Let’s face it: your early adult life isn’t always easy.
Teenage years can be rough. Your early 20’s are similar a time of change and general uncertainty.
What will you do for your career? What school should you go to? Should you go to school? What sort of relationships do you want with the people around you?
These are the sorts of big picture questions that might swirl around your head, or at the very least, your subconscious mind at 3am.
Thankfully, it doesn’t matter if you know exactly what you want to do with your life or if you are completely lost: there are several tried and true pieces of advice for young men that will help keep things on track.
The following 16 pieces of wisdom are good to keep in mind when figuring out what sort of man you want to be.
Time to break down some of the best bits of advice young men should follow.
1. Invest In Your Education
Learning is a lifelong journey, but focusing on your education as a young adult will truly pay dividends in the long run.
One of the first steps of that learning journey is your education.
I’ll be honest, I went to college and I didn’t love it. In fact, I didn’t even learn that much from my degree (I regrettably studied psychology).
But, going to college or university teaches you a lot of other things. You learn how to learn, how to live on your own, how to live with roommates, and how to be an adult. These are valuable skills and something you need to learn if you want to find success.
Now, I’m not saying that you have to go to school. There’s nothing wrong with getting right into work right out of high school.
Regardless, you should still invest into your education.
Read voraciously, learn new skills, and try to look for new challenges to continually improve. This is one of the most valuable pieces of advice young men should follow if you ask me, and it’s something I try to remind myself of.
2. Invest in Your Health
Another life lesson for young men is to take care of yourself and to prioritize your health.
Taking care of yourself and your health, both physically and mentally, will cause you to be much happier and healthier. You will also drastically reduce the likelihood that you suffer from various chronic diseases, stress, or put on excess weight.
Plus, as this awesome video from the Art of Manliness shows, there are some truly basic physical skills everyone should possess just from a purely survival/basic perspective:
To care for yourself mentally, invest time to engage in self improvement and mindfulness. Take the focus away from the negativity surrounding your mind.
Pick up a sport, or get into the gym and running. Make an effort to be physically active every single day.
These actions will improve your health, and they’ll also help you focus and find success in other areas of your life, like in business or in a relationship.
You can’t build a castle on a weak foundation, so be sure to prioritize your health!
3. Start a Side Hustle or Passion Project
Everyone has a passion, but not many people fully commit to those passions.
Some people are interested in the arts, whereas others are more interested in tech, or manual labor/working with their hands.
Whatever your passion is, you can generally find a way to use your natural talents to start a new side hustle or business.
Starting a side hustle is immensely valuable for a few reasons.
Firstly, and most obviously, a side hustle can boost your finances. Being able to provide for yourself and the people you love is important, so bettering your finances never hurts.
I put out a video on 10 different side hustle ideas for college students, but many of these hustles are also suitable for young men looking to take on a challenge!
Plus, side hustles also teach you new and valuable skills and how to be a better businessman. Besides, a side hustle could also turn into a full-time hustle or project for you that is all based on your unique passions and skills.
4. Don’t Neglect Friends & Family
Everyone needs a community. Your community is there for you when the going gets tough and when you need extra support. Often, this sense of community comes from your friends who are closest to you and from your family.
It’s important to never neglect your friends and family members. They will have your back when you need them to, so it is important to have theirs and to put in consistent effort.
One of the difficult lessons I learned during college was just how easy it is lose touch with people or to let work and life get in the way of family. Trust me, work or errands can always wait, and nothing is more important than staying close with your inner circle.
It’s easy to get complacent, especially with the people who matter most (like your parents). Don’t get in that bad habit!
5. Always Have a Book on the Go
Reading is one of the best ways to expand your mind.
As I said, focusing on learning is a critical piece of advice for young men. One of the easiest ways to keep up with your learning is to therefore always have a book on the go.
Just make the effort. Go the bookstore, buy a book, and keep it on your nightstand. Read for 15 minutes before bed every night, even if you don’t want to.
If you don’t know where to start, one book that really impacted me as a young man was All Men Are Mortal by Simon de Beauvoir.
But, there are many types of books young men can turn to. There are self-help books for personal development, historical novels, narratives or biographies to learn from some of the greatest figures in history.
Even fiction can provide valuable insight into certain values and morals to assist you in learning life lessons. Besides, even if reading doesn’t teach you anything groundbreaking, it’s just fun!
Just get in the habit of reading. This is one of the most valuable lessons my parents taught me, and I’m glad they did!
6. Strive to Be a Gentleman
No matter what others say, chivalry is not dead. There are the classic characteristics of a gentleman such as always being kind, treating ladies with the upmost of respect, and remaining classy.
Another aspect of being a gentleman is to always tell the truth. Live a life of integrity so that others know that you’re trustworthy. This will help in every area of your life, from fostering better friendships, business dealings, and relationships.
This is a less definable piece of advice for young men, but it’s actually quite simple: if you’re contemplating doing something but would be embarrassed for it to get on the news, don’t do it!
7. Learn Manly Skills
There’s a weird trend in modern media to downplay or even criticize the concept of manliness or traditional ideas of what it means to be a man.
Let’s clear one thing up: being ‘manly’ doesn’t mean being macho or being aggressive. It also has nothing to do with the immense value more traditionally ‘feminine’ skills have on this world or downplaying those skills.
So, what are some classically ‘manly’ skills that are worth learning?
Well, you could learn how to:
- Take care of your home or car.
- Construct something with your hands.
- Basic plumbing skills.
- Cook and barbecue.
- Start a fire.
