17 Life Lessons You Should Knew When You Were 17 Years Old
While it’s virtually impossible to travel back in time and fix the mistakes you did in your past, if I was 17 years old again – I would do several things very differently.
I know that there is no point in thinking about the things you did or didn’t do in the past, because there is no way to change them.
The reason I am writing this article is for those of you who are 17 years old – or close enough – and want to set up yourselves for success in your future.
I totally believe that I have achieved more since I started this website (and a little before) – than I had in the previous 20 years. And I totally believe that if I did what I do now when I was 17 – or even younger – I would have accomplished even bigger things by know.
On the other hand, I feel grateful that I decided to take charge of my life now that I am still young and don’t let the difficulties drag me down. If I was 30 and wasted it would be even more difficult, yet not impossible.
I think that it’s never late to change your life, but the faster you realize some things – the better it is.
I never had someone to give me solid life advice. And if I was 17 years old again (or younger) here are 17 things that I wish someone could tell me:
1.If Someone Just Wants To Have Fun…Look For New Company
Who you associate yourself with plays a critical role in your life. Let me repeat: your friends impact your life in ways that you can’t imagine.
Why do you think that top entrepreneurs are friends only with other top entrepreneurs? Because they know that if they want to get rich – they should spend time with like-minded people.
You shouldn’t even spend time with people on the same level as you – you should spend time only with people who are at a higher level. Whether this level is financial, physical or spiritual.
My mother has given me the most wise advice I have ever heard since I was 10 years old. However, as a young Mr.Know.It.All – I never listened to her thoughtfully.
She told me multiple times: “Damian, you must spend time only with people who are better than you. X and Y are not better. Why do you spend time with X and Y? You should find new friends.”
As an arrogant little kid I simply told her that she is dumb and that I didn’t want to change my friends because I was having fun with them.
And this was the problem.
The only thing I did with my friends was to have fun. While that is not necessarily bad when you are 10, because you deserve some years to play and have fun – it was one of the dumbest decisions I ever made after I was 15…
All I did with my friends after 15 was to have fun. None of them had any life goals. None of them had any ambitions.
And the more I was spending time with them, the more I was killing my own goals and ambitions.
Friends are supposed to make you a better person. If they don’t make you a better person, then you should stop spending time with them.
Your friends must lift you up on every level: financial, physical and spiritual – IF you want to be successful. Otherwise you can spend your time mindlessly with friends who “just want to have fun”.
Three years ago, I had lots of friends. Now? I probably spend time only with 2-3 people.
Does this make me an anti-social guy? No. I have just removed the wrong people from my life. People with no ambitions, goals and plans don’t belong here.
Spend time only with people who are already successful or at least with those who have the ambition to separate themselves from the crowd.
Let the losers “have fun” and sleep all day.
In 10 years from now, you will feel the joy of sending them postcards from Hawaii where you will be jet-skiing, sunbathing and getting a massage from beautiful girls.
On the other hand, they will be selling their lives to someone in exchange for a paycheck.
2.Don’t Expect Others To Pay For Your Holidays – Invest In Yourself
Since I became 16 years old, my friends started going holidays – especially during the summer. And I wanted to go with them. The problem is that my parents didn’t have money to pay for my holidays.
And I had to feel the disappointment and frustration of being left alone, while everyone else was having fun. Or I would have to find a job where I would get paid for pennies – ie 3$ per hour – work for 8-10 hours per day and after 1 month of work I could afford a 5 day trip.
The truth is that at first I was so entitled – that I didn’t even try to find a job.I was just complaining about the financial abilities of my parents.
After I realized that complaining couldn’t change the situation – I decided that trading my time for 3$ was worth it – if I could have fun…for just 5 days.
The problem was that due to the financial crisis, I wasn’t even able to find a job. Why? Because I was highly selective. I wanted to work only at “high-class” beach clubs or coffee shops. Otherwise…fuck holidays.
After 1 entire summer I realized that this method didn’t work. The next summer I decided that I would find a job no matter what, even if this meant that I would have to work somewhere I didn’t like.
But, without any previous working experience – I couldn’t find a job anywhere. Most people were asking for credentials from previous jobs. And since I have never worked, I didn’t have any.
The next summer, I was finally able to find a job. And only because my father knew the restaurant’s owner. I worked there for about two weeks and quitted – because the working conditions were awful.
