What are the things you wish you had known at 21? Here are Some Great Advice


In almost every culture around the globe, turning 21 means a person is entering the adult stage of his/her life. In most countries, 21 years of age is considered legal in a way that a person is allowed to drink liquor, smoke cigarette, go to night clubs and more.

It is also the age where lots of opportunities knock and critical decision making is done. But just like any good things that a 21-year old individual can do, there are still lots of more significant priorities that are being missed. It is the age where some managed to strive and get better while many are failing.

We'll take a look at this Quora thread where a guy (which recently turned 21) asked the question "What is one thing you wish you had known at 21?"

We have gathered the best possible answers to help those 21-year old folks out there.

Do not hesitate to do something...

  • "Don't ever, EVER, hesitate to do something because you are too shy or think you could fail. Not many years away you will look back and be ready to give everything to get a second chance." 
  • "You can take more life risks now than you probably ever will be able to again. Your whole life is still ahead of you, and most of the life choices you'll make at this stage aren't necessarily permanent."
  • "It's totally cool to go back to school if you need to. There's no shame at all in picking up new skills."
  • "If you are planning to start something of your own at this age, you are probably going to fail the first time, but you are probably going to be successful if you stick and work on the aspects you failed at."

Stay healthy and fit.. Your health will be one of your defining factors to success..

  • "..For the love of your own life, Don't smoke. If you're already smoking. Quit. The excuse that work stress made you do it, is not worth it."
  • "Get exercise to be part of your daily routine."
  • "Keep your body healthy. It might seem indestructible now, but it won't, sooner than you think."
  • "Exercise your brain continuously: Keep it busy. Play poker or chess, or solve crossword puzzles, or strategy games. Keep it buzzing."
  • "Stay away from drugs. The occasional joint won't kill you, but all other substances which radically alter your brain chemistry - potentially for the long term - should be avoided."
  • "Sleep well. This and cooking will help with the  six pack. If you think “I can sleep when I’m dead” or “I have too much  to do to sleep,” I have news for you: you are INEFFICIENT, and sleep  deprivation isn’t helping."

Learn things on your own...Learn new things...Educate yourself...

  • "Learn to be independent. You should be able to cook, clean and balance a cheque book - but also be able to go to the cinema or a gig on your own. Be comfortable not always being with others."
  • "Be interesting. Get passionate/knowledgeable about something. "
  • "Do what scares you. That's the only way to grow as a person."
  • "You need to live your own life, not your parents' life. Think on whether you're living your life for someone else."
  • "Make sure you can be happy on your own, your relationship might not last. And if you are happy on your own, you will have more fun together."
  • "The world is trying to keep you stupid. From bank fees to interest rates to miracle diets, people who are not educated are easier to get money from and easier to lead. Educate yourself as much as possible for wealth, independence, and happiness."
  • "Do not have faith in institutions to educate you. By the time they build the curriculum, it’s likely that the system is outdated– sometimes utterly broken. You both learn and get respect from people worth getting it from by leading and doing, not by following."
  • "Learn a wide range of semi-stupid skills. It just makes you a more interesting person."

Be careful in decision makings...

  • "You need to decide what matters to you and what you can take fulfillment out of. No one else is going to come down and tell you (and if they do, it won't mean anything)."
  • "Don't get tied down too soon. It's okay to test the waters!"
  • “Choose,  don’t react. Don’t take what’s given to you by the environment  that you walk by each day.  Decide precisely what you want, decide what it will  take to make that happen, and make that happen.”
  • "Bide your Time: Decisions and opportunities will come forth a plenty in your lifetime. Think it through. For most cases, never make hasty decisions. Give it some time and see what/how you feel towards making that decision. Patience is indeed an art."

Manage your financial assets properly...

