2020, the year in which I turn 30, and officially say goodbye to my 20’s and become an old man. This is what I wish I could do differently if I could redo my 20’s. This video is gonna be divided into two parts. First, we’re gonna talk about what I wish I did differently in my 20’s, and then the end of the video, we’re gonna talk about a few things that I think I did right in my 20’s. So first up, not embracing my own weird. Now going all the way back even to like elementary school, I’ve always been kind of structured, and organized, and neat, and tidy but it was something that I had some like shame around. Reason being, you gotta be cool man, you be like nonchalant and not try too hard. And if you try too hard in school then it’s just not, it’s just not cool. So I kinda held this with me for so long. It wasn’t until end of college to early medical school when I really embraced it, and said, “This is just who I am.” And there’s pros and cons that come with it but I definitely shouldn’t be judging myself based on what I think is cool, or really worrying about what other people thought of that. Now I listened to the Tim Ferriss podcast, in fact, I listened to almost every single episode, starting with one, chronologically, I’m at 373 and I think there’s like 400 right now. So on 371, It was Tim Ferriss and Ramit Sethi, and they were talking about like the weird structure things that they do. I felt so understood! They’re talking about like, putting in their calendar these certain types of meetings or conversations with their significant other that are kinda difficult, and that a lot of guys don’t know what they wanna do. Or they’ll put in like, calling my mom every Sunday so that they don’t forget to do. Because if it’s not in your calendar, I mean for people like me and probably for them too, then it’s much less likely to actually get done. And this is, this is a kinda weird quirky trait, most people are not like this. But with any real personality trait, it’s two sides of a single coin. There’s pros and cons, strengths and weaknesses. And this level of structure and organization has definitely made me a lot more successful in various pursuits, especially when it comes to academics and professional. Then there are some downsides too when maybe I should be letting go a little bit more. For example with the vacation, 2017, I went to Hawaii, I was way too structured and then I ended up being burnt out from a vacation which is supposed to rejuvenate me. So then I came back and had this rule that okay, moving forward, I’m just not gonna plan my vacation in that way. I’m gonna be more spontaneous,
I’m gonna exercise that. So as a matter of trying to maximize the upside that I’m getting from this way of being, and then minimizing and mitigating the downside. Number two, traveling solo. Traveling by yourself, especially in your early 20’s, when you’re really discovering who you are is such an amazing place to just become more comfortable in your own skin, and really get out of your comfort zone and learn both of your strengths and your weaknesses in a very explicit, in your face, kinda manner. Now well, I had done a lot of domestic trips solo, especially when I was interviewing for medical school and then for residency. It wasn’t until last year that I went to Shanghai, I was there for a week by myself and didn’t speak the language because they have the great firewall. You can’t really look up Google, Google translate or Uber, or, or social media, like Instagram, Facebook. It was definitely challenging and probably not the first place I would recommend you go travel solo if you are an English speaker or you don’t speak Mandarin. But at the end of the day, that challenge got me outside of my comfort zone. I met some really cool people, had an amazing time. It was actually the highlight of my six-week Asia trip. Last year, I also did New York City and London for four weeks, and a big part of that was because I wanted to go see the F1 British Grand Prix, and none of my friends really wanted to.
They’re like, what’s F1? So I went out there by myself. I obviously speak English and there wasn’t any language or, or huge culture shock by going to those two cities but it was still a massive and awesome learning and growing experience. Now, I don’t think that traveling solo is, is necessary to get a lot of the deep insights but it’s definitely a, a catalog, it accelerates the whole process of self-discovery, and becoming more confident in your own skin, things like that. And at this point, you may be saying,
“Well, Kevin, that sounds nice but I can’t afford it.”- to which I would say, “Yes, you can.” And that brings us to point number three, which is getting a handle on financial basics. So this is two parts, really. The first part is churning, credit card churning, which has saved me tens of thousands of dollars over the last 7 to 8 years that I’ve been doing this hobby. Essentially you maximize credit card rewards so that you can get free flights and free hotels stays. And I haven’t paid for a flight in so many years, I can’t even remember. I’m actually creating a series, there is a credit card churning playlist I’m starting, that’s gonna help you introduce you to the hobby, and then give you the steps on how to do it successfully. So you too can get a lot of the upside while again, minimizing the downside. Now the other part of financial basics, it is a problem that in the U.S, our education system doesn’t really teach people personal finance basics. My mom was super frugal and I learned the importance of saving money and not spending money you don’t have, and paying credit cards statements in full, and all the basics, which is really important. But what I’m specifically referring to here is understanding retirement accounts and investing. When I was in college, I had a research position, doing inflammatory bowel disease research in a lab. And I actually got paid, 15 dollars an hour, talking about killing two birds with one stone. Because you generally need research to be a competitive medical school applicant, and I was getting paid to do it, and that helped me pay off my, my tuition and such. And I was able to save up a couple thousand dollars and I wished that I opened up a Roth IRA and started investing in index funds early on, because, compound interest. And it’s actually less about the exact, or the amount, just a matter of building the habit of investing regularly. Now I read probably close to a dozen finance books and I’m gonna save you a lot of headache, a lot of time by just telling you, invest in broad index funds always early on. Now that I’ve been doing this for several years, my investing strategy is a little bit more complicated, it has some tax efficiency and, and other things. When you’re just starting out, keep it simple. Just start with a broad index fund and just dump money into that. And if you wanna see some of those investing books and finance books that I recommend, I’m gonna have links to all of those down in the description. Number four, not listening to my body. Definitely have an issue with sometimes being too headstrong, especially when I was younger. Not listening to my body when you know, playing sports or exercising, It has resulted in injury. There were times when I was in college, I was like so fed up with the inflammatory bowel disease because I wasn’t as woe manager than it is now.
