Thoughts about this topic have percolated in my mind for years.
I could talk for hours on this subject, but I’m just gonna keep it somewhat brief.
All of this is my view on things – based on what I’ve experienced in my own life and observing the lives others.
All of this has real world application.
These echo my article 24 Reflections and Lessons Learned at 24 Years of Age. Consider it an “updated version”.
This is what I’d tell my past self if I had the honor of meeting him.
Share this with a friend who you feel this would help.
“Young” is in the mind but I’d define young in this case as three criteria:
- Has a very unpolished set of skills if any at all
- Has no substantial access to resources such as money or business connections
- People often give him advice or tell him he “should” do this or that
I’m still a “young man” myself, so all of this could be waaaaaaay off the mark. Caveat emptor.
All humans are conceived as “women”. It is only when testosterone is introduced into the womb of the mom that the gender of the baby becomes male. Testosterone is pretty much the only thing that separates men from women. Understand that and you understand the rest of the article.
Most people don’t give a damn
Not only are people caught up in their own bullshit…but many lack emotional intelligence. Tons of men have been killed in wars over the past hundreds of years, many of them no older than yourself. Men are seen as expendable. Part of this is due to biology. So go ahead and do whatever the fuck you want to do. If it blows up in your face, you have no one but yourself to blame (mostly).
A lot of people don’t want to see you succeed
There will be tons of people who will “throw shade” at you. They’ll try to compartmentalize you into a nice little box. This meant to help them deal with reality as they see it. You should do your best to ignore these people.
A lot of advice is garbage
Most of the advice you’re given is rooted in theory, not application. Or…it worked at one time, now it doesn’t. A lot of self-development books are straight trash for this reason. Ask yourself “does this make sense?” Toss out what you don’t need and keep the rest. The advice may be garbage, but there’s probably some 40 karats in there. This article can be viewed in the same light.
You have a brain…use it.
Think for yourself. What may be right for someone may not be right for you. Just because Mike did something and came out okie dokie doesn’t mean you’ll be able to do the same.
Learn body language
Words are nothing but sound. Most communication is done through body language and vocal tonality. If someone doesn’t want you around, you can tell right away (in most cases).
Even though women can bring home the bacon, you will be seen as a failure if you don’t work. A woman who’s unemployed and living with her parents is “don’t worry, it’ll be ok”. A man who’s unemployed and living with his parents is seen as a loser who lives in the basement. Know the difference. People will always expect certain things from a man. Work is one of them.
The world has existed long before you and the world will exist long after you. As such, there’s certain “rules” that have been in place since the beginning of the world. These “rules” are not man made. One example? Gravity. Easily observable, but the others are much less so. Your job is to learn these rules as best as you can and adjust yourself in accordance to them. If you don’t, your life will be miserable.
Most of your young adult life will be spent unlearning beliefs that you were indoctrinated with at an early age, mostly by your peers and past teachers. Some of these beliefs may be harmful and some of them no longer serve you. You need to construct your own set of beliefs. What do YOU believe in? What do YOU stand for? Not your parents, not your friends, not your 9th grade Algebra teacher, but YOU.
You should always be trying to grasp more about how the world works. Do this not only for your field of interest but other fields as well. A good way to do this is to read books. Not just any books, but the right kind.
Validation is good in low to moderate doses
Validation is a drug. A lot of people get a rush off of social media. The ultimate validation for men, is through sex (in most cases). If you’re single, this mostly happens by seeing how many girls can sleep with you and how fast. This is not good. It’s all “high” and no real substance. You just want more and more.
Validation is nice. We’re social creatures so we need a healthy level of it. It’s easy to take it too far. One of your main objectives in life is to become partially self-validated. Easy to talk about, difficult to put into practice.
One half of the population on this planet are women. Much of your adult life will be spent trying to get into and maintaining some sort of relationship. If you’re heterosexual, you’re going to need to learn what makes you have success in both of these areas. They both require different approaches.
Try to put yourself in their shoes. Many are constantly pestered by men who want nothing more than to hit it and quit it. Can you imagined being catcalled by a gang of shady guys when you’re trying to walk to your apartment? Can you imagine a guy twice your size forcing himself on you and you can’t do anything to stop it? Think about it.
There’s no such thing as “bros before hoes”
A lot of guys will try to pump themselves up and make you look like a damn fool in front of women. Some will do this in a open manner, others will be more sly. When an attractive woman is in your company, this tendency will increase. When many attractive women are present, this tendency skyrockets to an almost absurd degree. Men will do almost anything if they think it has any shot of them getting laid. Your buddy? He’ll most likely sell you down the river if he thinks he it will get him into good graces with a girl. If you know a guy who doesn’t do this, keep him as a dear friend.
It’s called a sex DRIVE for a reason
“Respect!” (fist bump)
Guys in general show respect to three things:
- Good with women
- Apparent skill
If someone is jacked, has girls falling for him, and has a skill he can show off – he’ll get a lot of respect. The reverse is the guy who’s constantly put down. Usually, if guys don’t respect a man…women won’t either. This tends to decrease as you get older, due to less peer pressure and more people realizing that again…no one gives a damn.
