I originally wrote this for a young lady while at a coffee shop in Charleston, South Carolina. I sat in a high back chair at a large table near her and instantly became curious about this huge stack of law books in front of her. I couldn’t help but strike up a platonic conversation with her that ended up lasting an hour.
She revealed she was in law school and it instantly reminded me of how young, dumb, and naïve I was at that age. I asked her about what she thought of the world, of America, and of her future. She was remarkably optimistic yet still very much aware of the challenges we face in this country and on this planet.
I couldn’t help but want to share some advice and wisdom that’s helped me and here it is below.
- Watch Tim Minchin’s Commencement Speech. Just do it.
- One of my favorite quotes of all time – “We work jobs we hate, to buy things we don’t need, to impress people we don’t like.” This is from the movie Fight Club and it has literally changed my life. Ask yourself if you’re living the life you truly want or the life you’ve been told you should want. Of the Top 5 Regrets people have at the end of their life, one of them is not living the life they truly wanted. I IMPLORE that you truly consider what you want out of life. I’ll bet $50 it’s not being stuck in an office for the rest of your life. NO ONE ever lies on their deathbed wishing they worked more. We obviously all need to make money and I’m not saying you should be homeless but I think everyone should find a way to make a living that still grants them the lifestyle they want. I want to be able to work when I want (not synchronous, meaning I don’t need to be active during certain hours), anywhere I want (ability to travel the world), work for myself (not answer to anyone), Earn as much as I can (unlimited earning potential). I implore you to pick a career that enables the flexibility that you truly desire.
- Know the difference between Purchased Status and Earned Status. Purchased Status is derived from things you can purchase like clothes and money. Dumb people may be impressed by Purchased Status but Earned Status is what everyone respects. Plenty of people have Purchased Status and it doesn’t grant you deep, meaningful respect. What grants you real, meaningful respect is when you can only earn it. Think about The Rock. He may have Purchased Status in the form of physical possessions but everyone admires him because he’s probably the hardest working man on the planet. He’s kind, he’s generous, but most of all, people admire his work ethic. Of anyone on the planet, he has the most Earned Status. Personally, physical fitness is one of my favorite examples of Earned Status. You can’t buy it, steal it, or borrow it. You can only have it by putting in the world day in, day out. If I see a guy or girl on the street that’s strong, healthy, and kind, I respect them 10X more than some fat rich guy in nice clothes.
- I don’t give a shit how much money or power you have, I will judge you on how you treat the people you don’t have to treat kindly – Tim Minchin
- There’s a quote I try to live by “What man is a man that does not make the world better.” Ask yourself are you making this world better or worse? Remove your ego and be realistic. Are your friends’ life better off because of you? Is your family’s life better off because of you? Are complete stranger’s lives better because of you. I try to give a complete stranger a compliment every single day. It’s absolutely free and it will make both of you have the best day ever, every single day.
- Go walk up and say hello to that guy or girl. Finding love is just like sales in that it’s a numbers game. You are far more statistically likely to find your person the more people you meet and know.
- Don’t chase after men or women who want you for your money. It’s perfectly reasonable to want to date someone who makes enough to support their own lifestyle and not be dependent on you. But the women and men who are impressed by your car or how much you have in the bank will leave you the moment it’s gone or find something better. If money is their motivator, they just want someone they can leach off of. Instead, find someone who wants to be with you because they just love being around you.
- Make a list of MUST HAVEs, and NICE TO HAVEs in your perfect partner. I say this from experience that if you’re not careful, you WILL date the wrong person and waste your precious years if you’re not vigilant. If you’re good looking, you’re going to be approached by plenty of beautiful people who are going to pull on your heart but may not be life partner material. I’ve been in 3 serious relationships, a 5-year, a 1-year, and a 3-month (short, I know but still was intentional). I should have ended the 5-year after 1 year but I was young, dumb, and in love. After that one, I knew I didn’t ever want to have kids. If I had made a list of MUST HAVEs, I never would have let myself fall in love with the 1 year. She was absolutely perfect but she wanted kids and I didn’t. It was the best year of my life dating her but I ended it because I knew she’d never have the strength to. It absolutely crushed me and 3 years later, my heart is still broken. I’ve done this three times over and I will tell you that breaking up with someone you love but know you can’t be with the rest of your life will CRUSH you. I don’t want to see you make the same mistake I have. A smart person learns from their mistakes, a wise person learns from other people’s mistakes. Learn from mine. Make that list of MUST HAVEs and don’t fall in love with someone who doesn’t meet those. Of course this list of MUST HAVEs should be only the absolute critical stuff.
