25 Thoughts on Life on My 25th Birthday (Lessons for the Early 20s Man)
Today I turn 25 years old. While 25 is certainly not the celebration that 18 or 21 (in America) is, it’s a certain milestone.
I’m actually pretty excited to celebrate this one. It feels like a passing of the torch. This is THE YEAR. The year I left the corporate job for freedom. The year I left America. This year feels special.
So far it has been.
This Is Trouble became a full time pursuit. The Harem Handbook was released to incredible praise. Bachelor Travels is getting great feedback.
And the best part is that I get to wake up and work for myself instead of reporting to the jail cell.
My birthday falls right in the middle of the year, so it’s always a good time to evaluate how things are going. I’m thrilled with how it’s been going so far.
It also got me to thinking about what it took to get here. It made me reflect on where I’ve come from. And while 25 is still young, and I don’t want to claim to know everything–there are things I’d go back and tell my younger self.
Things that could have made my life better.
Advice that would have shaped my outlook on the world.
Advice that would have shattered, broken, and then repaired me.
Because the world is not easy. Especially as a man of the West. 25 year old me knows that now, because I live the opposite reality every day now.
So without further ado, here are 25 thoughts that I have about life on my 25th birthday. Use them as advice, rules to live by, or simply don’t make the mistakes that I did.
#1: YOU NEVER KNOW ALL
And many of us who are above-average intelligence (common in this part of the Internet) like to think we do.
I’ve been fortunate to never really have thoughts that I know everything. I’ve always been a curious learner. But how you know what I mostly attribute to avoiding the early-20s “I know everything about the world” trap?
Have older friends and mentors.
It’s very common for me to hang out with guys who are ten, fifteen, or twenty years my senior. Men who have more experience. Men who see what I’m doing in life and want to help me.
It helps keep me in check. It keeps me humbled and grounded. It makes me realize I will never learn everything, when I have heaps of good advice coming from guys who have made it.
#2: WHINING DOESN’T GET YOU ANYWHERE
Yeah, it kinda sucks to be a man in the West right now. The girls are intolerable. The corporate mindset sucks your soul. Everyone is getting fat. Everyone is in hysteria about black lives, purple lives, penises molded into vaginas–and I’m just getting started.
You can sit there and get sucked into all of that or you can say fuck it all.
Which one do you think will make you happier?
To rise above those sucked into the media vortex, and break free–or to just sit there and whine with the rest of them? To have your entire well-being, mood, and attitude shaped by who won what election, or by what outrage is on the Internet at this moment?
Seriously, if you are “triggered” by things you need to man the hell up and take charge of your own emotions.
#3: EMOTIONS ARE CONTROLLABLE
Cut out any mood swings or negative thoughts you have in your life. We all have them. So get ’em out, and move on.
As a man, you have 100% control of your emotions.
Unhappy with your life? Find a passion that makes you forget about it. Soon, that passion will become your life. Preferably, make it a passion that makes you some money or gets you some pussy.
Those who claim to always be mood, depressed, etc.–are weak. Those men should be given a chance to improve and then cut from your life. They are toxic poison. They are practically needy women.
And when it comes to women, the same applies. They are naturally more moody and you should be willing to tolerate more; i.e. give her a guiding hand, a pillar of strength. However, a girl who is always moody is poison too. She will destroy you. You will never get as far as you can. You will always be watching your back. You will always feel drained.
Get rid of her.
#4: LOSER AND LONER IS NOT THE SAME THING
There is nothing wrong with being a bit of a loner.
Loner can mean lone wolf. Willing to tackle obstacles and break the traditional norms. Loner can mean locking yourself away for days to finish a project.
That’s okay, because when you have that kind of drive and desire–people are magnetized by you. You will still have friends, because when you do go out you’ll have the confidence to make them.
Know what my girlfriend said to me yesterday?
“You just seem like you make friends wherever you go, in any city.”
It’s easy for me because I took the time to develop those skills. However, I like living alone. I like working in silence. There are plenty of Friday and Saturday nights when I stay in.
And I’m okay with that because I know that LOSER and LONER are not the same thing. Too many people lump the two L’s together and assume that if you are a “loner” that you are also a total loser.
