10 Mistakes Every Young Man Shouldn’t Make (But Does)
Every young man screws up his life in some way. And it those screw-ups that he then spends that next twenty, thirty, forty years managing.
This has certainly been the case for me. My early twenties, as I imagine yours, were a time of frequent ideas, ambitions, and sweet fuck all responsibility. Whilst I wanted to do and achieve certain things, I took very little responsibility for my life.
I partied. I drank too much. I spent all my money. I acquired debt. I slept in. I spent too much time on YouTube. And sure, whilst this was all fun (or, at least some of it was fun) at the time… Some of it also happened to crystallize into habits that I then had to learn to undo.
Because that’s what our twenties are. They’re the time we take certain actions over and over, and those actions that we take crystallize into the person we find it easiest, and most effortless to be.
Hard-working or lazy. Cowardly or brave. Socially confident or socially timid.
And sure, if you’re young you’re probably thinking – okay if that’s how it works Grandpa then I’ll just make sure I nail everything at once.
Yeah, good luck with that. It doesn’t work that way.
You can and will screw multiple things up. Nobody’s perfect and neither are you. However, there are some things you’re going to want to try and get right…
I’m gonna start with one of the biggest, and it all comes from the wrong perspective about life.
Let me tell the most important rule of self-improvement: take risks.
The more you take risks, the more you will fail (and succeed) and thus grow into the kind of person you never knew you could become.
Note that I didn’t say KNOW you could become. I said NEVER KNEW. And there’s a reason for that.
Taking risks is all about confronting uncertainty and the fear that comes with it. It’s all about embracing the unknown. The more you try to fix yourself and your future in stone, the harder this will be.
Instead, embrace the uncertainty, take the risk, and find out who you actually could be, rather than just dreaming about it.
Yeah, your Dad is right.
Don’t get into debt.
I’m serious. It’s a terrible goddamned idea. It will constantly eat away at you, and if you think girl troubles are bad then just wait for money troubles.
There’s not much worse.
Instead of acquiring debt, work harder and earn more money. Be smart and spend less. Don’t buy things you can’t afford, no matter how cool you think they’ll make you.
In 30 years time, you’ll thank yourself.
If there’s an expressway to feeling like crap, getting treated like crap, never getting respected, never respecting yourself – then not asserting your boundaries is it.
When you don’t assert your boundaries you are telling yourself, the world, and everyone else that what you think and feel about how you’d like to be treated isn’t important.
You are telling yourself, the world, and everyone else that they are more important than you. You are saying that you are at the bottom, and everyone else is better. So they can walk all over you.
And unfortunately, they usually do.
But the truth is, by not stating what you are and are not okay with – you’re walking all over yourself and your self-respect. Instead of asserting your boundaries and respecting yourself.
Somewhat in line with taking risks is this over-arching principle.
You’re going to want many things in life. Big things. You’re going to have an idea or fantasy of how you want your life to be.
You know what these are.
But if you really ask yourself, you probably have no idea whether you can achieve them. And if you give it a google, you’re probably told you should just be confident and believe in yourself. You should trust your vision – yadda, yadda, yadda.
But in reality, you have no idea, and every second you spend attempting any fantasy you have – starting a business, writing a book, creating an app – is going to be riddled with self-doubt and the fear that you won’t achieve it.
And that you’ve wasted your time.
But that IS the reality you have to go through. There is no other way. So you may as well attempt it and start getting used to it.
You like them just as much as the next guy. You want to go up and speak to them. You want to have that confidence. So shut up and start developing it.
There is literally no excuse for this. 90% of your thoughts in life are probably going to revolve around women, so you may as well build a relationship with that side of yourself.
Yes, you will get rejected. Yes, this will happen a lot. And yes, it will suck. But you’ll also develop a sense of confidence and a dating life that very few men will have.
You have a voice, so use it.
One of the easiest ways to be more charismatic, memorable, and engaging is to start voicing your opinions. But in order to do that, you’ve gotta actually HAVE opinions.
