If I Knew Then What I Know Now

Thanks for all your feedback on last week’s post. You have inspired a list of things I wish I had known when I was in my twenties. When I was young, I had energy and drive. Now I have experience and wisdom. So what advice would I give my twenty-something self?

Here are my top 20 lessons learned.

1. Don’t drink and don’t smoke. Drunk people are embarrassing and pathetic. They are boring, not interesting.

2. Work out regularly and eat right. Stay fit so I don’t have to take care of you.

3. As you go through life, act your age, but don’t think your age. There is nothing worse than an old guy who acts like he’s forty.

4. Start riding motorcycles. Stay interesting by getting out of the house and doing something risky.

5. You still have a lot to learn, so keep learning. Get better at what you do. My father used to make fun of his cousin. In Italian, he would say, “Pete, the-know-it-all.” He laughed at him because know one knows it all. Stay hungry to learn.

6. Travel. Meet new people. Speak. Write. See how others live. Test the truth by sharing the truth.

7. Give yourself the opportunity to be bad at something new. Fail. It’s okay. Force yourself to do the things you know you want to do but are afraid to try. This will make you less boring.

8. Take advantage of business opportunities that come your way. Shutting down is a cop out. They’ll make you a better businessman. Don’t waste them.

9. Make friendship a priority, and seek out differences. Different ages, faiths, races and nationalities. This is the richness of life.

1o. Be willing to start a new career. Crazy, right?

11. Don’t be satisfied with what you have. Want more. It has a big effect on what you’ll do to get those things.

12. To want more, you have to give more. It will keep you relevant. So be generous.

13. Don’t do anything stupid. Don’t add a bad chapter to your story.

14. Keep showing the same interest in your wife that you had when you first met her.

15. Be nice to people. You are a role model and influence others whether or not you know it. What you say sticks with people. So be kind, not just insightful.

16. Spend time with your kids and, in the future, grandchildren. They want you around, and they want you to help them. But be nice. Be understanding.

17. Family is all you’ll have left in the end. Think about what you can do today to show you know this to be true.

18. God will use you, but you have to trust him and not question him. Step out and be bigger for God. He’s thinking transformation, and you are thinking incremental change.

19. Think positive. Think on what you can do. Never focus on why you can’t do it.

20. Dream. Dream of the future and not the past. You can’t change what has happened, but you can live what is to be. Anything is possible. Are you thinking about possibilities and potential?