40 Lessons I’d Share With My 22 Year Old Self
Drew Canole – Thinking
Written by: Drew Canole
When I was 22, I was so motivated to just go and do. I didn’t really have much direction and I certainly thought I knew more than most adults… at the time anyway. I didn’t really understand the power of discipline or how to have rock solid routines. My faith was on the back burner and my ego was very much in the front seat. Years of childhood trauma left me with much emotional immobility and a lack of understanding as to how to deal with it.
I wasn’t thinking about helping others, as much as I do today and the majority of my thinking was shallow and pretty much based on what girl I was going to take out that weekend.
Unconscious, unaware and unable to realize the greatness that would soon pursue…. I trudged on with confidence and an internal knowing that one day my 34 year old self would – for lack of betters words – have his “$hit” together.
I’m not in any way 100% on track all the time, but I see the light now and will always continue to do my best to be the highest version of myself and work towards my own growth, as well as helping others on their journeys. I was inspired by my friend Kent Clothiers blog post, which motivated me to make my own list to share with you.
Here Are 40 Lessons I’d Share With My 22 Year Old Self
1. What Others Think Is Not That Important – KNOW YOURSELF FIRST
People will always have opinions and more often than not, those opinions will be different than yours. That’s okay! Only you know who you are and what you stand for. Become a person that you respect, admire and feel confident sharing with the world. Because that person is awesome and the world needs to know him!
2. Believe In Something Bigger Than Yourself – God, Universe, Buddha, etc. – and Spend Time Studying Your Beliefs
You didn’t just magically appear on this planet. You were created. You serve a purpose. Know that you matter and you’re needed. There are no mistakes. Study all ideologies and find what resonates with you. There is no right or wrong way to think or believe. Your beliefs are yours, so embrace them and be curious.
3. Forgive, Don’t Hold Grudges
Circumstances happen in life not to us necessarily, but with a purpose to teach us a lesson. So if someone wrongs you, or does something to upset you – purposefully or not – instead, thank them for the lesson they taught you and move on. So your girlfriend cheated. Now you know how that feels and now you know what you don’t want in your next relationship. Holding onto anger only creates more anger, inflammation, pain, anxiety and slows the amazing potential you have within to be truly great. Forgive with love and compassion, if not for the other person, than do this for yourself.
4. Your First Serious Break-Up Isn’t The End Of The World
We meet new people in each step of our life. As we grow, not everyone in our path will come with us. Again, thank them for their part in your journey – and yes, this includes the girl you fell in love with who broke your heart into a million pieces. What did you learn from that experience? Take that with you and use it to your advantage to become better, more confident, stronger and open to what’s to come.
5. ABL – Always Be Learning
Regardless of what you think you know, you really don’t know much in the grand scheme of things. Your ego is bigger than your knowledge base, dude. Let that go. Embrace new information. Vow to engross yourself in different cultures, experiences, books. Take classes in things you’re interested in, even if they don’t pertain to your career path or resonate with your friend circle. Expand your mind and watch everything else unfold perfectly.
6. Focus On Moments and Memories, Not Material Things
So you graduated college and you got a fancy new ride. You’re such a stud. Or are you? At the end of the day, you can’t take the car with you, right? I mean, you can take the memory of buying the car and the excitement you felt in that moment… but the physical pile of metal? Not so much. Instead, focus on the experiences and people that bring you joy. The ones that fuel your soul and excite your spirit. Those that make you feel alive and unstoppable! Cherish those things because those are what ultimately shape your experience on this Earth, not what you bought along the way.
7. Travel More
There is so much more to experience than the bars on Fifth Avenue…seriously. Get out and explore. Even if it’s to the next town over, go for it. Take a road trip. See how people live in different places. Be open to stepping outside of your comfort zone and really living. Even if you don’t stay in this new place for long, you now have a different experience to pull from as you go through life. This allows you to relate better to different types of people and become more open to others and their lifestyles. This helps to show you what you do and don’t want in your own life. See the world. Experience life with a new set of glasses.