Learn to fight
Could you back up your bullshit with a punch? If someone starts touching your date at a bar, can you step in? Learn how to defend yourself and the people around you.
Choose your party members wisely
Two words to describe influence:
If you start hanging around people who are killing it in life, don’t be surprised if you start slaying life’s demons as well. If you hang around people who just smoke pot and think negatively… guess what’ll happen? Always ask yourself this: “Who am I around and what are they doing to me?”
Trust yourself and your intuition
In some people, intuition and self-belief is very strong. If that’s not the case with you, you need to do whatever it takes to pump this up as much as possible. If you get a particular feeling right or wrong about a person, place, thing, or idea…it’s usually right. Your intuition is different from a gut feeling. The former is more suggestive, the latter is more “in your face”. Learn to identify them.
Bring the energy
You’re young, so you have a lot of it. The people you work with love to see that. If you’re enthusiastic and bring positive energy, you will draw more people to you. Now’s not the time to be moping around. Life is short at the longest, so use this time when you’re overflowing with energy to create something of lasting value.
Swim against the current
If something bothers you, speak up. Don’t just roll with the tide. Or else, you’ll be washed out to sea. Keep others from drowning too. Not everyone knows how to swim.
See the value in everyone
Everyone has value. Everyone is unique. There isn’t anyone that doesn’t matter. When you see someone crossing your path, smile at them. Say hello. Acknowledge them. We’re all in this together.
Talk the language of money
Money has it’s own language and you better start learning how to speak it. Knowing it is very important. Don’t let people try to convince you “it doesn’t matter”. 98% of the things you’ll do in life revolve around money. You should know how it works, what it does, how to make it work for you, what certain terms mean, what causes its rise and decline, etc. Know what causes some people to retire broke and others not so broke. You certainly don’t have to be a Warren Buffett in this area.
Stop trying to “get” somewhere
The past or the future doesn’t exist. Thinking about one usually causes depression, while the other causes anxiety. Learn from your past failures, let them educate you. Do not dwell on them. Plan for a possible future, but don’t set it in stone. You truly don’t know what’s down the road. The only time that exists is the present. Orient yourself to NOW.
Don’t try to become rich or powerful/influential
Those who lust after one or both usually achieve neither. If they do, their soul is corroded beyond repair in the process (think Anakin in Star Wars). If you wanted to become “rich”, you’d go rob a bank. If you wanted to become “influential”, you’d go to a playground and shove the kids in the sandbox. You need to start thinking about what type of person is rich or powerful. What character traits do they have? What do they contribute to the world to have money or influence?
Beware of the free lunch
Many things in this world are devised to strip you of either your money or your time (or both!). Learn how to spot them.
Learn how to “sell”
A salesperson isn’t the pushy guy who almost breaks your doorbell in an attempt to sell “revolutionary vinyl siding”. A salesperson is the girl scout who comes knocking on your door and gets you to buy her whole supply. We’re all selling something. Ideas. Plans. Ourselves. Are you selling them correctly? Chances are…probably not. You’d better learn – fast. Life is commission-based. You don’t sell, you don’t eat.
You should have a firm line drawn in the sand. If someone crosses that line, don’t hesitate to take them off the VIP list. Complainers, bullshitters, con artists, and sketchy characters shouldn’t have place in your life if you want more for yourself.
How you deal with adversity will define you
If you want to see what type of person a man is, don’t put him in Hawaii for 6 months. Put him in Afghanistan for 6 months. Learn to deal with rough patches. The light breaks through the clouds shortly after. Stoicism is a great system for this.
Your parents love you
They did the best with what they had at the time. They showed you the most love they had in them. They were operating off of the framework they had. This might have been inherited from THEIR parents. You’re probably saying “they don’t really love me”. How do you know? You weren’t there to see their faces when they saw you for the first time. Don’t hold them for what they did or didn’t do. It’s in the past. Fuhghetaboutit.
Be prepared to have your ass kicked
Society has always loved to see young men get their ass kicked from Timbuktu to Waterloo. Modern society even more so. Be prepared to be hammered to the ground until around age 50. If you manage to make it in a decent piece, you’ll get a gold watch and a pat on the back.
Find someone older who’s also had their ass kicked
These people are called mentors. Some of my mentors have been through hell and back yet still live to tell the tale. You will learn how to avoid their mistakes. Don’t know any mentors personally? Read books. But not just any books. The right kind.
What’s your philosophy?
Much of this is based on MY philosophy of life crafted from experiences I’ve had.
You can reject all of it. You can reject some of it. You can reject none of it. You have to make your own philosophy. What values do you stand for? What is your highest aspiration in life? The only way to learn is do. Go out and get banged up a bit. Report back. That’s the only way you’ll get the reference experiences to know.
If you answer this, half the battle is already won.