I graduated high school in January 2015. I’m pretty happy with the way I approached high school. I ended up in a pretty good spot today — Traveling the world and having a range of experiences that I couldn’t have even conceived of just a few years ago.
However, human beings are a constant work of progress. Over the last two years in the “real world,” I’ve learned a lot. I’ve learned that you can’t manifest money just by having an abundance mindset.
I’ve learned that you aren’t a special snowflake just because you realize that Corporate America doesn’t care much about how fulfilled you feel in your job.
Let’s stop blabbering about different theories though, and get to exactly what I’d have done differently in high school. More importantly, let’s talk about how you young cats out there should approach high school.
Be More Flexible With Your Diet
When I was in high school I didn’t realize that being too rigid cost me a lot of friendships. I could have been invited to a lot more stuff if I hadn’t been so rigid in some of my ideals.
For example, I was vegan or (close enough to it) for basically my entire high school career. I think I often made my friends feel uncomfortable when I wouldn’t eat animal-based products with them.
I still got invited to some parties and gatherings, but I’m sure my friends often felt uncomfortable because they didn’t know what I’d eat when I came over. They also wouldn’t ever want to go a restaurant with me because I’d just sit there without eating and everyone would feel a little uncomfortable.
It’s the same thing with my girlfriend these days. She’ll pressure me to eat a little ice cream. Or, she’ll say baby open your mouth and she’ll feed me a little of her banana cake.
If this was 3-4 years ago I would’ve told her no. In fact, my brother once offered me $100 to eat a single skittle and I refused on principle.
I was so rigid in the belief that unhealthy foods are evil, and that so much as a taste of them would be extremely harmful. I thought that a single bite of unhealthy food would bring back my cravings for them that had long subsided.
I thought that those cravings would be a constant tax on my willpower. Thus, no matter what happened, I refused to eat even the smallest portions of unhealthy foods.
In retrospect, this attitude was far too extreme. It ignored the fact that there’s social bonding benefits to eating and spending time with others.
These social benefits far outweigh any negligible health effect that would come from eating a piece of cake or what not once a week.
Now for you kids still in high school, don’t use this as an excuse to eat like a pig. Your diet should be clean 90% or more of the time for optimal results.
However, there’s no need to stress about having a cheat meal and piece of cake with your friends once a week or so. Just adhere to your diet when you’re alone.
Be as close to perfect when your friend aren’t around and you can loosen up for maybe one or two meals each week with them. Just don’t make your time with friends revolve around unhealthy foods.
You’ll certainly benefit from being more flexible with your diet than I was in high school. Ironically, the stress you’ll relieve from spending time with friends will probably be a far bigger benefit than a 2% cleaner diet.
Don’t Be Afraid of the “Popular” Kids
I was pretty popular my first two or three months in high school. That was because I made a varsity sport, was willing to make a clown of myself, and talked to everyone before they formed their groups they’d stay in for the rest of high school.
After that, however, I was probably average as far as popularity was concerned. I didn’t care about being popular because I saw the things popular people talked about as being superficial. They’d talk about this celebrity or going to do drink at somebody’s house on the weekend.
I didn’t care about any of that. For that reason, I mostly just sat with people I played with on the soccer. The only problem… I usually sat with all guys. No wonder I never had a girlfriend in high school.
Even now, I still don’t care what anybody in high school talked about. You know what though? The people from the soccer team didn’t talk about many constructive things either.
In truth, basically everyone in high school is figuring out who they are. Not many ideas of real significance are going to be discussed at a high school lunch table. You’re not sitting with high level business owners masterminding.
For that reason I should’ve, and you should focus on what you can learn in high school. You can learn how to socially interact with others, have a good time, and get some experience with girls.
To fulfill this goal, the “best” people to interact with are the popular kids. The popular circle is also going to be the group with most of the good athletes and attractive girls.
You know what that means? You’ll easily find a lifting/exercise buddy. Plus, now you’ll have an in with the most attractive girls. I get that these girls aren’t cultured, and you’re probably not going to have the most intellectually stimulating conversations with them.
