enjoyed being with, none of them have come from a one night stand, a bar, club, or anything associated with drugs, alcohol or a European DJ (they all look the same dammit!).
Although, I do recommend that single men go to these places for the social experience they gain by interacting with many women and for the invaluable experience of overcoming fears and approach anxiety. That’s it – gain the experience and have fun. Don’t look for the future mother of your children in these venues.
On the other hand, sex with someone you have a strong emotional connection with is one of the best experiences that life offers.
I would rather have experienced a few women that I deeply connected with throughout my 20s than dozens of women whose names I can’t remember, where they were from or who wouldn’t recognize me standing in line at the grocery store now.
Don’t be the douchebag who’s happy he “hit it” and shares photos of the girl with all his friends.
Instead, go deep with a few women rather than swimming on the surface with many women who you don’t have a connection with or would care to remember.
4. Stop watching porn.
You’re going to waste countless hours doing something for which you’ll have nothing to show by the time your 30.
If you took this energy and pumped it into building a business, developing a skill, meeting new women or improving your existing relationships you’d be much happier.
Porn gives you a very screwed up view of how to treat women. It’s extremely degrading and reduces the level of deep intimacy you’ll have with real women. It can desensitize you to real sex, often leading you to softer erections and premature ejaculation.
You’ll put up an emotional shield with women and just go straight for having sex rather than listening, being present and vulnerable with her and loving her.
This will make it more difficult for you to engage in deeper levels of intimacy with women, which usually throws you into the vicious cycles that only breed more break ups and divorces and right back into more porn.
The University of Cambridge stated that porn mirrors that of drug addiction like meth and heroin do mainly because it’s free, there is an unlimited amount of novelty and it’s in your pocket 24/7.
It’s a dangerous drug – and it’s time to get off of it before you buy a VR headset, a premium pornhub account, and you’re caught by your roommate standing up on your bed humping the air at midnight on a Saturday!
5. Time, distance and life will separate you and your best friends
You will grow apart from almost all of your friends by the time you hit 30 because that’s just the way life is – people change.
Of course you’ll have the occasional hang out typically during the holidays when someone gathers the courage to call and set up a get together but it won’t be the same.
You might be thinking “oh not me and my boys, we’re so tight!” I thought the same thing too with friends that I spent every waking hour with growing up in high school and college.
People live their own lives as they should.
They get new jobs…
Move to another city or state…
Enter new relationships…
Change the way they view the world…
And even die…
On the flip side, you’ll make new friends that are more aligned with where you’re headed on your journey.
It’s nothing personal but more of an acceptance that relationships serve their purpose for that moment in your life
Relationships aren’t meant to last until the end of time. And if you try to force it could be stunting your personal growth.
If they do last great. But accept now that most won’t.
Relationships are really just two or more people coming together for a period of time. And when that time is over, people find a new crowd that serves them for where they are going next.
The problem is when people force friendships to stick. Usually out of scarcity when they have clearly outgrown their social circle but don’t make any changes.
If you find yourself having to force yourself to hang out with your existing friends, it’s likely that your values have changed. It’s time to move forward and find a new group of friends more aligned with who you are and where you want to go.
Don’t get overly attached to any one person or social group and understand that this too shall pass and it’s all temporary – no matter how great it is today.
Enjoy it while it is here and trust that you will be able to recreate connections like these again.
If you do find a few really long-lasting relationships, then congratulations, you’ve truly found people who are on your journey with you. Cherish them.
6. The way someone parties is a reflection of how they feel about themselves inside
Is partying every weekend really worth it?
I sometimes wonder if I could see how much alcohol I drank in my 20s and what that would look like.
How many cases of beer, bottles of liquor and cocktails?
Would it fill up an entire room or bar?
And all of that has gone through my poor liver…
I’ve come to realize that no amount of alcohol will create the feeling that you’re looking for.
…well maybe for about 20 minutes, but after that, it’s all downhill from there and you’ll end up with a half eaten burrito and a hangover when you wake up.
If you truly loved yourself at a level 10, would you snort cocaine or throw down shots of tequila until 3am?
