How to Find Yourself in Your 20s: 13 Lessons You MUST Learn to Be the Best Version of Yourself

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Your 20s are the defining decade of your life…

The time when you transition from boyhood to manhood. And this transition is crucial.

To make the most of your 20s, you must learn how to be happy with yourself as you are today, while you work toward becoming the man you want to be tomorrow. You must learn how to find yourself, discover who you really are, and break free from who you were conditioned to be as a child.

Most importantly, you must learn how to become the best version of yourself and show up as the man that the world and your dreams need you to be.

And today, I’m going to show you how to do it.

1. Say and Believe the Three Most Powerful Words in the English Language 

There are thousands and thousands of people out there leading lives of quiet, screaming desperation, where they work long, hard hours at jobs they hate to enable them to buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like. – Nigel Marsh

If you want to learn how to find yourself…

How to be at peace with yourself…

How to be happy with yourself…

Then read that sentence again.

“I am enough.”

Period.

Notice that I didn’t say, “I will be enough when…” 

I said, “I am enough”. Today. Right now. In this very second.

In your 20s, it’s all too easy to compare yourself and your success (or lack thereof) to others. It’s easy to get sucked into the social media void and believe the hype that every other 20-something is running a 7-figure business, rocking six-pack abs, and sipping Pina Coladas on a yacht surrounded by models.

But they aren’t. And while you’re busy comparing yourself to other men on social media, some other guy is looking at your life and wishing he was you.

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To find yourself, you must first realize that you are enough and accept yourself–shortcomings and all.

You might not like where you are in life right now and you might not like the man you are today. But you’re still enough because you’re human. By very definition, you are an adaptation machine. You evolved to evolve and all the challenges, obstacles, or personal failures holding you back from happiness and self-acceptance can be overcome.

You are enough…so act like it.

Other men might be bigger, smarter, stronger, richer, or better looking than you are. But you are still enough. You are enough to achieve everything you have ever wanted and you must remember that what one man can do, another man can do.

When you internalize this “I am enough” mentality, you’ll no longer feel the temptation to conform and fit in. You won’t allow society or social media to dictate your self-worth. You won’t believe the lie that you need to “buy this” or “wear this” or “look like this” to be happy with yourself. You know that you can be happy and be at peace now…today.

How to get this done: Literally say the words. Let it become a mantra that infects every decision you make. Now you’re making better choices getting better results. Bam.

2. Listen to The Princess from ‘Frozen’ and Learn to “Let It Go”

“The truth is unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward. – Steve Maraboli”

You will never find yourself by clinging to the past.

No matter what happened in the past…how much someone hurt you…how painful your childhood was…how much trauma you experienced and suffered…holding on to it does you no good.

The past is the past. It’s already happened and you can’t go back and change it. Allowing your mind to get trapped in toxic “what if” loops don’t serve you and actually holds you back from learning how to be happy with yourself.

So take a line from the least manly movie of them all and “Let it go”.

When you live in the past, you expend all of your energy and attention on a futile cause. No matter how much you want to, you can’t do anything about what has already happened. So stop trying.

The past is dead weight. Drop it, move on, and use the pain to learn how to be the best version of yourself.

That’s it.

Identify the people, thoughts, and patterns you’re holding on to that are no longer serving you.

Accept them, release them, wish them well, and take your first step to a brighter future.

3. Hard Work Works…Until It Doesn’t 

Hard work is mandatory for success. You cannot reach the pinnacles of financial, personal, physical, or relational success without work. Period.

But hard work, in and of itself, isn’t sufficient to help you find yourself and engineer the life of your dreams.

If your hard work isn’t focused into your ambitions, your goals, and your vision, then, by default it will only serve to fulfill another man’s vision and create abundance for him…not you.

As such, you must work hard toward your goals.

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Your 20s are the time to lay the foundation for your future. To take risks. To go all out on your vision and desires.

Treat them as such.