  • "Invest in property. As early as you can. Property in the long run, will always give you a profit."
  • "Money does actually matter, sadly. Try and have some kind of cushion: it'll come in handy if things go wrong, but it'll also come in handy for experiments."
  • "Learn about Finances. Even if it might be boring, or not applicable immediately to you, learn about finances. To make money, you need to understand money, unless you luck out (which very few people do)."
  • "Get an awesome bed and desk chair.  General rule: spend a lot of money on padded things you'll spend a lot of your life on."
  • "While you are living on the cheap, solve the money problem. Use  the internet, because it’s like a cool little machine that helps you do  your bidding. If you are currently living paycheck to paycheck, extend  that to three weeks instead of two. Then, as you get better, you can  think a month ahead, then three months, then six, and finally a year  ahead. (The goal is to get to a point where you are thinking 5 years  ahead.)"
  • "Get into the habit of saving 15% of your earnings every time you make some money. Put it away in an account that requires at least a 6 month waiting period before you can get any money out. Remember, the three most powerful forces in the universe are time, gravity and compound interest."
  • "Start saving. Get into the habit of tucking a few Dollars every week. Try to build up savings for a rainy day."
  • "Develop an interest in something that may turn out to be a small money spinner. Generating some passive income makes for a decent financial safety net."

Improve your social life...Connect with other people...

  • "Try to reach out to people that are different from you. Many of us grow up in a cocoon and then spend our whole lives trying to weave it tighter. Be open to other people and new experiences."
  • "Connect with everyone, all the time. Be genuine about it. Learn to find something you like in each person, and then speak to that thing."
  • "Find people that are cooler than you and hang out  with them too. This and the corollary are both important: 'don’t  attempt to be average inside your group. Continuously attempt to be  cooler than them (by doing cooler things, being more laid back,  accepting, ambitious, etc.).'"
  • "Make good friends, the ones who will stick during bad times. And remember not to rely on people for happiness."

..But don't reply on them too much...And choose your friends carefully...

  • "Stop wasting your time with the wrong people, rather than spending time to please them work on your own shortcomings. Few years later you will yourself realize that they were not worth your time."
  • "Do not take other people's opinions of you too seriously. Most of the time, their opinions of you are totally subjective and are based on their own previous experiences that you may not be aware of."

Be yourself...Stand firm and face all challenges...

  • "Lose the addiction of mediocrity, stop pleasing people, burn the bridge, step up and be yourself"
  • "Find happiness within yourself, not from other people, and certainly not from things. Unhappiness leads to terrible choices."
  • "..know that your own value is no less than anybody else's (but, conversely, isn't more than anybody else's, either)."
  • "Face Your Problems: Don't delay. Paying attention to problems at the earliest will prevent them from snowballing into something much more bigger with disastrous results."
  • "Embrace and be proud of who you are and where you are from If everything is easy and handed to you on a platter – you end  up with a false sense of self-entitlement. Some rich kids may get one job or  opportunity because they have family connections, so they may have been given  one fish, but earning it the hard way is like learning how to fish, it lasts a  lifetime, and if you apply the same attitude to any area of life, you can do  anything."

Spend time with other activities...

  • "Food/Beverages: Learn, experiment, try out, taste all different types of foods. You eat 3 times a day if not more. Everyone on Earth follows the same routine, get to know food and you can break the ice in so many situations. Besides, its very tasty!"
  • "Music: Appreciate it. Read up about it. Listen to as many different genres as possible. Everyone loves music."
  • "Love the Outdoors. The more you are out and away from your desk, the greater the chance of enjoying life and meeting up with people (accidentally and/or by choice)."
  • "TRAVEL - when I look back on my early 20s the memories that stand out the most, the ones I want to relive are my travels - whether staying in hostels or 5 star hotels - meet people and see the world.  Have crazy and spontaneous experiences."

Define your future...and do something about it...

  • "If you are unhappy about your job, try to find a better one. You're going to spend a lot of time at work."
  • "..Stressing about  what you don’t have isn’t constructive, but being excited about what you do have  is. As hard working young people, you should all be really excited as your  future is going to get better and better the older you get. Especially the  gentlemen in the house – in school girls may say "NERD!" but things change.."
  • "Almost everything that the world has told you up to do until the age of 21 has been a lie. You probably didn't need most of the schooling you have gone through and the job you say you are getting a degree to pursue is probably going to be relatively shitty. Your passions are more important than a degree or a job title."
  • "Don't be a hedonist. If women, alcohol, gambling or even eating out frequently has become your only tools to happiness then it's time to change."
  • "It's perfectly okay to want to go for it on your own - don't let your parents or careers advisor tell you differently, but do it when you are young, at 21. This is a time in your life when you have tonnes of energy. You don't have a lot of money so risking everything is probably going to cost more in time than it is in wealth - and time is something you'll have plenty of."


back to top