If you’re in your early 20s experimenting okay I get it but after 25 how much more fun are you really having?
The toll this has on your poor body is tremendous.
Think about it – if you spend Friday and Saturday partying – that’s 2 nights a week and 8 nights a month.
That’s 25% of the nights each month you spend intoxicated.
Then the following day your hungover, so likely 40% of your month is spent partying or being hungover!
It’s no wonder that it’s difficult to chase your dreams and settle with whatever life throws at you in your 20s.
It’s easy to stay complacent when you’re intoxicated and trying to escape your reality on a regular basis.
Not to mention the hours you spend doing absolutely nothing while you recover from the hangover. Nothing like staying up until 3am getting shit-faced, sleeping until 1pm and spending the afternoon feeling sick and watching free porn all day.
Sounds like a recipe for success to me, how about you?
Go have fun but having fun doesn’t have to mean regularly damaging your one and only body and mind.
7. Don’t cash in on your degree, be so quick to grow up and climb the corporate ladder just yet…
I encourage you to pursue what you’ve always wanted to do – whatever that may be no matter how big or audacious it may sound.
We often label ourselves and put a ceiling on what we can achieve in our lives by the time we reach our early 20s and go for whatever we think we can get from there.
I’m telling you that you can break the ceiling and live the life you want, doing the things you want, with whom you want and where you want.
People will choose unhappiness over uncertainty. – Tim Ferriss
This is not woo woo new age bullshit. This is you giving the finger to that teacher who said you wouldn’t amount to much or that previous employer who treated you like crap and didn’t see the potential that was right in front of them.
When you’re 30, nobody is going to give a rat’s ass what you did during the spring semester of your college sophomore year. You’ll also discover that your degree is only a formality to most people and even employers.
People put way too much weight on where they went to college or if they even went at all and the types of grades they got.
What you did in college does not define your entire life – you define it by your actions and mind set.
I graduated from San Diego State University with a freaking degree in “Social Science” and I have people from Ivy League universities with professional degrees applying to work for me.
Keep in mind that it does not hurt you if you were an academic success I am not discounting your hard work.
I’m mainly speaking to those who weren’t academic successes growing up. If this was you, I want you to know and believe that you can still achieve great success in your life.
The real world is full of humans just like you and me, so what will matter most is the results that you can bring to the table and how you make others feel.
Look at it this way. Suppose you own a business and you’re hiring a sales person. You have two guys to interview and choose from.
The first is a graduate of the prestigious Wharton Business School with honors. The second is a guy who never even went to college.
The Wharton guy is sharp and has a lot of book learning and theory studying under his belt, but has never sold anything before. The second candidate has spent the last 7 years selling cars, time shares and boats and his average closing rate is north of 50%.
Which one would you hire?
Exactly – results and how you make others feel speaks louder than any paper.
So if you can do these 3 things you can go far in life:
1. Take action
2. Be consistent with that action
3. Always be willing to learn from those who get the results that you want.
If you can do the above then you can do anything you want in life and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks of you or what your past looks like.
If there was a theme title for your 20s it would be: take massive amounts of risk.
If you’re reading this and you’re not in your 20s, it can still be done. It will likely just have to happen between 6pm-10pm and on the weekends. Others have done this and made it happen, so don’t use your current age or daily responsibilities as an excuse.
What one man can do, another man can do. If it’s been done before then it can be done again.
The man you will become on that journey will redefine your entire life – and your future family’s life too.
8. Stop buying shit that puts you into debt to look cool.
Reckless spending prevents you from being free and adds more debt which creates more stress in your life.
People like to give off the perception that they are successful in their 20s and want to be like Zucks, Spiegel, and Beiber. Young and successful they “made it”. But in reality they’re pulling their hair out every time that credit card bill comes. They’re thinking about driving for Uber or renting out their living room on Airbnb.
No one really cares how much money you make.
The best thing you can do is to invest in yourself. Buy books. Listen to podcasts. Attend seminars in your field. Join social groups that are committed to growth in their field and success in life.
Your true education doesn’t end when you graduate college – it begins.
