As men get older they are usually asked to perform a thought experiment:
If you could write a letter that would travel back in time to your younger self, what would that letter say?
The thought experiment presupposes that your older, wiser self has it it figured out. In my case, my younger self would scream at me for the nonsense I do; and this year I’ve been channeling the young, intense, somewhat insane Mike with fantastic results.
People have begun commenting recently about how blue my eyes are. You can tell how engaged a man is with the world by looking inside his eyes. The fire is burning. My 20-something old self has reawakened. Intensity.
I didn’t do everything right in my 20s. In a future installment of the series I’ll do a “20 Rules for Your 20s” type posts giving specific advice. In the meantime, learn from what I did right and what I did wrong.
1. I had (and have) no respect for the so-called “broke college kid.”
I worked my way through college and graduated without any debt. I was either working (at a hardware store my Fresh-Soph years and at an Italian restaurant during my Junior-Senior years), going to class full time, going to the gym, or reading philosophy books. People would come over at night and I’d make espresso and we’d have intellectual debates.
I was also in the Army Reserves and had to do military b.s. one weekend a month. Between the military b.s. and going to class and school, I would work 12 days in a row every month.
Since I had to work every other weekend for my civilian job, I’d at most get two weekends off a month and sometimes only one. Boo-hoo.
When people would complain about being broke, it made no sense to my logical brain. “Why not just work?”
2. I always had money in my pocket and believe that money DOES grow on trees.
It just doesn’t land on the ground like ripe fruit. You have to be man enough to climb up on top of the tree and shake it down.
The ripest fruit is often on the highest branches. Climb to heights that other men fear.
Yes, sometimes that means reaching for a branch and taking the risk that you might off of the tree.
3. All those philosophy books guys pretend to know because they took a Western Civ course?
I actually read them all.
I understood them on an intellectual level but didn’t really “get” them until later in life.
Most of you guys won’t be able to apply what you’ve seen here or fully understand it for years. By the time you fully appreciate what Danger & Play is about, I’ll be off on some other adventure.
4. I got along better with my professors than other students.
I hated my classmates and hate most college kids today. College kids are weak-willed complainers:
- I’m a broke college student!
- The professor assigned too much reading!
- My dad won’t pay for me to take a trip to Europe!
If you’re old enough to be in college then you’re too old to be complaining about nonsense.
You are an adult. Start acting like it’s your own life, because in truth – it is.
5. I fumbled with girls.
I could never figure out why the girls I called to tell I had a great time after a date didn’t want to see me again and the girls I blew off would blow up my answering machine. Even though women wanted to be with me I didn’t have the Game to make it happen.
6. I didn’t have a cell phone or laptop (until my Senior Year).
I read books and always carried a book with me.
7. I listened primarily to classical music.
Tchaikovsky Piano Concerto No 1 was my alarm clock music.
When you worked like I did, breakdowns could easily happen. I once sat in my car after bringing unlimited soup and salad to rednecks, feeling completely demoralized and contemplating quitting.
I went out to my car, put on Motzart, and inhaled the music. My state instantly changed.
8. I did not watch TV or care about sports or politics.
I never saw an episode of Friends or Seinfeld or a Superbowl. When 9/11 hit, I had no idea who Bin Laden was.
9. My most prized possession was a Bose Wave Radio.
I grew up poor and had no control over my life. I saved up and bought it with my own money. It was a symbol of my autonomy and freedom from poverty.
10. I carried a notepad and pen around with me everywhere.
I wrote down ideas instead of holding a smart phone like a pacifier.
11. I didn’t sleep on a bed for around a year.
I felt like I was getting too soft. I disassembled the bed that came with the campus apartment and slept on the floor. When you sleep on the floor, you never oversleep because it’s not comfortable.
I reassembled the bed after I started bringing more girls over. I learned then and know it to be true now: Women make you weak (if you let them).
12. I wrote motivational quotes from Nietzsche and Arnold’s Education of a Bodybuilder all over my wall with colored crayola markers.
The ladies I brought over thought that was a bit weird. (Maybe I should have had a “cool” Scarface movie poster hanging on my wall instead?)
13. I didn’t resent the “cool guys” in college.
I just didn’t understand why they were seen as cool. Most seemed shiftless and aimless and were just floating through life.
Today those cool guys are all doing boring jobs, working under artificial lights, wearing khakis, and kissing corporate ass. Revenge of the Nerds isn’t just a movie title; it’s what happens in real life.
Women were drawn to me but I couldn’t close. I missed out on more opportunities for sex than most men ever have a chance of getting.
When a girl would say, “I’m not sure if we should be doing this,” I would stop. That happened countless times.
15. Despite being a feminist about consent, I somehow caught a false rape accusation.
Everyone was in complete shock as I would never lie to a girl to get laid or even push back against what I now know is standard last-minute resistance. (And I certainly wasn’t choking women during sex.)
Life is ironic like that. Get used to it.
16. I almost killed myself.
When you’ve followed the rules and done everything right and yet catch a rape case, you start to feel hopeless.
Instead of killing myself I murdered all of my old attitudes, beliefs, and values.
I accepted that I was nothing more than a piece of meat to society and success required me to reject the trappings of civilization.
17. My training partner was a reformed crack head (or so I thought).
He convinced me to go into business with him and I cold called clients selling ads. Later police investigated me for fraud because my “friend” never placed the ads I sold. (I was cleared of all wrongdoing.) He also forged my name on checks.
Like Jordan Belfort, he was a con man but also an excellent salesman. I still use his (non-criminal) tactics today.
18. Although never a hip-hop kid, I was always good friends with black guys.
They were pretty sure that I was racist but appreciated that I didn’t quiver like most white guys when taking a stance against reparations, affirmative action, and other controversial racial issues.
Because of this, I saw how blacks were treated differently. I usually had a disheveled philosopher look about me and they would be well dressed. I was always treated better than they were.
My views on race are thus more nuanced than most. Good black guys like my friends get crapped on because of the thug trash. However, my friends have a bunker mentality and are too quick to excuse black misconduct or deny that things like the Knockout Game are real.
There is no such thing as an honest conversation about race and it’s best not talk about it.
19. I hated liberals.
They were always whining about something. Indeed, the entire liberal platform is based on complaining about “unfairness.”
Now I hate liberals and conservatives. Both political groups are competing over who can whine the loudest and about the most crap.
20. I never sold out or pretended to like people to get ahead.
I had a job offer to work for a U.S. Senator in Washington, D.C. Politics was disgusting as it felt worse than physical prostitution – it was prostituting my soul.
I’d rather do what I want with D&P and have it fail than cater to the lowest common denominator (whiners, losers, the unmotivated and undisciplined) for page views.
21. Your life is in your hands.
Your life is a product to the choices you make every day.
I worked hard, read the hard books, studied, and rejected slave morality.