21 tips at 21

I am 21-years-old.

I’ve seen a lot of these lists online, like this. So let me try it out.

Major caveat though. If you haven’t realized, I do not have a lot of life experience at age 21, nor am I super qualified in any particular field. Which translates to the unfortunate fact that I am a person of low believability. However, this should still be interesting and it’ll certainly be fun to read in the future.

This list is not entirely original. Sources are provided where possible.

  1. Everyone is weird in their own way. So do what makes you weird.
  2. If you want to get to the root of something, look at the incentives.1
  3. Compliment others while they’re still alive, not at their funeral. They’re not there to appreciate it when they’re dead.
  4. I have regretted every single time I’ve gotten angry. So the next time you feel yourself filling with rage, withdraw yourself and keep quiet. Because anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
  5. We are more often frightened than hurt; and we suffer more from imagination than from reality – Seneca.
  6. We live in a world of nuance, but we communicate in black and white.
  7. Getting less sleep so you can get more time is like borrowing money from a loanshark. It works for now, but you’re going to be stuck paying the high interest.
  8. Say this more often: “If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.”
  9. The road to hell is paved with good intentions.
  10. Add time to achieve greatness. Writing once is okay, anyone can do it. Writing 1000 times over time is greatness.
  11. Give value to get value.
  12. Discipline equals freedom. Are you truly free if you’re held hostage by your temptations?
  13. Remember that you’re going to die.
  14. The days are long, but the decades are short.2
  15. Work on things that continue working for you when you’ve stopped. This is one such example. I could be sleeping right now, but here you are reading my writing.
  16. Every time you say yes, you’re saying no to everything else.
  17. If you don’t like the book you’re reading, try a little longer. Still don’t like it? Drop it. Don’t let it ruin the joy of reading.
  18. If it’s taught in school, you can be replaced by a newer graduate (no AI disruption, machine learning, or other buzzwords necessary).
  19. You are what you create, not what you consume. So create more, consume less.
  20. If you add up all the advice in the world, they’ll eventually cancel each other out. And that includes this list too.3

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Published: July 27, 2021
Last updated:

  1. As Charlie Munger said, “show me the incentives and I will show you the outcome.” ↩︎
  2. First read it from Sam Altman. ↩︎
  3. From the Almanack of Naval Ravikant. ↩︎