Turning 23 in a few days. Does anyone have any life advice for me? (Nothing finance related)

The title says it all. Advice that you wish someone had given you at that age. I'm re-evaluating a lot right now so any advice would be appreciated. Thanks in advance for taking the time to read.

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Comments (53)

Sep 1, 2021 - 11:06am
  • Take risks while you're young and without a ton of responsibility. Things like starting a business or even moving to work in an entirely different country.
  • Don't get married or have kids too early, it'll seriously hamper your ability to do the above.
  • Be career-focused but not career-obsessed, enjoying your 20s will lead to better decisions in the future. Don't want to be that guy that is 40 and trying to live like he is 20 because he didn't live like he was 20 when he was 20.

Array

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Sep 1, 2021 - 11:09am

Fuck, reading your last bullet got me feeling depressed again. If we're in IB, should we do 2 or 3 years then leave or what? I keep telling myself things will get better or that sacrificing now will let me have more fun later but fuck I don't want to get old and regret since college was not the best. 

Sep 1, 2021 - 11:14am

Fuck, reading your last bullet got me feeling depressed again. If we're in IB, should we do 2 or 3 years then leave or what? I keep telling myself things will get better or that sacrificing now will let me have more fun later but fuck I don't want to get old and regret since college was not the best. 

Look at how happy/well adjusted your bosses are and make that determination.

Array

Sep 3, 2021 - 6:24pm

Damn dropping a seriously thought-provoking statement with that last bullet! Love to see it

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Most Helpful
  • Intern in IB - Gen
Sep 1, 2021 - 3:09pm

-Get in the best shape of your life. 12% or less body fat, put on some muscle. Your focus should first be cutting if you're not slim already, then trying to put on muscle. Your 20's is the optimal time for building muscle so don't waste it. I'm not saying get so huge where you're like bodybuilder level (unless you personally want that), but definitely don't sit there with the marathon runner's body.

-Cut out seed oils and high fructose corn syrup. Limit processed sugars. Drink lots of water. Eat .8g-1g protein per lbs body weight, so 200lb guy would eat 200g protein/day

-Avoid unlucky people

-Surround yourself with people who're bettering themselves. You're more apt to become successful if you surround yourself with successful people. This doesn't mean you have to cut off your best friends who might lounge and watch netflix all the time, but maybe you start spending a bit more time with others (the people with big goals) too.

-Limit netflix, videogames, social media, etc. Watching 30min-1 hour of netflix is fine, but there's so many people that get home from work and binge watch 4-5 hours of netflix every night. Such a waste. Check insta once a day max, I guarantee you won't miss it. The only reason I have facebook is to remember people's bdays tbh. Twitter is useful if you find a subgroup, for example fintwit or cryptotwit or a niche where you can learn and connect with people.

-Try to keep a positive mindset as much as possible. Optimistic people are more likely to be successful (they'll find ways for it to work instead of finding ways it won't). They're more fun to be around too. Meditation is helpful for this. I try to meditate for ~10 min every day. My mind is more clear/calm after, and I feel a bit more energetic. 

-I'll probably catch some heat for this one but prestige doesn't matter. It matters I guess in preserving optionality, but once you know what you want it doesn't matter. No one cares if you work at Goldman or KKR or went to Harvard. In fact, if you mention your job or school without someone asking, you're likely insecure or have your entire identity wrapped up in it. Embarrassing to say the least. 

-Life is serious but don't take it too seriously if that makes sense. Yes, make sure you're taking care of the stuff you need to in order to accomplish your goals and dreams, but have fun while doing it. Crack jokes, don't stress if you make some mistakes or if plans start going awry. Don't let your job stress you out too much. I get it, sometimes it gets to you, but try to take a step back and realize it's not life or death. There's people on this site that are so uptight and high strung, and they wonder why their looks are fading quickly, they have no fun, can't get girls, etc. Like bro- I promise whatever your VP is freaking out about rn will blow over, everything will be okay and life will go on.

-Whenever receiving advice from someone:

    -Do you want to be where they are in life when you're their age? If yes, take their advice. If no, smile and say thank you, then disregard.