So many guys are scared and hesitant to buy a personal growth or business training course, personal coaching or to fly out to a seminar. But they’re quick to buy a trip to Vegas and throw money at a stripper while sipping on an $18 jack n coke.
People work so hard to attain freedom (as they should be) but what they do with their money often pushes them further away from attaining freedom and they often blow it on dumb shit that forces them to work even harder, creating more stress and less freedom in their lives.
It’s an endless cycle I tell ya!
The dumb financial decisions you make in your 20s you will pay for in your 30s and 40s.
9. Understand the difference between gross and net.
I spent much of my early life comparing myself to others which led to constant feelings of inadequacy, yet what I didn’t realize was that I was judging myself based off of fake personas that others put on.
People talk a big game and it’s usually not what you think.
When people say how much they make, they often talk about the gross revenue side of things like “yeah we do 7 figures.” That’s cool and a lot of money, but what are you taking home and putting into your bank. That’s the true test, and the big question that people don’t ask.
Most people won’t tell you their net because it’s significantly lower if not embarrassing.
Comparison is the death of joy – Mark Twain
A rule of thumb – it’s usually 15% of their gross.
Meaning that if someone says he did 1 million last year he probably netted $150,000. That’s a big difference when you’re thinking this guy is a millionaire and he’s acting like hot shit. In reality, he’s really pulling low 6 figures.
Even in real estate – if someone owns a portfolio worth 10 million he’s likely carrying about 8 million in debt too. Over the next 30 years this will likely pay off but right now the guy does not have 10 million in cash in the bank.
Look, when someone is flashy on social media it’s usually not what you think. I’ve met a lot of guys like this – some of the biggest ones actually!
Most people aren’t as rich as they claim or appear to be.
I’ve discovered that those folks who have achieved true success… those who really are crushing it… are the simplest and quietest about it.
They don’t want your attention because they don’t need it, they really do have a lot of money and don’t want to attract the wrong people into their lives and are scared of getting sued because they do have a lot of assets.
The loudest and flashiest person in the room is likely a fraud who won’t be around in five years’ time or you’ll see him on the next season of American Greed.
He’s secretly barely holding it together so don’t pay attention to these loud mouths on social media and just focus on you, your vision and where you want to go.
10. Chasing external validation is a billion dollar lie.
People try to find happiness by chasing external things that the best marketers in the world say you need.
The only way to bring about true happiness is to be truly grateful for what you have, learn to let go of shit you can’t control, and spend more time with the people you love and the people who bring out the best in you.
The more you feel the need to put on a front and seek validation from others the more miserable you’ll ultimately be – it’s a trap and you’ll never get anyone’s validation when you are seeking it.
Almost everything people do fails to bring them happiness, but they continue doing it because society says they should.
When people set a goal it’s often set by society. Something that was drilled into them from their past.
If you focus more on the question: “why do I want to achieve this goal?” You would stay more aligned to what you truly value and want out of life.
Rather than climbing up a ladder for decades and finally getting to the top, and realize that it’s been leaned up against the wrong wall this whole time.
Stop chasing happiness through external validation or material items – you are the only one who can give yourself happiness.
11. How you react to an event, problem or emotion is more important than the actual event, problem or emotion.
When a crisis occurs, what truly matters is how you look at it.
Napoleon Hill, author of the classic “Think and Grow Rich” likes to use a common theme in his teachings:
Every adversity contains the seed of an equivalent benefit.
Basically, every negative situation contains the possibility for something equally positive – an opportunity that you can turn into a benefit.
View it as a wakeup call that needed to happen so it doesn’t happen again in the future.
Crisis are a necessary ingredient to become a stronger more grounded man because what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.
Show me a man with a problem free life and I’ll show you a man who will fall to the ground and crumble when he meets his first problem.
In the midst of a crisis ask yourself…
What will you do with this?
What lesson can be found here?
How will knowing this help you in the future?
Finding the gift in every crisis is what makes you unstoppable in your life. You simply cannot lose.
The way a man handles himself in the heat of a crisis will tell you a lot about the resilience and grit of that man.
