What do you wish you knew when you were younger?

wanting to get some perspectives from other more senior folks. this is a question I've been asking clients, family members, etc., and I hope this proves to be a place we can visit for years to come.

so, ladies and gents that have been around the block for a decade or more, what do you know now that you wish you knew when you were in your college years, 20s, early 30s? can be career, life, financial, however you want to answer it

Layne Staley WallStreetOasis.com CompBanker InfoDominatrix m8 neink CuriousCharacter earthwalker7 IlliniProgrammer labanker wsa007 TechBanking SSits ArcherVice Martinghoul brotherbear

will keep my comments short since I've already regurgitated the same shit 100x on the forum

  1. think long term is easier said than done but is incredibly important

  2. on investing, how to think is more important than being up to date on the news

  3. distrust all forecasters who don't manage portfolios

  4. your life won't suffer for leaving social media (wish I'd done this at 25 instead of >30)

  5. conspicuous consumption only leads to credit card debt and shallow friendships, skip that phase of your life (from which I carry zero memorable moments)

 

College - I went to a target, and thought grades didn't matter (didn't know any better). Rude awakening come recruiting, but thankfully recruited into a bull market

Career - Each job will have difficult (sometimes extremely difficult) people to work with. How you manage and deal with those relationships can sometimes make or break you. I like to "kill them with kindness" and hard work. Don't let it affect you, but if it does, leave. 

Life - Don't spend your time complaining about things. Work on ways to fix it, come up with a plan that addresses the issues and start executing on it. Find a solution.

 

I presume you're talking about situations when you're working with, not working under, said difficult person? 

100% agree on the "working with" part - someone in another team / department being difficult - however the power dynamics in a typical office hierarchy don't allow for that if "working under". You'll just have to be a doormat / play politics to get out from working under them / or leave. Being a kind doormat doesn't do anything.

 

On top of my head, might add more later:

- pick a goal, something like winning an Olympic gold medal. Pick a model, someone who's good at what you want to be good at. Copy what he does. You aren't supposed to reinvent the wheel as a kid.

- it's better to try and fail than not to try at all. You'll learn something that other don't know, it'll help you succeed later

- education is overrated, this is particularly true for higher levels. Most educators need ''satisfaction'' that you give credit to their discipline, don't expect to make much of it

- learn some self defense. Helps with confidence in male dominated environments. You won't likely get in fights, nor want to, however we aren't really that far from animals. Other males do smell danger and fear.

Never discuss with idiots, first they drag you at their level, then they beat you with experience.
 

- learn one difficult language from birth: Mandarin, Russian, Arabic, Hindi. It'll make you stand out like no other.

Never discuss with idiots, first they drag you at their level, then they beat you with experience.
 
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Well there are a few things.

1) Grades matter.

2) What people with blue hair say does not matter.

3) Network over everything else.

4) College doesn't really lead to a career

5) You are far better off doing your own thing over working for other people

 

1. Hard work crushes intellect when it comes to career. You can't be a moron, but I know plenty of 'smart' people (you can find them at bar trivia or posting on Reddit) that are just lazy or not very practical. If someone is hard working & coachable in their corporate job then that crushes raw ability almost every single time, even if that person is much less intelligent. Someone with a 105 IQ that busts their ass will go further than someone with a 125 IQ who is lazy. I didn't believe this at all when I was in college but it's evident when getting into the 'real world'

2. Take ownership for everything. Growing up, my dad would always blame others. Late consistently? It's traffic. No money? It's because of the stock market. Cant get a promotion? It's because of the president. Step back in life and you will find people like this all the time - and it can be anything. Oh you lost a game of tennis? The racket was bad. Oh your pitch at work didnt succeed? Clearly it's bills fault for XYZ. If you are always blaming others you basically admit that you have no control/agency in your own life - which is pathetic. Take ownership. Late to work? Leaver earlier. Cant get a promotion? Get the skills needed to get another job. Lost a tennis match? Get fucking better at tennis. Whether you fail or succeed is on you and on you alone. But with all that pressure how do you prioritize? Leads me to my last point...