    -Remember that the advice is derived from their biases and life experiences. 

-To expand on the person above who said take risks:

You should constantly be putting yourself out there, shooting your shot on different opportunities. This goes for picking up girls, cold emailing to get your dream job, starting a venture whether it's a side hustle or you go all in, raising capital for the venture, etc. If there isn't a possibility that you might fail or get rejected, you most likely won't be growing. Disregard anyone laughing from the sidelines, at least you had the balls to get in the game. Think back to the times when you didn't shoot your shot with a girl bc you had a fear of rejection. I know those haunt me way more than the actual times I got shot down. Shoot enough shots, eventually you'll get to a point where you'll be cashing most of em. Realize that there are so many wealthy/successful people that really aren't any smarter than you are. They just had the balls to shoot their shot. 

-Lastly, you should be chatting up as many people as possible on a daily basis. You don't get lucky in life by staying in watching netflix, or walking around with your head down and airpods in. You get lucky through meeting people. Every conversation you have with a random person is a net positive. Worst case is it goes kind of awkward and you learn from it and are smoother next time. Best case you meet a significant other or a best friend or a business connection or an investor, etc.

I have a post from another thread that may be helpful too, I'll paste it here in a little bit.

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Sep 1, 2021 - 3:42pm

Post from past thread:

"To add though, when I see people who're the most fulfilled they generally have two commonalities:

1) They're building/creating

2) They live by the phrase "momento mori"

Before I dive into number one, I want to be clear: number one has nothing to do with prestige or being "known as a master in your craft". To me, number one just means you're producing/building/creating in your life far more than you consume. Examples of this could range from building better relationships/friendships, building a business, building your career, building your body (working out, competing), building your intelligence (reading, writing, learning new skills). Basically, instead of spending your time watching netflix or scrolling social media, you spend your time creating your ideal life and pursuing something. Like I said, there's a wide range for this and some people will be happy doing this at a level where they make less than 200k but spend a lot of time with friends or outside or something. Others will want to be in the seven figure range creating businesses or something. Only you can answer what "level" you'll be happy with, the main thing is that you're improving yourself/relationships.

On number two- I know the phrase "momento mori" could probably come off as kind of cringe or something idk, but to me it just means to be fully present and realize that life is short so we need to make the most of it. I realized over the past year that I was hardly ever fully present in the moment, and I rarely fully enjoyed small victories along the way. I think a lot of people on wso are like this. You have this path of top school=>IB=>PE=>HF/top MBA=>etc. where as soon as you accomplish one you shift your focus to achieving the next one. I saw myself doing this in other parts of my life where I kept telling myself that life would be so much better once I got to the next point, then I'd get there and think the same thing about the next step. I know this is kind of scrambled but basically enjoy where you're at. Of course you need to make sure you're on track to be where you want to be in ten years, but make sure you enjoy your day to day bc you never know when your time's up.

I think a good rule of thumb for life is to make decisions based on what you'll remember on your death bed. You probably won't remember or care about staying in to watch netflix on a Friday night, but you'll probably remember going out and having a crazy experience or meeting up with friends and just chilling.

One last note- I think I read this on here recently, but one thing that's hard for people once you graduate is gauging what success looks like. When you were in school it was easy to gauge- whoever had the best grades/scores in hs went to the best university, whoever had the best gpa/ECs/internships got the best job. But as you get older people's priorities change. For one person success may look like pulling in 7-figs while working 80 hrs/week, for another success may be ~200k and spending as much time as possible with their family. For others it may be traveling the world. The thing is that there's no real answer. You have this one life to design the way YOU want it so you have to dig deep and answer the question for yourself. Don't worry about what other's think, your true friends will be happy for you as long as you're happy/healthy."

Sep 1, 2021 - 6:18pm

Intern in IB - Gen

-Get in the best shape of your life. 12% or less body fat, put on some muscle. Your focus should first be cutting if you're not slim already, then trying to put on muscle. Your 20's is the optimal time for building muscle so don't waste it. I'm not saying get so huge where you're like bodybuilder level (unless you personally want that), but definitely don't sit there with the marathon runner's body.

