Six Life Lessons You’d Rather Learn Sooner Than Later

Cookies, Guts, Independent Thinking, Consistency, and Small Bets

Louis Shulman
4 min readMay 26, 2021


Things that haven't changed: maroon shirts and bad lighting

Last year, to preemptively manage the inevitable coming of age shenanigans of a soon-to-be 21-year-old, I wrote myself 21 rules to stay on track and avoid the downsides of too much debauchery.

Largely successful in adhering to my own advice, I picked up six additional life lessons since last year. Enjoy!

Six Things I Learned Since My Last Birthday

1) Give More Credit To Intuition

“Your mistakes normally come when you’re listening more on the outside than you’re listening more on the inside. Your correct decisions come more when you’re listening more on the inside than when you’re listening more on the outside.” — Joe Wehbe on The Louis & Kyle Show

This year I’ve paid more attention to my intuition.

Some implementations?

  • I quit books unless I can’t put them down.
  • I leave unfinished drafts when writing ideas start to feel forced.
  • I only say yes to interview requests that immediately catch my interest.

My gut is most reliable when saying.

  • Don’t do this action
  • Don’t trust this person
  • I enjoy doing this and should do more of it

My gut is least reliable when saying

  • Anything related to financial markets.

Only you know what is best for you.

2) The Cookie Jar

This could be you →

Keep your wins handy.

Keep folders of screenshots of compliments. Keep lists of accomplishments to remind yourself how badass you have been and have the potential to be.

Build your own Mindset Fountain to bring you back to your desired emotional states.

Accumulate techniques to get yourself back on track and motivated.

3) Most Personal Progress Is Simple… Do Something Good Consistently

Getting flexible is no more difficult than stretching for a few minutes 4 days per week for a LONG time.

Meeting new people isn’t much harder than going to social venues all the time.

The suboptimal system you sustain is better than the optimal routine you quit.

Remember this motto from David Perell: B+ effort with A+ consistency.

4) Don’t Snooze (I’m plagiarizing my own work here)

If you snooze, you don’t win the day.

Yiddish culture has a proverb for this: Lose an hour in the morning, chase after it all day. Just as the height of a pyramid is governed by its base, the effectiveness of your day is governed by your morning.

Start your day with a mini-victory. Wake up at the first alarm.

Yiddish culture has one more persuasive proverb on waking up. If you want your dreams to come true, don’t oversleep.

Get up and get after it.

5) Asymmetric Bets On Knowledge and Relationships — Pay for Access

Every year since 2011, Peter Thiel has gifted $100k to roughly 20, 20-year-olds. In exchange, they drop out of school and work on their world-changing ideas.

Was this $20 million dollar investment worth it these past ten years?

It’s an off-the-charts yes.

Consider what just 2 of the 200 recipients did with their funding.

  • Vitalik Buterin founded Ethereum, now a ~250$ Billion Global Asset.
  • Austin Russell founded Luminar Technologies. He is now the world’s youngest self-made billionaire.

Assuming Peter Thiel had even a tiny investment in just these two projects, his ROI is very high. Factor in many other success stories, and the number only grows.

Assuming Theil had zero personal exposure to the upside, this is still a remarkably successful investment from a philanthropic, pro-humanity standpoint.

How do you apply this?

Be generous when buying books, taking online courses, attending networking events, or joining paid communities.

One idea, insight, or relationship could make the entire investment worth it 100 times over.

6) DYOR — Do Your Own Research

Until recently, I was hesitant to align myself with figures like Jordan Peterson and Ben Shapiro. Plenty of people that I respect have strongly negative opinions concerning the two Intellectual Dark Web heroes. For a while, that was enough to keep me uninterested.

What changed?

Turns out, these dudes aren’t evil. Even further, I agree with a lot of their arguments.

In the age of the polarized internet, seemingly everyone gets away with misrepresenting the other side of the spectrum. Opinions suddenly look like facts.

This is how we get millions of people convinced that Donald Trump is an anti-semite despite many orthodox jews in his close family and the countless Israelies 🇮🇱 who adored him.

Unfortunately, applying this principle means I’ll need to walk back my negative attitude toward folks like AOC until I can do some unbiased reading to confirm my reasons for not liking her. Until then, I’ll have to stay neutral.

What figures have you been taught to love or hate? Read both their materials AND the thorough criticisms. Cover BOTH sides of the argument before feeling so damn confident.

Gather evidence before reaching conclusions.

Thanks For Reading!

As always, I’d love to hear from you.

You can comment directly on this post or say hey on Twitter.




Louis Shulman

Insatiably Curious | Growth at Pomp Crypto Jobs | Computer Science alum from Roll Tide