10 Life Lessons I Learned from Surviving My 20s

10 Life Lessons I Learned from Surviving My 20s

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On my 20th birthday, I got drunk and peed on some old ladies’ front lawn. A cop saw me and stopped me. Fortunately, I talked my way out of going to jail that night. I already had an arrest record, but he didn’t bother to check. My 20s started out with a bang.

At the time, I was aimless. I had just dropped out of music school and cut my long, tangly hair. I wanted to move out of Texas but didn’t know how or where. I would sometimes lecture people about the spiritual aspect of consciousness and had a number of half-baked ideas about the theory of relativity and whether the universe actually existed or not.

I was smart and audacious and arrogant and really annoying.

Three days from now, I will be turning 30 years old. I will be in Las Vegas and probably completely out of my mind when it happens. But I’m happy to report that I’m far more responsible and far less pretentious these days. I’ve changed a lot in these 10 years. I don’t get arrested anymore and I don’t pee on people’s lawns anymore. I’ve built businesses, been around the world multiple times, and managed to create a career for myself as a writer — something I never could have predicted.

In our instant gratification culture, it’s easy to forget that most personal change does not occur as a single static event in time, but rather as a long, gradual evolution where we’re hardly aware of it as it’s happening. We rarely wake up one day and suddenly notice wild, life-altering changes in ourselves. No, our identities slowly shift, like sea sand getting pushed around by the ocean, slowly accumulating into new contours and forms over the passage of time.

It’s only when we stop years or decades later and look back that we can notice all of the dramatic changes that have taken place. My 20s certainly were dramatic. Here are some of the things I learned:

1. Fail early and often; time is your best asset

When you are young, your greatest asset is not your talent, not your ideas, not your experience, but your time. Time grants you the opportunity to take big risks and make big mistakes. Dropping everything and traveling the world for six years or starting some company to build this crazy app you and your friends came up with when you got high one night, or randomly packing up all (four) of your belongings and moving to another city on a whim to work and live with your cousin, you can only get away with these things when you’re young, when you have nothing to lose. The difference between an unemployed 22-year-old with debt and no serious work experience and an unemployed 25-year-old with debt and no work experience is basically negligible in the long run.

Chances are you aren’t strapped by all of the financial responsibilities that come with later adulthood: mortgage payments, car payments, daycare for your kids, life insurance and so on. This is the time in your life where you have the least amount to lose by taking some long-shot risks, so you should take them. Because its the disastrous failures of these years — that crazy love affair with the Taiwanese dancer that made your mother lose her hair, or the entrepreneurial joint venture some guy in Starbucks talked you into that turned out to be an elaborate pyramid scheme — it’s these failures that will set you up for your life successes down the line. They are the best lessons of your life. Get learning.

2. You can’t force friendships

There are two types of friends in life: the kind that when you go away for a long time and come back, it feels like nothing’s changed, and the kind that when you go away for a long time and come back, it feels like everything’s changed.

I’ve spent the majority of the last five years living in a number of different countries. Unfortunately, that means that I’ve left a lot of friends behind in various places. What I’ve discovered over this time is that you can’t force a friendship with someone. Either it’s there or it’s not, and whatever “it” is, is so ephemeral and magical that neither one of you could even name it if you tried to. You both just know.

What I’ve also found is that you can rarely predict which friends will stick with you and which ones won’t. I left Boston in the Fall of 2009 and came back eight months later to spend the Summer of 2010 there. Many of the people I was closest to when I left could hardly even be bothered to call me back when I returned. Yet, some of my more casual acquaintances slowly became the closest friends in my life. It’s not that those other people were bad people or bad friends. It’s nobody fault. It’s just life.

3. You’re not supposed to accomplish all of your goals

Spending the first two decades of our life in school conditions us to have an intense results-oriented focus about everything. You set out to do X, Y or Z and either you accomplish them or you don’t. If you do, you’re great. If you don’t, you fail.

