The Best Pieces of Life Advice for 18-year-olds

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When I was a teenager I couldn’t wait to turn 18. It felt as if it took ages to finally attain majority. But sooner or later you turn 18 and you can finally take your own decisions in life.

Along with all the new freedoms and rights comes also a great deal of responsibility. A responsibility for yourself, your life and what you make of it.

When you are 18 you meet quite a lot of decisions that have an impact on your future life. Some of these decisions turn out to be really great, others not. Wouldn’t it be great to know exactly what kind of mistakes you need to be wary of when you are young? Why not even try to avoid the mistakes many young people make?

If I had the possibility to meet my younger self this is the advice I would give. These are the things I wish I knew when I was 18.

Things every 18 year old needs to know

1. Friendship is about quality not quantity

When you are young you want to go out and meet all sorts of new people. Most likely, you’ll even find yourself in situations and places where you get to know lots of interesting people. That is great as long as you don’t fall for the illusion that amassing friends is more worthwhile than a couple of real friends.

Only your true friends will be there for you when you need them. They will come running for you, even if you call them in the middle of the night. Your best friends will be on your side and give you strength in times of great despair.

All the other people are nice acquaintances. They are nice to get to know and fun to hang around with. But they might not be the people that help you fighting off whatever life throws at you. If you are able to discern between true friends and mere acquaintances, you will be very well.

True friendship is when you walk into their house and your WiFi connects automatically. – Unknown

 

2. Don’t worry so much

Worrying is a big waste of time. Being troubled over something gives you unnecessary headaches about things that will not even be important to you in a couple of years. Plus, there’s always something to worry about: your grades, your future, the economy, global warming. The list never ends.

I always worried about failure. Only later I realized that there’s something far worse than failing: not trying at all.

If something troubles you then by all means: get up and do something about it. Worrying alone never solved anything. Use that precious time of yours for solving the problem, not for worrying about it. The advice I would give my 18 year old self about worrying is this: do your best and everything will just be fine.

If you want to test your memory, try to recall what you were worrying about one year ago today. – E. Joseph Cossman

 

3. Live within your means / avoid getting into debt

Spending money that you don’t have is not such a good idea. Do it the old-fashioned way. If you want something, save until you can afford it. If you can’t afford it, don’t buy it. This simple rule can help you to stay out of a lot of trouble.

Buying things on credit is not super cool. Instead, you end up paying interest on top of the price. Let me repeat this. You pay more than everybody else.

Getting into debt can turn into a real nightmare. One day you wake up from it and you realize two things. First, that your paycheck is now largely spent on paying back the debt. Secondly, that you could have bought some pretty expensive things from the accumulated interest that you have paid all over the years.

When you get in debt you become a slave. – Andrew Jackson

 

4. Don’t marry too early

The younger you marry, the more likely it is that you will get divorced (statistics taken from: National Center for Health). As a consequence, the highest rate of divorce can be found amongst those who marry under the age of 20. The divorce rate starts to decrease for couples who are 20 to 24 years old when they marry. Divorce is even less likely for those who marry at the age of 25 or thereafter.

If you are young and want to avoid a stupid mistake, then wait with marriage until you are really sure. See how the relationship develops over the years.

They say marriages are made in Heaven. But so is thunder and lightning. – Clint Eastwood

 

5. Save half your paycheck

The feeling of holding the very first paycheck in your hands is just incredible. Finally you can afford to buy all those fancy things that you always wanted. But make not the mistake of living from paycheck-to-paycheck.

As a young person you have not many financial responsibilities. There is no family that you have to take care of. No mortgage to pay off. Use this time to lay the proper financial foundation for the rest of your life. Saving parts of your paycheck helps you to build a safety net for times of uncertainty. But it will also allow you to invest a certain amount of your money with a nice return.

Trust me. The letter to my 16 year old self has this one important sentence in it: “spending two of your paychecks on a Nokia 3310 looks like an incredibly stupid thing to do, 10 years later. We use mobiles with touchscreens now.”

Beware of little expenses; a small leak will sink a great ship. – Benjamin Franklin

 

6. Take responsibility for your mistakes

Most people blame anyone else but themselves for the events in their life. That’s the easy route to take, you’ll always find someone to blame. Where does this lead? Victimhood—you become a victim, instead of taking action. Stop doing that, you’re not the victim. Man-up and take responsibility.

Mistakes happen so that you can learn from them. If you play the blame game you will learn nothing. Instead, the same mistakes happen to you all over again. That is until you start to seek the reason for what happens in yourself.