- JFK once said, “don’t ask what your country can do for you, but instead ask yourself what you can do for your country.” If you replace country with your partner, than everything falls into place. Think about it this way, if two people in a relationship never take the blame, you will have a terrible relationship. If both partners take responsibility for something that happened, then you have two people both wanting to work on it and make it a better relationship. Both partners should absolutely be looking to serve each other on a macro level but also on a micro-level. Every day, I would give my girl a compliment and tons of hugs. EVERY SINGLE DAY I saw her. I would paint her nails, I did yard work, I helped her with her website. MOST importantly, she never asked me to do anything of these things. I sought them out. SERVE your person and set the cadence of your relationship.
- NEVER EVER EVER EVER yell at your person unless they cheat or steal from you. I think of relationships as glass. Once it’s shattered, you can never unshatter it. If you ever scream or yell at your person, you will lose a sense of trust and comfort with your person that you will never be able to regain. Instead, communicate OFTEN. I did this exercise once every 2 weeks with the 3-month relationship that recently ended. We would take turns telling each other what we admire about someone, what we’re grateful about that person, and 1 thing that you would like them to do more of or less of. You need to overpower the negative with positivity and gratitude. By doing this on a semi-frequent basis, it prevents things that are bothering you from festering for months and months until you burst. You MUST be able to sit your partner down and tell them the good and bad before it becomes a bigger issue.
- NEVER EVER show off your wealth. Dress well, sure, but act poor. Drive a beat up 06 Honda Civic and let people think you’re just getting by. In my opinion, there are very few benefits to showing off your wealth but only downsides. If you think you need a nice car to get women, I will tell you I’ve dated more driving my 06 Honda Civic than I did driving my $25k VW CC. Driving a nice car is you implicitly saying I care what people think of me. Driving a beater car is you implicitly saying I don’t give a shit what other people think. The latter is bad ass, the former is not.
Expenses and Budgeting
- Keep your expenses as LOW as possible no matter what. Once you’re fully employed and are past that first couple years of making $60-80k, you should be living on half or even less of your PRE-tax income. Do NOT sign an expensive lease. Get a roommate.
- If you have to pay for your own car, drive a piece of shit. I made $174k in 2020 and I drive a 06 Honda Civic that I bought for $4400 3 years ago. That $400-500/mo car payment in your 20s can make or break your ability to go on vacations, retirement, and emergencies.
- Learn about FIRE (financially independent, retire early) (it’s on Reddit)
- Look up Dave Ramsay and his financial advice. He’s a right wing moron but I love his advice on financial frugality. People tell themselves they can afford shit but he tells it like it is. Tough love is what’s needed sometimes.
- Really think about what’s driving you to want certain things. The entire world runs on advertising, we’re told unless we’re rich, and have the best clothes, the best cars, then we’re losers. It’s FUCKING insane that girls spend $1100 on a handbag. Do you think a monkey would see a Gucci handbag and get all excited about it? No, of course not. Which makes me wonder how dumb are we as a species to assign more value to an object than it truly deserves? Think about that. My job as a marketer is to convince dumb people that this bag is worth $800. It’s really no different than convincing someone to buy a rock for $100. Don’t let yourself fall for marketing bullshit.
- Know the difference between Pleasure and Happiness. Spend your money on experiences and making memories and not on material possessions. Material possessions will bring you temporary pleasure, experiences and memories will bring you a deeper happiness and satisfaction with life.
- Watch John Oliver’s skit on Retirement plans. It illuminates a LOT about the financial planning industry that you need to protect yourself against.
- People are motivated by one of two things. To avoid pain or achieve gain. Every business is appealing to one of those two emotions. People generally are willing to pay more for achieving gain. People hate spending $200 fixing their car before it breaks down but they’ll spend $3000 on Lulu’s each year without a second thought.
- The closer your business helps another business make money, the more willing they will be to spend their money. As a business owner, it’s easy to justify a salesperson’s salary because you know that $100k/year in salary you spent will DIRECTLY create $200k, $300k, maybe even $500k in revenue. It’s super easy to justify that in anyone’s mind. BUT if you’re say selling anti-virus software that costs a business $50k/year and MIGHT save them the $100k it might cost if they got hacked, they’re going to really think about how badly they need that anti-virus. Try to find a business that’s “closer the money.” That’s why I do lead gen. Everyone is willing to pay me $150 of the $1000 I made them.
- Read Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Work Week, it will absolutely change your life
Books that will change your life
- The Four Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss
- The traditional route of going to school, working 40 years, and then dying is a fucking scam. You don’t need a shitlioad of money to live an amazing life, you just need enough along with the flexibility to generate income anytime, anywhere so you can live a great life.
- Deep Work by Cal Newport
- There are two types of work that most white collar workers do. Shallow work and Deep Work. Shallow work is the random administrative stuff that you need to get done but don’t really “move the needle.” Think of a software developer or an author. They may get messages from their peers or bosses but the work that truly “moves the needle” requires them to completely shut themselves off from the world and focus. Most people have become so overstimulated, they no longer have the ability to do Deep Work. If you can train yourself to do Deep Work for just 2 hours a day, you’ll accomplish at least 4X more than nearly everyone else. Working longer doesn’t mean more work done.