First what my high school experience was like and how It got me to where I am now
Growing up for me was an interesting experience. For one I grew up in Puerto Rico, Which from what I have been told from friends who moved to the U.S., is nothing like a "normal" high school life. Having a senior skip WEEK instead of just a day where you ditch school as a class and literally go vacation, No matter where you lived you were only 20 minutes from a beach. Drinking age is 18, and that is barely enforced as well. There was even a day where all the teachers in school EXPECTED students to come in hungover and thus the teachers just showed movies in class while everyone slept. I'm not kidding guys.
Anyways, Throughout early high school I always thought I wanted to be a video game designer. I really liked video games and all I wanted was to live a simple life, make ends meet, maybe a save a bit and just play games and generally not care too much. Then halfway through high school I figured maybe If I found a way to become financially independent I could focus completely on playing video games and then never have to worry about making ends meet (a strategy I had learned from a video game! mentioned in one of my blogposts). This led me to read the four hour workweek which I found somewhere online and in the process I also found out about vagabonding.
If you haven't read vagabonding I suggest you go buy it and read it immediately. This sole book changed my life. I've read it something like 8 times and always become amazed at how good of a job it describes travel philosophy and life philosophy as well. With these two books In hand and reading countless blogposts, and also finding tynan in the midst of life nomadic, I became enamored with the idea of perpetual travel, learning languages, meeting foreigners and just becoming immersed in different cultures. But just one problem... I needed money.
This is where I wish the shoulda woulda coulda aspect of life comes into play.
The #1 thing I regret not doing in high school is spending more time building a skill set
When I was in high school back in 2009~ the hot thing on the block was internet marketing. SEO and ppc techniques where just becoming massive public knowledge. Sites like wicked fire and warrior forums were seeing insane traffic growth. Right now the field is over saturated, but back then a few people had monopolized the whole industry for a small amount of sites, but with things like four hour work week and the importance of social media and an internet presence and the small business internet boom following four hour work week SEO was a booming field. Everyone wanted SEO on their site, and even some brick and mortar shops were looking into it. Many times I dabbled, But instead I spent time hanging out, reading reddit, playing video games and overall just wasting time. High school went buy, and then freshman year of college as well and I still had no skill set, very little to no money, no hope of making money, no ideas and worst of all I wasn't doing anything about it, I was still spending massive amounts of time playing video games and hanging out.
Thus looking back here is what I would tell those in high school, myself included:
1. Build a skill set. I know this sounds far out there and out of your reach. like tropicalmba college episode Stop putting a speed limit on yourself. You don't need high school, college or someone to give you permission. Spend time learning programming, internet marketing, poker, day trading, writing articles of websites, a language, video/photo editing. Graphic design, Selling a product, running a business. It doesn't matter what you do. Some are easier/cheaper than others, others might not be you cup of tea, but the important part is to develop the skill set. Get your set to the I produce mind set as quick as you can, and the best way to do this is to have a skill set that people will pay your for, that you can sell, or that you can use to make money.
2. I already kind of knew this in high school, and I'll say it again. Don't take high school too seriously. I never took high school too seriously. Some of you might not have that leisure because of class rank ( which in my opinion is a horrible system) and other rigged systems, but overall don't take high school that seriously, especially socially. Trust me its all a giant joke. I figured this out early, and I told a lot of people that I thought this. A lot of them didn't follow my lead and kept trying to keep up appearances and impressions and overall just act stuck-up. Now they look back and wish they didn't care as much and just went with the flow. Don't spend time and mental energy trying to fit in, keep up with impressions, or whatever, focus on producing, having a skillset and developing yourself. That said if you want to go into something that requires a degree (med school, law school, research science) consider studying your ass off for the SATs. Its what I did and it significantly compensated for my GPA
3. Save a lot. In high school I spent a lot of money I got as allowance, christmas and my birthday going out, drinking, and just spending on random stuff. Looking back, spending 10 dollars here and there added up quick, and the marginal utility wasn't that high. At the same time, I dont regret spending some money, as I had a great time in high school, and something spending money was a part of it. Regardless try to save money where you can and try to use it to fund investments, take risks, or start websites. Use your money productively and always make sure you have some saved up so you can pivot and take advantage of new opportunities.
4. Read. Read everything you can. Read the classics like Think and Grow Rich, The Giant Within, Outliers. Read stuff like Four hour work week, The slightest edge, the art of learning. Seth Godin's stuff, Gary Vaynerchuk's stuff. Read the autobiographies of top performers.Learn a little a bit about personal finance (Its outstanding that this is not taught in highschool or college). Read books on human behavior and psychology. Why you are not so smart, the power of habit, think fast and slow, Flow. There are tons and tons of book out there and reading them, especially the ones that really resonate with you, many times over will give you deeper insights that will help you many times.
Well there it is. This is what I coulda woulda shoulda done back in high school. Particularly not developing a skill set has been the #1 thing keep me down. Developing a skill set, especially super high value ones like Programming or the at of selling, would have put me forward, exposed me to countless of opportunities and had me well positioned for success. Everyone's experiences and desires are different so incorporate what you can and let me know what you think.