21 Things You Should Know By Age 21
21 Things You Should Know
Advice for Young People On What Matters Most
I’ve been asked this sort of question many times, and in different ways. I decided to compile my best answers into the 21 things you should know by age 21, and offer some advice for young people.
If you are looking for advice for your 20s, or whether you are in your 80s, here is my opinion on what matters most in life. Some of the items might surprise you, as they are not often spoken about.
My advice to young people — if you want advice from old people — is to live your best life today. Tomorrow you might be my age. Will you have something to smile about or regret?
What really matters in life is subjective, but I wish I had this ‘advice for youth’ when I was 21 years of age. This is really the same advice for young men as the advice for young women. We are all human.
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What are the top 21 things you should know by the age of 21? Some might surprise you.
Hi, I’m Jo Roderick. I’ve been asked this sort of question many times, in many different ways, and by many different people. Since I haven’t been 21 for 28 years, this is a difficult and somewhat contentious list to compile.
I don’t think that being in your twenties merits any special education, but one of the most important things is self-discovery. Find out what makes you unique. Without doing this, the rest of your life is like walking around in the dark with your arms tied behind your back.
You will never know what it is like to be older — until you are — so stop worrying about it. Concentrate on knowing, experiencing, and enjoying your current age. It’s a gift that will live on only in your memories.
When I was much younger, I heard people my age and older talking about their youth. They discussed things from their youth. Now I am ‘those people’. Currently, there is an amusing name for this: ‘retro’. It’s quite fitting and stylish.
Often I realise that I own records decades older than your average 21 year-old. Recently, I’ve begun converting them into digital format, so that I can have the pleasure of listening to them once again. This brings me to my 1st point.
[#1] Listen to people wiser than you are, especially when they speak sense. Notice I said wiser, not just older. I also said listen. Don’t just accept everything at face value, I said listen … are you listening? Great!
You cannot fully grasp what they are telling you, but listen anyway. Know that one day, you will wonder how on earth you arrived on this side of the table so fast, being asked these same questions. Right now, you have the rest of your life ahead of you. When you get to my age, you will have the rest of your life ahead of you, but there is less of it — I’m told.
[#2] Refuse to grow up! I encourage you to grow wiser instead. I was born old, and I’ve been trying to undo the damage ever since. Growing wiser is better than growing up. Wisdom is not automatically gained by age. You grow wiser when you are open to information. You become old regardless of how much you learn.
[#3] Knowledge is everything. Learn everything you can. There is no such thing as trivial information if it’s interesting to you. For example, did you know a lead pencil is also called a keelivine? Well, now you do. Be curious enough to learn a little about everything, and a lot about a few things. Perhaps the best lesson is to keep educating yourself no matter your age.
[#4] Pay close attention to everything around you. Time seems to speed up with age, and the less time we have to get everything done. Not that you need to get everything done, mind you. Learn to prioritise, and have some fun along the way. This is why being young is so wonderful. You have time for more new things. Enjoy them.
[#5] Respect takes time to earn, and is quickly lost with foolish or selfish actions. Don’t be that be that person.
[#6] Trust is slowly built, and once it is broken, it’s never fully repaired. Cherish trust more than gold.
[#7] Be kind to everyone. You never know if they have a gun and a bad temper. Just kidding, but be nice to everyone you meet anyway. The world becomes such a beautiful place when people are kind to each other.
[#8] Love more. There is enough hatred in the world, so love more. It’s a much better alternative to loathing and unpleasantness. This is something the world can never have too much of, and you will never grow tired of love.
[#9] Never help people because you can get something out of it, but because they are in need. Similarly, don’t waste your time trying to help people who neither need nor want your assistance.
[#10] Be honest because the truth always comes out, and Karma never forgets. Plus, you will sleep better at night. Oh, that brings me to my next seemingly random point.
[#11] Sleep more because there is no catching up. Soon, it’s the following day, you are tired, grumpy, and your body suffers. I used to go for days without sleep, and now I am old and grumpy. What more proof do you need?
[#12] Get some exercise. It keeps your body going, and younger for longer. I don’t like it much myself, but it’s still the truth. A bit of regular exercise ensures your old age is enjoyable and energetic.
[#13] Stay out of the sun. A facelift costs a lot of money, and it lasts you for two years max, during which you look quite fake. There is no reversal for sun damage so don’t believe otherwise. Sunblock is far more effective than the scalpel.
[#14] Looks don’t matter in the end. If you are young and attractive, use those qualities as a social lubricant to help you get ahead. Just don’t adopt an entitlement attitude. What you do with the opportunity is what matters the most.
[#15] Have more responsible fun. Seriously, go out and have the most fantastic life possible because you can make this your choice. Life is not a test run or a rehearsal. It doesn’t matter if you get it right or wrong, only that you try your best.
[#16] It’s okay to be different, just not to continuously rub people’s faces in it. People don’t have to acknowledge your uniqueness. Believe in yourself enough to realise this.
[#17] Women are not frail creatures that must be looked after. They are usually strong-minded and very capable. They need respect more than anything else.
[#18] Tradition is worth nothing if it’s self-defeating. Keep the parts of tradition that work and change what needs altering.
[#19] Money isn’t everything. Don’t wait until you are dead to realise it. Learn to live life. It’s more important than dying rich. Money is nothing without happiness, but happiness is everything even without money. No one gets old and thinks, “I should have spent more hours in the office,” but many wish they had more time with their loved ones.
[#20] The TV is your enemy. It prevents you from living a real life, and has you watching fake ‘reality’ shows. Watch less mindless entertainment. For me, learning is the best media centre ever.
Finally, [#21] Don’t worry about what people think. Listen to advice, analyse it, apply what makes sense and improves your life, but discard the unimportant noise. The worst mistake you can make is not listening to yourself. Don’t let other people make your decisions for you.
Damn! One point doesn’t fit into the neat scheme of things. Herein lies my last point, life isn’t lived via a textbook. So here is [#22] Success is sometimes learnt through making mistakes, but avoid repeating the same old ones, as they have nothing left to teach you. It’s senseless because you could be making new, and far more interesting mistakes instead.
While some things can only be learnt through experience, learn from other people’s mistakes too. Don’t waste your precious time, and get on with the important stuff. You don’t need to learn first-hand that you need a parachute to jump out of an aeroplane.
Finally … again … Grab life as it happens. The more you appreciate it, the more your life is enriched, and the less regrets you will have. Waiting is not a viable option, and there is never be a better opportunity than right now.
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