-Cut out seed oils and high fructose corn syrup. Limit processed sugars. Drink lots of water. Eat .8g-1g protein per lbs body weight, so 200lb guy would eat 200g protein/day

-Avoid unlucky people

-Surround yourself with people who're bettering themselves. You're more apt to become successful if you surround yourself with successful people. This doesn't mean you have to cut off your best friends who might lounge and watch netflix all the time, but maybe you start spending a bit more time with others (the people with big goals) too.

-Limit netflix, videogames, social media, etc. Watching 30min-1 hour of netflix is fine, but there's so many people that get home from work and binge watch 4-5 hours of netflix every night. Such a waste. Check insta once a day max, I guarantee you won't miss it. The only reason I have facebook is to remember people's bdays tbh. Twitter is useful if you find a subgroup, for example fintwit or cryptotwit or a niche where you can learn and connect with people.

-Try to keep a positive mindset as much as possible. Optimistic people are more likely to be successful (they'll find ways for it to work instead of finding ways it won't). They're more fun to be around too. Meditation is helpful for this. I try to meditate for ~10 min every day. My mind is more clear/calm after, and I feel a bit more energetic. 

-I'll probably catch some heat for this one but prestige doesn't matter. It matters I guess in preserving optionality, but once you know what you want it doesn't matter. No one cares if you work at Goldman or KKR or went to Harvard. In fact, if you mention your job or school without someone asking, you're likely insecure or have your entire identity wrapped up in it. Embarrassing to say the least. 

-Life is serious but don't take it too seriously if that makes sense. Yes, make sure you're taking care of the stuff you need to in order to accomplish your goals and dreams, but have fun while doing it. Crack jokes, don't stress if you make some mistakes or if plans start going awry. Don't let your job stress you out too much. I get it, sometimes it gets to you, but try to take a step back and realize it's not life or death. There's people on this site that are so uptight and high strung, and they wonder why their looks are fading quickly, they have no fun, can't get girls, etc. Like bro- I promise whatever your VP is freaking out about rn will blow over, everything will be okay and life will go on.

-Whenever receiving advice from someone:

    -Do you want to be where they are in life when you're their age? If yes, take their advice. If no, smile and say thank you, then disregard.

    -Remember that the advice is derived from their biases and life experiences. 

-To expand on the person above who said take risks:

You should constantly be putting yourself out there, shooting your shot on different opportunities. This goes for picking up girls, cold emailing to get your dream job, starting a venture whether it's a side hustle or you go all in, raising capital for the venture, etc. If there isn't a possibility that you might fail or get rejected, you most likely won't be growing. Disregard anyone laughing from the sidelines, at least you had the balls to get in the game. Think back to the times when you didn't shoot your shot with a girl bc you had a fear of rejection. I know those haunt me way more than the actual times I got shot down. Shoot enough shots, eventually you'll get to a point where you'll be cashing most of em. Realize that there are so many wealthy/successful people that really aren't any smarter than you are. They just had the balls to shoot their shot. 

-Lastly, you should be chatting up as many people as possible on a daily basis. You don't get lucky in life by staying in watching netflix, or walking around with your head down and airpods in. You get lucky through meeting people. Every conversation you have with a random person is a net positive. Worst case is it goes kind of awkward and you learn from it and are smoother next time. Best case you meet a significant other or a best friend or a business connection or an investor, etc.

I have a post from another thread that may be helpful too, I'll paste it here in a little bit.

Some beautiful advice here 🔥🔥

Sep 3, 2021 - 1:34pm

-I'll probably catch some heat for this one but prestige doesn't matter. It matters I guess in preserving optionality, but once you know what you want it doesn't matter. No one cares if you work at Goldman or KKR or went to Harvard. In fact, if you mention your job or school without someone asking, you're likely insecure or have your entire identity wrapped up in it. Embarrassing to say the least.

Your points are solid but I disagree with the above.  Sure you shouldn't go around bragging about being a Harvard grad and or having worked at KKR but credentials and brand-recognition matters.  The opportunities available to someone who has work experience at a KKR or Goldman Sachs will almost always be "superior" to someone who graduated from State College and worked as a Financial Analyst at Home Depot Corp.