But, that’s basically all girls. That’s basically all people. When I was hanging out with my soccer friends and the other random guys that sat at my lunch table, I was hanging out with a lot of guys that were in decent shape at best.
A lot of those guys were also scared to talk to girls, or simply didn’t know how to structure their relationships with women. They lacked experience, and they weren’t going to be getting it any time soon. That’s not to hate on my old soccer friends. I loved them, and love them more by the day.
It’s just saying, however, that you should want to spend your time with people that can move you forward in life. Having fun is important too, but usually the top 10% of people socially are also those that are having the most fun.
In short — don’t be scared of attractive people. Sure, they’re superficial in high school. I get that some of them are absolute pieces of shit too.
So, just pick the friendly popular guys and get lifting with them. Chat with the not completely superficial girls in that social circle and practice socially interacting with them.
You’ll gain discipline from lifting, probably have more fun than you would’ve with the people that are bitter about not being “popular,” and you’ll become more comfortable being in the presence of high-status guys and attractive women.
That my friend, is something that’ll be valuable for you long after you graduate high school.
Get a Job as Soon as You Can
Look, most of the jobs you can get as a high school student are going to suck. Trust me, I know. I worked at Dairy Queen. I lucked into my position at one of the local Dairy Queens because my brother had worked there before me.
You might even have trouble getting a shitty job. Keep trying though. You won’t want to work that shitty job forever. However, a year or two of retail or fast food experience can be really valuable.
I’m not talking in the traditional resume sense, though it could prove to be fairly useful there too. I’m saying that job could be useful in terms of cash flow.
Getting a job in high school guarantees that you’re going to have several hundred dollars of income each month. Save $100 a week and you could have $10,000 after two years. That’s enough to live in Asia fairly comfortably for a year.
Getting a job will also teach you the value of money. You’re likely to spend your money a lot more wisely when it’s not simply being handed to you from Mommy.
I was always disciplined in saving money, but what I most learned from working at Dairy Queen was the value of time and skill sets.
I learned that I could make a living at Dairy Queen if I wanted to. You can certainly survive as an individual on the US minimum wage. It’s not fun. However, unless you’re living in a super high cost of living city like NYC or have a family to support you could certainly scrape by.
Did I want to be doing that though? Of course not. That taught me that money is important. I learned that doing something you love may be valuable, but so are skills.
Being skilled will allow you to have control of your time and allow you to make enough money to do the things you love. Just recently I began working as a freelance writer for a startup.
I make a Western hourly wage, and can work from wherever I want in the world. I can also work at whatever time I want. I now have almost complete autonomy over my life (provided I stay with this startup).
I make enough money to do most of the things I want, and I’m in control of my life. I’m only in this position now, however, because I’d written hundreds of articles in the past to improve my writing abilities.
Now we’re ranting… What’s the point? The point is I wish I would’ve gotten a job sooner. I could’ve saved more money, had more interactions thrown my way to practice my social skills, and I would’ve learned earlier on how important it is to build a valuable skillset.
While there’s probably countless other things I did wrong, these stand out to me as my biggest mistakes from high school. These are the things I’d change if I had the chance to go back in time.
Of course, I’ve been pretty dialed in on lifestyle optimization since I was 14 years old. For that reason, my mishaps are probably fairly minor compared to others. This post is probably most useful to you if you’re already hustling fairly hard.
Tomorrow, however, we’ll discuss what I did right in high school. That may be a more relevant read for you if you’re a young cat just starting out with personal development and lifestyle optimization.
Keep reading kid. Keep learning. I know life can get pretty tough in high school at times. Never give up though. Work on your skills and never stop hustling. Your life could be amazing in just a few years.
Two years ago I was just finishing high school. Now I’m able to travel and have relationships with exotic girls I never dreamt I’d ever be with. This could be you too. Just keep hustling. The world could be at your fingertips soon.