19 Things I Know At 19

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iamge – Braudie Blais-Billie

[*] Connections run the world. It might seem unfair or dumb but if you think about it, it’s logical and makes sense. You want to help out people you know and like. The best opportunities don’t come from submitting a resume, but from knowing the right person.

[*] Rejection is never personal. Even if it is—and it probably isn’t—you can’t treat it as such. Everyone has a reason for doing everything, and if you’ve been rejected, try to figure out why, and then solve it. Don’t get offended, because that does nothing for you. Something I always like to tell myself is: why do you feel entitled to acceptance in anything?

[*] You only have one life, so don’t live it on anyone else’s terms. Don’t do things for your parents, for prestige, for society, anybody. If you do so you’re going to regret it for the rest of your life (this is very easy to acknowledge but very hard to internalize).

[*] Relationships with your parents are a process, something to be worked through. My relationship with my father completely disintegrated in high school and we’re slowly building it back up. He’s getting therapy, I’m getting therapy. We’re all getting older. You only have one dad and mom in the whole world and of course they’re going to be flawed. Unless they’re completely sociopathic or narcissistic, chances are your parents love you a lot and are trying to do what (they think) is best for you. You don’t have to obey them, but keep that in mind.

[*] You can’t do drugs forever. I mean, you can, but sooner or later, they’re going to catch up to you. I’ve smoked a lot of weed in my lifetime, and overall, all it’s done is hold me back. Moderate recreational drug use isn’t so bad, but making it a lifestyle will affect your brain and your health, no matter how much you try to rationalize it or think it’s okay.

[*] Cultivate your hobbies and interests. These—along with close social relationships—are one of the only ways to alleviate the meaninglessness of life. Write short stories, learn magic tricks, plant a garden—do something that you have to look forward to when you wake up in the morning.

[*] When you’re young and your body feels invincible, it’s easy to not care about your health, but when you’re old and in pain you’ll regret it. Health is one of the most important things in life. Get cardiovascular exercise, eat right, sleep right. Plus, your mind can’t be healthy unless your body is healthy.

[*] A balanced life is a happy life. Workaholics are lame, lazy people are lame. Try to incorporate an equal mix of exercise, work, social activities, leisure, and hobbies into your daily regimen.

[*] Don’t buy stuff often, but when you do buy, buy the best or close to it. That’s what money is for—to be spent. This is choosing quality over quantity—and it applies the same to clothes, electronics, restaurants, etc. Be minimalist in your selection, but maximalist in your spending.

[*] Intelligence isn’t an initial value; it’s a sum total. People can say they’re a genius or talk a good game but the only way to show intelligence is to prove you have it by doing things in the real world. People always talk about a smart lazy person; that’s not true, to me that person is stupid, they are definitely lacking in one key area of life.

[*] It’s never too late to start a project, hobby, etc. You can learn how to code when you’re 40, you can learn Spanish when you’re 50. It’s going to be harder the older you are, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it. There are tons of hobbies I still plan on picking up as I go through life.

[*] Listen when an older person opens their mouth, if that person seems to be happy or successful in their own way. A lot of times they’ll tell you advice that isn’t relevant, but occasionally they’ll have something good to say. They might be from a different generation, but how to lead people never changes. Human nature never changes. People who’ve observed people for 50, 60, 70 years and made something out of it surely have a couple gems here and there.

[*] Think about situations in terms of outcome, not your ego, even for the small shit. Never underestimate the social value of an apology, if it allows you to ultimately get what you want (that being said, don’t apologize unless you did something wrong).

[*] This is how to use social media: be active, not passive. Wish people happy birthday, make statuses, interact with people’s posts. That will make you feel connected to other people. Don’t scroll through your news feed—that will make you more depressed, because you’ll be making social comparisons and wasting your time.

[*] The best way to figure out who you are is to do stuff in the real world, not through school or academia. If you want to be an entrepreneur, don’t join the entrepreneurial club; instead, hustle a side business. If you want to be a writer, don’t join the literary magazine; instead, actually write. Not to say that that stuff is completely worthless, but hands-on experience is much better. You’ll get to see what it’s actually like to be those things, and whether or not you’re cut out for it.

[*] In a fight, be more like a cat than a dog. A dog rushes in, gets itself killed. A cat sits back, waits for all the facts to reveal themselves, then makes decisions based on that. That’s not to say don’t be loyal—just don’t be stupid.

[*] Stay in contact with your old friends. The ones from college, high school, your childhood. These are the people who—because of your shared circumstances—have a special bond with you and who will keep you in check as you go through life. One of the scariest types of people is someone who doesn’t stay in contact with any old friends—that’s a huge red flag and a sign that that person can’t make meaningful, long-lasting friendships. Basically, don’t forget where you came from and who you came up with.

[*] Put yourself out there, and don’t let social anxiety inhibit your opportunities. When someone new invites you to hang out, and you don’t have anything else to do, hang out with them. Tweet at people you like and respect. Email the leaders of places you want to work at—9 out of 10 times it won’t work but it’s worth it for the one time it does. You have nothing to lose.

[*] There are two types of people in the world: people who’ve decided to take control of their own life and live it on their own terms and people who don’t. You choose which group you’re in every day. TC Mark

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