We are taught you must blame your father, your sisters, your brothers, the school, the teachers – but never blame yourself. It’s never your fault. But it’s always your fault, because if you wanted to change you’re the one who has got to change. – Katharine Hepburn

 

7. Don’t make money your highest priority

Sure, you need money. That’s a given, but money should not become your ultimate motivation. The people that profoundly changed the world all had a vision in mind, not the money they could make from it. Pursue your dream and see if you can create something of great value both to yourself and others.

Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. – Confucius

Also, you will have to ask yourself if a satisfying job is more important to you than a higher-paying job that turns out to be soul-crushing. Only you can answer this question.

Should you even manage to find a profession that you are really interested in you are a lucky person. Being really passionate about what you do is a prerequisite for success. And always remember, no one ever wishes they had worked more when they die. But many people regret not having spent enough time with their kids and family.

 

8. Take care of your health

As an 18-year-old you are near of reaching your physical peak. Your body will tolerate all kinds of stresses with great ease. Something you really don’t want to do is abuse this feature of your body. Instead, use this phase to lay the proper foundation for a healthy life. This is the best time to develop strength by exercising regularly. It is much more difficult to do this at a later time. Consequently, losing weight will become a lot more difficult when you are older.

Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity. – John F. Kennedy

 

9. Avoid excesses

Moderation is the big keyword here. Managing to avoid excesses is something that your body will thank you for in later life. Nobody asks you to live like a saint, but if you are able to stay away from smoking and drugs you can avoid a lot of problems. Also, eat and drink with moderation. You have only one chance. Once you have ruined your health it’s incredibly difficult to restore the damages. Sadly, most people only realize this when it is too late. Don’t be one of them.

Everything in excess is opposed to nature. – Hippocrates

 

10. Learn to appreciate the little things

When you’re young you want to take on the world. You dream big and have high hopes for the future. However, not all wishes come to fruition. Be prepared for this. Too high expectations can lead to pretty big disappointments.

Sometimes we take everything for granted, without realizing the prosperity in our lives. Try to appreciate what you already have. If you are not happy now then no Porsche or big mansion will change that (in the long run).

This mindset is a great foundation that cannot be shaken too easily, even if you are not able to reach a given desire. It helps you to shift your focus away from desperately trying to purse all that which you don’t have. This pursuit is a rat race that leads you nowhere.

It’s the little details that are vital. Little things make big things happen. – John Wooden

 

11. You always reap what you sow

Karma will always get you. As a young person you think that you are somehow immune to the consequences of your actions. But in miraculous ways your past will always catch back up. Sooner or later, all that goes around comes back around. You can learn it the hard way or you can try to do good things.

How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours. – Wayne W. Dyer

 

12. You only live once, so what?

YOLO is a great excuse for meeting irrational decisions. The “you only live once” attitude will lead you nowhere, except to places bad ideas generally lead. Living ones moronic desires is never a good idea, celebrating stupidity neither.

Don’t get me wrong here; there is nothing wrong about making the best of life and living it to the fullest. But there is a great difference between spending your time in a focused manner, and wasting it on the fast lane.

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough. – Mae West

 

13. Cherish your family

Family comes first, need I to say more? Don’t put down the people who supported you from the beginning and will continue to do so. Spend time with them and enjoy their presence.

Family means no one gets left behind or forgotten. – David Ogden Stiers

 

14. Know what you want

Not knowing what you want will lead you astray. If you have a goal, a vision or a dream your focus will become much sharper. It will help you to prioritize that which is important. But it will also increase your willingness to make sacrifices.

If you don’t already know exactly what you want from life, then you’d better figure it out. As soon as possible.

When you know what you want, and want it bad enough, you will find a way to get it. – Jim Rohn

 

15. Nothing good happens after 2 AM

Seriously, did anyone ever tell you that “you wouldn’t believe what happened after 3 AM?” These stories always end up with someone being taken to hospital. Or the stories have words like cops, bouncers, mistake or vomit in it. Don’t waste your next day and go home when you feel that the party is starting to decline, it will never reach its peak again.