Credentials matter at the end of the day insofar as the salary is often superior and if not the skills, than the credential and work experience enables you to command more validity when starting a business.  The combination of this enables you to open up businesses that will often give you a better shot at a lifestyle that most people desire.

Not to say you can't succeed otherwise I just have seen far more examples with people succeeding and doing bigger things that have the above than those from "lesser backgrounds."

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  • Intern in IB - Gen
Sep 3, 2021 - 2:20pm

I think that comparing a finc analyst at Home Depot to someone at KKR is pretty drastic. I was more thinking of comparing someone who ended up at a MM firm to KKR. I do agree with you and think I should've expanded in the above post. I was more talking about the people who think that by getting this pedigree they'll be cool, and everyone will adore them.

For context, I'm currently at a MM bank but have some older friends in REPE who offer a different perspective to yours. Basically, from their viewpoint you're better off going to a smaller firm where you get more responsibility/opportunity early on so that you can learn as much as possible. Sure you don't have the pedigree of the guy that went to Blackstone, but you tend to work better hours and the skillset you pick up allows you to start something on the side far earlier than someone at a place like Blackstone. One thing I like about the people I know in CRE is instead of focusing on pedigree they're more focused on building a skillset and how much value they can add. They use their job as a training ground to launch their own biz. I know there's people that have this mindset in IB/PE, it just seems as though it's much more pedigree focused and people are fine with slaving away for corporate bc they feel validated that they're at a prestigious firm. 

I do agree with you that all things equal, in traditional PE an ex-KKR guy is going to have an easier time raising capital for his new fund/venture than the ex-LMM fund guy.

Sep 1, 2021 - 3:59pm

Live every day like it was your last. 

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Controversial
Sep 1, 2021 - 4:33pm

Don't be a liberal, nor trust one

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

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  • Prospect in Research - Other
Sep 1, 2021 - 5:59pm

give it a fucking rest man. do you seriously lack the ability to separate someone's political views from them being a good person/trustworthy/etc. ?

Funniest
Sep 1, 2021 - 6:12pm

Yes

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

  • 12
Sep 1, 2021 - 5:19pm

Echo some of the thoughts above. Below come to mind of what I wish I knew then:

  • Fitness/health should be prioritized. Workout to some degree daily if you can. 12% bf with some muscle is a good number. Eat right. You will be more confident, people treat you better, physically you are up for anything, etc. All the money / prestige doesnt matter if you look like shit or cant do shit without being winded. Build the body you want in your 20s and you can maintain it relatively easily for rest of your life, way easier than trying to build it later
  • Really reflect on who you are and what you want out of life. Your entire life until now has been structured, so it's been easy to think "i need to go to this college", "i need to get this internship", "I need to get this job", etc. Now is a time to pause. I grew more in my early to mid 20s than any other period in life because I could look around and try to prioritize the important things in life (career, physical health, hobbies, family, etc.). Accept that whatever you choose there may be tradeoffs, and live with those tradeoffs. Too many people 'try to have it all' and get frustrated when life doesnt work out because they aren't honest with themselves about their priorities. You can have anything, but you cant have everything.
  • Experiences matter, now is your time to cultivate them. Be an interesting person by doing amazing things. A lot of guys get their first paycheck and think it's time for a nice car, nicer clothes, nice house, etc. But the things you own will end up owning you. There is a time and place for that stuff, but dont be in a rush. Use your new freedom to try new hobbies/interests - youll be amazed at what you become interested in that you didnt care about in college. It's cliche but travel while you can, meet new people, do cool things (mountaineer, hike Appalachian trail, learn to ski, whatever - it's up to you). It's easy to get in a rut but the endorphins from challenging yourself will crush the sedated feelings you get from browsing Netflix/Instagram/etc.
  • Invest early. You know this already, but obviously more money you invest early the more it will compound. Focus on getting that first 100k in the market and then it comes a lot easier, fortunately you should clear that in a few years easily. When you hit your 30s/40s and are financially independent, still relatively young and healthy, the world becomes your oyster
  • Love what the guy above said about be a producer, dont be a consumer. Yes we all have to 'consume', but there is more enjoyment in making things. Artwork, sculptures, writing, a podcast, a small business or side hustle, etc. Carry that mantra throughout your life. Be your own man instead of looking for fulfillment from others. Dont sit on your ass and watch sports all day - instead find a group of friends and play a game of football (or whatever) together at a park. It's much more enjoyable.
  • Dont sweat the small stuff. If something happens to you ask yourself if this will matter in 5 years. Answer is, it likely wont. Didnt get credit for a deal at work? Lost $500 because a friend didnt pay you back? Got in a fender bender and have to get your car fixed? None of that shit matters. As you get older things will happen to you (both good and bad) that will put the rest of life, work included, in context. As long as something isn't fatal then it generally isnt a big deal. Doesn't mean ignore small problems - but have perspective and appreciate life. 
  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Sep 1, 2021 - 6:47pm