But in my 20s I’ve learned that life doesn’t actually work that way all the time. Sure, it’s nice to always have goals and have something to work towards, but I’ve found that actually attaining all of those goals is beside the point.

When I was 24, I sat down and wrote down a list of goals I wanted to accomplish by my 30th birthday. The goals were ambitious and I took this list very seriously, at least for the first few years. Today, I’ve accomplished about 1/3 of those goals. I’ve made significant progress on another 1/3. And I’ve basically done nothing about the last 1/3.

But I’m actually really happy about them. As I’ve grown, I’ve discovered that some of the life goals I set for myself were not things I actually wanted, and setting those goals taught me what was not important to me in my life. With some other goals, while I didn’t attain them, the act of working towards them for the past six years has taught me so much that I’m still pleased with the outcome anyway.

I’m firmly convinced that the whole point of goals is 80% to get us off our asses and 20% to hit some arbitrary benchmark. The value in any endeavor almost always comes from the process of failing and trying, not in achieving.

4. No one actually knows what the hell they’re doing

There’s a lot of pressure on kids in high school and college to know exactly what they’re doing with their lives. It starts with choosing and getting into a university. Then it becomes choosing a career and landing that first job. Then it becomes having a clear path to climb up that career ladder, getting as close to the top as possible. Then it’s getting married and having kids. If at any point you don’t know what you’re doing or you get distracted or fail a few times, you’re made to feel as if you’re screwing up your entire life and you’re destined for a life of panhandling and drinking vodka on park benches at 8AM.

But the truth is, almost nobody has any idea what they’re doing in their 20s, and I’m fairly certain that continues further into adulthood. Everyone is just working off of their current best guess.

Out of the dozens of people I’ve kept in touch with from high school and college (and by “keep in touch” I really mean “stalked on Facebook”), I can’t think of more than a couple that have not changed jobs, careers, industry, families, sexual orientation or who their favorite power ranger is at least once in their 20s. For example, good friend of mine was dead-set when he was 23 of climbing the corporate hierarchy in his industry. He had a big head-start and was already kicking ass and making good money. Last year, at age 28, he just went and bailed. Another friend of mine went from the Navy to selling surf equipment, to getting a masters in education. Another friend of mine just picked up and took her career to Hong Kong. Another friend stopped working as an environmental scientist and is now a DJ.

I rarely had any clue what I was doing. I get emails all the time from people wanting to know how I built my business, when I decided to become a writer, what my initial business plan was. The truth is I never knew any of those things. They just happened. I paid attention to opportunities and acted on them. Most of those opportunities failed drastically. But I was young and could afford those failures. Eventually, I was fortunate enough to work my way to do something I liked and do it well.

5. Most people in the world basically want the same things.

In hindsight, I’ve had a pretty rollicking 20s. I started a business in a bizarre industry that took me to some interesting places and allowed me to meet interesting people. I’ve been all over the world, having spent time in over 50 countries. I’ve learned a few languages, and rubbed elbows with some of the rich and famous and the poor and downtrodden, in both the first and third worlds.

And what I’ve discovered is that from a broad perspective, people are basically the same. Everyone spends most of their time worrying about food, money, their job and their family — even people who are rich and well fed. Everyone wants to look cool and feel important — even people who are already cool and important. Everyone is proud of where they come from. Everyone has insecurities and anxieties that plague them, regardless of how successful they are. Everybody is afraid of failure and looking stupid. Everyone loves their friends and family yet also gets the most irritated by them.

Humans are, by and large, the same. It’s just the details that get shuffled around. This homeland for that homeland. This corrupt government for that corrupt government. This religion for that religion. This social practice for that social practice. Most of the differences that we hold to be so significant are accidental byproducts of geography and history. They’re superficial — merely different cultural flavors of the same overarching, candy-coated humanity.