It can be lonely at the top, but it’s hard to be too upset at that.
#5: A GOOD WOMAN CAN ONLY MARGINALLY IMPROVE YOUR LIFE, BUT A BAD ONE CAN 100% DESTROY IT
Yes, a good woman can only marginally improve you.
You know why?
Because she can’t make you. She can support. She can nurture. She can encourage. However, she cannot make you do.
Yes, all of the home-cooked meals, back-rubs, and sex in the world cannot make you more motivated to accomplish your mission as a man. Sure, she can nag you to help motivate, but it won’t work.
If you don’t have that fire and passion, don’t count on her to find it for you.
ON THE CONTRARY…
A bad woman can absolutely destroy your life. I’ve been fortunate enough to (mostly) dodge that, but I’ve seen it happen to to many other men.
A bad woman can ruin your finances. Ruin your business. Ruin your confidence. Ruin your ability to control your emotions. They can destroy your life, leave it aflame, and never give a damn.
Stay away from them at all costs. The sex is NOT worth it.
#6: WOMEN ARE GREAT, AND GETTING GOOD WITH THEM REQUIRES ABUNDANCE–BUT THE MINDSET CAN CHANGE OVER TIME TO QUALITY VERSUS QUANTITY
Simply put, if you want to date the upper echelon of female quality you have to date the lower QUALITY in high quantity.
Until you get in the trenches, put in the damn work, and develop a mindset of abundance–you simply can’t compete. You’ll always be worried you’ll lose the top ones. Afraid to speak your mind completely. Do too much to not lose her instead of just being yourself.
The thing is, “being yourself” has to be pretty damn good for the top girls to want to date you.
But the good news is that once you reach that level, you will probably change.
I’ve realized now that all of my relationships have been with high-quality girls–and right before I met them, there was always a lot of QUANTITY.
And sure, things may or may not work out long term–and then maybe it’s back to quantity.
However, quantity is necessary to find the quality. When you find the quality, it’s often worth holding on to. You will find the desire to find new girls wanes.
It’s natural and normal.
#7: QUALITY OVER QUANTITY FOR MALE FRIENDS, TOO
I have a few good friends who I would go to God damn war with, for any cause.
Simply them saying, “We have a war to fight” would be ample reason.
Then I have other friends around the world (often thanks to this blog!) who I enjoy, but I keep my true inner circle pretty tight. It’s just the way I like things.
Having JUST ONE really good male buddy is worth 10 so-so connections. This is especially true when it comes to wingmen for picking up girls.
#8: FAMILY ONLY GOES SO FAR, TOO
I love my parents and have a great relationship with them.
But if they held me back from my dreams, that wouldn’t be okay.
Just like women, family can marginally make you better by encouraging. They cannot make you do.
And on the contrary, they can also tear you apart.
A bad family is poison, so treat them accordingly. Don’t be afraid to get yourself cured.
#9: EVERYBODY IS A LITTLE LOST AND SEARCHING FOR CONNECTION
Odessa, Ukraine has some of the worst English I’ve ever experienced in my life.
What night, I was out trying to simply find a place to have a beer and watch a futbol game. I found a neat little outdoor patio area with beanbags, but struggled to communicate with the staff. I was simply curious if I had to bring my own food in or if they would serve me.
A guy standing off to the side reading the menu heard me, and helped me out. He was Canadian, but with Ukrainian heritage and fluent in the language.
He was living in Odessa with his girlfriend, and we hung out a dozen times in the coming weeks. He had no connections to anyone in the West back home, and neither did I.
He’s not the perfect example of being “lost”, but I think you see the point I’m making. Everybody wants to connect with fellow humans. It’s part of…well, being human.
So don’t be afraid to speak up. To help someone out with directions. To ask someone for the time, or for help with translating a menu.
You never know what kind of friend you might make.
#10: TRAVEL IS THE BEST EXPERIENCE YOU CAN BUY
Living in another culture for more than a week will teach you far more than any history class will in school.
Learning another language in another country will teach you far more than any language class will in school.
Meeting locals in a foreign country will teach you more about diversity, acceptance, and tolerance than any…well, worthless class will in school.
