20 Things I Should Have Known at 20

1. The world is trying to keep you stupid. From bank fees to interest rates to miracle diets, people who are not educated are easier to get money from and easier to lead. Educate yourself as much as possible for wealth, independence, and happiness.

2. Do not have faith in institutions to educate you. By the time they build the curriculum, it’s likely that the system is outdated– sometimes utterly broken. You both learn and get respect from people worth getting it from by leading and doing, not by following.

3. Read as much as you can. Learn to speed read with high retention.Emerson Spartz taught me this while I was at a Summit Series event. If he reads 2-3 books a week, you can read one.

4. Connect with everyone, all the time. Be genuine about it. Learn to find something you like in each person, and then speak to that thing.

5. Don’t waste time being shy. Shyness is the belief that your emotions should be the arbitrators of your decision making process when the opposite is actually true.

6. If you feel weird about something during a relationship, that’s usually what you end up breaking up over.

7. Have as much contact as possible with older people. Personally, I met people at Podcamps. My friend Greg, at the age of 13, met his first future employer sitting next to him on a plane. The reason this is so valuable is because people your age don’t usually have the decision-making ability to help you very much. Also they know almost everything you will learn later, so ask them.


8. Find people that are cooler than you and hang out with them too. This and the corollary are both important: “don’t attempt to be average inside your group. Continuously attempt to be cooler than them (by doing cooler things, being more laid back, accepting, ambitious, etc.).”

9. You will become more conservative over time. This is just a fact. Those you surround yourself with create a kind of “bubble” that pushes you to support the status quo. For this reason, you need to do your craziest stuff NOW. Later on, you’ll become too afraid. Trust me.

10. Reduce all expenses as much as possible. I mean it. This creates a safety net that will allow you to do the crazier shit I mentioned above.

11. Instead of getting status through objects (which provide only temporary boosts), do it through experiences. In other words, a trip to Paris is a better choice than a new wardrobe. Studies show this also boosts happiness.

12. While you are living on the cheap, solve the money problem. Use the internet, because it’s like a cool little machine that helps you do your bidding. If you are currently living paycheck to paycheck, extend that to three weeks instead of two. Then, as you get better, you can think a month ahead, then three months, then six, and finally a year ahead. (The goal is to get to a point where you are thinking 5 years ahead.)

13. Learn to program.

14. Get a six-pack (or get thin, whatever your goal is) while you are young. Your hormones are in a better place to help you do this at a younger age. Don’t waste this opportunity, trust me.

15. Learn to cook. This will make everything much easier and it turns food from a chore + expensive habit into a pleasant + frugal one. I’m a big Jamie Oliver fan, but whatever you like is fine.

16. Sleep well. This and cooking will help with the six pack. If you think “I can sleep when I’m dead” or “I have too much to do to sleep,” I have news for you: you are INEFFICIENT, and sleep deprivation isn’t helping.

17. Get a reminder app for everything. Do not trust your own brain for your memory. Do not trust it for what you “feel like” you should be doing. Trust only the reminder app. I use RE.minder and Action Method.

18. Choose something huge to do, as well as allowing the waves of opportunity to help you along. If you don’t set goals, some stuff may happen, but if you do choose, lots more will.

19. Get known for one thing. Spend like 5 years doing it instead of flopping around all over the place. If you want to shift afterwards, go ahead. Like I said, choose something.

20. Don’t try to “fix” anyone. Instead, look for someone who isn’t broken.


Photo by Tambako the Jaguar.

Originally posted on: inoveryourhead.net

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  • IAN

    on balance – pretty sage commentary, find someone you respect – who is older than -by at least a generation – seek their counsel – and follow it it will help you keep clear of so many dead ends -lost opportunities –

    most of all life is not fair – learn to deal with it

    • susanne

      thanks IAN

  • Lea Fox

    preachy… but thought provoking. Is 22 too late to know these pearls of wisdom? Haha…. haaaaa =/

  • http://davevisaya.blogspot.com Dave Visaya

    This is so perfect! Number 20 is so true. We always have to learn early and do crazy things today.