Whereas some will dwell on the past for years or decades and let it be the excuse as to why they are not a success in their life. You can actually grow stronger from the crisis and use it to propel you forward in life.
Like a slingshot, sometimes you have to go backward in order to go forward in life.
Your perspective is the one freedom that cannot be taken away from you – use it wisely.
12. You are not superhuman.
When I was 20 I used to feel like I could do anything with my body. I could run forever, swim, ride bikes, go for long hikes and felt that I could have made Special Forces with my mental fortitude and physique at the time.
I could eat a California burrito at midnight and nothing would happen the next day. I thought I was special and that my body would continue on like this forever.
It certainly did not…
I now have constant pains in my back, knees and pelvis.
I still work out and exercise but it’s much harder to do so and more of a chore.
I’m not as fast as I used to be.
When I eat like crap for a week I’ll see it in the mirror and feel it the next week.
Your body starts to expand and fat stays on much easier and it’s harder to take off.
I’m fortunate that I’ve been working out consistently and I’m still in good shape but nowhere near where I was in my early 20s
You can’t eat shitty foods like you used to, soda, sugary drinks, concentrate juices and alcohol, drugs all will take a toll on your body mentally and physically.
Hangovers last for 2 days making you think the world is coming to an end.
I used to be able to wake up and operate on 4 hours of sleep. Today if I try that it feels like I got smashed by a truck and the truck reversed to run me back over again.
I recommend you start now with your health and take it more seriously.
Just eat real food – (if the food is from a billion dollar company then they probably don’t have your best interest in mind)
Exercise 5x per week for 30 minutes if not more.
Drink more purified water and less anything else with sugar and alcohol.
Sleep 8 hours.
Remember that the seeds you plant today become the harvest of tomorrow… and that garbage in equals garbage out!
The truth is guys often want to work out to look good for women but really women don’t care that much about a 6 pack as much as they care about how you make them feel.
Your personality will always trump your abs and a woman who thinks otherwise probably doesn’t have much of a personality herself.
Your masculinity is not defined by any number (how much you bench or your net worth) but by your character.
All in all, your body will catch up to you so you must instill permanent healthy diet and exercise habits now.
13. Do not go out and look for a personality to replicate.
Be your own character in your own movie.
A lot of men are unhappy in their lives because they are playing the extra in their own story.
They are not the lead character in their own life!
Express yourself, have confidence in yourself and love yourself fully.
Too many people lock who they really are inside of a cage. Never to be seen or heard and are often confused as to why they struggle socially and in relationships.
To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment. – Ralph Waldo Emerson
The key is to let go of the need for external validation.
Understand that you are enough as is and nothing is lacking.
Choose yourself and no one else to be the hero of your own life.
The world is waiting for you to do this so stop being anyone other than yourself.
Let your personality out.
14. Learn to play the long game and dedicate 5-10 years to one skill.
You will never suck if you do something for 5-10 years and study and learn from the best people in that space.
Instead people drift from one thing to the next. They quit too soon and blame the thing as the problem and think it’s the wrong job, wrong relationship, or wrong business because it’s not instantly fulfilling them.
The people who can say, “I’m going to find a way, I’m going to figure this out, I’m going to solve this problem”. Others have solved it before me so there’s no reason why I can’t either will be the ones who can succeed and get what they want out of life.
Stop pursuing only what feels good – pursue your goals until completion.
There is virtually nothing that feels better than personal achievement. It’s where true satisfaction and self-confidence lies.
Stop looking for what is easy and start putting in the hard work and sacrifice necessary to achieve a goal.
The truth is you will likely fail more than once before you succeed.
It would be like if you were trying to be an MMA fighter and your basis for success was to not ever get punched or kicked in a fight. You will get hurt in every fight- but you can still come out on top and be a champion.
In any goal you set you will get hurt, fail and make mistakes but you can still win.
However, most people think, “I tried and I failed so I must not be good at this so I’m going to quit and find another thing I can instantly be successful at”.
A cool trick: stop viewing whether or not you failed or succeeded but look for a continuous process of growth in your life.
Are you taking action?
Are you still in the game?
Are you making progress?
