Always the late bloomer, I tried out for my Little League baseball team but failed.
I was almost 18 when I graduated high school. But I looked like I was 13. I was the last in my class to experience puberty. This is one reason that I could not attract a high school girlfriend or get a prom date.
Underdeveloped and impressionable, here are 18 lessons that I want to share with my 18-year-old self:
1. You Know Nothing. But You’re Not Alone. You have so much to learn, 18-year-old Keith. So don’t act like you know it all. Society actually likes when you’re genuinely inquisitive and want to learn.
2. Don’t Fear Being Different. That’s Your Advantage. In high school and even college, winners fit in. In the real world, winners stand out. In fact, avoid normalcy. It’s a synonym for mediocrity.
3. Work To Learn. After that, work to earn.
4. No One Cares About Your College Grades. For your interests, college is optional, not mandatory—regardless of what your friends are doing. Find an energy for learning. Be autodidactic. Focus on becoming a person of value.
5. Keep Moving. Health is wealth. Prioritize physical exercise over moneymaking. You’ll be living inside that same body when you’re 100.
6. Failure Can Be Alright, Even Good. In school, you learned that mistakes are bad and should be avoided. A failure that you recuperate from demonstrates that you tried. You learned a lesson. Tell others how bad you failed; they’ll either relate or learn.
7. Don’t Follow Paths Others Have Made. Others guide you. But create your own map. If you’re soullessly trading your time for dollars at a job, quit. This is not a dress rehearsal. This is your life.
8. Research, Commit, Then Be Consistent. Prepare for disappointment. Most people won’t be as committed as you. Showing up on time is a commitment, so is marriage.
9. Learn About Investing In Real Estate. Everyone needs it. It’s made more ordinary people wealthy than anything else.
10. Keep Real Estate And Emotions Separate. Facts trump feelings. It’s 99% about: market, management, and income exceeding expenses.
11. Make Grandma Proud. Pretend that she’s watching you. Live a life that’s exemplary in what you say and do.
12. Be Present. Don’t over-anticipate future moments and events. They are less important than the present. Otherwise, you’ll miss out on your entire life. Your life will never not be now. Appreciate “now”.
13. Who Your Friends Are Matters. Jim Rohn said: “You are the average of the five people that you spend the most time with.” Take the average of your five’s: values, athleticism, ethics, wealth, fashion sense, travel, neighborhood quality, and family structure—that’s nearly who you will be.
14. Finding The Truth Is More Important Than Being Right. People respect you when you say: “I was wrong. Here’s why.” more than trying to defend some antiquated or faulty belief.
15. Give. Money is an abundant resource. You will have a great ability to give. Generosity is championed in the Bible. It’s Aristotle’s third virtue. It will make you feel happy, it’s good for your health, contagious, and spurs gratitude. This ossifies your net “value add” to the world.
16. Mentors Matter. Others see you in a way that you cannot. You’ll meet people smarter than you; ask for their help.
17. What Does Life Want From You? As I learned from Eckhart Tolle, don’t ask: “What do I want from life?” A more powerful question is: “What does life want from me?”
18. Build. Anthropologists suggest that almost every person is forgotten after three generations. At your trajectory, what will your legacy be? Why and how will you be remembered?
Epictetus said: “How long are you going to wait before you demand the best for yourself?”
This is your last life ever.
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