I’ve learned to judge people not by who they are, but by what they do. Some of the kindest and most gracious people I’ve met were people who did not have to be kind or gracious to me. Some of the most obnoxious asshats have been people who had no business being obnoxious asshats to me. The world makes all kinds. And you don’t know who you’re dealing with until you spend enough time with a person to see what they do, not what they look like, or where they’re from or what gender they are or whatever.

6. The world doesn’t care about you

The thought that is so frightening at first glance — “No one cares about me!?” — becomes so liberating when one actually processes its true meaning. As David Foster Wallace put it, “You’ll stop worrying what others think about you when you realize how seldom they do.”

You, me, and everything we do, will one day be forgotten. It will be as if we never existed, even though we did. Nobody will care. Just like right now, almost nobody cares what you actually say or do with your life.

And this is actually really good news: it means you can get away with a lot of stupid shit and people will forget and forgive you for it. It means that there’s absolutely no reason to not be the person that you want to be. The pain of un-inhibiting yourself will be fleeting and the reward will last a lifetime.

7. Pop culture is full of extremes, practice moderation

My life immediately got about 542% better when I realized that the information you consume online is predominantly made up of the 5% of each extreme view and that 90% of life actually occurs in the silent middle-ground where most of the population actually lives. If one reads the internet enough, one is liable to start thinking that World War III is imminent, that corporations rule the world through some conspiracy, that all men are rapists (or at the very least, complicit in rape), that all women are lying, hypergamous whores, that white people are victims of reverse racism, that there’s a war on Christmas, that all poor people are lazy and destroying the government, and on and on.

It’s important to sometimes retreat to that quiet 90% and remind oneself: life is simple, people are good, and the chasms that appear to separate us are often just cracks.

8. The sum of the little things matter much more than the big things

I remember reading an interview of Dustin Moskovitz, the co-founder of Facebook and Mark Zuckerberg’s college roommate. The interviewer asked Dustin what it felt like to be part of Facebook’s “overnight success.” His answer was something like this, “If by ‘overnight success’ you mean staying up and coding all night, every night for six years straight, then it felt really tiring and stressful.”

We have a propensity to assume things just happen as they are. As outside observers, we tend to only see the result of things and not the arduous process (and all of the failures) that went into producing the result. I think when we’re young, we have this idea that we have to do just this one big thing that is going to completely change the world, top to bottom. We dream so big because we don’t yet realize — we’re too young to realize — that those “one big things” are actually comprised of hundreds and thousands of daily small things that must be silently and unceremoniously maintained over long periods of time with little fanfare. Welcome to life.

9. The world is not a scary place out to get you

This gets said all the time, but it’s basically true. I’ve been to a fair amount of dangerous shit holes both inside and outside the US. And when given the opportunity, the majority of people are kind and helpful. If there’s one piece of practical advice I would give every 20-year-old, regardless of circumstance, it is this: find a way to travel, and when in doubt, talk to people, ask them about themselves, get to know them. There’s little to no downside and huge, major upsides, especially when you’re still young and impressionable.

10. Your parents are people too

And finally, perhaps the most disillusioning realization of your 20s: seeing mom and dad not as the all-knowing protectors like you did as a child, and not as the obnoxious and totally uncool authoritarians like you did as a teenager, but as peers, as just two flawed, vulnerable, struggling people doing their best despite often not knowing what the hell they’re doing (see number 5).

Chances are your parents screwed some things up during your childhood. Pretty much all of them do (as my mom always likes to say, “Kids aren’t born with instruction manuals.”) And chances are, you will start to notice all of these screw-ups while you are in your 20s. Growing up and maturing to the extent that one can recognize this is always a painful process. It can kick up a lot of bitterness and regret.

But perhaps the first duty of adulthood — true adulthood, not just taxed adulthood — is the acknowledgment, acceptance, and (perhaps) forgiveness of one’s parent’s flaws. They’re people too. They’re doing their best, even though they don’t always know what the best is.

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102 Comments

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  • Reply

    Kristen

    18 weeks ago

    Should I tell you 10 Lessons You’ll Learn From Surviving Your 30s or will that just ruin the suspense for you?

