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What Everyone Should Know at 20: Life Lessons That Nobody Teaches You



Channing Tatum

After embarking on a year-long spiritual journey, reflecting on my life, and reading the works of some of the world’s most influential thought leaders, I have compiled a list of twelve ideas that will make life a lot easier and more fulfilling if practiced in your 20’s and beyond. During my time as a hotel desk clerk, I had the opportunity to interview dozens of strangers (some over age 65) about their biggest lessons in life. Some were truck drivers. Some were war veterans. Some were cancer patients. These are their life lessons.

These are the 12 things you should know (but probably won’t do) in your 20’s.



12 Life Lessons For Those Living In Their 20’s


1. Relax

Slow down. Take a deep breath. Don’t worry about the future, prepare for it. Life is lived in the present.

If you keep going at this pace, one day you’ll wake up and be 30!


2. Learn to love yourself now

You’ll never be younger, more attractive, more energetic, or more carefree than you are today.

Don’t waste your time being self-conscious. You’re hot! Enjoy it.


3. Take care of your body

You’re going to regret all of your smoking, drinking, and unhealthy eating habits when you’re older. I know what you’re thinking: “You’ve got to die from something, right?”, Wrong! I know that you secretly think you are going to die suddenly at around age 45 before you have to deal with your mistakes. I know you don’t really believe that you are going to live until age 60, and you may not, but what if you do?

The average person who reaches age 60 lives to be age 82. Don’t spend the last 20 years of your life in misery!


4. Stop caring about what other people think

Ninety percent of them, you’ll never see again. Ninety-nine percent of the remaining ten percent won’t even cry at your funeral! If everyone lived their truth, no one would have to pretend.


5. Follow your instincts

Gain the courage to always do what you truly desire versus what everyone else expects of you.

Trust your inner voice, it’s always right.


6. Vulnerability is not weakness: it is strength

Tell your friends how much you love them. Give a speech in front of a large audience. Have an intimate conversation with your significant other. Allow yourself to be seen.

Being vulnerable is the only way to truly connect with others, and that is truly what we all want.


7. Happiness comes from within

Regardless of your circumstances, e.g., homelessness, death of a loved one, loss of a job, etc., you can always choose happiness. It is not dependent upon external factors. Embrace the uncertainty of life. The way to overcome fear of change is to eliminate your desire for things to remain the same.

Life would be boring if you always knew what to expect.


8. Funerals are pointless

Appreciate your loved ones while they are alive. You don’t have to say “goodbye” when they’re gone if you’ve said “hi” while they were here.


9. Invest your money

Invest in yourself. Invest in your knowledge, your skills, your experiences, and your personal relationships. Purchase assets that will produce even more money for you in the future. Save for retirement. All of those designer clothes, frappé mochas, and movie tickets won’t help you when you’re old and broke.

The time value of money is your best friend. Don’t ruin the relationship.


10. Have a solid plan

Figure out what you really, really want and don’t give up until you get it.


11. You have nothing to lose

You don’t have a mortgage. Odds are, you don’t have any children, if you are in your early 20’s. You’re already broke! Stop pretending like you really own anything in this life. You are free! And your time is running out.

Don’t spend it frivolously.


12. You will ignore everything on this list

Like most 20-somethings, you’ll just ignore the elders advice, make the same mistakes, and wish someone had told you earlier. Prove me wrong.

I dare you!



If you enjoyed these life lessons, please share this article with your friends. They probably won’t listen, but hey, at least you tried!

If you have any standout life lessons that you have come across, please share them in the comments below.




  1. Mark

    Dec 15, 2015 at 11:46 am

    As a 23 year old it was inspiring reading this. There are some absolute golden nuggets in this context. You need to get this message out far and wide!

  2. manish

    Dec 14, 2015 at 9:00 am

    This is a good article. This is great advice to help you achieve a great life.

  3. lordboachie

    Jun 1, 2015 at 9:34 pm

    Just want to say i have already started applying these lessons at the age of 19. I know i have proven you wrong. I dare you to reply.

  4. mita

    Dec 29, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    Great List. I’ll add

    Start your day with a few minute of silence to connect with your heart-mind.
    Invest your time, energy and money wisely
    Do 1-3 things that matters most first, rest of the day you are free
    Make choices based on love than fear
    Seek out good friends, mentors, teachers, leaders,
    role models (men and women from different time and cultures)
    Write your top 1-3 goals for next two years
    a roadmap to accomplish
    Love yourself, forgive often and have gratitude for all things you already have
    Learn vital life skills: Relate well with your own emotions, know your mind/personality
    communicate calmly and kindly under pressure
    Be joyful, follow your joy
    You are precious, so is life to all beings; do no harm
    Ok that’s enough for now.

  5. Angela

    Dec 18, 2014 at 8:42 am

    I like all the suggestions with the exception of the last one. Negative expectation is never good. People often live up to or down to expectation.

  6. Roksana

    Dec 13, 2014 at 11:13 pm

    It is very good. I work with the elderly and I have heard all of this myself. I am in my early twenties (22) and I work so hard. I have one aim that is very difficult to achieve so I know I will work hard for another five or more years. I do not relax at all. If I say at all, it means that only the gym or reading this website (while having my dinner) is the only time for myself. My family is far away as I am an emigrant, I am a single (no time for a boyfriend and broken heart after the previous one). And there is a big contradiction : give up on my dreams, do not work that hard, but be with my family and enjoy being young – choose the easier way; or to keep going till I achieve my dream, although I do not relax, see my family only once a year and I am lonely ?

  7. David

    Dec 13, 2014 at 6:57 pm

    Being 21, I understand intelectually the truth behind those life lessons. The problem is that there is a big gap between understanding and really believing all of them :/
    Anyway, I enjoyed the article ^^

  8. Anonymous

    Dec 13, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    Like this guy says,don’t live you life while you are young.Just live in a box and when u get old enough gather all your money and go with elders in a trip.It’ll be the best trip in your life(and the first goto line1)

  9. CanadianBear14

    Dec 13, 2014 at 1:07 am

    This article is very helpful. Thanks

  10. pawan

    Apr 1, 2014 at 3:14 am

    Awesome…beautiful insight…

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