At least, I had some money for a short trip – and I was happy.
If I could turn back the time, I would really slap my old self for my foolish behavior. Instead of complaining, or exchanging one hour of my life for 3$ – I would have invested in myself.
What does this mean?
It means that I would follow these four proven habits. And I wouldn’t go for a short vacation until I was financially free so I could pay for my vacation without asking money from my parents.
I would learn skills that I could monetize and I would make money online. Beyond that, I would read a book for 1-3 hours per day to sharpen my mind.
All these are forms of investing in yourself, instead of investing in someone else’s restaurant, shop or beach club.
3.You Should Value Your Time More
One of the biggest mistakes most 17 year old guys make, is to waste their time like it’s infinite. As long as you get older, you will realize that your time is not infinite.
And if you don’t realize it early enough in your life, your repressed emotions will destroy your soul.
So many people in their 20s, 30s and 40s still don’t see that time isn’t endless. And they keep wasting and wasting it like its useless junk.
Don’t listen to people saying you that you have a bright future in front of you. Or that you have an entire live to life.
You don’t have a bright future unless you make it bright. And by treating your time like junk – you don’t have many chances for a bright future.
Your time should be spent only on things that enrich your life’s quality. Everything else in useless.
You should invest your time in:
- Being healthy and eating healthy.
- Exercising regularly.
- Making money. So you can be healthy and have all the essentials you need. When I say making money I don’t mean to do what I did. Don’t work for someone else. Start a business and work on it until you make money. Or at least work as a freelancer.
- Reading and sharpening your mind.
- Relationships. but only with people who make you better – like it was pointed out above.
No TV, no video games and partying maximum 2 times per week. You don’t want to be a hermit. You have the right to socialize. Otherwise you will go insane. But don’t overdo it.
If you spend too much time clubbing when you are 17 to 20 years old – you will see that you will find it boring when you are 21 or 22. Whatever you repeat for a prolonged period of time, it starts to become boring.
It’s like listening to a new hot song. The first time, it sounds amazing. The 100th time it’s not so great. That’s because your brain produces less dopamine as you repeat the same process over and over.
And after many times, it becomes less interesting.
4.There Is No Benefit If You Reach The 99Lvl
I have literally wasted 3 full years in junior high school playing video games. THREE full fucking years of 8+ hours per day playing with a stupid ninja in front of a computer screen.
I was playing a game similar to World of Warcraft which was called Metin2. One of the stupidest things I have ever done in my life.
I reached the 80lvl (maximum 99) and I was pretty good in that game. I combated other guys and I was feeling powerful when I was kicking their ass.
Instead of learning how to fight in real life, I was learning how to fight in a game. Now, I have no doubt why some guys bullied me when I was 15. I was a skinny loser who was good at fighting – but only in video games.
When the bullying became pretty intense, I stopped the fucking video game and started martial arts.
And a miracle happened. Guys started showing me more respect. Nobody bullied me. I wasn’t Bruce Lee and I didn’t wear an MMA t-shirt.
What has changed?
The way I carried myself. My body language improved, I gained a little muscle mass and I was more confident. I knew that if someone bullied me I could defend myself and punch him right in his face.
Just this sense of power and security made me feel more confident about myself and those who bullied me got the message.
Generally, you can notice insecure and weak guys from the way they behave, sit and act. But I was no more that type of guy.
Instead of learning to fight in a video game, go learn martial arts.
Remember that you should invest in yourself?
Learning martial arts is an excellent investment.
And it’s not about being able to go out there and punching people.
Martial arts are more about developing self-discipline and work ethic. But if it’s necessary to throw some punches, you will be capable of doing it.
Close the fucking video game and get out into the real world.
5. Don’t Waste Another Summer In Front Of a TV Screen
If you are not a 10-year old kid who watches cartoons, then there is no point in watching TV. TV is mind-numbing. Unless you watch Discovery or National Geographic – which I doubt you do – you won’t learn anything valuable.
Some years ago, I have wasted an entire summer watching TV every noon for 5 hours per day. I would wake up at 12pm, eat something and then watch TV until 5 pm in the afternoon.
Almost my whole day was wasted sleeping, eating and watching TV.
Don’t do that to yourself. If you live on your own, sell your TV or throw it into the junk. If you still live with your parents, avoid having a TV in your room and don’t use the TV in your living room. It’s literally useless.
