Your twenties, whether you realize it or not, are the make-or-break, most important decade of your life. And if you’re not prepared to succeed, you’re preparing to fail.
The unfortunate truth is most guys just aren’t prepared for the real world. They don’t grasp how serious the situation really is. Instead they spend the prime of their youth chasing girls, or being depressed, or smoking weed or playing video games instead of taking care of business.
The unfortunate truth is you only get to be young once and you pay for the mistakes of your youth with compound interest for the rest of your life. I know because I’m still paying for mine. I still pay for not investing the small fortune I made by 24 in my own business. I still pay for spending my twenties selling for someone else instead of myself.
I pay because I wasn’t prepared. At 19 I was lazy, disorganized and depressed. I had no father, no mentor, no plan and no help. I had no understanding of the job market, no understanding of business and most importantly, I had no mission.
I knew I needed to make a change, but I didn’t know how. The internet was still in its infancy and there were no men’s self improvement sites to show me the way. The personal development books I read were garbage and my family didn’t have any answers for me. I was fumbling around in the dark, searching for a glimpse of the light.
I eventually found that light as a prop trader and devoted myself entirely to that mission, 15 hours a day, 7 days a week. By 24 I took home $80,000 in a month, but my success in trading didn’t last long. And with my dreams of being a millionaire trader dashed, I found myself in another depression.
Eventually I picked myself up again and established a career in sales. I got a nice apartment. I got women. I got in shape. I got organized. And most importantly I got control over my state. But as the eve of my 30th birthday approached I looked back over the last decade and saw so many unnecessary mistakes and so many things I could have avoided if I’d only had the right guidance.
I remember wishing I could have known at 20 what I did at 30. I remember thinking how much I could have accomplished if only someone had been their to put me on the right path. If only I’d had a big brother, or a father, or a mentor to help me along the way. But my brief indulgence in self-pity didn’t last long, because in that instant my vision for RLD crystallized and I knew what I was put on this planet to do.
I saw my life’s true mission for the first time. I knew I couldn’t rewrite my history but I realized I could help other men write theirs. And with RLD and my life’s mission in place, I felt like I’d found the final piece of the puzzle. And with that puzzle piece in place, passive income coming in, and the cash I’d stashed, I moved to Thailand to live free and never looked back.
It was a long road, and I stumbled many times along the way, and it took longer than it should have, but as my 34th birthday approaches, I know that I’m finally free and it’s a beautiful thing. But even though I’ve put the past behind me, I haven’t forgotten.
I remember the hopelessness of existential depression.
I remember being rejected, disrespected and heartbroken by women.
I remember working minimum wage call center jobs to survive.
I remember getting fired, going broke and failing at business in the same year.
I remember being so poor I had to work as a nightshift security guard at a mental hospital to pay the bills.
I remember feeling crushed under the weight of my credit card debt.
I remember looking to bullsh*t gurus for a way out only to be ripped off.
I remember what it felt like to have no one in my corner.
I remember it all and I want to make sure you don’t make my mistakes. I want you to get free and I want your path to be faster and easier than mine was. I want your twenties to be happier, brighter and more profitable than mine were. I want you to do everything right from day one. And if just one of you takes this article to heart then it was worth writing.
All I can ask is that you read what I write with an open mind and imagine your life through the eyes of your future self. It might be hard to see at first. And you might be tempted to follow the herd, but that’s a one way path to mediocrity.
If you’re fine with ordinary than so be it, but if you want to be extraordinary then you need to put in extraordinary effort. You need to go against the grain and do what other people won’t. You need to harness your discipline, you need to think accurately, you need to avoid the traps and you need to work hard.
When you can do this your reward is the lifestyle most men dream about. You get to take your time back from your parents, your teachers and your boss. And if you play your cards right you can live free for the first time in your life. But freedom isn’t for everyone, in fact it’s not for most.
As you get older you’ll see a world filled with men who live for everyone but themselves. Men who’ve spent a lifetime taking orders. First from their parents, then from their teachers, then from their boss and then from their wife. A world where men spend their waking hours in pain to provide for everyone but themselves.
You’ll see it in the eyes of strangers as they shuffle on to the subway on a cold Monday morning. You’ll see it in the eyes of your friends in their unguarded moments. You’ll see it in the eyes of your colleagues as they gaze longingly out the window imagining themselves anywhere else.