I stay up late every night, and realize it’s a bad idea every morning. – Unknown

 

Further advice for 18-year-olds:

  • Don’t be so hard on yourself
  • Accept that you make mistakes and move on
  • Learn from your mistakes
  • Don’t let anybody stop you from living your dreams
  • Get to know your parents
  • There is never a right time
  • Relax, everything is going to workout
  • Don’t try to fit in, be proud of standing out
  • Hope for the best but plan for the worst
  • Don’t move together too quickly
  • Don’t worry about what others think of you
  • Don’t waste your time trying to get others to like you
  • Travel the world
  • Don’t be embarrassed about everything
  • Don’t spend everything you have; don’t save everything you have
  • Have a great partner or have none at all

Life advice submitted by readers:

Skip marriage, why self incarcerate? Give more than you take. Work for its own sake. Don’t compete for anything. Never ask for a raise or promotion, if you’re good, they’ll come to you. Learn a foreign language. Never buy a house, if you must, never borrow to buy it. Paying interest is the same as burning your money. To stay ahead of the cheats, study statistics, probability, interest rates, present and future value. Find what’s false, negative thinking is the highest form of thinking. (That’s not the same as being a negative person.) Don’t judge people, particularly yourself, nobody can help who they are, free will is an illusion.

– Submitted by Daphne Silk

If you want kids, have them young so you have the energy to enjoy them and they are grown in time for you to enjoy time with your mate while you still have your health.

– Submitted by Pam Adager

Mistake

Stupid mistake to avoid when you are young: Wearing a check shirt, Photo credit: John Goodridge


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About Author

Steve is the founder of Planet of Success, the #1 choice when it comes to motivation, self-growth and empowerment. This world does not need followers. What it needs is people who stand in their own sovereignty. Join us in the quest to live life to the fullest!

33 Comments

  1. I wish I had known 1 when I was 18!

    I have reduced my friends so much over the years. I think I’ve only got a handful left I truly care about.

    How many close and really good friends do you think we need Steve?

    Highly agree with 12 as well, can’t stand these excuses to just drink and party any more.

    Keep up the good work!

    • I think the number of friends is not so important. If you have one really really good friend who will always stand by your side no matter what happens then you have all the friends you need.

      Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment.

  2. As a 19 year old, thanks for this

    I like advice you gave on saving your money… Seriously it’s so hard. For example, I spent my first pay check on a iPhone.

    No, I don’t regret it (yet) :p

    • You’re welcome. I spent my first paycheck on a television. Back at the time when those things were huge and heavy. I don’t regret it either. But seeing how these televisions have developed over time I just find it funny.

  3. These are really lots of priceless advice for 18 years Steve and i wish someone has given them to me when i was 18.

    I agree with all your points and it will really help anyone that diligently followed it in life.

    Another thing is to always know when best to say YES and when NO is better regardless of whom is involved.

    I also love the idea of not basing your friends on quantity but quality, this will really enable you to get rid of fake friends.

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. The biggest thing I wish I would have done at 18 was to write down my goals and really go for them. If you do not have set goals, you just wander through life aimlessly.

  5. Great post, if only 18 year olds would read it and process it! I know my 18 year old self wouldn’t have. If only I could go back and do it over… ah but that would be too easy wouldn’t it!

  6. As a 21-year-old I cannot thank you enough for this compilation. I will definitely take everything you’ve written into consideration. This could be really helpful for me.

  7. Turned 18 today but i was afraid of growing up. Didn’t have anyone to talk to so i resorted to advice on the internet and am glad i found you, Sir Steve. I pray I follow these advice diligently and proudly stand as a living testimony to its efficiency in years to come. # I’m_inspired

    • Happy birthday!

      I wish you all the courage you need for growing up. Never be afraid and never allow external circumstances to bring you down. I’m happy that the article inspired you and I’m convinced you will stand as a proud living testimony.

  8. Woooooaa,thumbs up Steve.You the man..great,super and life changing advices.Applying them NOW and NOW..turning 18 on October 8..

  9. Hey Steve… I’m 19 years currently and I don’t like my job, it pays me well for me still living with parents and not having much bills to pay, I am trying my best to avoid depression but it keeps creeping up on me. I took up a job doing 6pm-6am 60 hours one week and the other week 34-36 hours… It’s definitely taking a toll on my body but the paychecks are gonna be pretty big, I’m following your advice on saving money and not getting myself into debt… What should I invest in so I can get out of this job ASAP and pursue financial freedom and freedom in general?

    • Hi Jason, first of all I highly recommend that you read the books “Rich dad poor dad” and also the book “the millionaire next door.” These books offer excellent advice when it comes to financial freedom and how you can accomplish this independence.

      Secondly, you are very young so it is quite natural that working feels quite difficult and stressful. As you grow older, you will see that you are better able to manage the burdens of a stressful worklife. Perhaps, it might be a good idea to cut down a little with those night shifts you take, so as to reduce the burden you place upon yourself. In many situations, it is a lot more preferable to earn a little less but to be happier instead.