6. Working Out & Building Your Body Is The Best Investment You Can Do In Your Teens
Here is what I would do that summer instead of watching mind numbing television. I would started working out and building my physique.
My body today would look 5x more muscular and shredded than it is.
I believe that the ideal age to start lifting weights is at 15 years old. Whenever I see a 15-year old I always tell him to start exercising.
The problem is that most teens are afraid of weights. Because idiots tell them that they will stop your growth or will that they will make you stay short.
I think that this is complete bullshit even though I am not a scientist. Spartans exercised from a very young age – maybe even before 15. And that’s why they were excellent warriors.
And even if weights were unhealthy for your bone development or something like that, you could start doing calisthenics. Bodyweight exercises like pull ups and push-ups have never harmed anyone. And you will build an awesome body that women will love.
If you start at 14-15 you will be a strong beast by 20. A very sexy beast.
7. Reading 12 Books Will Benefit You More Than 12 Years In School
School provides you with some basic but necessary knowledge. Unfortunately, if you make a single mistake that most people make – you will have finished school without knowing anything particularly valuable.
You will know how to write and do some calculations. Beyond that, you will forget 95% of the rest you learned.
What can you do to replenish these 12 years of generic and non-applicable information?
You should read extra books in your free time. No matter if you are still in school or if you have finished many years ago, you should start reading at least one hour per day. Like Ludvig.
This will give you a competitive advantage against other people. Because most people never read. They remain complacent with the knowledge they learn in school and/or college and never learn anything else.
Please don’t tell me that you don’t have time. If you want to read, you will find time. Bill Gates finds one hour per day to read books.
If you think you are busier than Bill Gates, then you are probably fooling yourself. Why don’t start being honest?
And if you are really so busy, then cut back on something. If it’s necessary to cut back on clubbing nights or evening walks, then do it.
If I was 17 years old again I would cut back the endless hours I spent with losers – or the endless hours spent on video games. I would probably have read hundreds of books and absorbed tons of knowledge by now.
Knowledge is key for succeeding in life. Knowing something that the others don’t know will separate yourself from the crowd.
If you go out there without knowledge you will get beaten to the ground. Those who are older and have real life experience will easily outwork you – if you are not resourceful and well-read.
You will be scammed to death and some people will take advantage of you.
I am not pessimistic – this is how life is.
If you don’t believe me then go find someone in his 20’s who is a complete failure. There is no way he has ever read anything. If he had, he would have knowledge that he could monetize. And he would be well-off instead of poor.
Knowledge + Life Experience.
Combine these two and you will have more success than 99% of people out there. Life experience takes years to be acquired. Knowledge is right in front of you – and you can start learning whenever you want.
8. You Can Really Make Money Online
As I told you above, I have spent most of my teens wishing for my parents to have more money and working for 3$ per hour. I have tried to “make money online” before, but I never truly believed it would be possible.
I would always fall into the temptation of get rich easy schemes that would promise me 2000$ just after 1 week of work. Fortunately, I never paid for one of them, because I didn’t even have the 99$ that the course asked for.
I wanted fast and easy results. Making money online isn’t a “fast and easy” process. It’s more of a “work now, reap the rewards soon” process.
The problem is that I had the wrong mentality. I expected to earn money without putting in the necessary work.
What I did back then was to do a quick google search for “make money online”. After 1 hour I would discover that I either had to pay for a 99$ course, or that it was too complicated. And I would quit.
Now, I would do it differently.
I would read for 12 hours per day for 4 weeks straight before I would quit on something.
When you do that, it’s impossible to not find what you are looking for. If you haven’t found a way yet – it could probably mean that you haven’t dug deep enough.
The strange thing is that I started making decent money online after I read about one dozen of books and countless articles online.
Do you see how knowledge helps you? If I didn’t read at all, I am pretty sure that I couldn’t make a single penny.
Reading gave me knowledge that I could monetize. It also gave me the right mentality. And these two together helped me to make enough money that allowed me to be financially independent and live decently.
9. Going To College Doesn’t Mean That You Are Somebody
College…Why does everybody believe that going to college is the cure to all problems? Hundreds of people remained unemployed after they got their degree.
Yet people keep sending their kids to college like it’s the most important thing in their lives.
Let me tell you something, there is life without college. There are opportunities and you can take advantage of them if you don’t sit on the couch all day.