Trying weird foods in foreign country will teach you more about cuisine and cooking than any cooking class will in school.
Simply put, travel is the best experience you can buy. The best learning tool. And the best part is, if you stay away from being a typical tourist (cruises, package vacations, etc.)–it’s actually incredibly cheap.
#11: STREET SMARTS > BOOK SMARTS
I put this at #11 because 11 is a lucky number.
However, I don’t know if I always believe in luck. It sometimes take a little bit, but for the most part you’re always going to be responsible for your own outcomes.
With that being said, street smarts, social intelligence, and charisma will win out over book smarts EVERY TIME.
All nerds want to be the billionaire businessman with hotties on their arm.
No billionaire businessman would trade his life to be a computer nerd.
It’s better to be street smart than book smart in the overall scheme of life. The good news is that if you’re book smart, you can be taught street smarts.
It starts with learning how to be confidence and talk to people. Once you establish these skills, the rest tend to fall into place.
Always be street smart.
#12: THE WORLD ISN’T SCARY, AS LONG AS YOU’RE STREET SMART
A lot of Americans have this idea that the world is terrifying.
I was just in Istanbul during the recent airport attacks, and it was just life as normal. Sure, it was a bit unsettling. But nothing like the media portrays the world to be.
Lots of people in America think Canada is unsafe. Absolutely ridiculous.
I’ve been through the ghetto of Colombia. I’ve lived in Ukraine for two months and seen some rough things. I’ve been to Istanbul during high terror alerts.
The world is truly not as scary as it’s made to be.
And even then, it’s worth the “risk”. Life’s too short to stay inside all day and never leave your country.
#13: IF YOU’RE NOT STREET SMART, YOU’LL BE EATEN ALIVE
No, I don’t believe that you’ll be killed in Colombia or things of the sort.
What I mean is this: if you’re not street smart, you’ll get eaten alive.
Women will destroy your life if you let them and lack the skills to handle them (see above). Men will walk on you. Your boss will rape you for every hour of your life. Your family will take advantage of you.
Everything I’ve mentioned in the article above can all hurt you if you don’t have those social street smart skills.
#14: FREEDOM IS PRICELESS
I recently wrote an article about how location independent nomads should inspire for a lot more than a $1,200 monthly salary.
However, that doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t take that salary as opposed to making a corporate job. Freedom is absolutely priceless. Part of me can understand why bums stay bums. Working for the man sucks.
There’s no telling the amount of desperation and pain I would endure to not go back to a corporate job.
#15: START WORKING ON YOUR FREEDOM NOW
Simply put, it’s way to easy to put off working for your own freedom.
I’ve been running This Is Trouble on the side for three years, and it wasn’t until I really decided to make that leap that it’s become truly successful.
I only wish I’d done it sooner.
NOW is always better than LATER.
Why put off to tomorrow what you can do today (thanks for that quote, Dad)? What’s your excuse?
NetFlix is not an excuse. Neither is a girlfriend. Neither is being tired.
Trust me, the freedom is worth all the pain and work. If you’re a man who inspires to be free of the corporate shackles, and to do more with his life than report to work–get started.
#16: RESULTS DON’T COME WITHOUT STRUCTURE
As I’m writing this, I’m back in Kiev, Ukraine for 5 days. I’m spending time with my girl here. 5 days is not a lot of time.
Is it possible to develop a routine in just 5 days and actually be productive? Hardly.
Results take structure. Structure requires discipline. Discipline requires consistency.
If at any point you break the chain, the entire stack falls. That’s why I know that the next month while I float around the entire continent isn’t going to be my most productive.
However, the six weeks I spent locked away in my parents house in between moving out of Los Angeles and moving to Eastern Europe were some of the most productive of my life.
Build your structure and build off of that.
#17: LUCK, LOL
I’ve had a few people tell me how lucky I am to be traveling, writing, and working online full-time. You know what I do after they leave?
Yes, it was luck that I got to a level that I could write about it.
Yes, it was luck that I’ve blogged for three years consistently and built an audience.
Luck, luck, luck.
Let them think what they want. Everyone thinks everyone is an overnight success. The only one who knows you weren’t is you.
#18: DESPERATION IS THE BEST MOTIVATION
I’m not saying you should do something drastic to make yourself desperate if you want to get ahead in life.
