What are life lessons (does not have to be finance/work related) to give to all of us ~19-23 year olds?

I've recently been in more of a pensive/philosophical mood due to getting out of an LTR. While I usually go to this site for career advice, I know there are some users out there with extensive life experiences and life lessons worth sharing. As someone who wants to be a better person, be a better human, be a more mature man, and live life a little fuller, what can I do now or what should I experience now to be the person I wish I was?

Can be anything from recommending a book, getting into a new morning routine or habit, or a piece of advice from someone who's lived more than I have.

Thanks I'm advance

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Comments (46)

Mar 10, 2021 - 5:45pm

I'll start us off. I'm a young guy but have learned that the only two things that matter in life are friends and family. Treasure the time you have with your loved ones, your family, your friends, and the people who you can be YOU around. Stop thinking about the future, enjoy the present, and time you spend with them.

Never take the people you love and their presence in your life for granted.

My Brother. My Captain. My King.
  • 4
Mar 11, 2021 - 3:25pm

pound cake

#poundcakebrigade #poundcakebrigadeer #poundcakeboiz #poundcake4life #pounddahound


Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

  • 2
Mar 11, 2021 - 2:36pm

- Get a perfect GPA

- Good internships

- Buy a Garmin Fenix 6x Pro and track your workouts on Strava 

"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
Mar 11, 2021 - 3:24pm

Fuck this guy.

All you gotta know is - when you gotta, go!

Don't hold in your shits, boys. Whatever you're doing can wait.


Look at all these wannabe richies hating on an expensive salad.

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Mar 11, 2021 - 3:55pm

Lloyd BIankfein

I wanna get the garmin but I can't justify the price when I have a perfectly good Apple Watch series 6 to track workouts for strava. Maybe I'm not enough of a hardo.

I've cracked an Apple Watch screen after having it for 3 days. Also the battery life isn't great. 

I have had the Fenix 5x Plus Sapphire for 2.5 years and it has been incredible. The screen is bulletproof.

"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

  • 2
Mar 11, 2021 - 4:17pm

I saw some guy on tik tok talking about how it is sometimes better to think about your relationships in reverse and it really hit me different. For example, if your parents have lets say another 10 years left, and you only see them twice a year, you would still say you have 10 years left with them, but in reality you only have 20 "times" left with them. So essentially thinking about family and friendships this way creates a sense of urgency to make all the time count. In banking, I found it easy for me to skip stuff that would be fun with my friends due to me just working a lot and being tired, and now that I look at time as if it is working against me, coupled with the isolation of COVID. It's so easy to get muddled down with life and just be exhausted by it. Now, I'm much more motivated to make those experiences count and take them whenever I can. Basically, make time for the good stuff because its important and you don't know how much of it you got left. 

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  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Mar 11, 2021 - 5:14pm

I understand the logic behind this, but I think I would go batshit crazy if I started counting how many "times" I had left with someone.

Mar 11, 2021 - 8:17pm

Yeah i think it would be a dark outlook overall but i see it like you don't really know how long shits gonna last so make it count while its around, even if its an inconvenience to you because you won't be regretting it when its over, kinda

Mar 12, 2021 - 12:02pm

You don't need to log it in Excel, but running through the exercise once with people/things you love is a very eye-opening experience and helps you set priorities. It doesn't have to be people, say you really love skiing and you can only make it out for a few weekends a season, understanding how many you have left will help you savor those opportunities. And meditating on those moments, savoring, being present because you know life is limited, actually increases your happiness. True, it is a bit melancholic deep down, but I'd answer that's just what life is about, and ignoring that entirely isn't a healthy way to approach mortality. 

Mar 13, 2021 - 3:24pm

I re-read that Urban post every few months or so. Incredibly sad but I think it's so important 


  • Analyst 2 in PE - Other
Mar 11, 2021 - 5:22pm

Play to win, don't play not to lose. Over a long time horizon taking calculated risks tends to pay off. 

Mar 11, 2021 - 5:44pm

I am 25 in a few months, so I barely qualify for this, but here we go: communicate honestly and objectively (as opposed to vaguely). I've found out that many of the problems a lot of people have (myself included) are caused because they are too vague in their statements and afraid to speak up when something is unclear or feels off.

Why do so many people don't get raises or promoted? Because they fail to communicate objectively to their superiors that they want the raise/promotion, fearing some kind of reprisal.

Why do so many guys get rejected by girls? Because they fail to communicate objectively their intentions, fearing coming off as creepy.

Why do so many people get conned? Because they fail to communicate objectively that they feel something off about the offer that's being laid out to them, fearing being unpolite or annoying.

Why do so many people get fucked over by taxes and other bureaucratic stuff? Because they fail to communicate objectively to themselves and other people what exactly is unclear, fearing being overwhelmed by bureaucracy.

I could go on and on with these kinds of examples. The point is: my life got way easier when I started to try and be objective about whatever I say to other people and to pay attention to any details were unclear from what others say to me.

Mar 11, 2021 - 7:10pm


ur missing out on girls in their prime (looks/physical wise) at that age 

Who is missing out? 