8. Have Unshakable Values: This Also Makes You Super Attractive
This is different than being closed minded and outwardly opinionated. Put your ego aside. Know what you believe in and own it! So you think God is a badass – awesome! You know that someday you want to have a family of your own – that’s great! You believe that everyone should constantly be evolving and striving to be the best version of them self – surround yourself with others like you! When you have the confidence to own your truth, you radiate something special that makes you unique and magnetic. This is an amazingly attractive trait to carry and something to be really proud of (without being arrogant).
9. Don’t Apologize For Your Beliefs
Like I said, own it! These are your beliefs and warrant no explanation. But know why you believe these things. Not to sway others, but to remind yourself of the power of your beliefs, allowing them to shape your path with and for you.
10. Never Settle
The idea that the grass is greener on the other side is not necessarily true. But what is true is the idea that if you are not entirely fulfilled in the situation you’re in – professionally or personally – something should change… and maybe that’s you. If you want to travel and you’re in a relationship with someone who likes to stay at home, that’s a problem. Don’t settle for mediocrity when you can have all that you desire, it’s about setting yourself up to be the best person you can be and being open to all possibilities.
11. Stay Humble
When you work hard for something and you see that hard work pay-off, reward yourself! But do it in a way that keeps you grounded. Instead of bingeing on a night out partying with the guys, why not treat your family to a nice dinner or little getaway that you can enjoy together. This goes back to creating moments and memories. Know where you came from and never forget who’s had your back on the way to the top.
12. Surround Yourself With Like-Minded People
What do you love to do? If you love helping people and your friends are all a bunch of arrogant meat heads looking for a new chick every weekend and could care less about anything outside of that… especially other people… is this your tribe? Are these really the ones you want to be associated with? Remember, you become the 5 people you spend the most time with. They should help make you better and vise versa.
13. Do Something That Scares You – Lean Into Fear
What have you always wanted to do, but have been too afraid to try it… for whatever reason! DO THAT! Don’t waste another moment contemplating this. Life is short and can be take from you at any time. Be a “yes” man and agree to try everything at least once, within reason of course. 🙂
14. Get Enough Sleep – 8-9 hours a night
Going out every weekend and staying up into the early hours of the morning is a HUGE waste of time. You end up sleeping the entire next day, only to feel terrible and binge on burritos and pizza, possibly even grabbing for a “get right beer” in hopes it will make you feel better. Instead, you feel worse and you’ve wasted your entire day. Go out and have fun, but commit to being home at a decent hour and getting enough sleep so you’re productive the next day.
15. Spend More Quality Time With Your Loved Ones – Life Is Short
We never get enough time with the ones we love, whether because of the physical distance between us or those that leave the Earth before we’re ready to say goodbye. Cherish these people. See them and speak with them as much as possible. Tomorrow is never promised. Live in this moment.
16. Eat Well
Living on fast food, pizza and beer in college may have gotten you this far, but if you want to be an unstoppable human being (or super-human being), you need to fuel your body for success. That means drinking plenty of water (not beer), loading up on nutrient-dense REAL food and ditching the food-like crap you’ve grown accustomed to.
17. Tell Your Loved Ones What They Mean To You Often
What if you never had the chance to speak with your parents again? Have you said everything you wanted to say? Do they know how much they mean to you? Tell your loved ones often how they’ve impacted your life. How they’ve helped shape you into the man that you are now and the man you are striving to become. Let them know that their love and patience through your pain-in-the-ass moments wasn’t for nothing and that you appreciate them for accepting you and loving you as you are.
18. Treat Others How You Want To Be Treated, Even The Ones That Have Hurt You
Sure, we’ve all made mistakes and have done or said something that we later regretted. While there are no excuses for these things, the fact remains that you are human and just like those that have hurt or harmed you in some way, there is always a better way. Remind yourself how it feels to be treated with love and respect vs. anger and rudeness. Nobody likes the latter. Go forth in love and show others what it’s like to be kind, giving, caring and authentic. The more love you spread in the world, the more it will come back to you.