If so, you are a success!
The only failure is when you decide that you are no longer going to pursue that dream and throw in the towel.
Stay in the fight.
15. Death starts to come closer to you.
I lost 3 family members this year.
When you’re young, it’s more distant. Maybe people you knew of in high school, older friends’ siblings, very distant relatives.
And it hurts. It’s painful and very sad. Your condolences go out to them.
Yet as you grow older, it seems like death is getting closer and closer to the people closest to you.
Direct family members and close friends. People that have known you your entire life.
The biggest eye opener is that it’s coming closer to you. That death is an inevitable part of life but you may not realize it because you are so young and it’s mostly been from very distant people to you.
Think about that for a moment – death is coming closer and closer to you.
So what are you really scared of now…?
Is that girl so hard to ask out?
Is that job so hard to quit?
Is that business so hard to start?
Is the thing you’re losing sleep over really such a big deal?
Stop jerking around, wake up and go live your life.
You know those things you’ve always wanted to do – this is your sign to go do them.
Start now dammit, because there are no second chances at this thing.
It’s been said that on your death bed, you don’t regret the things you did… you always regret the things you didn’t do.
This day, week, or month will never come again – make it count.
16. Make more time and find the money for traveling.
A regret that I have is turning down two different opportunities to travel the world (literally a 360 around the globe) and instead each time choosing to launch that exciting work project instead.
Looking back, I don’t even remember what it was that I was so focused on, but I do have a feeling of regret that I didn’t pursue the adventure when it was right in front of me.
The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page. – Augustine of Hippo
Every time I travel, I have fun, meet new people, eat new foods and expand my experience of life.
Don’t let money prevent you from experiencing all that the world has to offer.
Travel is not as expensive as you think; especially when compared to the experience – and growth that comes with it.
Go book that flight now.
17. Get the hell out of your head
You worry so much about what is likely a made up scenario in your mind.
You look like a freakin zombie when you do this!
Life is passing you by when you live in your head. You are literally putting yourself in mental isolation from the rest of the world.
Psychologists say that this is the worst thing you can do to a human – put them in social isolation yet we voluntarily do it to ourselves often.
Get out of your head and into the real world.
The answers to all of your challenges and finding real happiness is only solved in the real world and not in day dreaming trying to figure it all out in your head by yourself.
Break the cage and interact with the world around you.
Engage with it, play with it and be a part of your own life rather than being an observer of it.
Be in the moment more to experience all that life is offering you.
Wake up and live everyday as if you were to die tomorrow and learn as if you were to live forever.
Well shit, congrats on making it this far!
I know that sometimes it’s tough to hear the cold hard truth, especially when we’re young. That’s the biggest and most destructive irony of being a human being – we rarely take the advice freely given to us and have to learn it the hard way.
Yet you have an opportunity right here right now.
Take in my advice, seize the day and put aside your doubts and resist the temptation to blow what I’ve shared off.
It’s not easy, yet it’s so worth it!
You can commit to a life of constant growth and becoming the master of your own destiny. Or you can hand over the keys, bend over and let life cram a rusty broom handle up your six and hope for the best. Suit yourself.
One life leads to constant success of your own choosing and the other leads to a life of being a victim of circumstance and blaming others for your shortcomings.
If you were looking for a sign to make a serious move in your life then this is it.
You have got to be willing to make hard decisions, face rejection, face uncertainty, feel uncomfortable, fail often, and feel high levels of pressure because this is what is necessary for you to grow into the strongest version of yourself – as a grounded man.
If you’re not having doubts then you’re not pushing the boundaries far enough in your life.
The amount of adventure, excitement and success in your life is in direct proportion to the amount of risk you take on a consistent basis.
So fall forward and give it everything you got.
There’s something deep inside of you that is much more capable than you can possibly imagine.
It’s time to let that loose and get out of your own way.
Show me who you really are.
I’m not the only one waiting…
– Andrew Ferebee
P.S. – You don’t have to do it alone.
You have the opportunity to change your life with the help of a coach who’s been there and will walk with you on your journey.
Learn more about my men’s coaching services here
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