"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

Mar 12, 2021 - 2:08am

- life is short, stop wasting time (esp. on social media), put the phone down

- if you lift weights, don't neglect cardio, do 3 session of 30 mins each everyweek at least, also stretch

- if you lift weights, don't "tough out" injuries, keep an eye on your shoulder, knees and joints in general, dial it back if you notice discomfort

- read and take notes of what you read. Start developing your own (digital) zettelkasten early, knowledge compounds

- girls have feelings too, don't be a dick 

Mar 12, 2021 - 10:58am

#1 by a country mile - total person concept (https://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/finding-a-job-with-no-passion#co… and https://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/investing-in-yourself-how-do-you…)

I also wrote a lot here about what I think has helped me, lessons I've learned from others or come upon accidentally - https://www.wallstreetoasis.com/forums/then-and-now-thebrofessor

the last thing I'll say is this - get comfortable with the fact that you will die someday. I think about this every single day and I'm one of the happiest people I know. I do not fear death, nor do I welcome it, but I try to live a life that I'm comfortable if it ends any moment. imagine you're in your 90's on your deathbed. what will you have wished you'd done more of? spend time TODAY doing those things. life is short, no better time than now. specifically, I'm betting it's things like having a healthy lifestyle, travel, exploration, maybe it's a hobby you've always been curious about, maybe it's starting a company, etc., of course life demands are there and the 90-something you would also want to ensure you take care of your obligations. but when you're about to die, will you wish you'd spent more time scrolling through insta-thots butt pics, getting into political arguments on twitter, or more time reading, learning, and growing as a person?

Most Helpful
Mar 12, 2021 - 1:58pm

From a 36 year old divorced, highly functioning alcoholic with a penchant for Colombian escorts:

1) The most important decision in your life is who you marry. It's like M&A, you want an accretive deal with day-one synergies. Many of you guys are/were probably geeks in high school/college and didn't get much, so avoid the temptation to marry the first girl who comes along and shows you any interest. Work on developing yourself in your 20's and, if all goes to plan, you will have the life experiences and maturity to select a good partner in your early 30s.

2) You can eat what you want in your 20's but when you cross into your 30's you need to make a decision: do you want to drift into dad-bod territory and end up fat in your 40's or do you want to age gracefully and still look like a good catch in your 40's. Alcohol is a killer in this regard.

3) Live within your means from day 1. I make 10x what I made in my first job out of uni, but I also saw my spending go up 10x to the point where I had a high income and no real savings. Develop a savings/investment plan and stick to it. Great quote: "you spend money you don't have, buying stuff you don't need, to impress people you don't like."

4) Learn how to sell...the guy who can sell an idea gets paid more and promoted faster than the guy with the technical knowhow. All that "work hard" crap you are taught in college only takes you so far. The reason I say this is that I see so many posts from guys saying "I'm an introvert, would I do better in ER than IB/PE?" Force yourself to become social as the higher up you go in this business the more important contacts and connections are.

5) Never burn bridges, EVER. I told a former PM to fcuk off 5 years ago after an argument over a trade and left on bad terms. In that time period I have been passed over for 2 fantastic jobs because the desk head/PM knew my old boss....the more specialized you become the smaller this world gets.

6) Shift from being dogmatic to pragmatic. The more pragmatic you are the easier it is to get on with other people and the more perspective you will obtain.        

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Mar 12, 2021 - 7:18pm

I'm still pretty young but one recurring theme I've noticed is that life truly begins where your comfort zone ends. I've seen my classmates, colleagues, and old supervisors stay in the same rut and not strive for something better when they were perfectly capable of doing so. They got too comfortable and never developed any drive or ambition, which would of led to them being more successful if they just stepped outside of their comfort zone and took a risk. Applying and interviewing for a great job you think you have no chance for, going out and meeting new people, or simply starting a hobby are all things that could make you uncomfortable, but if it ends up working out you'll enjoy the benefits. Having 10 years go by only to think "what if I did ___ instead of ___" sounds horrible.  

Mar 12, 2021 - 9:14pm

If you think that way you are emotionally immature. There is value in listening to those who have come before you and making sure to learn from mistakes that others made and hopefully you won't.

My Brother. My Captain. My King.
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Mar 13, 2021 - 3:05am

I'm very glad you asked this question because it's been a question I always have to ask myself every now and then. Life lessons are something that have a very important place in my life. I'd like to offer two pieces of advice. 

1. Belittle no one. No matter what, belittle no one. This means never look down on others for whatever reason. For many years (most of my life), I had a problem of comparing myself to others and thinking that I was better than them. I thought some jobs didn't deserve respect. I thought those people that worked those jobs were lesser than me. I thought that any job that I thought was "below" me could be handed off to someone else. I thought that less prestigious schools were filled with people "below" me. I thought that "those" people weren't worth my time. I thought many things that involved belittling or looking down on others in some shape or form. Looking back, I was so foolish and naive. I believed in a narrative that made me the lowest of the low. For example, society considers janitor work as "lowly" work, but in reality, it's not. It's necessary because without janitors in the world, there'd be fecal matter all over the ground. This has led me to believe that there is no job in the world that is "low". Every job has a purpose and anything with purpose is something to praise. It wasn't until quite recently that I ingrained in my thinking habits to never belittle anyone. I was scum and still am scum, but gradually making myself more grateful and appreciative of the great people in this world. One mindset shift that helped me was to think of everyone as my family or think of everyone as me. Would I want to belittle my family or myself? The answer is no. I urge everyone to never belittle anyone because those that belittle others are insecure little scumbags. Do you want to be an insecure little scumbag? Or do you want to be your grandma's favorite little sweet pumpkin? 