  • Reply

    Zachary

    18 weeks ago

    Great stuff. Aging is nothing if not the constant re-evaluation, and reorganization, of expectations.

  • Reply

    Chazlee

    18 weeks ago

    Thank you for the much needed perspective. Turn’s out I’m doing all right.

  • Reply

    Martín

    18 weeks ago

    Mark, nice article as always. Just want to mention that your link in this phrase “I get emails all the time from people wanting to know how I built my business (http://markmanson.net/quit-your-job), when I decided to become a writer, what my initial business plan was. ” leads to a non existant page. That’s all.

    Keep writing like always.

    • Reply

      Mark

      18 weeks ago

      Fixed it, thanks.

      • Reply

        Ahsan Zaka

        18 weeks ago

        404
        this page does not exist :(
        i want to read this post

      • Reply

        Chukwudi

        17 weeks ago

        Not fixed yet, Mark.

        Great article, by the way.

      • Reply

        Candi

        17 weeks ago

        The link is still not working :(

  • Reply

    Levi

    18 weeks ago

    Nice words for a fellow arrogant Texan living abroad in their early 20′s, thanks

  • Reply

    Vital Karangwa

    18 weeks ago

    Thanks alot! it’s like my mind was asleep and you awakened it!I am 25 , after reading your article I decided to evaluate and reorganize my life goals (which I have never done before). Thanks alot

  • Reply

    a 30 years old lady

    18 weeks ago

    thanks a lot. all is absolutely true and i already had thought about it. … how small this world really is! : )

  • Reply

    Ash

    18 weeks ago

    I’m usually way more of a lurker on such things than a commenter, but your article was so insightful, touching and familiar, that it created this painful, choking swell in my throat, and brought a huge smile to my face. It’s a great feeling to find something that resonates deeply with how I feel about the path I am taking in my life and knowing that I can’t be totally screwing up. Or, at the least, that I’m not alone in having these thoughts.

    As an Indian youth, you are raised with a very traditional value system: study hard, work harder, get married, have kids. The adventurous streak in me prompted a move to Canada when I was 20. A similar trait has prompted me to use the misfortune of a recent job not working out, as a opportunistic launch pad for finally make a move to the city I’ve dreamed of moving to, after a summer spent tree-planting in the north of Canada. It’s something my parents and my more traditional minded friends find very difficult to comprehend. Why would someone leave a cushy desk job to go work in one of the physically hardest, labor-intensive jobs in existence, and then move to an almost-foreign environment (Québec) to place yourself at the discomfort of having to learn another language and starting from base?

    I’ve forwarded your article to my parents in hope that your eloquence will do the job where my communication could not. They are, at least the way I see it, grudgingly supportive of my ideas. I don’t need their approval, but it would be nice to have them have an inkling of why I behave the way I do. Your article does a great job of summing that up.

    Just wanted to thank you for that. Sorry it took a while to reach that point.

    • Reply

      Anonymous

      17 weeks ago

      Sometimes things fall apart so other things can fall together, good luck with your new adventure.

    • Reply

      Ashley

      16 weeks ago

      Ash- I enjoyed ready your comment. You are truly living your dreams with your parents love but not approval. My same story! lol ;) Glad to know you have lived a pretty traditional lifestyle and courageous enough to even step out of your boundaries. If we don’t do it now then when? Enjoy your new job!

  • Reply

    Gail

    18 weeks ago

    Wise words. I turned 30 last year and part of the reason that wasn’t so terrifying was BECAUSE I’d done a lot of really stupid and fun things in my 20s. I’ve calmed down a lot now and I’m cool with that.

    If you want to dye your hair every colour under the sun, your late teens and 20s are the time to do this. When my boss at Marks & Spencer objected to my hair being a slightly too bright shade of dark purple, I obediently dyed it brown and went and got my lip pierced, because uniform guidelines said you could have ‘a maximum of one facial piercing’.
    Would I get away with this stuff now that I’m 30 and working in an office? Hell no. And I’m fine with that because I’ve done it, and I would absolutely recommend that you indulge that rebellious streak before it’s too late.