3. You can have anything you want in life. I sincerely mean that. But you cant have everything. Our generation (millennials) were coddled by basically being told we can have it all. You cant, you really cant. Realize and understand the trade offs with EVERY major decision you make. Compare those trade offs to your personal values , goals, and ambitions. Then you can make decisions and be happy with the ones you made. Example being you love being close to family in Ohio but got a important job offer in NYC. Staying vs leaving there is no right answer, but be aware of the tradeoffs. Or you have a career that will involve moving several times throughout your 20s and early 30s. Dont be surprised if you are single at 35. Want kids and to drive little johnny to soccer practice? Then understand the professional tradeoffs and dont think it's unfair when janet gets a promotion at work over you. People think they can have it all and get discouraged when expectations dont hit reality. You can achieve ANYTHING you want in this world (travel to 50 countries, start a business, financial independence at 35, sleep with 100 women, become VP before 30, have a loving family, have a six pack, etc.) but you cant have EVERYTHING. Think on your values and pursue them accordingly. 

 

More around developing good study habits while also recognizing that schools wasn't the end-all-be-all. But mostly just appreciating being young in the first place and taking chances, trying out more new things vs staying rigid in a sphere of self-prescribed competence. 

"The obedient always think of themselves as virtuous rather than cowardly" - Robert A. Wilson | "If you don't have any enemies in life you have never stood up for anything" - Winston Churchill | "It's a testament to the sheer belligerence of the profession that people would rather argue about the 'risk-adjusted returns' of using inferior tooth cleaning methods." - kellycriterion
 
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thebrofessor, I appreciate getting looped in this! This is a question that at first seems cliché but when I sit down and think about it, I'm flooded with a host of things I wish I had been equipped with mentally/emotionally/philosophically many years ago that would have saved me a tremendous amount of time and suffering. Some of these I've known all along yet never really took the time to digest. Others I have picked up only after many years.

Here is what I come up with (in no particular order). These apply to my teenage years and the decade of my twenties and will probably stay relevant throughout my life:

  • Most women are superfluous and expendable. This might sound harsh but I lost track of how much time and energy I spent chasing after women. It's shameful. I never had anyone to really "teach" me how to be good with women so I set out to learn myself through the pickup industry which was largely a waste of time. I spent an ungodly amount of time beating myself up over "failing" with a women and feeling bad for myself, only to have the process repeat with the next woman. I wish someone sat me down and told me that for all the women I am lusting after, there are many hundreds more that are virtually the same, that most aren't worth my time or energy, and that the best way to be "good" with women is to actually forget about women altogether and just focus on being a bad-ass man holistically. 
  • Ego is the biggest curse of the male sex. Ego will drive you to pursue things for the wrong reasons and to pursue things that are wrong altogether. Understand ego, where it comes from, etc. then destroy it or learn to set it aside.
  • Always think of the second and third order effects. This is a more precise/specific/deliberate way of thinking long-term. This isn't easy to do and requires you to almost think of potential alternate scenarios in each situation you encounter in life where you have a decision to make, large or small. 
  • Success in any endeavor requires mastery of the basics and more often than not, the basics are usually mundane, repetitive, and a slog to get through and can take years. Those who are willing to endure the slog through discipline and focus and will are those who will be successful. This is just as true now in a world full of fickle digital distractions at the whim of our fingertips as it was centuries ago.
  • Never, under any circumstance, feel sorry for yourself, ever. It is an addicting psychological trap that spoon feeds you globs of self-medicating emotions that feel "good" in the short term but ultimately erode you as both a man and a person. Smack yourself across the face, physically or metaphorically, and get back to taking action but never wallow in self-pity, period.
  • Most of life exists on a spectrum(s). There are extremes on both sides and there is a spot in the middle, but rarely does life ever exist in one place on the spectrum all the time. Sometimes it helps to be on the extremes, other times it makes sense to be somewhere in the middle of the spectrum, but life requires you to be flexible and to be able to adjust where you are constantly on the spectrum(s).
  • There really is a matrix. The trippy part is that there are matrices within the matrix.
  • The best way to change your state of mind is to change your physical state. Sitting and meditating is great, but I've found affirmations and incantations are largely useless. The best way to elicit change in your mind and emotions is through taking physical action over and over again. The change in physical state and what that requires of you will, in turn, change your inner state.
  • You can't "fake it till you make it". Eventually you will be found out, whether by others or yourself.
  • Find your origin source. This was something I solidified through reading Mastery by Robert Greene. All the legends have a "source", some sort of origin point that set them off on a course which ultimately led them to all the great things they accomplished. Everyone has it, you must search for yours and find it. It could be a recurring theme in your life, a period of time in your life, a specific situation that you found profound, etc.
  • Growing up is a trap. If you lose the lightness of childhood with all it's imagination, curiosity, invincibility, and creativity, the world slowly weighs on you and next thing you know, you're no different than the masses, trudging through life as it if was something to get through rather than being something that should be relished every day.
  • Most of life was figured out long ago. Most of what we see day-to-day is just a repackaged version of old-school fundamentals.
  • Get off the screen. Life is tactile and tangible and to be experienced physically. Use the internet to better your life financially and in other ways as well but don't spend most of your days glued to a screen or spend hours of forums, blogs, etc. looking for the answers to life's situations. The answers are out there in the physical world. 
  • Suffer early to get your life in order. The price must always be paid so best to pay it as early as possible.
  • Health is everything, period.
  • Some of the worst people you will meet in your life, if not the worst, will be your own family.
  • Life is really, really, really, really short.
  • Theatricality and deception are powerful agents.
  • Enjoy life as much as possible, Even on your worst days, enjoy it. When I look back on my teens and 20s, I was miserable for nearly two decades (I had MAJOR family issues and lacked the guts to pull myself out). What a shame to have spent so much of life in deep unhappiness. I should have enjoyed it, said "fuck it" to many things and seen the suffering as part of the grand process. Now I have to actively work to enjoy life every day. I obviously enjoy engaging in my passions, but I have to work to pause and enjoy the day-to-day activities, the trees, animals, the weather, etc. It's all connected.
  • Become self-reliant as soon as possible. Mentally, physically, emotionally, financially, etc. It's okay to seek tutelage and mentorship, but ultimately strive to rely on your own in all things.
  • All of life is rigged. This isn't bad or unfair, but it rewards those who put in effort and pay the price early on.
  • Accept full responsibility for all aspects of your life. No blame on anyone or anything but yourself. 
  • Seek to maximize your fullest potential, again in all aspects of life. Push the envelope of your perceived limits and then when you bump against them, push them further. Always have things you're striving for and attack, attack, attack.
  • Visualization works to the extent that it is chronic. Meaning, if I want to accomplish something or become a certain type of man, it won't do anything if I take 10 mins a day and meditate on it and then forget it. BUT, if it's something I hold constantly in the back of my mind, working it's way into my conscience and then unconscious, always there in the background, always visiting it and feeding it, over time it will happen. It might take many years, but when you look back you realize it served as a sort of auto-pilot, guiding you in ways in which you weren't even aware of. 

That's what I have for now! I could probably spend an entire day digging these out of my brain and it was actually very helpful to put these on here so I am appreciative of the opportunity to partake in this! These are my thoughts and platitudes thus far in life. They may not be for everybody but they are things that I live by and most certainly wished I knew at least a decade ago.

 
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This might be something that only makes sense in my brain but I'll do my best to embellish. To me, the matrix is a set of narratives and constructs thrust upon and widely adopted by society. We have all fallen victim to this matrix and have participated in it in various degrees through the systems we partake in such as the educational system, healthcare system, financial system, etc.

With the advent of tech and things like social media, you get another layer to the matrix where you've got people trading real, tangible time from their lives in exchange for interacting with digital projections in order to mostly live vicariously through the lives of other people, fully believing that what they're seeing is an accurate representation of reality. To me, something like social media is a matrix within the matrix because it's such a unique layer that only removes you further from what is truly real.

 

Basically don't focus your attention on getting a woman. Focus on a real goal, whether it's your GPA or recruiting or a hobby. Become an accomplished person through your real goals, and the women will follow.