Parents want to send their kids to college for two reasons:
- They believe that if they get a degree, then their friends, relatives and society will consider their kids and themselves respectable.
- They see that other parents send their children to college and they do they same out of ignorance (herd behavior).
First of all, getting a degree doesn’t guarantee the respect of anyone.
If you can’t provide significant value after you finish college, then society will sit on your face. And that’s why so many people with degrees are unemployed or work at a job completely irrelevant to what they studied – for a measly hourly payment.
Secondly, it’s not easy to take a decision that will impact your entire life – when you are 17 years old. It’s not easy even if you are 27.
And when parents send their children to college out of ignorance – just because that’s the socially accepted way to live – they are giving them a one way ticket to “forever fail-land”.
Kids go to college and study something that they don’t really enjoy. Because of that, they are partying and having fun all the time and never really care about their degree.
When they get it – they either can’t find a job – or they find a job they don’t like and live a miserable life.
The solution: Go to college only if you are sure that this is what YOU want and not what your parents want. If they don’t agree with you then take a leap of faith and move on…On your own.
It sounds scary right?
Yes, that’s why you should have invested in yourself before you make this decision.
You should build your body and sharpen your mind and do everything mentioned above, before you even reach the point of life where you can go to college.
If you do that, you will have the knowledge, character and mentality that will allow you to become successful and take your own path without a degree.
On the other hand, if you are already in college and don’t like it, then start doing the same things until you can be financially free without needing to use your college degree.
10.Doing One Thing Every Day Towards Your Goal Is Critical Towards Success
First of all, do you have any goals?
If you don’t have, then what’s your purpose?
What are you living for?
You must have a purpose. You must have goals that you want to achieve. Otherwise, you live like a zombie.
Goals are essential for your personal development. You can’t advance and become a better person without goals. And you must always strive to be better than yesterday.
To do that, you MUST do something every day that will help you achieve your goals.
No matter how small it is, you have to do something. That little something will make you a little better if you do it CONSISTENTLY over a prolonged period of time.
For the last 6 months, I am practicing my dancing skills for 10 minutes every day. No matter what happens, I will practice for 10 minutes.
If I haven’t practiced for 10 minutes, I won’t go to sleep. That’s how much serious you should be when it comes to your goals.
Sometimes I have to practice at 3 am in the morning when I was exhausted. But it didn’t matter.
When you want to achieve your goals, you must spend at least 10 minutes every day on something that will move you towards these goals.
11. Don’t Take Advice For Your Future From Your Family (If They Are Not Super Successful)
I am sure that your family wants the best for you. Every parent wants his kids to be happy and live a flourishing life. Except your parents have left you when you were a kid, then they odds say that they care about you.
Unfortunately, there is a huge gap between the fact that they care for you and the advice they will give you to help you.
They might care a lot for you, but this doesn’t mean that you should listen to all their advice. Sure, they have more life experience than you and they might give you some helpful tips.
But generally, you should take advice from your parents only if they are successful at the same field you want to be successful.
If you want to work in Wall Street you can’t take advice from your dad who works as a sales clerk in Walmart. You should take advice from successful people who have worked in Wall Street.
12. Nobody Believes In Your Abilities Unless You Have Achieved Something
Most people have a scarcity mindset. They don’t want to see others become more successful than they are. That’s because this makes them feel inferior.
As a result, when you try to accomplish something – they will doubt that you can do it. That’s one reason most people won’t believe in you.
Another reason is that they see your goal as too “unrealistic” for their standards, meaning that they believe they couldn’t do it. And they think that you can’t do it as well.
No matter why people doubt you, don’t get stressed or worried. It’s natural. And you have to learn how to cope with it and ignore those who doubt you.
There were three times in my life that I was heavily “attacked” by people who told me that “it’s not possible”.
- When I won the national kickboxing championship in the light low category.
- When I ended up second for a worldwide dance contest.
- When I started making a living working online.
As you can see, these 3 endeavors had all a happy ending. Yet, before I have actually achieved the above, I was being told the following:
“You can’t win the championship. You don’t have much experience and they will kick your ass”
Sure I don’t have experience but I have a heart motherfucker. And I won it.
“You are a new dancer Damian. It’s difficult to take part in this contest. You have 150+ competitors from all over the world”.
2 weeks and 39.000 views on YouTube later: “Well done Damian, You almost came up 1st – That’s awesome!”