But if you’re poor and homeless, that’s about as desperate as you can get. Do you think if you’re starving and freezing, you won’t get your ass to work?
Removing the lifeline of comfort can work wonders for your motivation. It can drive you to new heights that you never knew you could reach before.
“Unfortunately”, the only way to find out if you work this way is to take that leap yourself.
#19: IT’S ALL ABOUT WHO YOU KNOW
The only way to truly leapfrog up to success, wealth, etc. is to know the right people. That’s the only “shortcut”. Even then, it’s hard to call it a shortcut because it requires social and street skills–as mentioned before.
Is it easier to build a blog off of an organic audience, or to get a link from a big-name person in the same niche?
Is it easier to become a millionaire by building a company or by knowing someone on the inside at Wall Street?
The point is, that’s the only shortcut there is. Knowing the right people. The rest is hard work.
And the irony is that those people won’t reward you without hard work.
So…get to work.
#20: SIMPLE SKILLS HELP YOU PROSPER
I’ve been designing websites since I was a wee lad.
I’ve always had an interest in the web, and look at me now. I have a little mini web empire, with a couple of blogs and various other sites.
Never did I imagine when I was hand-coding HTML when I was 12 years old that it would turn into what it has today.
Basic skills sell. Think about how much plumbers make. Or hell, even garbagemen. So much of “skilled” labor (i.e. office jobs) is just attempting to look busy. The real money and opportunity is in basic skills.
Learning a variety of basic skills will set you up for success down the road in whatever avenue you choose to pursue.
#21: DEBT IS POISON
Too many people I know are saddled with too much debt.
Let me put my tin foil hat on: people want you to spend money so they can make money. Even if it’s for worthless junk. And even if it ruins you financially.
Everybody is looking out for themselves, always.
The sales guy at Best Buy doesn’t care that the $15,000 home theater system is going to tie you financially for the next 5 years. He only cares that he gets his $75 commission check from that sale.
The college recruiters don’t care that you’re going to go $100,000 into debt to finance your degree that only gets you a barista job. They only care about meeting their quotas.
You must look after your own financial well-being.
#22: SPEAKING OF…YOU DON’T NEED THAT MUCH “STUFF”
My entire life now fits into a suitcase, a mini travel guitar case, and a backpack. And when I left Odessa this week, I chucked half a dozen clothing items.
“Stuff” is overrated.
People, connections, life, and love are not.
The material stuff just gets outdated, and then you buy new stuff. Would you rather invest in lifelong friendships and connections, experiences you’ll cherish and remember–or a new car that will be devalued as soon as the wheels touch the pavement?
Will you remember that car on your deathbed, or think fondly back to a one-week fling of passion that you had on the beaches of Colombia with a beautiful girl?
I won’t know until I reach my deathbed, but I suspect I already know.
#23: “SOUL” GOES INTO EVERYTHING
To live a life without soul or passion is to live a life without purpose.
If you choose to never leave your office job, you will have no soul.
If you choose to never develop an interest, hobby, or talent that you love you will have no soul.
If you choose to never CONNECT with women, but rather use them as glorified masturbation, you will have no soul.
Everything beautiful in life is soulful. To live a life without soul is to live an empty life. Rather than vivid colors and beauty, you’ll be left with an empty shell of yourself. Your life will have no meaning. There will be no life within you.
Connect with people. Enjoy the world’s vastness and beauty. Pour your soul into your passion.
Live long and prosper.
Oh, and speaking of choices…
#24: EVERYTHING–AND I MEAN EVERYTHING–IS A CHOICE
You make your own luck.
Everything in life comes down to the choices you make. So make the right ones.
Choose to work hard instead of choosing to be lazy.
Choose to exercise and eat well instead of choosing to be fat.
Everything in life is a choice that YOU make. Do not blame others for your poor choices, or inability to apply yourself. Everything is down to you and you alone.
Only YOU can make it happen.
#25: COMING UP WITH 25 THINGS WAS HARD
It just shows I still have more room to grow.
Bring it on, 30.
If you think I can help you turn your life around like I have, consider getting in touch.
Have a drink tonight for me gents,