  • Alvin

    I’m 27 years old, and I can still relate to this. (I graduated very late) :\ i believe tho that it’s still not too late

  • Mary Jones

    65 isn’t too late. I’m doing it now. If you start now you have a lot longer to become who you want to be and do what you want to do.

  • Justin

    I disagree with numbers 20 and 17…but other than this, it’s some fantastic advice.

  • Gursimran

    - This is just the author’s way to live a perfect life. – Dude, everyone make their own path, you can’t make them follow your style of ‘perfect’ life. – Although, sharing your perspective is a good thing and this is a good post. But, again, normal life of another person only..nothing different in those points. – They just tell you how to ‘not’ be socially awkward.

  • Rajendra

    This is one of the best posts I have read in a long time and one of the best in its advices. young ones kindly read all and remember at least a couple of them…

  • Bill Jobs

    you will all waste your life….you dont even what is life and why we are here..you seek status in society and waste your entire time behind impressing others rather than improving your own self…dont try be someone else..just be your own self..the whole passage may be somewhat inspiring to the new generation (immatures) but it is just waste of time for wise people..even i am 16 but i dont seek to be cool…i just improve myself from within….all people are forgetting the real art of living which they consider a waste of time which only morons do….a blind cannot know what a sun looks like…similarly you have not tasted true knowledge…you all are deprived of your true thinking ability..you are a calculator which accepts the commands from the external world and processes it..you live the same things many times but call it a life!…stop this shitty web publishing and divert to inner contemplation…this was only an advice as you consider…a call for your rusty lifestyles…think again before choosing anyhitng ahead of your life…… have many things to say but time is less and people are more..rather their blind beliefs about life are more…..just consider this much in your lifes….may your life improve…dont just exist…live your life

    • Elias Z

      Why was my reply to this comment deleted?

  • K

    ‘Don’t waste your time being shy?’ Oh ok, like that’s a choice for everyone. And ‘hang out with people cooler than you?’ That is probably the most ridiculous advice I have ever heard.

    Nope. Just do what feels right guys.

    • Bad Wolf

      Spot on – do not be scared of being yourself that’s the secret

  • Jinny Nash

    I like this. Good at any age given how each one of us is different in so many ways. I couldn’t have done these until now for my own reasons and had no idea at 20 that I possibly could do all of them … so I can get started in my forties – happy days. I like that people write this stuff down to inspire others. Take what you need and leave the rest. The comments on these things!! It’s just a ride.

  • http://panduaji.com/ Pandu Aji Wirawan

    Thank for sharing this tips.

  • Ashay Gupta

    Experienced most of it. Disagree with #20. Everyone I’ve met in life is somewhat broken and I believe it adds a sort of beauty to that person. Like you said in #11 your experiences define who you are. So I would say don’t try to fix anyone but look out for broken people, they need you…

    • Kari Jameson Robinson

      I agree to a point… You want to be the lending hand to help people, but then again there are those that just drain you and do not want help getting fixed. You learn who needs you and appreciates you and those that just want to suck you dry.

      • Ashay Gupta

        I get your point but as the author said “look for someone who isn’t broken”, how would you find someone who isn’t? I disagree to that

  • Zubair Kazi

    And whos gonna fix the broken people?

    • AngelusR

      Those who are truly broken, are truly broken. It is clear when someone is too far gone, and you can’t glue a shattered mirror. Some people, they can bear that kind of weight. Personally, I’ve tried to fix enough broken people and almost lost myself in the process. After coming out of the other side a better person, I’ve realized that some people just don’t want to be helped and you just have to accept that. When you try to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, you start to miss out on the beautiful things in life.

    • Kristina Archita Indra Budhoo

      They have to want to fix themselves.

  • jorgwel

    Good tips. I’d change #20 to: “Don’t try to “fix” anyone, unless they ask for it.”