Freedom, fun and fulfillment is man’s natural state, but a world of free thinking, self-sufficient men is not in the best interests of our rulers. To avoid becoming another casualty of the system you need to get serious and play to win. Here is the game plan you need to succeed:
HOW TO OWN YOUR TWENTIES
1) Start A Business
When you refuse to accept mediocrity, there is no choice but to own your own business. If you’re serious about success, working for someone for the rest of your life can’t even be an option. Thinking about starting a business, or wanting to start a business or planning to start a business is not enough. You need to commit to succeeding in business, no matter what. Otherwise you’ll just fall back to that comfortable paycheck when the going gets hard, and the going always gets hard.
To push past the pain takes energy and effort. That’s why the time to get out and start your own business is when you’re young, fearless and full of piss and vinegar. If you’re still working a job by your mid-30’s you’re going to be too tired, too complacent and too burnt out to get that business off the ground.
In my two decades in the workforce, not one guy I worked with except for me built his own business, not a single one. They all got trapped in the game. They got wives, houses, cars, suits and bullsh*t titles. They talked about getting out but they never followed through.
And It took me until 31 to get free, that’s too long. I suffered more than I needed to and cost myself a lot of money. All the work I put in, all the new clients I brought on, all the revenue I generated, all of it went to making someone else richer. If I’d been selling for myself those clients could still have been paying me today.
It is absolutely crucial that you devote your twenties to getting a business of the ground. But just as important as starting a business is starting the right business.
2) Start The Right Business
Despite having a product based business now, I’m one for five in product based business successes. For most of you a product based business is not the best move for your first business. The investment costs are too high, the market is unknown and the overhead is too much – that’s why 90% of product based businesses fail. And I’d venture to guess that the majority of those that succeed are guys who are already business veterans.
I live in Chiang Mai, the supposed digital nomad capital of the world, and I’m the only guy I know who’s paying his bills with a product based business. Everyone else is a programmer, or a copywriter, or a web designer, or a life coach selling their services to clients.
I’ve heard of a ton of young guys come out here to do a dropshipping business only to fail and have to go back home empty handed. I know of a couple of guys who had a small amount of success but eventually transitioned into a service based business to pay the bills.
Trust me, no matter how sharp and motivated you are, your odds of success on a product based business straight out of the gate are very low. Now as I said before, there is nothing wrong with failing in business. But, you want to stack the deck in your favor and start with success if you can.
Selling a service is stacking the deck in your favor. In a service based business your investment costs are minimal, your overhead is non-existent and your bar for entry is as simple as your first client. All you need is expertise, sales skills and a work ethic.
If you’re planning on living in a first world country then you’ll need to sell expensive services like real estate, insurance or personal training. But if you’re willing to live in a developing company then you can start an online business selling lower priced online services like programming or web design or copywriting.
I know that most of you guys don’t want to have to deal with clients. And I know that selling a service doesn’t sound sexy. And I know you want a business where people just buy your product and don’t hassle you. But I’ll tell you this, dealing with clients is infinitely better than working for someone else.
And the good thing is, you can always productize your service based business in the future. Don’t think just because you’re selling real estate now that you have to be selling real estate 10 years from now. 10 years from now, when you’ve mastered the real estate game, you can sell that knowledge to hungry agents looking to increase their bottom line.
My friend Phil is a great example of a guy who did it right from day one. Phil moved from a small town to London in his early 20’s. Instead of getting a job like everyone else, he educated himself on fitness and built a six figure personal training business. Then he educated himself on SEO, psychology and marketing and moved his business online. He set up shop in Chiang Mai to accommodate the income dip and expanded his business into selling marketing services to personal trainers.
He’s now making six figures online from multiple revenue sources and is living like a boss in Thailand. He works when he wants, gets tons of girls and travels to a different country every other month. He’s also in the process of productizing this knowledge into different fitness-specific niches. Not bad for a guy who’s only 27.
His path is available to every single one of you if you’re willing to put in the work.
3) Don’t Go To College
A bachelor’s degree isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. Neither myself nor anyone I know has put their degree to good use. In fact, 90% of what you learn in school is worthless. Spending four years in the prime of your business-building life to get a useless paper and $100,000 in student debt just doesn’t make sense.
