20 Lessons I Learned From Making a Lot of Mistakes in My Twenties

Experience is what we are left with after we make mistakes

I am fast approaching 30.

Three decades of making mistakes, being broke, depressed, lonely, anxious, feeling guilty, powerless, hopeless.

Three decades of trying to conquer the world, trying to conquer myself, trying to change the world, or just those closest to me.

I’ve lost my way more times than I can count. I’ve failed, time and time again. I’ve tried my best, from time to time. I’ve cried, I’ve won, I’ve lost.

To be 30 means that my view of the world should have crystallized by now. Well, I still have almost six months to figure things out, but I can certainly say that wasting my twenties was one of the best decisions I have ever made without thinking too much.

Consider the following rules as me sharing what took me most of my twenties to figure out.

1. You only have what you give.

Perhaps the most counter-intuitive truth of the universe is that the more you give to others, the more you’ll get. It took me most of my twenties to understand the wisdom of this principle.

2. To make mistakes is human. To own your mistakes is divine.

We all make mistakes, but we never fail until we blame someone else for our mistakes. Taking personal responsibility for the mistakes you make and then doing everything you can to fix them is an extremely powerful way to go through life.

3. Don’t waste your twenties

Don’t waste your twenties searching for something you love to do. Instead, become so good at something they can’t ignore you.

4. Courage is every single virtue at its breaking point.

You will never live the life of your dreams if you are not brave enough to enforce your principles and ideas when you are most afraid.

5. Being enthusiastic is worth at least 25 IQ points.

Enthusiasm is contagious. After all, Stephen King is known for selling the rights to his work for as low as $1.

6. You can’t save people. You can only love them.

I have wasted a lot of time and energy trying to save the people I loved. You can’t fix people, no matter how much it hurts you. They either become stronger by themselves or become weaker with you by their side. Someone who doesn’t know how to swim will hold on to you until you both drown.

7. The road to success can often be found by going in the opposite direction as everyone else.

9 times out of 10, you’ll win in life by doing the opposite of what most people do. Observe their habits and actions, and then go in the opposite direction.

8. Learning is the cheat code to life.

First you learn, then you earn is such a terrible cliche, but it’s crucial to wisdom. Everything you need to know about life, love, success has already been figured out by someone else. You can have anything you want in life as long as you are willing to go through the trouble of learning how others did it.

9. When crises and disasters strike, don’t waste them.

No problems, no progress. Behind every adversity, there’s an opportunity. In the face of disaster and adversity, your true self is revealed. You cannot know who you are until you are tested.

10. Don’t waste precious mental energy worrying about what others think of you.

Other people are never thinking about you as much as you think they are.

11. If you want to be confident, become really good at a bunch of different things.

Self-confidence is the side-effect of being competent for the right reasons. Develop multiple skills, and you will become more confident.

12. The stronger you are physically, the more mental fortitude you build.

A strong body means a strong mind. Work out, eat healthy, nutritious foods, drink plenty of water, get your eight hours of sleep. Don’t drink, don’t smoke, don’t do drugs. That’s enough to build the kind of mental fortitude that ensures you live a 1% type of lifestyle no matter what social level you’re in.

13. Earn more. Spend less.

The two most important aspects when it comes to money. Develop multiple streams of income, while doing your best to spend less than you earn.

14. Never, ever, ever give up.

Perseverance conquers all things. If there’s one thing I can credit my success to, that’s my ability to never, ever, ever give up. At times, that was the only thing I knew to do: to keep going when everyone around me was giving up.

15. There are no absolute truths in life.

The universe is not painted in black and white. It’s billions of colors. There’s a bit of truth in every statement, on every side, in every ideology you’ll ever encounter.

16. We don’t get our shoulds, we get our musts.

We don’t get what we think should happen, we get what has to happen. When our determination becomes so strong that we cannot imagine a universe in which we do not succeed.

17. Compounding is the key to success.

Earn interest with your money, but also earn interest with your skills, with your network, with your platform. Little by little, a little becomes a lot. Work on developing the kind of patience that allows you to suffer the effects of delaying gratification long enough to become successful.

18. You can always reinvent yourself.

Your past doesn’t have to become your future. If you focus on self-improvement and break the mental barrier that keeps you from changing who you are, you can transform your life.

19. You are capable of exerting far more energy to run from what you fear than running towards what you desire.

That’s why rock-bottom is often the foundation upon many build their successes. The richest among us are often the kids who never wanted to feel broke again.

20. Harness the power of regret.

You’ll never regret trying and failing, but you’ll always regret not taking action. Rejection, embarrassment, and getting your ego bruised are nothing compared to the regret of what could have been.


I learned these lessons the hard way. I tried to deny their truth, bend the rules a bit, but instead I got the chance to experience a lot of heartbreak and pain.

6 Comments

  1. Number 19 is special to me because it’s something I struggle to break from. Many of which I desire are things that I want but am constantly fearful of the the necessary steps needed. For example, I want to travel the world on my own but I’m too afraid to make such a journey by myself.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Thank you Cristian for sharing such wonderful life lessons. I’ve learnt quite a lot from this post, and there’s no point I disagree with. I quite resonate with them, however No. 1 got me confused at first and I had to re-read it.

    Liked by 3 people

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