During my recent trip to Dubai, I sat down with Mike Thurston (@mikethurston) and Louis Armstrong (@louisarmstrong7). We discussed 10 things we’ve learned in our twenties, including what we might have done were we to start them again.
There’s some really valuable advice in this article that I wish I’d heard when I was a bit younger. Enjoy!
1) Start Working on your Dreams Straight Away
I started doing YouTube at 22, but if I started earlier, I could be 4 years ahead of where I am now. So if you’re thinking about doing something, stop putting it off. Don’t think you’re too young.
Get that head start whilst you’re in your 20s when you have the most energy. Whatever your passion is, just start.
LOUIS: Also, don’t think that it’s too late to start YouTube, because it’s definitely not. A lot of people are worried that others started YouTube 5-6 years’ ago, and feel like they’ve missed out. But you haven’t. There’s still so much time, and YouTube is still growing. So it’s not too late.
A lot of times people don’t start because they think certain industries are oversaturated, but that’s just an excuse not to try. If you’re good enough, you’ll find a way to rise to the top.
2) Don’t be Afraid of Taking Risks
MIKE: Some of the best things that have happened to me are when I’ve taken risks. When I’ve done something which could have gone completely pear-shaped. But most of the time they ended up working out.
Making the move from Newcastle to London is an example; moving out to Dubai another. Both have worked out to be two of the best things I’ve done.
Before that, I quit my job and became a Personal Trainer. And then another risk was I completely stopped personal training to move everything online.
It was risky. But if you work hard, it will pay off.
I’m currently taking a risk with the London move, which I have a really good feeling about. So definitely look to take those risks – whether it be moving, travelling, or quitting your job to pursue something better.
Since my move I feel like I’ve got a new lease of life.
3) Don’t Worry About Getting Older
As long as you put in the work, you shouldn’t worry about aging. Recently I looked at a photo of myself when I was about 21, and physically I look so much better now!
I feel so much better too. Every year you get bigger, faster, stronger. And you get more financially set too. You get more resourceful. You learn to look after yourself.
So don’t worry about getting older, as long as you stay consistent in the gym and keep working hard. If you do this you’re gonna age well.
Some people fear getting older, but I fuckin’ can’t wait until I’m like 35! I’ll be peaking around then.
4) Stop Caring About what Other People Think
MIKE: Particularly in my early 20s, I was very bothered about what other people would think of me. It put me off speaking my mind – especially with my YouTube channel.
I thought maybe I didn’t know enough or people would judge me. There were so many times when I just didn’t post things or talk about things because I was too bothered about how other people would respond.
Now I’m just like: go for it. You’re always gonna get people who might not agree with you, or are gonna criticise or say something negative. That’s just the way it is.
I’ll never forget when I first started a Facebook page. I was so afraid of putting up my first status, that after I did it, I had a mini panic attack. I was just talking about fuckin’ macros!
The thought of posting a video of myself.. well, I thought it would never happen. But the best thing you can do is put yourself out there, and you’ll get used to it.
But it’s so mad to think that I used to literally be SHIT SCARED of posting a status.
LOUIS: It’s crazy to think people are worried about posting a video or whatever, when their intention is to help others.
There are obviously people who are gunna dislike the video and leave negativity – but they’re not doing any good, you’re the one trying to have a positive influence so.. fuck the haters.
5) Be Good to the People Around You
Don’t put people down, bring them up.
Get the right people around you, get a good crew, treat them well and you’ll feel great too.
Don’t be that person leaving hateful comments online. That’s just not doing anyone any favours. Get out there. Be a nice person. Surround yourself with like-minded and positive people.
6) Play to Your Strengths (but be aware of your weaknesses)
MIKE: Figure out what your strengths are, what you’re good at.. and play to them. Use them to your advantage.
But at the same time, if there are weaknesses holding you back, realise you may need to work on them. For example, if you have terrible people skills, or you’re really afraid of public speaking and being on camera. Depending on your career..
If working on a weakness is necessary for you to get the most out of your strengths, you should do it.
For myself, I felt that I was quite good at coaching people. I spent 1000s of hours coaching people 1 on 1. But when it came to speaking on camera, I used to freak out and turn into this mumbling idiot.
So I realised, if I was going to excel in my career, I had to be better at being on camera. I had to be more charismatic. So that’s something I worked on. I got a tripod, a camera, recorded myself talking and watched it back.. and made sure I improved every time.
You could look at something like talking on camera and think, ‘I’ll never get good at this’. But you’ll be shocked at how good you can actually get at something if you put in the hours. It’s crazy.
7) Choose Experiences Over Things
I could talk for hours about the trips I’ve had, but I couldn’t tell you much about the things I’ve bought.
So my advice is, instead of buying them new trainers or whatever, consider saving up for a trip, an event, or experience.
You’ll always remember what you did over what you had.
8) Travel as much as you can
MIKE: I’d say travelling is what has taught me the most and changed me the most as a person.
Just by seeing the world: seeing different cultures, doing different things, and socialising with different people: you learn a lot. Spend a week in a different country, and you come back a completely different person. It can be life-changing.
And I know not everybody can do it as freely. Some people might have restrictions with work and money and so on. But, if you really wanted to, you can figure out a way.
LOUIS: For anyone that says that they can’t travel – you can. You just have to be smart with your money. For example, if you’re renting a car for £1,000 a month, ditch the car and get the bus for 6 months. And then you’ll be able to travel.
Similarly, there’s people who will go down the pub every weekend and have 6 pints and a takeaway that they won’t even remember. But then they’ll say they don’t have money for travel.
If they saved that money every week – that’s flights, that’s accommodation. You can fly around Europe for like £40 now.
Travel is something that has completely changed me as a person, especially over the last 2 years. So if possible, I strongly advise you to do it. You definitely won’t regret it.
9) Life Doesn’t Get Any Easier
You’ll never have it all figured out. You’ll always have problems that you’ll need to come up with solutions for.
Realistically, problems and thoughts don’t change that much over time. Look at your parents – they’re kind of like big kids in a way. So, go easy on your elders and your parents, because they go through stuff as well!
When you’re 19 you might think that when you’re 28, you won’t have problems.. But you will. You just get better at learning how to deal with shit. Learn how to embrace coming up with solutions, and you can overcome anything.
10) Don’t Rush into Relationships in your Early 20s
MIKE: When you’re in your early 20s and things don’t work out or things come to an end, don’t be so bummed out about it. There’s plenty more fish in the sea. So, there’s no point being depressed or wining about it.
Just go spend time with your mates, go have some fun, and someone new will come into your life. You’ll attract what attracts you.