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5 life lessons I learned in my 20s that can help you live a better life

On August 16th, I will be 30-years-old.

I thought I knew everything in my 20s and it ended up being a time of inner exploration and self-realization. So much pain and suffering but it has taught me so much about myself.

Here are 5 life lessons I learned and hope that you can take my wisdom and mix it into your existence for a better experience.

1.) You’re not special

I use to think I was special. I felt I had something magnificent to offer to the world and Elon Musk better watch his back because Boonn is coming into town!


We all feel that way about ourselves and it’s important to feel a level of self-worth. But, unfortunately, we’re not all Elon Musk, Mark Zuckerberg or the Dalai Lama.

When I accepted my insignificance in this universe, the weight of needing to do something great dramatically lessened and I began to pay more attention to do the little things that will change my self-universe which is the world in close proximity around me like my job, family and friends.


It’s a human problem thinking we’re the ones noble enough to change the world, but try to change yourself first.

2.) I started cleaning my room and setting my house in order

In his book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, Dr. Jordan B. Peterson highly suggest that you should set your house in perfect order before you start criticizing the world. In this presentation with How to: Academy, Peterson states:

“If your life isn’t going well the way it is, you can find someone else to blame which is pretty convenient for you and also relatively easy. Or you can think, ‘Ok, I don’t like life, I don’t like the way that my life is unfolding. Maybe I don’t like life in general because it’s tragic and tainted with evil. How do I know if my judgement is accurate?’ And the question is, ‘Have I really done everything I possibly could to set my life straight? Because maybe I shouldn’t be judging its qualities or the quality of life itself or being itself for that matter if I haven’t done everything I possibly could to set my life straight.”

To summarize his point above, he brilliantly said this in a discussion with Joe Rogan:

“If you want to change the world, you start from yourself and work outward because you build your competence that way. It’s like, I don’t know how you could go out and protest the structure of the entire economic system if you can’t keep your room organized!”

You can’t go telling the world they need to start taking care of the environment when you, yourself, are littering.

Clean yourself up first before you start pointing fingers about the other person being dirty.

3.) Not everyone will like you

In this short clip, philosopher Paul Ricoeur said that there are two necessary thing you must accept: death and enemies.

“..having enemies and therefore not being liked by everybody and therefore losing this kind of narcissism.”

I wanted to be liked by everybody so I slowly pressed down my individuality to be the person that everybody wanted me to be.


I had a nervous break-down at 21 that caused me to develop social anxiety and I just didn’t feel good about myself for the next four years.

If you are standing up for yourself and lose friends in the process, they weren’t your friends in the first place.

Tell it like it is and the right people will come sooner or later.

Don’t deny yourself the right to be yourself for the sake of others’ happiness.

4.) I learned to be grateful

This was a very hard one to learn.

It takes 66 days to form a new habit, depending on the individual of course.


From the moment I got up to the moment I went to bed I was complaining about my life and bad it was.

I noticed this habit was not doing me any good and so I started naming three things I’m grateful for every day.

For example, if you’re driving a 20-year-old car, instead of saying, “I have a crappy car. I wish that I drove a 2018 Farrari 488 GTB.” Say this, “I’m grateful for my car. It takes me from point A, point B and point C. I’m grateful that I have transportation.”

We always complain about the things that we don’t have and rile ourselves up for no reason.

Start paying attention to your needs instead of your wants and you will feel like the richest person in the world.

5.) Forgive, love and love some more

This year, I have forgiven the ones that have hurt me in the past and searching for the ones that have made an impact on my life.


I even contacted my first love and wished him lots of happiness even though he broke my heart into a million pieces. But who cares! What’s the point of me being angry about something that happened a decade ago?

I have even allowed the ones that I have wronged to openly tell me what I did so I can apologize for my mistakes.

To tie this all up, I allowed myself to fail over and over again with these life lessons.

It took years of gut-wrenching moments but I don’t regret any of it.

I’m aging, sure. However, there’s nothing more appealing than to age graciously and to learn new things in the decades to come.

You can read more of my work at


NOW READ: 5 surprising lessons I’ve learned from moving to the other side of the world

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What do you think?

Notable replies

  1. Sounds like Jordan Peterson has been a big influencer in your life @boonnhem.

    I’m curious:

    Has your perception of his work changed in the past 12 months? Are you still as influenced by him as you were last year?

  2. Dr. Peterson has helped me greatly and I’m still watching his lectures daily which is helping me individually.

    Like Ideapod, he help me explore my ideas and made me grow into the the woman I am today.

    I do agree he is buring out after his tour in Australia.

  3. Dr. Peterson is an interesting man for sure and he erupted something.

  4. I must be showered in toxic masculinity. I can’t remember the last time I cried. What is there worth crying about?

    I saw a video clip of Peterson talking about his experience of depression and being on medication. I found it really moving.

  5. @justinbrown “What is there worth crying about?” …hummmm, this is an interesting question. One that leaves me perplexed as I seem to have an easy time with tears.

    But it never seems rational when my eyes well up. Its a full body sensation that is usually expressing some kind of joy, or awe or whatever one might try to express it as… a #sense of something grander than self, a deep connection to the world around me. A feeling of being truly alive.

    Yes, I think life deserves tears. Its worthy of the marvel and being steeped in the mystery with momentary glimpses of our immortality.

    Tears might well be my guru.

  6. Wow…!!Amazing article I have read…I think this will help me a lot…thanks a lot✌

  7. @boonnhem very brief and short -useful story’. Big thanks for your writings, will try to reach Peterson’s book soon. And can’t wait to have discussion with y’all with same interest on them.

    Thank you again :pray:

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Written by Boonn Hem

Although I may feel alienated from society and have a pessimistic view on modern civilization, I do support humanism and our ability to adapt to changes and differences.

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