On your first bullet about fitness, what about those who are at that BF % and in-shape in the sense of good cardio and stamina but frail in terms of muscle? I make time to get cardio in everyday to get my blood pumping but don't really have time nor care to eat big on calories and do compound lifts in addition to cardio. Is it bad to just be slim and active? 

Sep 2, 2021 - 8:36am

My advice is a bit biased for sure. There are benefits to lifting weights beyond just fitness that carry over in ways other sports dont. Gaining respect of others, interest from women, filling out clothes better, being able to defend yourself, etc. that I think are important.

However, if you are really into certain sports and compete at a pretty high level (think marathons, triathlons, rock climbing, cycling, etc.) then lifting weights and adding mass can be harmful to an extent, and would say as long as you are active doing something you love then that should be prioritized over lifting weights just to receive positive feedback from others.

Overall you want to get to the point where you are in your 40s, 50s, and 60s and be able to still do whatever you want (water ski, multi day backpacking trip, climb everest if you want). That can be achieved without weights

  • Analyst 1 in IB-M&A
Sep 1, 2021 - 6:04pm

"Never be so sure of what you want that you won't take something better"

Sep 1, 2021 - 7:10pm

Take a year off to travel in your 20s if you can. No other time to do it. 

Array

Sep 2, 2021 - 3:55pm

1) Maybe an unpopular opinion, but something I did that made my adult life exponentially easier - save as much as you possibly can in your early 20's, spend it when you're smarter, and better off, in your mid-late 20's. If your finance friends and coworkers are anything like mine were, those big bonuses will hit and people are going to spend on luxury vacations, bottle service at clubs, a couple of nice watches, maybe a luxury car if you're not in NYC... don't do that. You should absolutely still travel and go out to eat/drink with friends and enjoy yourself, but don't spend in excess in your early years, you have plenty of time for that 26-30+. Invest your bonuses, max out your 401k, build up a bank roll while you're young and everything from a financial perspective will come easier when you're older. 

Anecdotally, I invested my bonuses intelligently and bought my first condo in the city at 25 and put 20% down. Paid a little more on a monthly basis than my friends did for rent, but built home equity, got a tax benefit (before SALT was capped...), and now in our early 30's my friends have just started buying their first places over the last 2 years, draining their bank accounts to do so, while I've had the opportunity to move on to bigger/better place #2 with no additional money down (because of the equity from condo #1) and have 5x the amount of money that they do in my investment accounts. I'm able to buy nicer things and go on nicer vacations because I have that cushion and I still had plenty of wild times, and traveled the world, in my early 20's. 

2) If you have any interest in cooking/learning to cook, do it. If you find it even mildly rewarding, it makes spending hundreds of $'s a week on dining out/delivery seem absolutely ridiculous. Totally changed my discretionary spending potential when I stopped buying lunch every day and the occasional weeknight dinner, and to the other points above, it helped me get in even better shape. 

  • Intern in IB - Cov
Sep 2, 2021 - 6:45pm

What was your net worth / financial position like by the time you bought a condo at 25? Curious cause I have decent savings / investments (~60k) with 10k student loans currently in grace period and now in my first year of IB. Hoping I can get somewhere in the 100-200k range after two years of IB + bonuses but still don't think I'd be getting into home ownership in a major city at that. 