Our education system is arbitrary, outdated and expensive. Instead of going to college you should take that $100,000 and spend it on getting a business going. Or you can go get a job in sales and learn how to generate revenue on someone else’s dime.
With that said, for those of you with conservative parents, you’re going to be in a tough spot. If your family has spent their whole life sacrificing for your financial future, it’s going to be hard to sell them on dropping out, I get that skipping college is not an option for everyone.
If your parents are dead set on you going to school and the punishment for disobeying is being shunned by your family, I don’t blame you for following that game plan. But if you are going to go to college, my advice is to pick a practical, in-demand major that you can flip into your own business at the soonest opportunity. Some examples are: programming, web design, accounting or marketing.
If your parents wanted you to be a doctor or a lawyer they might not be thrilled at your major, but if you can show them you’re dedicated to making six figures and are serious about starting your own business, most reasonable parents will accept that proposition.
4) Don’t Get Married
In 2016, the divorce rate is over 50% and the divorce courts do not work in your favor. That means you have a coin flip’s toss of getting your face ripped off by your ex-wife and the government in your late 40’s – there is no recovery from that financially or emotionally.
You don’t want to have to start again at 50 with your life savings drained, your personal life in shambles and a monthly child support bill. If you consider yourself a businessman, there is absolutely no way you can view legal marriage as a viable option.
It’s not 1950 anymore and those days aren’t coming back. And even if they were, making a lifetime commitment to someone based on transient, romantic feelings is just not logical. All relationships are temporary and transactional, they’re only good until they’re not good anymore, a contract does not change this fundamental reality. Whether it’s with friends, business partners or women, the same rules apply.
Now I’m not saying you can’t have a great relationship or find yourself with a partner you’ll love for the rest of your life. But to sign a lifetime contract on a fleeting emotion that leaves your assets and future earnings up for grabs is just not an option.
5) Don’t Have A Family
You can’t have a family in your 20’s because you can’t afford a family. To live well in North America, with a wife and two children means you need a joint income of $200,000 or more. Maybe a bit less if you live in a mid-sized town but it’s still going to be expensive. Having a family is hard enough when you’re comfortable, let alone struggling. I grew up poor and I can tell you first hand – you do not want to do that to your children.
And it’s not only the financial cost of having a family, the time cost is just as significant. Having a partner and two kids will take as much of your time as a full time job. Trying to both build a business and build a family at the same time is not the right move. Succeeding in business itself is hard enough on its own.
Instead of burdening yourself with a family, you need to spend your twenties focused on your mission and stacking your cash. You need to get a cheap bachelor apartment, lose the car, cut your expenses down and go hard on building your perpetual money machine. A family is a luxury for a rich man, for a poor man it’s a noose around his neck.
The time to have a family is not in your twenties, the time to have a family is in your thirties once you’ve established yourself. And I promise you this: as a successful, fit, well dressed, 37 year old man, you’ll have no shortage of 27 year old women to have kids with.
Not only does having kids later in life give you the time to build your business and allow you to be prepared financially, but it allows you to mature and be prepared mentally. You’ll have plenty of time to date women and learn exactly what you’re looking for. At 25 you don’t have the experience with women to know exactly what you need in a partner.
6) Chase Money Over Women
As a young man, not having money is your biggest problem and should therefore be treated as your biggest priority. I spent a lot of my 20’s escaping the reality of wage slavery by chasing women and I can tell you it was a bad use of my time.
I happen to have a business where that knowledge is valuable but I got lucky. The truth is, none of those girls are paying my rent, in fact I can’t remember what many of them look like. Chasing girls has no future return, you can’t save the girls you got when you were 25.
But when you chase money you get both a present return and a compounded return in the future. If I’d been more serious about business I could have had clients I got a decade ago paying me money to this day. And every dollar I reinvested could have been compounding for the last 10 years.
Now I’m not saying you shouldn’t chase women, or have fun or enjoy your youth. Being young and having women in your life is a beautiful thing, but you have to prioritize your time accordingly. And women should be your fourth priority under wealth, health and lifestyle.
Going on two or three dates a week after you’ve done your work for the day is great. But going out every night until two or three, trying to be the best at getting women is a waste, no one cares but a small group of guys on the internet, whereas being a self made man is respected the world over.
