7 Life Lessons From A 27-Year Old

by Jason -- November 29, 2010

I realize the irony of the title of my post. Reading about life lessons from someone who has (hopefully) only lived about a quarter of their life is ridiculous. However, over the last year of travel I’ve figured out a lot about myself and where I want to go with my life. I wanted to document it for myself, so why not share it with you?  These are all are subject to change and some of them even slightly contradict each other, but after 27-years of life, here’s where I’m at…

1.)    Save Money, Live Modestly

In the entrepreneurial community, there’s a lot of discussion about “F-You money”. An entrepreneur typically earns their “F-You money” after selling their first business. It’s usually not enough money to buy a mansion and live out the rest of your days smoking Cuban cigars, but if you want to do something your own way, it means you now have the monetary means to make it happen. I, personally, don’t think you need to sell your business to get “F-You Money”. By immediately focusing on saving money while living modestly, you can create your own “F-you money”. Creating a large savings nest was the best decision I made through my cubicle years. It’s given me immense amount of freedom to travel and now try to start a company of my own.

Side thought – One question I constantly ponder is whether to put my savings into the stock market, bonds or just underneath my mattress. History tells you to put the money into the market, but history is not always an indicator of the future. More and more I think I should play it safe with my savings and take risks where I have direct control (my own business ventures).

2.)    Travel as much as you can

This probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise. There are too many benefits to traveling for me to try and sum them up in a couple sentences, but here’s my best attempt: Traveling gives you a better understanding of people. It  gives you a greater appreciation of your family, your friends, acquaintances, strangers and yourself. Not sure what I mean? I recommend traveling more to understand.

3.)    Be an Entrepreneur

If there’s anything this current recession has taught me, it’s that if you’re working for someone else, you put your ability to make money in jeopardy every day. If you can make money your own entrepreneurial way, you will never be unemployed.

4.)    Say Yes

I’ve been guilty of not always following this rule, but if someone asks me something, I try to find a way to say yes. Whether it’s a social gathering or helping someone out, I try to say yes. You can spread yourself too thin with this mantra and I think that’s something to be concerned about, but if the first word out of your mouth is a quick “no”, I think that’s something to be more concerned about.

5.)    Be An Engineer

I believe it’s a lot cooler to create stuff on your own rather than having to rely on someone else’s ingenuity. In a really simple view of the world, there are people that create stuff and there are people that sell the stuff someone else created. I believe the U.S. has too many people wanting to sell stuff rather than create stuff. They’re both important, but my vote goes for creating stuff — be an engineer.

6.)    Take Life Less Seriously/Don’t Have Regrets

You only get to live life once, and on top of that, you’re only young for so long.

7.)    Reflect Regularly

Think about where you are, where you’re headed, and where you want to be. Do they all match up? Great! If not, it’s not going to happen on its own. Make a change today, right now.

Your Turn

What would you add to the list? What have I missed?

Be awesome and help us share:

31 Responses to “7 Life Lessons From A 27-Year Old”

  1. 1. Do what you love and money will come.
    2. Have confidence in yourself and your ideas.
    3. Know you don’t know everything.
    4. Surround yourself with kind people.
    5. Make mistakes and accept imperfection.
    6. Appreciate the little things.
    7. Don’t keep scores.

  2. Hey Vivian,

    That’s a pretty awesome list! Thanks!

  3. I would say that you to follow what your heart wants you to do. So you will not have regrets later on in life. if you want a home and to settle, then do it. If you want to go travelling, then go do it. Life is short to not do what you want to do.

  4. Nice lessons! As another 27 year-old, I’ll throw mine in the ring:

    1. Make smiling your default expression
    2. Small decisions over time have big impact (savings, hygiene, progress towards goals)
    3. Being tactful is too easy to avoid
    4. Fear is the mind-killer
    5. be discerning, not discriminating
    6. complaining is selfish
    7. emotions are a signal, not a verdict

  5. Yup. I’m 29. Two years ago, and now, I agree 100% with all of your points. Almost time for me to start traveling again. :)

  6. 1. Don’t be evil
    2. Money is not the goal , it’s just means to get to the goal.
    3.Be yourself.
    4.Live like it’s the last day of your life, but plan ahead for another 100 years.
    The last one can be perfected a little

    And i completely agree with : Live without regrets.

  7. “Say Yes”

    This is the fastest way to get used and add stress to your life. “Think before you commit,” is a much better mantra. But, what the fuck would you know, you’re 27.

  8. 1. Don’t trust anybody. Only you have your best interests at heart.

    2. Find your own happiness. Do what makes you happy.

    3. Find time to serve others with no strings attached.

    4. Don’t be afraid to toot your own horn

    5. Smile more… Its not that bad!

  9. 8. Remember not to take yourself too seriously.

