Years between 10 and 20 are probably our most interesting ones. We explore, make friends, have fun, learn different things and some of us are even able to find their true life calling, their life meaning. We get to meet, interact, communicate with tons of new people who shape our lives in a positive or a negative way.
Although the above is correct, it’s rarely the whole truth.
Most of the time when we are teenagers we do dumb stupid things that can get us in jail. Also, understand that drinking 7 days in a row is actually possible.
Even though our parents, teachers and probably our older friends are telling us to get into shape and stop doing stupid things – when we are teenagers – we rarely listen.
Actually, this is skill – of not listening – is like a default skill to all teenagers. Deep down we probably understand that these guys are only trying to help us, but we insist on doing what we love and want at that point of life. The above ends with saying something like this: “Get the fuck out of my room and let me do what I want. You don’t understand me!” – thinking that your family members don’t know shit.
However, they do know.
If you are a teenager and you reading this, I actually don’t expect you to agree with any of what you will read below. I know, because I was the same stubborn guy who didn’t listen to others. Still, I do hope you get my point and consider it at some point.
If you are older, like me, you will probably recognize yourself with some of the things below. Add in the comments section below your experience and other valuable things that I am missing.
Things I Wish I Knew When I Was a Teenager in 3 Categories
I’ve divided the things I wish I knew when I was a teenager into 3 major categories:
- Personal – What personal skills I wish I had or skills I wish I developed back then.
- Social – The ability to communicate with people it’s a big thing. It’s getting even bigger nowadays with all the technologies trying to drift us apart.
- Future – What things I had to do, but I didn’t, that would have influenced my future life positively.
Now, let’s go through them one by one:
Several (9) Things I Wish I Knew When I Was a Teenager
To be a disciplined person requires a lot of time and work. It’s basically a habit of doing things and stop procrastinating. Acquiring that skill becomes harder the older you get.
When I was a child, my parents wanted to sign me up to train tennis. I was a bit fat, shy and lazy and didn’t want to wear short pants and run around like a pile of fat. So I refused. Later, they wanted to sign me up to train kickboxing, I refused that too. At the end, I settled for swimming but that didn’t last long.
Back then I thought that my parents are just throwing different sports at me only to train, like the other kinds. Now, I realize that they actually wanted me to become a more disciplined person.
Practicing some kind of sport it’s not only something that will make you feel and look good, it will also help you become more disciplined and right-minded person.
You will start getting earlier, you will understand the power of setting and pursuing goals and most importantly – it will help you avoid drifting through life.
Being shy, withdrawn, recluse it’s common in the teenage years. Especially if you have something you are embarrassed from – looks, wearing glasses, broken tooth (I have that) or whatever.
Being confident and accepting who you are and how you look, will have a huge impact on your social life.
If you have some kind of infirmity you are embarrassed by or hiding – stop. Don’t think about what others will think or say about you. You are who you are and people should accept your personality no matter what.
If you look down when you speak to people or you are afraid talking to a stranger (girl) – you are missing big times from life.
Here are just a few of the things that will help you become more confident:
- Confront your fears – Go speak to that sexy girl. If you get rejected, you will at least have something to talk about.
- Stand up tall – Don’t walk like you are going to collapse. Straighten up your back and walk like a champ.
- Take a good care of yourself – By that I mean start exercising and wear nice clothes, clothes that fit you.
Practicing only these three will soon help you start feeling better about yourself.
3. Be a Social Person
Did I mention that I was really shy when I was a teenager? I believe I did.
I was really nervous when I was speaking to a girl, even more, when she was a pretty one. I thought pretty girls are a different breed.
But that’s not the only thing. I was nervous about speaking to pretty much everybody I didn’t personally know. That changed over time but it does take me a while to get used to.
Being a social person and able to communicate well, with different people, will basically change your life. You will not only get to make new friends, new girlfriends, live great moments but you will also understand the world and the people better.
When communicating, you get to understand the other person opinion about different aspects of life which is a hell of an experience. Later, when you become better, you can also “read” people only by watching their body language.
4. Avoid Toxic People
Interacting with people has one downside – you will inevitably meet toxic people who will want to consume your life, time, money in one way or another.
It all starts with an innocent friendship, followed by series of compliments towards you, mixed up with doing something crazy. Toxic people are usually alpha people. These people have confidence and know how to seduce others.
You should be really careful who you make friends with and what they want in return. Usually, if the friendship is pure and mutual – you will both only benefit from this relationship. You will do your best to help each other and try to make the other side a better person.
Quite the opposite when you are interacting with a toxic person.
Watch for these signs:
- This person is making you smoke and drink or other illegal stuff.
- Asking you for money when he is already owing you some.
- Putting himself first all the time and only speaking about himself.
If you find only one of the mentioned “qualities” in someone you daily interact with, you should do everything possible to escape the presence of this person.