The right way to have women in your life is to be efficient with your time. Forget about spending all night at the club chasing sloppy 7s, nightclubs are the worst places to meet women. Instead focus on getting women online and talking to women during the day on your way to taking care of business.
Between online dating and day game you’ll have plenty of girls to keep you occupied. And don’t worry, as you long as you keep your game sharp, stay in shape, dress well and have a bit of money in your pocket, the cute 23 year old girls will still be there for you when you’re 33.
7) Chase Money Over Power
With power comes responsibility. With responsibility comes headaches, problems and less time for yourself. There’s a reason I chose a business where I don’t need employees. Studies show that 90% of business stress comes from managing people.
Power might be worth pursuing if you’ve got a shot at the Presidency. But the truth is, the amount of power that’s realistically possible for you to get is not worth your time. You’re not going to be President, you’re not going to be a senator and you’re not going to be a general.
Your realistic path to power is working your way up to middle management at a faceless corporation. The deal is, you kill yourself under flourescent lights for two decades of your life and your reward is that you get to work 70 hours a week and tell a handful of people what to do.
You also get to be responsible for all their performance targets and respond to all their petty wage slave grievances. Chasing middle management is not a good mission for your one life on this planet. A bigger pen in the human zoo and some more words on your Linkedin profile is not worth trading two decades of your youth.
When you chase power you get chains, but when you chase money you get freedom. When you control your own resources you control your own destiny. You get to do what you want, where you want, when you want. I can blow off work any day of the week to drive my motorcycle through the mountains, have beers with my friends or spend all afternoon with a beautiful girl in bed. I wouldn’t trade my freedom for anything in the world.
8) Chase Money Over Status
At one point in time I had it all – the suits, the phone, the apartment, the big screen TV, the social calendar. I played the image of the young, urban, professional on his way up in the world. But the truth was something different altogether.
To play the game I had to work a job I hated and live paycheck to paycheck to pay for my image. And with the stress of trying to hold it all together, I couldn’t even enjoy what I had. I spent my hard earned time and money chasing status so that I looked good on LinkedIn and could keep up with the guys I went to school with.
I’ll tell you this, not only was I unhappy, but no one cared. They didn’t care what I was doing then and don’t care what I’m doing now. The truth is, what people think about you doesn’t matter because people don’t think about you. Most people are far too busy with their own self image and status games to think about you for more than even a few minutes a week.
When you look around at your friends and their new condo, and their new car and their expensive dinners and their exclusive parties, know this – they’re in debt up to their eyeballs to pay for it. Don’t believe the image they’re selling on Fakebook, they’re living paycheck to paycheck just trying to hold their house of cards together.
When you chase status over money you mortgage your life away.
When you chase money over status you get free.
When you chase money over status you get your time back.
When you chase money over status you control where, when and how you work.
And ironically, you get status, because status is a natural by-product of a successful, self made man.
9) Don’t Go Into Debt
If you need to borrow to buy it, you can’t afford it, because there is no such thing as good debt, only debt. Your great grandparents who lived through the depression understood this clearly. This is why they had enough money to retire. Your generation will not, by the time you hit 60, social security and America itself will be bankrupt.
Not only does debt ruin your future, it ruins your present. Most guys spend half their paycheck or more paying for a house and a car they can’t afford. This is a recipe for financial failure. If you want to succeed in business you need to get your expenses under control, and if that means you have to downsize then you have to downsize.
Every dollar of debt is money that could have gone into your business making you compound interest in your thirties. Now don’t get me wrong, you can still have the toys that you want, you just have to wait until you can afford them. Otherwise you’ll never make it to financial freedom.
10) Learn How To Be A Producer
Most people spend their entire working lives never talking to a client. It’s no wonder they never start their own business. To succeed at life you need to learn how to produce. Starting a business is a great way to learn what it takes to be a producer. But I realize many of you might not have the cash to start your own business, and that means for now you might have to work a job. If a job is your path to financial independence, it’s important that you choose a job where you produce for your company.
I chose sales and I learned more about real world success then I did in all my years of school. I learned how much money companies need to bring in, I learned how to generate revenue and I learned how to handle clients. There is no better way to learn about business than working as a producer, and as opposed to college, your employer pays for your education.
