9 Things I Learned in My 26 Years of Living

Today is the day I enter my mid to late twenties, which now means I’m officially old.

That also means I’m also able to pass my acquired wisdom down to the younger generation of kids, from someone who has been there and done that.

I originally had 26 things written out but I cut it down to 9 because I know most people don’t have the patience to read 26 genius things but 9 is okay.

The rest of my advice is in my training manual that we give to all instaMek employees/interns.

Caveat: I’ve also realized I’m not that smart. I’m probably a 5 or 6 out of 10 on a scale of smart.

That’s fine though because at least I know that and I can work with that. The worst thing you can do is consider yourself smart and be actually dumb. That’s a recipe for disaster.

On paper, I haven’t done much with my life.

  • Mid to late twenties
  • Doesn’t have his own place
  • Mooches off the world
  • No real job
  • Only ever worked a real job (9-5 office job) for 1 year
  • Will literally be found at the same spot every Friday (National on 10th in Calgary) and Saturday (Central in Edmonton) night doing some bullshit
  • Dad bod

Clearly I’m in no position to give advice so you should take what I say with a grain of salt.

On the other hand, if I become a successful self-made billionaire with a stable of European supercars, 3 super model wives and a life of constant gluttonous conspicuous consumption then it’s because I followed my own advice.

 

  • Everything is numbers

Most, if not all decisions I make now are just a simple numbers game. Everything is either +EV or –EV.

The basic formula is the same:

Expected value = (Positive consequence x probability) – (negative consequence x probability)

If you have a higher chance of gaining something from a decision than a negative chance you do it, otherwise you don’t. It’s simple. Just following this formula has made my life so much easier.

Most smart people do this anyways, I just make it a conscious effort.

  • Everything is your fault, unless it’s good, then it’s luck

Without taking this to an extreme, you have to take responsibility for everything that goes wrong in your life.

If you’re being treated poorly by others; it’s your fault. You’re probably low value

If you get dumped: it’s your fault, should have given the other person more incentive to be with you.

If you lose a job or get laid off: It’s completely your fault, you should have made yourself invaluable or have had a backup plan

On the other hand.

If you become a millionaire: You were just at the right place at the right time (at least that’s what you tell others)

If you land a supermodel and you’re average: All luck homie

The reason why I love this train of thought is because you avoid “pain avoiding delusion”, which is lies we tell ourselves so we don’t feel the pain of our shitty decisions.

How are you ever going to get by in life if you just blame others and not yourself? Or if you make up stories about how it’s wrong timing, or it’s just bad luck and other any other lie that makes one feel better but it doesn’t help them out.

  • Timing isn’t everything

When people say “timing is everything”, I just have to respectfully disagree. From my personal experiences, I’ve heard that many times but I think you have to seize opportunities when they come your way. The world doesn’t wait until you’re ready, and there’s “always a next time” isn’t necessarily true.

You have to be able to recognize when you’ve got a good thing and suck up and grab it even though you don’t feel like you’re ready.

I’m in my mid to late twenties now, and I’ve looked at all the stuff before in my life where “the timing was just wrong”, but you never know what you’re going to get when the “timing is right”.

Without using “pain avoiding delusion”; I can honestly say there were opportunities which I missed, that I should have seized and my life would be entirely different right now.

  • Money doesn’t buy happiness, but I rather cry in a BMW than a Dodge

I know for a fact that money doesn’t buy happiness, even though it’s not really fair to say that because I haven’t starved.

What I do know is that I’ve had salary goals when I first started working, and within 3 years I had doubled my salary. I used to play with my calculator all the time trying to figure out how much more money I need and how much better life would be if I got to my goal.

It provides momentarily happiness, the same as way as getting an A+ on a difficult exam does. Then it just becomes the new baseline.

Now I have a very functional relationship with money. People tell me that I chase money and I care about it too much. It’s not true at all.

I create an artificial struggle for myself because that’s more fun to me than spending money like there’s no tomorrow.

Money is just a means to an end, and that end is not worrying about it so you can focus on other things in life.

Having said that though, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I rather be crying about mundane, inconsequential shit like a spoiled baby than crying about the same stuff but with a lack of funds.

Life is going to be tough, and you’re going to have your ups and down’s. It’s just way better to have your downs in a $100,000 car and getting over it on a last second trip to Ibiza, just because you can.

  • Do what’s difficult when it’s easy

This advice is given by Lao Tzu, and it’s pretty much the foundation of half my life. Maximize your return on luck by doing all the difficult things when it’s easy to do so.

I saved a bunch of money while I was working while everyone was calling me a cheap ass. Now that I have no job, I can live comfortably for a long time because I did what was difficult when it was easy.

Same thing applies to planning for worst case scenarios before they happen.

  • Act like you belong, even though you might not

This is what I tell all my friends who I sneak into the Derrick club so I don’t have to pay their guest fee.

There is a clear social hierarchy in this world and you are just fooling yourself if you don’t think there is.

You’ve got to constantly fake it like you’re at the top and let them figure it out on their own if you actually belong or not.

Luckily, most of us are lazy and will take their first impression of you and run with that.

  • Appreciate greatness – don’t be a hater

My favorite quote by Will Durant, paraphrased is “The history of nations is the just the story of a few great men, and everyone who got in their way”.

Statistically, great people are extremely rare but that’s why they’re special. We naturally don’t like them because they make us feel insecure and small in comparison so we just hate on them. I used to do it but I completely stopped.

You’ve got to learn to appreciate greatness and those that make history.

  • Know that you might just be a 99% and accept your place in life

Building on the previous point, sometimes you have to accept your place in life that you aren’t going to be great. It’s actually pretty liberating because you have two choices now:

  • Do normal people shit
  • Ride the coat tail of someone who’s going to make it and hope for the best

Lebron James’ friends did #2. I’m probably going to do #2 myself. Remember when I talked about pain avoiding delusion?

Don’t miss out on the real world because you can’t accept simple facts of life.

  • Don’t run away from emotions

This is something I learned within my last 3 years. For a while I was all about being a rock and not feeling any emotions by being detached.

I’ve learned that’s pointless – like the stoics say “The wise man isn’t the one who doesn’t feel anything. The wise man is the one that feels everything – but gets over it”

It’s the complete truth. Life is all about emotions and enjoying the up’s and downs of the emotional rollercoaster. It’s pretty +EV to do, if you can handle it right.

I personally recommend that you don’t shut down emotionally after a bad experience; it’s a waste of your time and lets the other person wins that way. What I’ve learned is that these emotions are rarely about “the object”, 95% of love is in your own head anyways.

So you can just literally just transfer feels to another person. This also explains how you can fall for someone who is completely wrong for you and how some people can monkey branch so cleanly.

You enjoy the time you have with another, feel everything and when it ends you feel sad for a couple of days but you get over it.

Usually, if you’re smart you can use this as a jolt of energy to get your shit together because you were obviously doing something wrong.

The best part about emotions though, painful or good, is that you literally forget it soon enough.

Like it never happened.

Or you get married, lose your hunger, settle down with a few kids and have a whole new set of problems to deal with. I’ll write about those problems in my blog when the time comes.

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