What Would You Tell Your 20 Year Old Self?

I’m curious to see what you guys and gals have learned that made a difference in your life. School, work, relationships (platonic, romantic, family), and training are the main topics I can think of right now, but please add any good advice you’ve heeded and used to succeed or lessons you’ve learned the hard way.

A few of the things (I’m 20, hence the title of this thread lol) I’ve learned so far:

Get your work done as soon as possible, but don’t sacrifice quality for quantity or time unless you absolutely need to.

Work hard even when you think the boss isn’t around, because odds are he/she probably actually is. Most bosses are good at sneaking up on people.

Go out of your way to do nice things for everyone that you care about. Tell your friends and family you love them, especially your parents and grandparents.

For training, I haven’t learned much because I haven’t been lifting seriously for nearly as long as many of you, but understanding how important it is to eat large quantities of healthy food as often as possible is a major key. Learning how your body works, as well as knowing when to listen to your body and when not to listen to your body is a valuable skill that you can’t acquire unless you actively pay attention to personal trends.

Thanks for taking the time to reply. T Nation is a hotline to a bunch of people who are more experienced than I am, so things like this are very cool and interesting to me.

Edit: the best advice I’ve gotten is the classic Golden Rule. If you treat others as you would like to be treated, you benefit from it probably 70-80% of the time. Some people are dicks and don’t change how they treat you based on how you treat them, but most people are decent humans in my experience.

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Admit when you’re wrong.

Never make excuses for yourself.

Stick away 10/20% of whatever you earn into a bank account that you never touch.

Learn to drive ASAP.

Don’t worry about not scoring as much pussy as you would hope to. You’ll make up for that in your 30s.

Stop trying to get everyone to like you.

Don’t hold your eye under a running shower when you have Recurrent Corneal Erosion.

Get your diet in check. This will determine your quality of life.

If your hair starts going, shave it.

Stop worrying. 90% of the time it amounts to jack shit.


It doesn’t matter how good looking she is, you will eventually get bored of shagging her.


20 year old self was far too arrogant and fucked up to listen to anything I could say that would benefit him.


This is all brilliant and shit I wish I’d known.

Well, apart from the eye thing…

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Admitting when I’m wrong and owning up to things without any excuses has served me well. I wish I knew this when i was 20 (28 now).

For relationship advice: It’s not always worth the headache, no matter how hot she is.

Very good points from both posts.

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When you have a degree of success, people will support you… until you reach a certain level. Once you exceed that level, they become jealous and vindictive. Even friends you have known all your life. It will always be an argument from a moral standpoint and you will be judged according to different standards. They will want to pull you down to their level because life has to be “fair”. Don’t try to pull these people up. They usually don’t have what it takes and will resent you even more because you’ve proven it. Don’t take it personally. It’s human nature.


-What you know intellectually is in many ways less important than what you believe in on a more visceral level.
-Try not to get so butthurt over older people not respecting you because of your age, it’s more a reflection of the general silliness of youngsters & the prejudices of older folks than YOU!
-Don’t be afraid to take anti-depressants…you WILL need them at some stage.
-Try and go with the ‘flow’ just a lil bit more!
-Don’t bother with that multi-gym monstrosity…just buy a pull-up & dip station & a few other bits & bobs for now.
-Learn to control both your ego & your imagination…those guys can save you and then trip you up almost in the same moment if you don’t watch out!
-Work on being more flexible…you huge piece of lead you!
-Be more open with your feelings to your friends…always being the tough unfazed by anything will kick you in the pants…EVENTUALLY!
-Audit your life & get rid of bad friends & negative influences.

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I wouldn’t tell my 20 year-old self anything other than “good luck”. Experiencing triumph, failure, and everything in between is a part of growth you can’t get from advice.

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-Spend less time on the internet.


People come and go.

When everyone panics is exactly the best time to have patience.

There are many roads to success in every aspect of life. These roads are always present and always emerging.

You can learn something from everyone - except those guys always pointing out how stupid other people are.

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Learn from your mistakes. They help you grow and will develop your future self.

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Find a vocation you love. That should make the rest of your life more enjoyable.


When it comes to sex, no means no. Rape defense attorneys aren’t cheap.

Tattoos are a temporary fad. Seeing the ones on the old (40 something) guys when I was in the Navy was a sufficient deterrent for me.

The wife picks out the house, where to live, the kids’ names, the vacations.

I endorse the “good luck” comment above.

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Hmmmm. Interesting topic…

Talk to anyone and everyone you see. And get them to tell their story don’t worry about telling your. Help them feel important in he moment

Find good friends and never loose contact with them.

When you meet dirtbag people. Don’t waste your time with them move on.

Travel more. See things, meet people, enjoy the experience.

Don’t eat so damn much because you can without gaining weight it will catch up with you.

Lift weights you are not the weak pussy you think you are.

Let go of the rage from childhood, it will hurt you and those you love later. Although it will fuel much in life, learn to use passion and love.

Spend more time with your mom and learn to apreaciate her.

Learn to laugh with people and don’t take it so serious. There are too many assholes in the world you don’t need to add to the stink.

Seek your purpose. Listen to the voice inside your head. If you can’t hear it find a place quiet and be still and wait until you can hear it.


Generally, I’ve found that people will support your goals and aspirations up until the point you achieve them. Then, you’ve suddenly attained some genetic or unearned privelage and should be shamed for having it.

At 20, I was depressed working retail trying to figure out what to do with my life. Had moved back into my parents home. My only advice, don’t stop lifting. A few months later I snapped out of the depression, but it took me 3 years to admit I had gotten fat.


I’d look my 20yo self dead in the eye and say:

“Use condoms”
“Wear helmet while on your bike, it’ll save you from stitches”
“Don’t drive your car so fast”
“Don’t go to work as security, it’ll suck and they’ll bombard you with job offers for years after you quit because of lack of people”

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This is actually a pretty cool question, and for me it’s pretty simple:

“Don’t quit football, give it a go for the full 4-5 years.”
“Don’t suspiciously set your drink on the floor when the cop walks into the bar.”
“Don’t be afraid to put the work in and double major.”

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I just had this conversation the other day with my best friend growing ups dad.

This was virtually my exact answer.

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  • Don’t get married so young
  • You’re going to meet a ton of women you could be happy with. Don’t choose so fast.
  • Don’t be afraid to be alone
  • Life is short, don’t waste time being unhappy. Make new decisions if your unhappy
  • Your choices dictate how your life will turn out
  • Don’t wait so long to stand up for yourself.
  • Timing is everything

EDIT: Don’t fuck up your shoulders!


Good job. Our plan worked. We made our first million before you turned 50 and we haven’t had to do a dam’d thing we did not want to do since.

Buy apple, google, amazon…