19. Don’t Silence Your Opinions – Speak Your Truth With Love and Compassion
If something is bothering you, express this. It’s easy to get caught in the moment and blow up, but what does that solve? It leaves you feeling anxious and pissed off without resolution. It’s not fair to be upset with someone without a conversation either. Maybe they don’t really know what they said or did to cause you to feel this way, so you’re sitting there mad for no reason, which is only negatively affecting you, not them. Talk it out. And listen to what others have to say too. Your opinions are yours, just as theirs are theirs. Agree to disagree and go in grace because if we were all the same, the world would be a boring place to be!
20. Don’t Be Afraid To Be Wrong – This Is Where You Learn and Grow
Listen more, talk less. And when you make a mistake, own it! Admit you were wrong and instead of being closed off to the facts due to pride and ego, be open to learning from these experiences.
21. Learn To Say “No” Without Guilt
As you get older, you will have more responsibilities. And while this can be extremely rewarding, it can also be a lot to handle at times. Your perception of the situation at hand is what will get you through these times with a smile. Know your needs and honor them. If you have to miss a friends birthday because you have a lot of work to do (which by the way, pays your bills), so be it! If they’re really a friend, they will understand. And you can always make it up to them.
22. Be Your Own Best Friend First – Get Comfortable Being Alone! (you come in and leave alone so you might as well get used to it)
Dude, you’re freaking awesome! I don’t mean this in an egotistical way – but let’s get real. You have some pretty cool – and totally unique to you – traits that nobody else has – embrace those! Learn to love yourself for who you are – the perfectly imperfect YOU! Not everyone will like you and they don’t need to. What matters is that you know who you are and you love that person because in the end, you’re all you’ve got.
23. Don’t Judge Others, You Never Know What They’re Going Through
You see a guy in a wheelchair – you would never start pointing and laughing at him! Why? Because you have no idea what his story is and you’re not a jackass. And that’d be a pretty d-bag thing to do! It goes for everyone and everything you come into contact with. We ALL have a story, so instead of judging others for their nasty mood, disability or ignorance, learn from them. You’re not perfect, Mr. 22. Remember that.
24. Read More Books
Knowledge is power… but it’s what you do with that knowledge that really takes things to the next level. You may think you know everything (because you have so much life experience at 22 – eh hem, sarcasm here), but the reality is, you know very little, my friend. Read as much as you can about as much as you can and become knowledgeable about different subjects, finding the ones that really speak to you. Then, dig into those! Again… and again… and again…
25. Fearlessly Pursue Your Passion
It’s okay if you don’t know what that is yet, but never stop searching. And when you do find that thing (or things) that really light you up, pursue them… whatever it takes! Trust in your innate ability to succeed and know that despite the obstacles along the way (because that’s life, dude), you’ll come out on top and be better for it. Passionately pursue everything that you do in life. You have a purpose on this planet – what you’re passionate about will help you determine what that is exactly.
26. Don’t Be Afraid to Fail
Failing sucks. I get it! But if you never failed, you’d never grow. Now you know what not to do and you can work towards a better way. And next time, you’ll fail better. Eventually, you’ll get it right. Have fun along the way.
27. Be A Person You’d Love To Be Around
What kind of people are you drawn to? Are they funny? Honest? Intelligent? Spiritual? Find the traits you love in others, because in truth, you are a mirror… meaning, what you see in others in already in you. Now it’s time to harness your ability to ignite those amazing qualities and shine!
28. Don’t Procrastinate
Remember, tomorrow is never promised. Why put off doing tomorrow what you could do today? Check things off your list every day that bring you closer to your ultimate goals. Don’t waste time thinking about doing them… get out there and DO THEM!
29. Don’t Listen To The Nay-Sayers
They’re out there and they’re not going anywhere. Use this as fuel to move you forward and prove to yourself that what they have to say doesn’t matter one bit. You have everything you need within you. It’s time to trust yourself and love yourself enough to keep going with reckless abandon, despite others opinions. If you believe with your heart that you are doing the right thing, don’t give up on making it a reality.