    One thing I think you missed off though was ‘Be nice to your parents. Show them that you appreciate them. Even if it’s just occasionally’. In the years of trial and error, you are going to fall flat on your face at least a couple of times, and you are going to be calling your parents at weird hours, possibly in tears, needing either money or rescuing or both. When going out conquering the world, everyone needs a safe haven, even if you think you don’t. Be sure that it’s there. Don’t take them for granted.

  • Reply

    Chloe

    18 weeks ago

    I love point 10. I came to terms with that after a few years of bitterness and resentment. I came to love and appreciate them more when I realized what I thought was nothing was really their best.

    Thank you for adding that to the list!

  • Reply

    Kareen

    18 weeks ago

    But perhaps the first duty of adulthood — true adulthood, not just taxed adulthood — is the acknowledgment, acceptance, and (perhaps) forgiveness of one’s parent’s flaws. They’re people too. They’re doing their best, even though they don’t always know what the best is.——–this wakes me up!

  • Reply

    Tallulah Robinson

    17 weeks ago

    Fantastic.
    I love, and am just working out now the “no one has any idea what they’re doing” point. It’s so bizarrely, hilariously true. You’ll find someone who you think is wise and clever and put together and eloquent and witty and a great mentor but you get to know them a little more about 95% of your problems and their overlap completely. And NOTHING demonstrates the same point for one’s parents like a petty divorce when you’re 18…

  • Reply

    Micka

    17 weeks ago

    OMG!!! Like this is so great! Thank you so much for writing this!! I’m like 23 and I always tell everyone not to worry about their careers so much!!!!! Just live and love!!! K, thanks!

  • Reply

    Jewel Clicks

    17 weeks ago

    Hello Mark,

    Thanks for sharing this post! :) I agree on number 2! :)

  • Reply

    Janie

    17 weeks ago

    Very good article! I’m in my late 20′s — 28.5 to be exact. Is it too late for me to experiment with life and take a bunch of risks? I’ve been a homebody for most of my teens and 20′s and…reading this has suddenly made me very afraid that I’ve been missing out on the “20′s” experience…

    • Reply

      Monica

      16 weeks ago

      Nope, not late at all! I’m in a similar place and age, and if you feel like taking a risk and you don’t have too many obligations holding you back, then take the leap! Even small acts of rebellion and experiments can be gratifying and freeing.

  • Reply

    julija matuseviciute

    17 weeks ago

    20s

  • Reply

    Pascal

    17 weeks ago

    Hi Mark,

    Stopping by for the first time from a friend sharing your last post on facebook and then I decided to read some more of your posts. Good stuff, would even say great stuff. Like your writing style too.

    Cheers,

    Pascal

  • Reply

    Jen B

    17 weeks ago

    This was awesome. That is all.

  • Reply

    Anna Klamczyńska

    17 weeks ago

    Great article – especially for my upcoming middle 20′s birthday.

  • Reply

    Dedlea Nightshade

    17 weeks ago

    Mr.Manson
    Your life lessons are for the greater part the boilerplate of any common sense approach to living. It does strike one as something of a mystery however that both in the 20′s & 30′s one is encouraged to believe that “no one knows what they’re doing”

    This is patently untrue and the basis of a very large amount of what is wrong with the world today. There are a great number of people who do know what they are doing and are doing it very well. These people quietly go about their very successful lives without a great deal of hoopla and fanfare (words you might have to look up).

    I’m not trying to be patronizing by suggesting that these words are not within yours and others lexicons however it is apparent that many young people today are sadly deficient in the powers of communication and vocabularies are being truncated to such a diminished degree as to reduce conversations often to a series of grunts and moans.