The more you shower a woman with attention, the less she will want to be with you. This is the Fundamental Law of Vagina. Just don't give too much of a shit about them and I promise it will boost your confidence and likability. If your relationship with one women doesn't work out, don't worry, there's another one out there who you will like just the same. Just don't give them more attention than they deserve.

 

The gist of that point was that most women are fairly generic. Hell, most people are fairly generic, hence why the very successful have very small circles. As such, sinking large amounts of time and energy into pursuing women when you can instead be focused on building a business, building yourself, etc. is simply not worth it. It's easier to distance yourself from people not going anywhere in life, but women are much harder since you're fighting biology. You can replace the word "women" in that point with "people" and it applies just the same. Don't sink massive amounts of time on people who won't amount to anything who are more/less the same as everybody else. iercurenc also did a great job on summarizing my point. Don't give your power, time, and energy chasing after most people, be they women or men because odds are, there's another person just like them around the corner. Highest and best use in all areas of life is important, especially your time. 

 

"Women bad", admits to being a failed pickup artist

47 silver bananas, 0 monkey shits.  Sad post!

 

Another thing: 

the best way to be "good" with women is to actually forget about women altogether and just focus on being a bad-ass man holistically. 

This is patently wrong.  Sure, being a better man will make it easier to get dates, but the best way to get better at talking to women is.... talking to women.  Lifting weights will make you a better athlete but to do well in football, you'll have to practice playing football.  That's why you see so many people here scratching their heads and wondering why they're still virgins even though they're successful by other metrics.

 

i rarely comment on this site, but I just wanted to say this is one of the greatest things I've read, period (in or outside WSO). Thanks

 

+SB

I will echo the comments on Robert Greene - that book had a massive effect on me too and I credit it as one of the reasons I went from being outside of Banking/Finance to being at a BB now. For anyone reading this, if you take just one thing away from this thread, then pick up the Robert Greene book and read it. 

 
  • Get off the screen. Life is tactile and tangible and to be experienced physically. Use the internet to better your life financially and in other ways as well but don't spend most of your days glued to a screen or spend hours of forums, blogs, etc. looking for the answers to life's situations. The answers are out there in the physical world. 
  • Never, under any circumstance, feel sorry for yourself, ever. It is an addicting psychological trap that spoon feeds you globs of self-medicating emotions that feel "good" in the short term but ultimately erode you as both a man and a person. Smack yourself across the face, physically or metaphorically, and get back to taking action but never wallow in self-pity, period.

Love your advice. Thanks

 

Not a boomer like everyone else in the thread but...

1. Mentors are key, whether its upperclassmen or alumni. Everyone at your school will want to help you.

2. Grades matter, fuck that 3.5+ mentality. Go for a 4.0 so you fail into success. Hard work is hard.

3. TALK TO PEOPLE, same as #1, but network with alums, network with upperclassmen, these are the people who're gonna hire you 2, 5, 10 years down the line

5. Culture matters more than prestige IN THE LONG RUN, of course you should prioritize prestige for your first job out of college in finance because you aren't gonna stay there (99 times out of 100), but keep track of the bigger picture.

6. Old(er) people are often wrong. Take everything everyone says with a grain of salt, and understand that your life is different from theirs.

7. Never listen to a college student on an online forum because he is most likely just spewing BS.

 

lol ironically I believe the opposite. Fuck the 4.0, go for the 3.5. I was a 4.0 student and regret it because it came at the expense of other areas.

It's better to be good at everything than to be great at any one thing (grades, work experience, hobbies, social skills) but deficient at the others. IF you can be 4.0 student with a healthy social life, captain of the club rowing team, good internship experience, volunteer on weekends, etc. then more power to you. More isn't worse. But for many - the difference between a 3.5 and a 4.0 is negligible on a resume as well as later on in life. What matters is making sure you are well rounded 

 

Not a boomer like everyone else in the thread but...