The easiest way to do this is to put down your smartphone and start reading a shitload of books. Diverse books. Books on subjects you never thought you gave a damn about.
Classic fiction? Why not. History of politics? Sign me up. Biography of Gandhi? Yes, please.
The more you read, that more you’ll develop your own perspective on things. Then all you have to do is share it.
This requires you to take an active role in conversation. If you’re sitting there passively waiting for the conversation to become interesting, then this will never happen.
Interesting conversation occurs when topics and ideas are discussed in a way that either conflicts with someone else’s opinion, or organically taps into the emotions of the person expressing it.
Ever notice how someone talking about football in a normal, factual way is boring as shit? But when someone talks in an animated, passionate, or aggressive manner about their favorite team, they’re somehow more engaging?
Ever notice how when you agree with someone on everything, the conversation seems to die out, but when you disagree, say you don’t care for X team, or Y movie, the conversation seems to come alive?
This is what creates an interesting conversation.
When you don’t learn to express your opinion, you fade into the background of life. Don’t make this mistake. Figure out your opinion and express it.
I’m incredibly lazy. In fact, I should be some kind of authority on it.
My basest inclinations are to lie around and do nothing, staring at the ceiling, daydreaming, or watching hours of useless crap on Youtube.
And guess what – it’s a crappy way to live.
Not only does it achieve absolutely nothing, but it drains your ability to be productive in the long term. And let me tell you… That is not a habit you want to build.
The older you get, the more you’re going to want to become productive. It’s literally your only smart option.
Lockdown productive habits from a young age and make life easier for yourself. Start working an hour a day on something. Whatever it is. Just lock down that hour and stick to it. It might seem pointless at first, but when you couple it with some kind of dream you’re trying to achieve, it can and will pay off in the long term.
But the main reason you want to do it is for the habit. You want to develop that habit of being consistently productive.
Remember how I said I like to lie around, do nothing, and waste hours on youtube? Well if I didn’t learn to manage those mistakes I would have seriously screwed up my life.
Whatever your mistakes are, you need to spot that they’re there, spot that they’re self-destructive, and take immediate and consistent effort in order to manage them. Because if you don’t, they’ll start managing you.
These can be things like procrastination, avoiding risks, not approaching women you’re attracted to, basically anything on this list. It’ll be personal to you, but the main thing you want to think is this:
I become what I repeatedly do. Therefore I shouldn’t repeatedly do what I don’t want to become.
The older you get, the more dependent you are going to become on your ability to earn money. This is going to leave you, like most people, enslaved to a job that you may not actually want or enjoy. But because you need the money, you won’t be able to leave it.
Make the most out of your youth. Start developing saleable skills that you can use to make money on your own time, and out of your own volition. These skills can be anything, but here are some ideas:
Coding, Web design, Copywriting, Freelance writing, App development. Any of these would be a good start.
Pick one when you’re young, and develop the ability to earn money from it. It’ll make your whole life a lot more enjoyable.
When you don’t learn to manage your emotions, your ability to make good judgments and take good actions is seriously impaired.
Instead of pursuing the kind of lifestyle you want, you’ll constantly feel that you can’t earn X amount of money, you can’t send this or that pitch to that kind of client, and that you’ll definitely get rejected.
Instead of going after what you want with women, you’ll constantly wonder if they like you, why they haven’t text your back, whether they’re more into someone else.
Instead of doing the work you need to do, you’ll get hung up on perfectionism, lost in procrastination, and leave countless projects unfinished.
All because of how you feel. Specifically anxieties and fears.
But once you learn to feel those feelings, and take the actions anyway, you realize that everything a lot simpler than you thought.
What is that you want? And what is it that you need to do?
Then it’s just a matter of doing it.
About John Matich John is a writer from the UK who splits his time between travelling the world and trying to find unconventional solutions to dating and personal development. You can find more from him at www.lifeuncivilized.com.