      Regarding the depressing feelings that are coming up. What I found really helpful is to stop looking for happiness in the outside world. This may sound strange, especially when you’re young. But I personally have realized that happiness that comes from the outside (for example by buying a fancy car) is passing and not that fulfilling. By learning to be happier with less and by seeking happiness within, you become less dependent on the happenings of the outside world. But again, these are ideas that are pretty difficult to understand when you’re very young.

      Perhaps it might be a good idea to really look into yourself and to figure out where these negative feelings arise from and to make necessary changes in your life.

      • Steve thank you so much for your detailed response. I really do appreciate it… My goal is to save 10k by my 20th birthday to go travel, I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur, how did you find out what you love to do? I am still dabbling on business ventures, most of them have failed hence why I am still relying on a job for my source of income. What kind of career advice would you recommend an ambitious 19 year old that wants to succeed in business without having to go to college? I am currently one and a half years out of school since high school. Look forward to your response sir thank you so much!!!

        -Jason

        • Hi Jason, these are really tough questions. For one, I would recommend you to keep your day-to-day job, while simultaneously trying to build your existence as an entrepreneur. Don’t let yourself be discouraged by the failures of your previous endeavors. Use of these experiences to avoid similar mistakes in the future and to be better in the future. Not everything what you do will succeed, so give yourself the freedom to fail every once in a while. It will help you to know what really needs to be done to be successful.

        • Yes, going to university was in my opinion very important but not necessarily in a context of acquiring knowledge – instead it was of tremendous importance for my own personal development. It always made me push my boundaries to continuously strive for more. At the same time, I think simply having a diploma or some other academic degree can open you many doors but if you drop out of college and work really hard and really focused, you can probably reach the same or a similar level like a student.

  10. Thank you so much sir. I am an orphan and don’t really have a direction. So I am always looking for advice like this. Thanks again!

  11. Sir Steve, stay blessed. My prayer is that I would grow to review all these points written down in my book to check whether what I reaped is actually what I sowed by following these advices? But please I have a little question? A black female friend wants to pursue a course at the university but it seems that course is dominated by males? What should she expect and how should she manage all these they call ‘stereotype’.
    Your kindly advice could help.
    Thanks

    • Hi there, if there’s one thing I can tell you about life it’s the fact that there will be always someone who is against you, no matter what you do. Your female friend that is starting to study at the University should never ever allow anybody to stand in-between her and her goals. There will always be haters, or people who do not like what you do. So the best thing is to ignore all these people and to keep following and pursuing your goals no matter what. At the same time, it could be quite helpful to see the difficult situation as a challenge. If your female friend is able to overcome the competitive environment at this particular university, she can also succeed everywhere else in life. So if I was in your situation, I would encourage her to ignore these obstacles that are seemingly too large to overcome and to keep pursuing their goals. And eventually, she will quickly notice that even though the course is dominated by males, there will be a lot of people who are interested in forming a friendship with her and other good people who are more than willing to support her.

  12. Hey Steve,
    First I’d like to say, this was a great read and much needed advice.

    I’ve just recently turned 18 and have been out of school for approximately half a year. When school ended I decided to take the summer off, and enjoy it alongside my family and friends. Fast forward 6 months, I’m still living in the small town in which I graduated and I am yet to find a job, I’ve received job offers from a city nearly 2 hours away but I’m scared to move, I feel much more comfortable in my hometown.

    I’ve also been thinking allot about the future, and what I want to do. I still haven’t decided, but I know I have to start working soon. I’m scared that I’ll start working, and I’ll become sidetracked. (Will forget about my dreams and ambitions). Would moving to the city for 6 months to work and save money, then returning to my hometown make sense? I want to save money, and move back. Once I move back I’d like to find a job, doesn’t necessarily have to pay well, but I’d like to then re focus my energy on my Dreams and the future. Any advice you have to offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance 🙂

    • First of all, relax. What you are experiencing is a stage we all have to go through. It confronts us with many fears because we are standing in front of the unknown. And guess what: they will always be such stages in life. Where you simply are too afraid to move on. But once you do, you will see how great it was and how it all contributed to your growth as an individual.

      You say that you would like to stay in your hometown. If that’s the case, do everything in your power to find a suitable job for you. If you find this job in your hometown, you’ll be able to stay there. So this should be our number one priority. At the same time, it would make sense to have a backup plan and to also keep your eyes open for a job in the city.

      I can perfectly understand that you don’t want to move to the city. At the same time, doing so may allow you to continue looking for a job in your hometown. Sometimes, it takes a couple of months or even years until the right job turns up exactly in the location where you need it to be.

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