1. Mentors are key, whether its upperclassmen or alumni. Everyone at your school will want to help you.

2. Grades matter, fuck that 3.5+ mentality. Go for a 4.0 so you fail into success. Hard work is hard.

3. TALK TO PEOPLE, same as #1, but network with alums, network with upperclassmen, these are the people who're gonna hire you 2, 5, 10 years down the line

5. Culture matters more than prestige IN THE LONG RUN, of course you should prioritize prestige for your first job out of college in finance because you aren't gonna stay there (99 times out of 100), but keep track of the bigger picture.

6. Old(er) people are often wrong. Take everything everyone says with a grain of salt, and understand that your life is different from theirs.

7. Never listen to a college student on an online forum because he is most likely just spewing BS.

 

Business is War - The best companies (that is, the companies that pay the highest wages, offer the most room for advancement, and are stacked with the most talented people) are EXTREMELY political environments, and anything you say can and will be used against you, so don't bring your personal baggage to the office, you're there to do battle.
 

Cash is King - Life is non-linear for most people, and if something unforeseen happens, having two years worth of living expenses in the bank is the best thing ever.
 

Think Long & Hard Before Taking on Debt - *Getting* to work a high paid prestigious job can be a dream come true... HAVING to work a high paid prestigious job can be a true nightmare. Act accordingly.
 

Don't Rush Into Marriage + Children - I didn't make this mistake, but I have plenty of friends who got married and had kids in their early/mid 20's who are now stuck with spouses and children they hate, or lost 50% of their net worth plus x% of their future earnings in nasty divorces... it's not a good look.
 

Opportunity favors the prepared mind - I've interviewed at dozens of companies over the last decade, and only 3 were true standouts... that's one every five years. I see one amazing investment every 12-18 months. I am many millions of dollars poorer today and missed out on some potentially fantastic relationships because I wasn't ready to act when opportunities presented themselves. When you see it, you HAVE to be ready.
 

Sales is an S-tier Skillset - The talented sales reps I know in big tech are all pulling in 500k-1.5mm per year working *very* reasonable hours. Even if you don't want to be a career salesperson, the skillset is extremely valuable.
 

Get Rid of Toxic People Post Haste - I held on to toxic relationships from my teen years into my late 20's, and it was a terrible mistake. If you want to move up in the world, you're going to have to leave people behind, and that might mean kicking your own family to the curb.

 

There is not a magic switch that will make your life amazing, try to live every fucking day instead of thinking that there is that magic thing that will  completely change your life. I used to think that entering a top university, making xx money, relationship were magic switches they are ok-ish but it is nothing magic. Why is so important  that I learned this from my young obsessed/A-type  personality? First, you start to live in the moment. Second, a natural consequence of this thought is that  there is not a magic switch that will make your life the worse thing ever either so in bad moments if you live everyday trying to be as good as possible you can be quite happy.

Disclaimer: if you are living in REAL materal/health poverty I do not think that this applies, if you can not eat 2 thoudand calories a day or you have Malaria it is hard to be happy..

 

Your well being should be your number one priority over anything. Take care of of yourself first so you can give 100% of yourself to your cause (job,family,relationships)

There will always be stress. Learn to cope early. The farmer will worry about rain. The engineer that the bridge won’t fall down.

Focus on things that you can control. Anxiety is born is out of things out of our control and the unknowns. The further out you project or forecast the more unknown variables. Trust that doing your best is all you can do and ask of yourself. Most of the time, it will be more than enough. Sometimes it won’t be enough, and that’s ok.

 

If you want to make money. You need to take risks. If you want to make lots of money, you need to take lots of risks. Unfortunately, a stable job in something like M&A is as riskless as it can get so you're defn not maximising your potential or coming anywhere close to making the money that you otherwise could.

Sure you may make more than other risk-averse people who have less pedigree in a lower paying job, but you're never going to make as much as someone taking risk (whether it's gearing their eyeballs out and buying the biggest property they can afford or doing business). The recent rise in US home prices is case in point.

 
  • Start doing more endurance training earlier
  • Stretching 
  • Morning cold showers
  • Jacking off less 
  • Actually doing what you say you are going to do 
  • Get lean asap, build muscle later, don't fall for the bulking meme