    The portions pertaining to improving oneself are most gratifying to see as it has been my maxim of many years now to suggest that “the largest room in any house, is the room for improvement”; diction, deportment and manners are something which were once held in high regard but now are the sole dominion of “Hipsters & Elitists” unfortunately.

    Thank you for the discussion as it is sorely needed however please put some greater emphasis on humbly accepting that although there is much to learn we are equal to the challenge if we determined to be! Character is as you seem to suggest making an attempt knowing that it will require skills you may not currently posses!

    Take courage Mr.Manson!
    Respectfully
    Dedlea Nightshade

    • Reply

      Dawgseep

      15 weeks ago

      Hey Dedlea, if you’ve got nothing useful to say, do the world a favour and keep your mouth shut. :)

  • Reply

    Chad Standiford

    17 weeks ago

    Mark,

    I’m just starting this journey of the 20′s. Thanks for the article. Added some perspective and made me less afraid of making mistakes and screwing up. Seems I’m doing alright.

  • Reply

    Veen

    17 weeks ago

    Thank you so much for this article. I am so glad I stumbled upon it being a lost 22-year-old unemployed graduate with no idea yet of what to do. As your first life lesson mentions you can get away with failing early in life. I like that idea, however, people around me don’t make it very easy. I am too sick of the raised eyebrows I get when I respond to the question of “So.. what are you doing now with your life?”. Your article just really resonated with me. It’s my life and I’m not affecting these people with the decisions I make not that they actually care anyway!!! ( though easing off with the pressure would be great ). Anyhow, I completely vented in your comment section when I just wanted to say that your article made me feel not too bad about myself. Thanks!!

  • Reply

    Ayo Olusayo

    17 weeks ago

    Can you please send me the article on ponography. Thanks

  • Reply

    Yashica Sharma

    17 weeks ago

    Worth reading . Feels so refreshed and got to see life from a new point of view :) .

  • Reply

    YuyingWang

    17 weeks ago

    Hi, Mark. I am so impressed by the 1,2,10.
    I knew your blog from my boy friend. He likes reading and writing very much. It seems like he does like your blog and articles very much.
    I’ve just visited your Facebook last week and surprised that you are living in HongKong now. Hope you are enjoying China.

  • Reply

    David Islander

    17 weeks ago

    How can you say that you judge people based on what they do (not who they are) and immediately follow that up with (#6) what you do ultimately doesn’t matter? Of course it matters! The world DOES care about you…If you care about the world and take part in it, that is. Your actions create a butterfly effect in the world, for better or worse…I’m afraid we’re losing the real virtue of living life passionately in the sense of taking responsibility for who you are; denigrating the ability to make something of yourself and feel good about life. The more you talk about a person as a social construction or as a confluence of forces or as fragmented or marginalized, what you do is you open up a whole new world of excuses. For example, when Jean-Paul Sartre talks about existential responsibility, he’s not talking about something abstract. He’s not talking about the kind of self or soul that theologians would argue about. It’s something very concrete, it’s you and me talking, making decisions, doing things, and taking the consequences. It might be true that there are seven billion people in this world, and counting, but nevertheless -what you do makes a difference. It makes a difference, first of all, in material terms, it makes a difference to other people, and it sets an example. In short, I think the message here is that we should never simply write ourselves off or see each other as a victim of various forces. It’s always our decision who we are.

    If everyone acted as if their actions did not matter, the world would be a much darker place my friend.

  • Reply

    shankar

    17 weeks ago

    Very Nice article ! Bookmarked it on Delicious.

  • Reply

    RR

    17 weeks ago

    This is a beautiful article.

  • Reply

    Joey

    16 weeks ago

    Nice article. I’m 21, just finished uni and now endlessly panicking about my time running out, and the clock seeming to speed up. It’s nice to know that the best way to live my life is to follow my instincts. I wish I knew the road to happiness and success but like everyone you’ve just got to wade through the murky depths until you find your place. I suppose I had a fortunate upbringing, parents stayed together, finished high school, went to uni, now teaching overseas for a year – saying it aloud sounds very fortunate and on-track, but for the first time I have no idea what my next move will be. A very strange time.