If you’re working a job right now (and you don’t want to be), start investing your free time into building a side hustle and creating freedom for yourself.

Get started today and learn to trust the process.

With the combination of hard work, consistency, and a single-minded focus on your dreams, you can create a life wilder and better than anything you ever imagined.

4. Tap Into the Most Powerful Human Emotion to Supercharge Your Growth and Success

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” – Eckhart Tolle

If you want to learn how to be happy with yourself…how to be at peace with yourself…how to be kind to yourself…

Start by learning how to be grateful for everything in your life.

Don’t just ‘think’ it…feel it. Deeply. Powerfully. Overwhelmingly.

A deep appreciation for your life, your possessions, your opportunities, and your advantages breeds an attitude of abundance and possibility. It opens up doors where before there were only brick walls. It opens your eyes to the opportunities and possibilities that have always been around you.

Listen…

The odds of being alive, today, as the man you are are so infinitesimally small, they’re basically zero (technically, the odds are 1 in 10…followed by 2,685,000 zeroes). You have one of the greatest gifts in the universe. The gift of being a human being in the 21st century with access to the internet.

Your life, no matter how much you might hate it right now, is fucking amazing.

Look around you. Look within you. Everything you see is something to be grateful for. Feel it in your core. The energy of your authentic gratitude is going to draw more to you. Gratitude spawns things to be grateful for.

5. Get Off Your High Horse and Remember that You Don’t Know Shit 

I get it…

In your 20s, you feel invincible. Nothing can touch you. You’re going to live forever. You’re going to achieve more than Elon Musk, Tony Robbins, and Steve Jobs combined.

But you’re not, it can, and you won’t.

As you grow up, you will find that life has a funny way of instilling humility.

That is…if you lack humility, life will beat it into you with a sledgehammer.

When I was in my 20s, I thought that I had it all figured out…that I was the smartest and wisest sonofabitch on the planet.

Today, in my 30s, I realize that I didn’t (and still don’t) know shit.

And all of my attempts to fulfill my vanity fell short and reminded me just how unimportant I really am.

Get this through your head…now.

You don’t know everything and you’re not the best at anything.

And the less preoccupied you are with appearing like you have your shit together–by focusing on your haircut, your popularity, your godforsaken Facebook, Instagram, Twitter page–the more open you will be to creating some truly magical shit in your life.

Realize the scope of your life. Think of the size of your community, your city, your country, your world, your universe and see yourself in each one.

Then, realize the impact you can have on each and every one. That awesome scope, that feeling you get from looking at it, that’s humility. It is the stuff wonder is made of.

6. Don’t Play by The World’s Rules…Make It Play By Yours 

“The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.” – Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

Juxtaposing my little pep talk on humility, it’s important that you temper your humility with self-reliance.

Men who become too humble–who self-flagellate and believe that they truly know and are nothing–are just as dangerous as the supremely arrogant.

The key to finding that fine balance is to accept your insignificance without being controlled by it. You might not be important in the eyes of the universe, but that doesn’t mean you have to bend and conform to the whims of society.

Blaze your own path. Be a visionary. Celebrate other people’s success and don’t be too hard on yourself if you misstep.

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There will be plenty of opportunities to succeed as long as you have the courage to meet them.

You will never learn how to find yourself if you don’t first trust yourself and decide to make the world play by your rules. No one else can play your game, write your song, realize your dream. It is your duty to get it done. No one else will do it for you.

So blaze your own path. Chart your own course to the life you want. Listen to the voices and opinions of others, but do not delegate your life and decisions to them. Stand up for yourself and be willing to take the unconventional route.

Whatever you want to achieve, whoever you want to be…you can.

But to do so, you must stop playing by the rules of society and instead make society play by your own rules.

7. Do What You Love, the Rest is Bullshit 

You will never learn how to be at peace with yourself, how to be happy with yourself, and how to be the best version of yourself if you spend your time mired in bullshit work that you hate.

