Impractical Advice

If there's one thing I remember about my 20-year-old self, it's that I was sick of every 30-year-old on Earth trying to give me life advice.

"You'll never be ready." "You learn by doing." Blah, blah, BLAH!
True and good advice, sure, but 20-year-old me just didn't give a shit. You couldn't have paid me to listen.

So when I'm asked, "What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?"
I think it's wise to reframe the question to, "What advice would you give your 20-year-old self that your 20-year-old self would actually have listened to?"

Well, to set the scene, at 20, I'd just fallen madly in love with scootering. But for work, I was doing data entry for a manufacturing company that I didn't give a damn about, in an industry I had zero love for. Before scootering, I didn't really care; I was just working a job because that's what you do – you get a job so you can have money. But when I found riding, it changed everything. I couldn't fathom a future that didn't revolve around it entirely.

I knew I loved it so much that I would try to make it my life; that is, I guess, to "make a living out of it." I went for it, and it actually worked! But, goddamn, it was hard. So many times, and for so long, it felt like it just wasn't going to work, like it couldn't work. I felt like I had to bend the universe to my will. It didn't feel like there was a blueprint for this and anyone offering advice either tried to dissuade me from pursuing my passion or simply wasn’t relatable enough for me to listen to.

The thing about being 20 is that you have an extremely narrow focus; your superpower is your inability to absorb advice or knowledge that you don't want. To be blissfully ignorant is a feature, not a bug.

But, if a (former) professional scooter rider, who had just spent the last 10 years riding all over the world, filming videos, designing products, and hosting events while building a successful brand that supports his lifestyle and family, and who still at 31 does the thing he loves more than anything for a living – now maybe... just maybe, I would have listened to him.

So, in case there's anyone listening (reading) who has yet to be corrupted by the pressures and expectations of growing up and getting a job, here's a list of things I wish someone, who I actually would have listened to, would have told me when I was 20.

Do what you love. It'll work. I promise.

If you try and fail, you'll only end up in the same place as if you didn't try. The "fail scenario" of doing what you love isn't that bad; it's just getting a job. So before you just do that, go and try every possible way you can imagine to do what you love for a living. The downside is the same in both scenarios, but the upside is much greater in doing what you love.

If you're doing what you love, you technically can't fail. The person who works 5 days a week may enjoy their weeknights and weekends with just a little more than enough to live comfortably. "Can't complain," they might say. The "artist" struggles to pay rent or afford food, but they're barely phased. They spend 7 full days a week immersed in their art, building, creating. "This is my life; I can't imagine doing anything else," they say. Regardless of career progress or commercial success, there's no version of reality where you regret doing what you love for 10 years. By even trying, you're doing what you love.

The penalty for not doing what you love is not doing what you love.

Start your own business as soon as possible. Otherwise, you'll spend 6 years working for other people, building up their businesses, in the hopes you will eventually reap the outsized returns of your efforts, but you will not. You will learn a lot of valuable lessons to apply to your own business, but eventually, you will realize the most valuable lesson was that you should have started your own business long ago.

People will dislike you because you represent what they wish they could be. They'll say, "Must be nice to live in that fantasy, but some of us have to do the real work, build the roads...". What they are really saying is, "I wish I had the courage to try to follow my passion." Everybody wants it, but they're convinced they can't get it, so they don't bother trying, which leaves you with far less competition than you think. Being crazy enough to try is half the work.

The people telling you that you can’t do what you love are not happy.

Many adults or “grown ups” are immature and flawed (like you). The sooner you realize this, the sooner you can embrace how personal your life decisions are. Nobody knows what's best for you; they don't even know what's best for themselves. A parents default mode is to protect you, and they feel their best chance of this is to convince you to get a good, secure job. They didn't have the opportunities you have to follow your passions, so they cannot relate to how achievable it actually is.

People around you will start dying. Friends and family. This will make you want to live more, to not waste time, to not take a day for granted, and to spend your time doing what you love. This somber inspiration is the bittersweet fuel of a deliberately lived life. The greatest offence to those who've passed would be to waste it. You could die young. Live like you will.

Alan Watts' "What If Money Was No Object" is the only piece of media you need to consume on this topic. Take it literally. I did, and it worked.

Thanks for reading. I hope not to offend anyone with my comparisons. I am merely trying to reach the people out there like me, and tell them what i wish more people told me.
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