30. Love Your Body
Girls aren’t the only ones to pack on the Freshman 15. I’ve seen plenty of dudes succomb to this as well. But here’s the thing, your body is an amazing tool, designed to work for you every single day – to keep you healthy, strong… ALIVE! Thank your body for all the love it gives you every day by fueling it with healthy food, regular exercise and positive thoughts. Thank your body in this way and I promise, it will thank you 100 times over.
31. Be More Than Arm Candy, Be Soul Food
Your hair looks good, you’ve got a tan, your wardrobe is straight from GQ magazine. So what? If you aren’t bringing some soul to the table, all that other “stuff” doesn’t matter. Caring about your appearance in a healthy way is one thing, but working on how you make others feel is an entirely different level of living. Strive to be your best self and bring that out in everyone you meet. Do good deeds for no other reason than to raise the vibration of your environment. The world needs more soul… your contribution makes a difference.
32. Be Inquisitive… About EVERYTHING
Instead of agreeing for the sake of making things easy, understand the why behind things. Do you know why you vote the way you do? Or did you simply check your ballot because your buddy said Mr. So-and-So was the best choice? Ask questions. And if it doesn’t sit well with you, study and find what does. Become interested in things (which in turn makes you interesting) and find others to discuss these things with to gain a different perspective. Be open.
Life is crazy. But taking a moment to BE with yourself and really sit in silence is good for the mind, body and soul.
34. Laugh At Yourself
You’re going to fail. You’re also going to succeed. The path you take in either situation will likely have it’s ups and downs. Laugh through the chaos and learn from the process. Life is too short to dwell on the “coulda shoulda woulda” scenarios.
35. Believe In Your Ability To Be Great
You have so much greatness within you, it’s insane! Forget the self-doubt and go for it! You are limitless… unstoppable… capable of more than you could possibly imagine!
36. Find The Silver Lining In Every Experience
No explanation needed… there is always a positive to come out of every experience, even if you find it hard to see at the time.
37. Give Up Porn… Seriously
This is a huge waste of time and totally unrealistic. Love yourself first, then find a partner that you can love and who makes you feel loved, adored and appreciated too without the need for a computer or TV screen, full of false expectations. This is surface entertainment, my friend. Ultimately leaving you empty with less hours left in your day to become the ultimate man you are destined to be. Let it go.
38. Engage In Chivalry
It’s true, chicks dig guys that are polite, open doors, pick up the tab, compliment them… and you should do that! But this goes for everyone in your life. Do this for your friends, family, even strangers. Because it’s the right thing to do. When you give, you receive two-fold, leaving your heart full and setting a positive example for others.
Drew Canole Mindset
39. Positively Affect The Lives Of Others Daily
There is so much negativity in this world. Don’t be part of the problem. Instead, be part of the solution. Lift others up. Share in their accomplishments and victories. Be someone they can look up to for inspiration, guidance and support.
40. Engage In The Wisdom Of Those Much Older Than You
They’ve been around a lot longer than you and whether you believe it or not, they know more than you do about life! They are more experienced, they have knowledge that you could not possibly have at this point in your life because they’ve personally been through it. See how they treat others. Pay attention to how they communicate. Their mannerisms. Learn everything you can from them. Strive to be them someday so when a 22-year-old just like you comes into your life years down the road, you are ready to pull out the knowledge card and give him a mega-dose of mind-blowing life lessons that he can use to become the most badass dude possible!
So now that you know what I would tell my 22 year old self… what would you say to your old self? That is, if I can get this time machine working for us. Leave a comment below with 1 thing you would say! Love you – Drew
Drew Canole is a rockstar in the world of fitness, nutrition and mindset, with a huge heart for others and doing his part to transform the world, one person at a time.
As the founder and CEO of Fitlife.TV, he is committed to sharing educational, inspirational and entertaining videos and articles about health, fitness, healing and longevity. He is also a best selling author and the founder of Organifi, an organic, incredibly delicious greens powder, chock-full of superfoods to make juicing easy no matter your busy schedule.
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