Sep 2, 2021 - 7:15pm

Happy to be transparent - I don't remember the exact numbers but ballpark at 25 1/2 (3 bonus cycles) I had 150ish in brokerage (after a few uniquely successful investments), 125ish in my 401k (maxed out my contributions and my company has a generous match and supplemental 401k bonus each year), 10 in savings for emergency and 25 in student loans (and I still have student loans outstanding because why pay them off early when the interest rate is only 4%?). The place I bought in 2015 was 425 so I put 85 down, spent around 30 to do some smaller renovations and to buy some new furniture, so it left me with like 25 in brokerage after I had to pay taxes on cap gains, and still had the 10 in savings... not the most comfortable financial position as a homeowner, but got another bonus 6 months later to replenish my accounts and have more breathing room. The reality of my expenses then were that my all-in mortgage + property tax + HOA were like $3,000, but I think ~700 was going toward principal, and I got some SALT tax benefits, so my "rent" (money that I'll never get back) was, call it, $2,100. I sold the place 5 years later and made 75 in property value gains. 

Sep 3, 2021 - 3:43am

A lot of great advice so far. I would add two more things, since I am in my early 30s and have relatively recently completed my 20s.

  • Working out is key. But don't forget about the trifecta - strength, cardio and flexibility. The latter becomes critical as you age, helping to minimize the impact of injury, keeping you supple and fit as you get older. That combined with a solid base of muscle and heart health will keep you going for much longer, so you can conquer the world, make love to your partner, do deals, climb mountains, whatever, well beyond retirement age. It takes a long time to build flexibility, but a quick routine 10-15 minutes per day is a great starting point.
  • If there are things outside your control, do not worry about them. Spend as little brainpower on them as possible. Focus on the things you can control and affect, and drop your concern for everything else. You will be happier, less stressed, and have more energy to focus on the things that do matter.
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Sep 3, 2021 - 4:33pm

Make it a goal to reach out to the important people in your life. Call your family and closest friends when you have like 20 minutes of downtime throughout the day. It's easy to get stuck in the work headspace for several weeks at a time but trust me, it's worth it.

Your network will likely continue to grow as you age, but your inner circle will slowly recede as people reach different life milestones (found a job, got married, moving closer to family, moving out of state etc.).

So just take like 5-10 minutes out of your day, make them feel relevant in your life. Ask them how they're doing, vent about work together. And trust me, you'll feel better about your relationships and general life. You'll feel mentally better and that you can rely on people for support in your life.

Sep 7, 2021 - 4:07am

Just going to preface this by saying that I'm around your age and that I don't work in high finance, just a shithead who browses the forum when drunk. 

I grew up in a shithole blue collar town out west. None of my childhood friends went to college. However, I did well in school and somehow ended up with a fat scholarship to a good school in the northeast. Decided to try out the high finance stuff. I got good grades there, made lots of connections, got internships, etc. Despite all of this, I realized that I hated it out east, hated high finance, and, most importantly, hated the fact that I couldn't be myself. I'm not some high society kid from the Hamptons with old money who golfs and goes to expensive nightclubs and restaurants. I'm a blue collar kid from the mountain west who shoots guns, spends all day outside, and drinks piss beer. 

I decided to dropout with no plans. Spent around two years driving around the US exploring, doing odd jobs, meeting random girls, making new friends,  creating new memories, and, ultimately, finding myself. Ended up settling down in a mid size city out west. Realized that I had nothing to lose, so I took every business, job, and investment opportunity that passed my way. Now, I have never been happier in my life. I have zero stress, no nagging boss, no PC college people, no corporate beauracracy. I have a decent net worth and spend my time working a job I enjoy, get to do all the outdoors stuff I want, and focus on my businesses. 

Takeaway/TLDR:

There is no right "path." Instead of worrying about your career "path," just leap at opportunities with everything you got and chase all of the adventures you daydream about. You only live one life until you're six feet under, so make your life interesting and worth living.     

Sep 8, 2021 - 12:21am

Move to NYC.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

  • 1
Sep 8, 2021 - 12:24am

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"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

Sep 8, 2021 - 2:19am

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