Life is too short to sell your soul for pennies on the dollar and forgo your dreams in pursuit of security.

Follow your bliss and your ‘work’ will feel timeless. Find work that inspires you. That will generate the velocity to work insane hours, make the most in return, and love what you do all the while. You find yourself by doing work that you love.

Your 20s is not the time for making your resume look awesome.

“Building up your resume is like saving up sex for old age.” – Warren Buffet

Do work you love right now.

I understand you have obligations and you need to keep your “day” job, but you still have the weekends and M-F from 5pm-10pm to make some amazing shit happen. If you don’t take this seriously and take action now then it is very possible that you will be exactly where you are right now 6 months from now, 3 years from now or even worse, 10 years from now.

Right now, today…this is the time to make it count. To take bold risks and go all out on your dreams.

And guess what?

It probably won’t work out as quickly as you want to.

You’ll go broke (like I did), you might have to move in with family (like I did), you may end up living on credit (like I did)…but if you stick it out and do things that matter to you, you will wake up five years from now living a life so magnificent you wonder if it isn’t a dream.

This is key to living a great life.

Do this: close your eyes. Think of a world without money. The way to get ahead in this world is to contribute by doing what you love. What are you doing in this scenario? Open your eyes.

Now start doing that and nothing else!

8. Life is Not a Line at the DMV…So Don’t Treat It Like One 

Most people spend their entire lives waiting.

For what? Only they can say for sure.

They wait for the “perfect” time…

The “right” idea…

For all of the lights to be green, for the stars to align, and for a message from the almighty giving them permission to begin their journey.

But it never happens.

There is no “perfect” time to pursue your dreams and go all out on the life you want. The stars will never align and I doubt that you will hear a booming voice from on high telling you that today is the day to start your business, quit your job, and build the life of your dreams.

So stop fucking waiting.

Do you remember that inspiring movie about the guy who sat on his ass his whole life? Yeah… me neither.

In life, there are only two directions. Backward and forward.

If you aren’t moving forward, taking big steps toward your goals, and working hard to create the life you want, by default, you are moving away from the life you want and into mediocrity.

Get moving now and stop waiting for life to give you permission to pursue your dreams.

You don’t need it.

9. Avoid the “Jordan Belfort Syndrome” 

“I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as ‘making a life’.” – Maya Angelou

Did you ever see The Wolf of Wallstreet? 

The crazy movie about Jordan Belfort and his insane cocaine and money fueled lifestyle?

While many men believed him to be the very definition of success, the movie was meant to serve as a warning, not an inspiration.

Money and your career matter…and they matter a lot. But they aren’t everything.

You won’t be lying on your death bed wishing that you’d spent more time in the office. You’ll wish that you had spent more time with the people who care about you and love you.

I learned this the hard way when my father died unexpectedly.  

Sometimes you can focus relentlessly on your career or business that you forget about the people who matter. Don’t let this be you. Aim high and work towards your passions, but be there for the people who love you.

I have seen friends sacrifice their personal life for their career with no one to share it with. You want to arrive at the finish line surrounded by the people you love. Find the balance between money and relationships. Don’t chase just one or the other, chase a life worth living. A life well lived.

Take time for your loved ones and for yourself. Do not view it as changeable or bendable. Take a stand and say “this time is for my ____.” Do this, and the quality of your life will make exponential bounds as you find that perfect work life balance.

10. Become an Adrenaline Junkie 


Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat. – Theodore Roosevelt”

Listen…

You don’t need to ride motorcycles or go base jumping or become a free solo climber, but your 20s are the time to take big risks and go all out on the life you want.

You don’t have kids yet and you probably aren’t married. Right now is the perfect time to live the life you want and go all out on your dreams.

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Spontaneity will make you feel alive. Risks are what bring rewards. And for crying out loud, don’t listen to anyone who tells you to be reasonable or even worse, to be more realistic. 