You get the idea. Pay homage to a rich history of men who knew how to build things, survive, and thrive in the face of difficult times.
8. Gain Basic Financial Literacy
Once you’re out of school and not dead broke, you’ll begin work.
And, once you begin work and acquire a sense of independence, you will have to engage in many financial decisions.
Learning basic financial literacy is one of the most important pieces of advice for young men, and it’s a shame this isn’t taught in schools.
I’m fortunate to have grown up in a household with a financial planner for one parent, and I also work as a freelance writer for a few different personal finance websites.
But, I know that not everyone is so fortunate to learn basic financial lessons early on. Thankfully, the internet is a wealth of information on topics like:
- How to budget and track your spending.
- How to start investing.
- How to ask for a raise.
- How to pay off debt faster.
Make an effort to read up on basic financial lessons and to continue your financial education as a young man. Your current and future self will thank you for it.
9. Set Bold Career Goals
Goal setting leads to success. There’s something magical about writing down your goals that actually turns them into a reality.
Your goals should be aspirations of all that you hope and aspire to be, and your professional career is no exception.
Your career goals should, of course, be something that is achievable…You probably can’t become CEO of a major company overnight, of course.
Write out your goals, create a plan or list of steps to get there, and then get to work.
Make sure the goals are measurable as well, however, to ensure you know when you have achieved the end result. Being able to track your progress is important, so set some metrics that you can actually monitor.
10. Set Bold Personal Growth Goals
Another area to set goals in is in your personal development and growth. Create a vision of who you want to be in the future, in whatever aspect, and diligently work towards that. Envision the steps that it will take to become that person.
Want to run a marathon, learn a new language, or read 100 books? Make a list and get to work!
Again, just come up with a way to track your progress since this will help hold you accountable!
11. Nurture Your Relationship with a Significant Other
Relationships take work, and relationships with significant others are no exceptions.
If you have found someone who you really enjoy being with or love, you need to invest in that relationship. This person may be who you spend the rest of your life with.
This can be difficult for young men to manage. Personally, when I was going through school and my first job, I found it very difficult to balance career and personal aspirations with dating. Oftentimes, this was the root of a lot of my relationship difficulties.
Investing in your relationship means never giving up on effort. It means ensuring that all communication is open and that there’s trust. It also means working to be on the same page as your partner.
I’m still figuring out this piece of advice for young men, but hey, I guess there isn’t a cookie-cutter solution here.
12. Stop Making Excuses
Many people set goals and soon give up on them or turn away from them. Often this occurs due to excuses that have been made.
For example, someone who wants to lose weight may stop working out because the weather hasn’t been that great Or, maybe you just haven’t started that side business because you’re too busy with your job.
Whatever your goal, a truly valuable life lesson for young men is to stop making these excuses and to catch yourself when you’re following this flawed thought pattern.
As long as you make these excuses, you will never reach the end results. You will never become who you want to truly be and who you truly are. Push through the excuses and keep moving forward every step of the way!
13. Dress Well and Stay Sharp
I don’t care what you say about impressions or judging a book by its cover: how you dress says a lot about you as a person and this matters.
If you take care of yourself and dress in a professional manner, you will give off a more well-kept, respectable impression. This can serve you in business, relationships, and honestly it just feels good.
Dressing professionally does not mean you have to wear a suit everyday. Simply dress in a manner that makes you feel comfortable, look dapper, and ditch the teenager prints or edgy outfits and dress your age.
And please, for the love of god, invest in a solid belt, a good pair of shoes, and a classic jacket.
14. Don’t Overspend Money to “Fit In”
You should never feel ashamed, embarrassed or jealous about what other people have versus your own possessions.
It’s completely find to have ambition and to set goals, even if they are financial or revolve around an object. I mean, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to drive a nice car or to buy a nice new outfit.
But, never overspend or put yourself in financial harm just for the sake of fitting in. This is definitely a massive life lesson young men need to know before they go and blow their life savings on a car they can’t afford.
You will probably have friends who have more money than you and friends who have less money than you. Be willing to pull in the reins when you are unable to afford something your friends or family members are engaging in.
15. Don’t Play Too Many Video Games
Video games have the ability to occupy your attention for hours on end. This can be a bad thing, however, as the time you spend gaming could have been used for activities that are beneficial to your growth. It is okay to play video games, just don’t overdo it.
Don’t get me wrong, a Halo night with the guys or playing some video games after work are a tonne of fun.
But, everything has an opportunity cost. Don’t let video games get in the way of friends, a relationship, family, or your career aspirations.
16. Watch the Drinking
Alcohol is awesome.
Grabbing a drink with friends, sipping on a beer at the cottage or sports game, or having a glass of wine with dinner all sound pretty spectacular to me.
But, getting loaded every Friday and Saturday night, while a popular hobby in college and for many young men, isn’t exactly a wise decision.
Again, everything has an opportunity cost, so there will come a point where you have to decide how you want to spend your time. Partying has a time and place, but you have to evaluate how much it means to you and when it’s time to settle down a tad.
Plus, excessive drinking is bad for your health and wallet. If you catch yourself drinking too much throughout the week, reign it in, reevaluate, and stay on track.
These lessons are only a few out of many possible tips for men in their 20’s.
I’m still in the process of learning a lot of these lessons myself, and like I said, there’s no exact solution for every young man out there.
But, I think as long as we make a conscious effort to work towards self-improvement and keep some classic pieces of wisdom in mind, we can’t go wrong.
I tried to include a wide range of advice for young men in this post, but if you have additional tips, I’d love to hear them in the comments!
Catch you guys in the next one!