11) Cut Contact With Negative People
It’s better to have no friends than negative friends. You can’t become a go getter when you’re surrounded by no getters. This is especially true if you’re the low man on the totem pole. If you’re the guy to steal points off of in your social circle then you need to drop those motherf*ckers like a hot potato. They will never accept your personal development transformation and will cut you down at every turn.
Instead you need to surround yourself with like-minded winners who value what you bring to the table. The guys I spend my time with are go getters who have their own businesses and are serious about personal development. If you can’t find winners then keep to yourself and the women in your life.
12) Take Care Of Your Health
If you take your health for granted in your twenties, you’ll pay for it in your thirties. Not just in how you feel but in how you look. The average 33 year old guy dresses like sh*t, has a beer gut and hasn’t seen a gym since high school.
The keys to aging well are:
- A safe, consistent lifting routine
- Restorative exercise like yoga
- Watching your calories
- Keeping alcohol to once a week
- Not having a family before you’re in the right place mentally and financially
- Using sunscreen and having a good grooming regimen in place
- Eating well (I still struggle being consistent with this one)
- Going to bed and getting up early
Not only are these things important for looking good, they’re important for feeling good now and in the future.
13) Learn How To Control Your State
State control is the most important skill in the world. Being happy is what it’s all about, it’s what we do everything for. The sooner you devote yourself to mastering the skill of happiness the better off you’ll be. It won’t happen overnight but you’ll be shocked at how different you feel when you make positivity a priority.
When you learn how to control your mood you can avoid depressive states altogether. You can be grateful for what you have. You can enjoy food and women and the beauty of nature as well as all the other great things life has to offer.
When you don’t control yourself, you can be miserable in the midst of millions of dollars. Just look at any actor with a drug problem: they have everything the world has to offer, but because they can’t control their state, they’re slaves to their emotions.
It all comes down to having a positive outlook, positively reframing your negative thoughts, taking care of your diet and keeping your neurotransmitters high through exercise and supplementation.
The truth is, happiness is a skill that can be learned. If you’ve been depressed for most of your life it will be hard at first, but the more you practice, the better you’ll get and the better you’ll feel. The sooner you learn to control your state, the better your twenties will be as well as the rest of your life.
14) Read Every Day
As the saying goes: leaders are readers. There is no successful man in the world who is not an avid reader. Lets say you want to succeed in an online service business: you need to be an expert on content, sales, marketing, SEO, psychology, web design, among many other things.
It’s a complex world we live in and to master it you need to be an expert at many disciplines. And more importantly, to be a well-rounded man it’s important to understand women, politics, history, philosophy and many other subjects to be able to develop an intelligent world view.
With every year you get older you’ll notice a big difference in intelligence between guys who read and guys who don’t. I love to read and for the past 20 years I’ve read about 5 hours a day on average. That’s 36,500 hours of reading, or the equivalent of roughly 1,520 days straight, 24 hours a day. That adds up to 4.1 years of straight reading.
I can’t even describe the intellectual advantage that reading gives you over other guys. Without that amount of reading I never would have been able to earn a living as a writer. While everyone else is sitting around watching grown men exercise you’re constantly expanding your reality, your mind and your level of competence.
There is no excuse not to educate yourself. You have access to the internet, the greatest knowledge building resource in history, literally anything you want to know is available to you 24/7. From blogs to news outlets to books, the selection of high quality information available today is absolutely incredible. Not taking advantage of this amazing resource is criminal.
Knowledge is power.
15) Get Organized
When you hear married women complain about their husband leaving his socks around the house, this is because they’ve married a boy not a man. A man takes care of himself and does everything in his power to set up his life for success.
A successful man is an organized man. To succeed in all aspects of your life takes a lot of work and a lot of time. Without being organized you won’t make it. Organization not just includes your business life but your home life too. Minimalist living, keeping your place neat and clean, ordering supplies you need in advance, waking up early, having a daily to do list – all these things are crucial.
At first, like any new habit, it will take effort, but organization actually makes your life a lot easier. And organization is the cornerstone of self reliance. Your twenties are the decade to become a man and self reliance is the definition of manhood.
The sooner you get organized the faster you’re going to get to your goals.