Rational people work for other people. Unreasonable people define the world they live in (Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jay-Z). Listen to your free spirit and Live. Out. Loud. Damnit one more time, LIVE OUT LOUD!

Avoid the complacent and safe life. Give yourself the opportunity to grow by taking risk. If you don’t try you will not truly discover yourself.

Start out small. Go left instead of right, take a trip into another city you’ve always wanted to visit. Get in touch with the feeling this gives you. Then make bigger spontaneous actions and take bigger risks. The world is full of unimaginable opportunities if you have the courage to take risk and “just do it”.

11. Hop on the Stair Climber and Get Going 

“You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Life is nothing more than a series of choices. Choices that you must be willing to make and learn from.

Worry, anxiety, and paralysis by analysis don’t serve you. They only hinder you.

In the same way that life will never give you permission to do what you want (you must give yourself permission), life rarely shows you the entire picture before it’s complete. Instead, it gives you a paintbrush and simply says, “Get to work.”

You must be willing to take the first step and boldly step into the unknown. To walk down a path without knowing where it will lead.

Your 20s are a great time to learn what works; what doesn’t, and become wiser for it. Now is your time.

A nice fuzzy motivating article means nothing if you are not willing to implement what you learn. Be willing to jump in the middle and have stuff work out. That is what separates the doers and the dreamers. Which one are you?

12. Be an Eagle, Not a Pidgeon 

As the old saying goes…birds of a feather flock together.

And if you want to learn how to be the best version of yourself, you must start by surrounding yourself with people who encourage you to be the best version of yourself.

“You are the average of the 5 people you spend most of your time with.” – Jim Rohn

If you don’t get along with the people in your school, change schools. If “friends” bring you down, or even worse, you feel alone when surrounded by “friends”. Change friends. If your major doesn’t suit you, after all, fuck it, switch. If it all seems fake, find your own song that screams out that it is real!

There is nothing wrong with you. You just need to find the people who support and motivate you to be your best self. And if you haven’t found them yet, keep looking.

Set yourself up to win.

Surround yourself with like-minded, driven individuals who you can contribute to you, and who can contribute to you.

13. Embrace Impermanence and Avoid Long-Term Obligations  

Until you know how to be happy with yourself, how to be at peace with yourself, and how to be kind to yourself you are not ready to make permanent life decisions.

Your 20s are the time to find yourself, have fun, go out, try new things, switch careers, party, explore, find out what you want. Date as many people as you want. Discover who you are. Build your business. Develop yourself. Become the best man you can be and the man your future partner will want to be with for the rest of their lives.

The person you are at 20 will be completely different from the person you are at 25 and even 30.

Pick a partner when you are 100% certain you can live with this person forever. Being in a marriage because you think it is simply the next step in a relationship is worse than having your balls in a vice.

It’s not fair to her, yourself, or your potential future children. Prevent divorce by first understanding yourself fully and what you want out of life. Then go get it.

Do not confuse lust with love. You literally have decades of options, don’t be hasty in locking yourself into one now. If your current relationship does stand the test of time, you always have your late twenties and thirties to settle down. That’s what they’re there for.

Next Steps

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22 Responses to How to Find Yourself in Your 20s: 13 Lessons You MUST Learn to Be the Best Version of Yourself

  1. Brian September 15, 2014 at 3:29 am #

    Outstanding… made me fucking cry! Wish I’d of had this advice when I was in my teens and 20’s.

    BOOM

  2. John February 11, 2014 at 7:16 pm #

    I love this article so much. But to a point. some of it will just result in you being poor at 30. But don’t get me wrong it is truly inspiring but be careful.

  3. Bromar August 23, 2013 at 6:22 am #

    take risks travel the world….how am i supposed to that if id ont got any money

  4. The Modern You August 22, 2013 at 5:44 am #

    Loved what you had to say, I am in my twenties and I sure could use a little maturity and knowledge in quite a few things you discussed.