  • Reply

    Rigo

    16 weeks ago

    #10 is really difficult for me to accept. Long story short, they screwed up my immigration status. Because they, who are legal US permanent residents and citizens, did not file my papers correctly and in a timely manner I became an illegal immigrant at the age of 18 despite living there since I was 5. They had a 10 year window to fix it. It’s bordering child abuse. No legal right to work or drive. It’s fucking ridiculous

  • Reply

    Clarence Brown

    14 weeks ago

    I thought this article was well thought out and very entertaining.

  • Reply

    Joydev

    14 weeks ago

    As a 23 years old student I must say I have screwed up in many occasions and probably will continue on the journey of screw ups but this gives me reasons to keep my head high and just enjoy the moment.

  • Reply

    Allan

    13 weeks ago

    And at 30, you’re still too young to provide advice on what to do with your life, especially with a history of arrests. Rewrite this article when you are 60 and you’ll realize how foolish you sound here.

    • Reply

      Craig

      13 weeks ago

      What would you write? (I expect with the view from being 60)

  • Reply

    Alec Barron

    13 weeks ago

    “But perhaps the first duty of adulthood — true adulthood, not just taxed adulthood — is the acknowledgment, acceptance, and (perhaps) forgiveness of one’s parent’s flaws. They’re people too. They’re doing their best, even though they don’t always know what the best is.”

    This is a big one I’ve been struggling with as I realize many of the frustrating behaviors of my parents are things I now do or have to stop myself from doing.

    For example, my father sucks me into 2 hour long unsolicited lectures about how I should live my life, how he has all the answers, how I should just listen and do exactly what he says, etc.

    These lectures drive me insane, and yet I notice myself giving my girlfriend mini-lectures on how she should live her life. Fortunately, she’s pretty good at calling me out when I do this bullshit!

  • Reply

    Jason

    12 weeks ago

    I just got done reading this as well as your collected lessons for your 30′s and I really enjoyed them both! A few of us write a blog together on the different lessons we’re learning along our path as well and I really enjoyed all the insights in your posts. I’m thinking my next post will have to be a reflection of my 20′s in this spirit. I love the idea of reflection to see what we thought we knew and what we now truly know. Once again, great posts!

  • Reply

    Jeff Billings

    10 weeks ago

    Mark, I wish I’d had this list when I was 20. #4 just about summed up my barren 20′s — I had no idea what I was doing until I hit 30.

  • Reply

    Mike

    8 weeks ago

    Thank you so much for this article. I’m 21 and I’m starting to feel overwhelmed by the responsibilities I’m placing on myself to become a better, more successful adult. This article reminds me not to worry so much.

  • Reply

    Kevin

    6 weeks ago

    Mark, I’m reading through this, and making my own notes on everything you’ve got. I’m turning 19, and this is gold. I love it.

    Just wanted to point out that on 3. You’re not supposed to accomplish all your goals, the link to Why You Fail is incorrect. Instead of 10-reasons-why-you-fail, it’s why-you-fail.

  • Reply

    anonymous

    6 weeks ago

    hey Mark. Thanks for this post hey. I’m 24, I just started working this year and it feels like the worst year of my life. I feel like I wasted 5 years of my life studying and working towards a career I despise.
    Back in high school, my friends and I believed that passion doesn’t pay the bills, so I chose a career in finance.
    I tried to quit, but my family and society wouldn’t let me, I feel trapped. I don’t want to go from being the golden child to being the biggest disappointment at home.
    But this post made me feel a little better. it’s ok to change my mind about my career. who knows, maybe one day I’ll be brave enough to start over.

  • Reply

    Liam

    5 weeks ago

    This was just what I needed. Thanks dude. Also, I have actually seen a pyramid scheme presentation take place in a Starbucks. So funny.

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