“What? You will make money online? Don’t have illusions. Go find a real job…”
I have already booked tickets for my Christmas holidays. Those who told me about “illusions” will stay at home for Christmas.
The fact is that nobody will believe in you until you have made it. Don’t worry, smile, ignore and move on.
13. You Can Improve Your Public Relationships If You Follow This One Rule
Make people feel important and appreciated.
If you can do that – you have cracked the code to having awesome relationships. When I started working out, there was a guy in my gym that always told me how much I had improved.
I would see him just once per week. And each time I saw him he complimented my gains. Well, I don’t think that you can make such a solid difference in just a week.
But the way he said it made me feel awesome. In other words, he made me feel important and appreciated. For some reason I really liked that guy(no homo).
But I didn’t know why until I read Dale Carnegie’s book “How To Win Friends & Influence People”.
Then I realized that all the people who I liked, were the ones who have made me feel important and appreciated.
And if you think about it, you will probably notice them same thing.
When you make other people feel important and proud about themselves, they will definitely like you.
But beware, don’t start throwing away false compliments. Nobody likes bootlickers.
If your compliment isn’t genuine, then don’t say it. Make others feel important and proud of themselves but do it genuinely.
14. Don’t Waste A Dollar In Lotteries & Football Betting
While I have never spent a penny in lotteries, I have spent lots of money and time in football betting.
I played online in several betting websites and really believed that I could win the odds. Sometimes I could probably win 50-300$ and thought: “Wow, I made it!”
What I couldn’t realize was that I was losing more than I was earning. Football betting was more of a way to kill my time rather than make money. Yet, I was fool enough to believe that I was smarter than the system.
That I was smarter than the professional mathematicians who have designed the odds so only the betting company could be the real winner. Also, I believed that “I had the instinct”.
Bullshit…no successful man plays the lottery or bets his money on football games.
Because no one can’t control the outcome of these things. If it was so easy to make money in football betting just because you “have the instinct”, then everyone would be rich.
The only way to make real money on football betting continuously, is to be an insider and know which games are fixed. Otherwise, you should better stay away from whatever has to do with betting, lottery and lucky games.
15. If Someone Without Legs & Arms Can Be Happy, Then Why Aren’t You Grateful For What You Have?
When you are young, you might be complaining about the dozens of things that you don’t have. Yet, you forget to feel grateful about the dozens of things you already have.
You should always know that other people are in a worse situation than you. They would be eager to change places and have what you have.
There is a guy named Nick Vujicic. Nick doesn’t have arms and legs. But he is happy. He is grateful and appreciates what he has.
If someone like Nick is happy with his life, then why are you complaining about what you don’t have?
Why are you bothering about the iPhone you don’t own or the girl who don’t like you?
As long as you have a roof over your head and food to eat you should feel be fucking lucky and GRATEFUL!
Always try to achieve more, but always appreciate the things you already have.
16. Does Your Life Suck? Then It’s Probably Your Fault
We all want to blame others for our own mistakes and failures. Sometimes it happens unconsciously – without even realizing it. Other times, it happens because admitting our faults hurts our pride.
The truth is, that you can’t control a lot of things in your life. But you can control the WAY YOU REACT towards different circumstances.
You can control if you will be responsible or if you will blame others for your own misfortunes.
The hard truth is that: 98% of what happens in your life is the result of your actions or inactions.
If you don’t have money, it’s not because your parents are poor. It’s because you didn’t work enough to make your own money.
If you don’t have a great body, it’s not because you have filthy genes. It’s because you don’t eat healthy and exercise consistently.
If you fail in your exams, it’s not because your teacher wasn’t great. It’s because you partied the whole year instead of focusing on your exams.
If you want to change the way you live, become more responsible.
17. The Only Time To Change Something In Your Life Is Now
In case your life is perfect then well done for living the dream. Unfortunately, I don’t know anyone who has a perfect life, yet alone 17 -30 year old young men.
When you are not fulfilled, you have to do something to make your life fulfilling. One mistake most people do is to wait until the perfect time arrives. They will be determined to take action, only when their life conditions will be perfect.
Let me tell you that: conditions will never be perfect. Circumstances are always changing and if you are looking for the perfect shot you might never find it.
The solution: Start now with what you have and use all your available resources to achieve your goals. Don’t start next Monday, don’t start when you have money and don’t start when the aliens will come to earth.