Anon asks: Hey Isaac, I’m turning 21 soon and I was wondering if you could do a post of advice for 21 year olds? Things you could tell yourself at that age, advice and tips? I don’t know how I feel about it but I’m getting old!!
1. Travel as often and as far as you possibly can. Go to places where you don’t speak the language. Learn a few words. Get out of your comfort zone. Eat the local food. Realize that your culture isn’t superior to anybody else’s, and that in many ways it’s far less advanced than you ever realized (this was a huge wake up call for me when I was 21 and I moved away from New Zealand for the first time).
2. Educate yourself about religions and philosophical beliefs and take an interest in why people devote their entire lives to something as intangible as God. If you don’t believe in it, that’s totally cool, but don’t ever belittle someone else for their beliefs. Trying to convince someone who believes in God that it’s a crock is just as ridiculous as someone who believes in God trying to convince an atheist that it’s legit.
3. And with that in mind, be nice to everybody. For real. If you treat somebody badly I would almost 100% guarantee that they will come back around at some point in the future and be the reason you don’t get a job or an apartment or a girl/boyfriend. The world is small and karma is a beeeehartch.
4. Sexually transmitted diseases are real. So are unwanted pregnancies. Wear a condom.
5. You are not invincible. Whatever you put into your body now will have effects you can’t even imagine later. I’m not telling you to replace KFC with kale, but I’m sure it can’t hurt. Also: Drugs and alcohol remove inhibitions that are there for a very good reason. Things that seem fun at the time might have very serious, very nasty consequences (see number 4).
6. First impressions count, and we live in an aesthetic world, so take care of how you present yourself. Develop a uniform and stick with it; get a good haircut; wear sunscreen every day; laugh a lot.
7. Start something now. Whether it’s a blog or a store or a babysitting business or a medical degree or film photography or an app or a plumbing company is irrelevant, just make sure it’s YOURS. Work on it with the blind faith that it could be your Apple. It might not pan out, but imagine if it does!
8. Keep a strong relationship with your siblings — you’ll know them longer than anybody you meet in your entire life.
9. Don’t compare yourself to other people and wish you had their life. Nothing is ever as glamorous as it seems from the outside. Just work as hard as you possibly can and create the life you want. I’ve met a lot of successful people and as far as I can tell, the only reason they do better than anybody else is that they’re willing to do whatever it takes to get there. If you’re not willing to do whatever it takes, you’ll never get there.
10. Move to New York. Even if it’s just for three months, six months, or a year. It will change your life. I promise!
11. If you wouldn’t say it in real life, DON’T TEXT IT!
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