8 things 99% of young men don’t realize until it’s too late

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Life’s a strange and unpredictable ride, especially when you’re a young man.

You’re out there, feeling invincible, chasing dreams, and wrestling with the realities of adulthood. Between the daily grind and big life decisions, it’s easy to overlook some vital truths – truths that often don’t hit home until it’s too late.

Now, wouldn’t it be great if someone laid out these life lessons for us in advance?

Well, that’s what I’ll try to do today. 

 Here are 8 things I wish I’d taken on board earlier in my life. 

01 Time is our most valuable asset

Do you ever find yourself saying, “I’ll do it tomorrow” or “I’ve got plenty of time”?

It’s common among young men. We often fall into the trap of thinking we have an endless supply of tomorrows.

But the truth is time is the one asset you can’t earn back. Once it’s gone, it’s gone for good.

How many times have you postponed that dream trip, neglected a passion, or delayed telling someone you love them because you think there’s always tomorrow? But what if tomorrow never comes? What would you wish you had done today?

Recognizing the value of time while you’re young can change your life significantly. It can help you prioritize what truly matters, prevent regret, and lead to a more fulfilling life. 

02 Failure is not the end, but a stepping stone

Ever stumble and fall, then feel like the world is ending?

Well, you’re not alone. We’ve all been there. 

In my early twenties, I had a dream to start my own business. I worked tirelessly on it – planning, organizing, investing my savings. But despite my best efforts, it fell flat.

It was a tough pill to swallow. I felt like a failure, and for a while, I thought that was the end of my entrepreneurial journey.

But here’s what I didn’t realize back then: Failure isn’t the end; it’s just part of the process. It’s not a red stop sign but a yellow yield sign saying, “Slow down, regroup, learn, and try again.”

That failed business venture taught me more about entrepreneurship than any business school could have. It made me wiser, tougher, and more prepared for my next venture. Today, I see that ‘failure’ as one of my most valuable experiences.

The lesson?

Don’t be afraid of failure. Embrace it, learn from it, and let it propel you forward.

As put by legendary investor Ray Dalio, “If you’re not failing, you’re not pushing your limits, and if you’re not pushing your limits, you’re not maximizing your potential.”

Failure is not your enemy; fear of failure is.

03 You get to define what “success” is; choose carefully

In a world that’s quick to measure success by the size of your bank account, the brand of your car, or the title on your business card, it’s easy to get caught up in societal expectations.

But guess what?

You get to define what success means to you.

Maybe success for you is about financial stability. Or perhaps it’s about pursuing a passion, making a difference in the world, or simply being a good friend or family member.

It’s essential to define what success looks like for you, rather than letting society dictate it.

At the end of the day, you’re the one who has to live with your choices. So make sure they align with your version of success, not someone else’s.

04 No man is an Island (or a lone wolf for that matter)

It’s common, especially among young men, to think that going it alone is a sign of strength.

The image of the lone wolf, self-sufficient and isolated, is often glorified. But connections with others are not just nice to have—they are essential.

Human beings are inherently social creatures. We thrive on relationships and interactions.

In fact, studies have shown that people with strong social connections tend to be happier, healthier, and live longer than those who lack them. Isolation, on the other hand, can lead to feelings of depression and anxiety and even earlier death.

Learning to build and maintain relationships is crucial. This doesn’t mean you need a vast network of friends or to be constantly surrounded by people. It means cultivating meaningful relationships—those that provide support, offer love, and challenge us to grow. Whether it’s family, friends, or mentors, these relationships shape who we are and who we can become.

Moreover, learning to ask for help is not a weakness; it’s a profound strength. It shows an awareness of your limitations and a willingness to learn and grow through others’ experiences and skills.

So, while the allure of being a ‘lone wolf’ might seem appealing, remember that even wolves hunt in packs. Embrace the strength found in togetherness, and you’ll find that life’s burdens are much lighter when shared.

05 We are what we repeatedly do, not what we plan to do

American historian and philosopher Will Durant famously said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” 

Planning is essential, but the real measure of who we are comes from what we actually do on a consistent basis, not just what we intend to do. It’s easy to make plans or set goals; the challenge is in the execution. This distinction is crucial, especially when it comes to personal development and achieving success.

If you find yourself stuck in a rut or not progressing towards your goals, it might be time to examine your daily routines. Are the actions you take each day building you up or holding you back?

The habits you cultivate can either be stepping stones towards success or barriers to it.

06 Health really is wealth

You probably expected this one, eh?

In our youth, we often take our health for granted. We push our bodies to the limit, skimp on sleep, indulge in junk food, and neglect exercise. However, the effects of these habits often don’t show up until later in life (Hello 30’s!).

It’s crucial to realize that taking care of your health isn’t just about avoiding disease; it’s about quality of life. It’s about having the energy to pursue your dreams, enjoy your hobbies, and spend quality time with loved ones.

So start today. Make healthy choices. Exercise regularly. Eat balanced meals. Prioritize sleep. Your future self will thank you for it.

07 Learning never stops

Remember that feeling of freedom when you finally graduated, thinking you were done with learning forever?

Well, here’s the reality – learning doesn’t stop at school. In fact, the most important and valuable learning often happens outside the classroom.

The world is changing rapidly, possibly faster than ever, and to keep up, we need to be lifelong learners. This means continually updating our skills, expanding our knowledge, and being open to new ideas.

But more than just professional growth, lifelong learning contributes to personal development, too. It broadens our perspectives, fuels our creativity, and enriches our understanding of the world.

In the grand classroom of life, we are all eternal students.

08 You’ll never “get there”

One of the most common misconceptions among young men is the idea of reaching a final destination in life where everything is perfect—a point where you’ve “made it.” This idea can lead to constant striving for a future state of happiness and success, often at the expense of the present moment.

The truth is, though, that life is not about reaching a static point of perfection. It’s a continuous journey, an ongoing process of growth and change.

Each achievement and milestone brings new challenges and opportunities. What you desire or value at 20 may vastly differ from what you find important at 30, 40, and beyond.

Understanding that you’ll never truly “get there” should be liberating. It should free you from the pressure of having to achieve everything by a certain age or milestone. Instead, it should allow you to appreciate where you are right now, to live in the moment, and to find joy in the process of becoming, not just in the state of having arrived.