  10. Great lists (both the article and @vivian’s comment).

  11. 1. Never have anyone negative around all the time. A short input of negativity is good though.
    why, because
    2. Emotions are fuel. Use anger, sadness, despair to propel you towards your goal.
    3.Ride the wave to where you want to go. Don’t fight destiny, steer it towards your dreams.
    4.Travel. Don’t piss off the locals.
    5.Learn to dive, sail a boat, stitch a wound, at least take EFR/First Aid
    6. Fail Harder.
    7. Make plans. 1 month, 6 month, 1 year, 3 year, 5 years, 7 years, 12 years, 21 years, lifetime. Set goals.

  12. Great points! I’m taking on #2 & 4 as a personnel challenge!

  13. 1 life lesson from a 30 year old : don’t pretend to have any valuable clue about life lessons, any time in you life.

  14. @ Jason

    #1 is top of my list too. If you live within your means then you’re never beholden to anyone else. It’s amazing how threatening negotiators (your boss, the banks, potential business parters) find it when they realise they can’t hold anything over you. Plus it’s a lot easier to control costs than income.


    The rider of your first point is “be prepared to live within your means”. You can probably make a living from doing what you love, but it’s not necessarily going yo make you rich.

  15. @Nelly - Love it! Awesome advice, thanks for the comment!

    @Aaron - Great list Aaron, thanks for adding it.

    @Brennan - Thanks!

    @Omri - I agree with all 4, thanks for adding them.

    @Ben - Definitely agree that saying yes can be stressful. Keeping your word (think before you commit) is an important sub-bullet to “say yes”.

  16. @JT - I really like #2 and #5 and kind of wish I would added something similar to my list. I’ll make sure to include it on my 37-year old list :-).

    @Moschops - Great addition, absolutely agree.

    @Mojaam - Thanks!

    @Alex - Great list Alex, thanks very much!

    @Jeff - Thanks and good luck!

  17. @G - Haha…very good point.

    @Peter - Amen! Thanks for reading.

  18. […] 7 Life Lessons From A 27-Year Old – I was genuinely nervous in posting this since it felt ridiculous to give life lessons. In fact, I wrote the post about 2 months before I actually published it. It was Sharon who pushed me to post it. I’m glad I did. It turned out to be the most popular post we’ve ever written and I got a lot of great comments on it. If you haven’t done so, I recommend checking out the comments to see other life lessons people added to my list. […]

  19. Those are all great life lessons. The important thing is to remember them and not let go of them when you’re, say, 20 years older…

    Thank you Jason and Sharon for this blog. It’s been so much fun to keep up with you and to read about your travels. I really miss traveling a lot. I used to be a flight attendant, and I treated each trip as if it were my last. I never took any destination for granted, so I appreciated reading about the places you visited, and it was fun imagining a lot of the things. One thing that surprised me the most the smells, and it was great that you mentioned that.
    Anyway, Thanks again, have a great 2011, a great month of February, and I hope that your plans will work out :)

  20. Thanks Carmen, very good point!

    Happy new year, hope you have a great 2011 as well!

  21. like a lot of what you’ve mentioned! AND you’re probably the first website/blog i’ve ever commented on…ever. :)

  22. Thanks Carrie! What a really nice compliment! :-)


  23. haha, awesome list and awesome additions. i’ll toss mines into the mix

    3 lessons from a 23 yr old:
    1. go big or go home - moderation is good, but sometimes, you just gotta bet the farm
    2. live close to work - unless you really are productive in your commute. because time is more important than money
    3. set low to no expectations so they can be blown away - nothing in this world is a panacea. so don’t be that dissapointed if you don’t get it. chances are it’s not even that great. this includes girls too…i think

  24. Thanks for adding those George! Great additions!

  25. Great Post, Jason. Being a 27 year old myself. I realized that I’m still young and still can make mistakes. So, instead of forcing myself to be overly ambitious I just remember I’m still young. The best lesson would be #3 ( be an Entrepreneur) without money there is no travelling, saving, etc. ).

    Adding to list:
    1.) Plan Ahead (Career, Money, etc.)
    2.) Know your friends
    3.) Finish before time ends

    @ Vivian like #1,4,5,6

  26. Thanks for the comment Sherard! Very good overall point :-). And thanks for the additions as well!

  27. This is a great post, thank you for sharing the lessons you’ve learned.

  28. Thanks Jeff!

  29. Great stuff Jason, sometimes a 27 year old (or even a 5 year old) can have much deeper insights into life than crusty old trolls like Ben. Ben, you’d do better to listen to words of wisdom from open, thoughtful, positive people than spewing your bile around, obviously you’ve got nothing good to share champ! Notice how Jason even had the tact to thank him for the post and avoid the negativity emanating from his vile carcass. Great blog.

  30. Thanks Jayrock — you rock indeed!

  31. Thanks everyone,,,you just made me feel much better.
    Finally some people are still on track..

    I’d like to add… Dream BIG .. Accomplish as many things that u can…
    focus more on your self … and try to learn more.. coz if you learn more you will make more money… gain more power and earn RESPECT..
    if you are a guy … Eat more and turn food into muscle …try to get the best out of what you have ….THANKS

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