2. Whenever someone says something that makes me angry or annoyed or whatever negative feeling, my first thought is, "It's not about me. They must be having a bad day." These two sentences have made me more compassionate towards others. It's made me more patient. It's made me more tolerant. It's made me become a better man. It's made me become a better person. There is no point in getting angry or annoyed, so don't. People like to be around happy people. You like to be around happy people, don't you? 

I'm still not the person that I want to be, nor am I perfect in any way whatsoever, but this journey called life is the most generous thing that I am the most grateful for. Life lessons are always right there in front of me and I wouldn't ask for anything else. I hope I have provided some value to those who read this. Thank you OP for providing me this opportunity to share something that has made me work towards becoming a better person and gradually rid myself of being scum. 

Mar 13, 2021 - 8:53pm

I think it's important to focus on the questions below when making decisions:

1. What do I want?

2. Honestly, why do I want it?

These questions sound pretty obvious, but it's pretty surprising how often my peers and I (late 20's) have made decisions without even thinking.

1. I've known a lot of guys who had no idea what they wanted in life. They didn't know what they wanted to do whether that was work, relationships, etc. Some were indecisive because they didn't want to commit others just didn't care about asking that question and just went wherever life took them. At the end you're responsible for where your life goes and the decisions you make, which starts by asking yourself what do you want. Do you want to be a CEO, retire early, be married, have kids, quit your job? Answers will definitely change as life goes on, but you need to constantly be asking yourself what you want.

2. Going further, a lot of guys will make decisions without thinking about why they want something. They'll do things just cause or for a stupid reason. Whether that be going into a career because everyone is doing it or buying expensive clothes to impress others I've known a lot of my peers will make decisions for bad reasons. Part of the problem is that they don't contemplate why they truly want something. For example, sure I might want to buy a nice pair of shoes, but when I sit back and think why I really want them, it might be because I want the momentary rush of spending money. Another example is, I was talking with a friend who was chasing brand name jobs because he correlated that to supporting his family, but in the end it was to boost his ego. Honestly answering why you want something will help you skip wasting time making a decision for bad reasons that won't really matter in the end.

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Cov
Mar 14, 2021 - 12:06pm

Read the post titled "why your first job doesn't matter" or something for best posts of all time it has some great gems on there on life advice, jobs, and other stuff. But one I'll add:

I would argue careers have 3 variables: risk, how hard you work, and how much you are payed.

If you take no risk in your career, you will need to work basically all the time to be wealthy. This is the path that many MD's follow and as a result they have large houses, but little control over their time, and often second families. 

If you don't work a ton, odds are you will not be wealthy, but will at least have free time to spend with friends and family. However, if you choose riskier career choices, there is a chance you can end up in a situation where you earn a great deal, while working less than someone who took no risk. Unfortunately, risk also has a cost. If you aren't smart about how you plan your career, you can work hard and take risk and still end up not wealthy.

I'd argue career optimization is finding the sweet spot of smart risk, hours worked, and wealth that allows you to meet your personal finance goals, family/personal goals, and do work you find meaningful/ enjoy. The truth is, this mix is different for everyone because everyone has different risk tolerance, family/ significant other  relationships, and views on what work is meaningful. The sooner you can realize you need to optimize these variables for what you want rather than what anyone else says is good or what other people think would be good, the sooner you will have a great career and your desired work/life balance.

Mar 14, 2021 - 1:21pm

AHH YES my favorite topic 

okay so these are personally what I value so enjoy

1. Treat your body like a temple - its not fun when ur in your 40s/50s and are in the hospital cause of poor diet/lack of exercise

  • Eat healthy/natural foods
  • Workout
  • stop eating food made in a factory and FAST FOOD!

2. Life is short - its hard but enjoy the moments with loved ones/friends

  • this is tough cause we work in a tense industry ...but MAKE time with your friends/loved ones
  • it's very easy to bail on them cause of work but you'll life will be a lot more fun/happier if you make time for them
  • what's the point of life if you can't enjoy it with your friends/loved ones

3. Be the best you can be

  • everyone hear this loud & clear - try to be warriors 
  • let's conquer life and be the best we can be in whatever we do
  • lets all stop be soft ****** and being offended with every little comment 
  • a reference point for you is "will ur highschool self be happy with what you aspired to be"
Mar 15, 2021 - 3:06am

Don't shy away from the hard stuff in life, they're the only things worth doing. 

To live is to suffer, to survive is to find some meaning in the suffering.

Mar 15, 2021 - 11:02am

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