5. Don’t Take Shit Too Personal
Our life fuel when we are teenagers is acceptance. You are afraid of being socially rejected from the group of people you’re interacting with, popular girls (boys) or being unfriended from someone on Facebook. That last is the real shit!
We spent a lot of time trying to appeal everyone and when we are rejected, for whatever reason, is like the end of our life.
Someone doesn’t accept your Facebook invitation: “Why he is not accepting my FB invite? Is something wrong with me?”
No one wants to sit next to you on the same desk – “Have I bathed today? Do I have something on the face?”
And the worst of all – You are not invited to a party – “Holy crap, what did I do wrong? Everybody hates me, I will die alone in this world!”
If something like the above happens to you while you are 18, you will spend hours, days thinking about what is wrong with you.
Don’t bother. It will be hard to actually do it but I really mean it – stop giving a fuck about such things. If they are your real friends you won’t be left behind.
6. Don’t Wait to Graduate to Find a Job
Even if your mom and dad are making enough money to provide you with high standard living, don’t rely solely on that. Find your own job and learn to earn your own money.
Spending other people’s money it’s easy. Even if these other people are your mom and dad. Before you actually start working regularly, you can’t really determine the real value of money. Why? Because you ain’t doing shit to earn them, that’s why.
Somewhere around the age of 14 and 16, it’s a good time to find a job, even if the job is only during summer break.
Working – will help you acquire some valuable skills even at a young age:
- Value money.
- Understand the business process.
- Opportunity to communicate with elderly people that will give you some helpful insights for your possible future.
- Opportunity to find what you really want from life.
If you wait to graduate to find a job, you will quickly realize that your degree doesn’t mean shit. People will ask for experience. And what you will give them:
You: “Oh, I have this paper where it says I am a graduated sales expert.”
Interviewer: “How much was your sales conversion percentage in your previous job?”
You: “I haven’t worked before, this is my first interview.”
Interviewer: “We see, ok, let us think about it and will call with a decision.”
And they never do.
7. General Knowledge in Stuff Won’t Get You Anywhere – Become an Expert
Do you know who are the most well-educated people, people who have all the answers?
It seems they know it all – politics – check; health care – check; education – check; how to make our country better – check; a high chance that they will do better if they are selected for a president? – of course.
Taxi drivers are “experts” in everything. But they drive a taxi – no offense guys.
Knowing little about a lot of different topics it’s not a good starting point in life.
My father always lead me towards reading more books about our history. He bought around 20 encyclopedias, each more than 2000 pages long. These books were each around a kilo of weight and I only used them to straighten my crumpled sheets in school.
He was saying that it’s a shame to don’t know in details our history. In a way he was right, but deep down I knew that this knowledge it’s not practical.
In your teenage years, it’s best to focus on understanding in tiny details something you are truly obsessed about. Now, it’s even easier. You can find all the literature you need for a specific topic by only using Google.
8. Save Money
Start saving money now, not tomorrow, not one year from now or say to yourself – “I will think about that when I’m older.” You will definitely think about it later, but at that time it will be a bit late.
Having money in the bank will give you a peace of mind. You will know that if something unfortunate happens you will have savings that you can use.
The normal way of thinking of a teenager is this: “Wow, I found 60 bucks on the street. How awesome! Now, I will spend 30 for jeans, 20 for a t-shirt and I will ask my mom for extra 20 to go out.”
We never bother to put anything aside. Primarily, because we live for the moment.
Don’t be like me. Till the age of 22, I didn’t have saved a buck. I lived for the moment and I regret it a bit. I’ve spent everything I had back then for clothes and nights out. What do I have left from back then? It’s not a lot of memories. Only this lesson – don’t spend your money on shit.
Start small, with a dollar (euro, yen) per day. For 10 years you will have at least 3650 dollars (euros, yens).
9. Learn to Value Your Time
Time passes so quickly when we are young. We live to go out with friends, play games, watch TV. Unfortunately, we rarely think about the future and what we will do with the rest of our lives.
We get caught up in stuff that doesn’t really matter in a long run and is only wasting our time on the earth.
I used to watch a whole season of Friends per day, went out with people I didn’t really like, lay in bed for hours. I was seriously procrastinating my life.
Remember, you can’t turn back time. Even if you spent all of your money, you can earn them back, you can clear your name if you did shittily stuff back in the days, yes, it will take time but it’s possible. However, you cannot turn back time.
Choose how and with who you spent your time every single day.
Stop doing stuff that won’t get you anything in return and start doing stuff that will have a positive impact on your life.
Teenage years are hard.
We are extremely emotional, depressed, often lost and with no clear idea what to do with our lives. Still, these years are quite fun. We experiment a lot, meet a lot of different people and have a lot of great moments.
The most important part – these years shape our lives.
What we do during our teenage years will have a huge impact on the rest of our lives.
So, choose how and with who you spend your days because this will determine your future.