    Great Post.

  5. Arlene Aquino August 14, 2013 at 11:27 am #

    This is really a great article! I learned a lot. Keep on posting valuable and brilliant articles! More Power!

  6. Prachi Garg August 14, 2013 at 9:08 am #

    Wow. I read the entire post and I realized how awesomely unconventional my life already is and how ungrateful I’ve been in the last couple of months. I am already doing something that I love but its so offbeat that I end up mixing it up with what’s expected of me instead of what I want to be sometimes. Thanks a ton. Will carry on with what I’ve been already doing but with more pride and make it a point to remind myself that i’m on the right track as it is ‘Now or Never’ to be taking such risks.

  7. Tony Robinson July 16, 2013 at 4:44 am #

    Number 1 hits home with me. I find myself constantly thinking of those guys who are older than me who are driving nicer cars, living in bigger houses, taking more vacations.

    I’m so determined to find succes and accumulate wealth that my drive can, at times, overpower my patience. But you’re absolutely right. I need to remember that there are probably other guys out there who envy my situation right now.

    Patience is learned skill.

  8. Albin Bäckehag July 4, 2013 at 3:07 pm #

    Thank you for a brilliant article. I liked your advices and I am trying to adapt a few of these right now.

  9. Ginger Humbert June 27, 2013 at 12:39 pm #

    I got married in my twenties cuz I was told that’s what a woman does. Not go to college like I wanted to. Results, three kids, single parent, misery and finally in my fifties, Success!! OMO !!

  10. scottschimmel June 18, 2013 at 3:42 am #

    Excellent article, Andrew– keep ’em coming!!

  11. Mike June 13, 2013 at 12:39 am #

    says the guy way past his 20s…

  12. Doug Pretorius June 11, 2013 at 5:50 pm #

    I’m sorry, but I think this advice is complete crap. If you follow this advice in your 20s you will be mourning your decisions in your 30s and beyond.

    There is NO SUCH THING as being commitment free at any age. Every decision you make has consequences.

  13. Anjoleen San Nicolas June 11, 2013 at 12:06 am #

    Numbers 1 and 12 are my favorites. The moment you become perfectly fine with exactly who you are is the moment you can really create the life you’ve always wanted! Love this! Awesome job!

  14. John Corcoran June 10, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

    great article, Andrew. Very well written.

  15. Roger Williams June 10, 2013 at 6:07 am #

    Fantastic words, man.
    To throw this out there, too- Even if you have kids, these same ideas still make sense.

  16. markose baby June 9, 2013 at 5:25 am #

    True words…..

  17. John B Thoreson June 8, 2013 at 5:43 am #

    Hey Andrew,

    First of all i loved the post. I don’t know why there are so less comments. But yeah i must say, either people don’t wanna understand and they are ignoring or they understand but they don’t want to agree with all this.

    What ever the matter is . But yeah i had personally felt and gone through what you have mentioned in 9th point “Career and Money is not everything in life”. That’s so true…

    And yeah how can i forget 10th point, i am in favor of that..i go with it and suggest all to incorporate in their life to be a successful person and to learn and love life.

    Loved it…

  18. Alipio Gabriel June 6, 2013 at 12:47 am #

    I hope. I can remember to come back here later and comment this:

    “Thank you. You changed my life.”

  19. Lauren Rhena Bowman June 5, 2013 at 6:13 pm #

    I love this

  20. Cristian June 5, 2013 at 5:16 am #

    This is the best advice by far, I bookmarked it to look at it every day, thank you so much for posting this, It means a BUNCH!

  21. leongaban June 5, 2013 at 12:28 am #

    Best advice! “Pick a partner when you are 100% certain you can live with this person forever. Being in a marriage because you think it is simply the next step in a relationship is worse than having your balls in a vice. It’s not fair to her, yourself and potentially future children. Prevent a divorce by first understanding yourself fully and what you want out of life. Then go get it.”