I was just like, be like, f*ck it!, I’m over this. And then I would just live my life, I’ll be like in denial almost, and I would live my life for a couple days as if I didn’t have it, and then I would pay the price,
okay wait, hold up, I gotta change things. So listening to your body is key. I wish I started doing more mindfulness practice, and more meditation, and more stretching sooner. Now the strange thing is my body actually feels better now at the end of my 20’s, 29, compared to 10 years ago. And that’s because I’m actually spending my time and energy and focus on having better posture, on using a standing desk, on stretching every day, on exercising regularly, on, all these different things that make me feel better now and more capable physically than I was back then. Now the other thing was I would deprioritize sleep when I was younger. I still am but especially back in college was very high energy and didn’t need much sleep. But if I’m being honest with myself, it was mostly a matter of not being willing to tighten up my schedule, and be truly efficient back in college. I was like, you know what, I wanna go have fun and do whatever. I was more willing to just compromise on my sleep and be less efficient during my waking hours, which wasn’t a healthy thing to do. And number five is reading more books. So I probably read around 40 to 50 books in the last couple of years. And though there are some people that read like a hundred a year, that’s mostly skimming and speed reading, which is fine. Different strokes for different folks. I actually prefer reading the whole book because there’s a much stronger emotional hold when you do that. When you, you know speed readers skim through these books, It’s almost like you’re summarizing a book, or reading a summary I should say.
And in those instances, I feel like the key points, while you understand them, you don’t really internalize them in the same way. That’s why I don’t necessarily use other, like books summary services, and there’s some out there that you can actually purchase a subscription to but I just don’t find the value. I think reading the whole book provides much more value. Okay, regardless, don’t worry too much about the number of books you’re reading, just focus on the habit of reading a book regularly. And from reading, I’ve learned so much in the last couple of years. About self-development, about habit formation, about interpersonal relationships, about business, about anything and everything.
And the only I wish is that I started doing it sooner. So this all changed and happened when I got one of these, a Kindle paperwhite. And shoutout to Dr. Randy McKnight, who is the orthopedic surgeon from a Day in the Life Orthopedic Surgeon. I think it’s the top-viewed video on this channel right now. Make sure you get the paperwhite, that’s the one with the backlight. Seriously, one of the best purchases I have made in the last several years. Alright now let’s switch gears up a little bit and talk about some things I did right, or things that I’m glad I did. So number one is gonna be confronting my fears.
I was so afraid of public speaking. In high school, In college,
I would do everything to avoid it. You know back in college, I would actually take solace in the fact that doctors didn’t actually need to do public speaking, or at least I thought so. That’s so much I dislike public speaking and when I got to med school, I was like, you know what, this is just, this is ridiculous, I’m gonna get over this. And I did really worked on it, and I was like alright, given a speech to Gel Napolitano, or you know, being a keynote speaker on a conference or toast message or whatever. Not a big deal. In fact, it’s kinda fun. And the crazy is if you told me that 10 years ago, I would not have believed you. And it’s just a matter of confronting your fears, realizing that fears are kind of irrational, and then overcoming them It’s just, It’s such a great feeling. Number two, dating.
Now, putting yourself out there is key, and I’m glad that I put myself out there. And at the beginning, things are gonna be kind of sloppy, messy, and you’re gonna make mistakes, and embarrass yourself, and that’s totally fine.
It’s part of the process. Now a lot of people search and over-intellectualize the whole process and there’s this popular book called The Game by Neil Strauss that came out, you know, several years ago. It talks about this underground pickup artist community. And I think that focusing your energy, especially in your you know, early to mid 20’s.
On the outcome or like the primary aim of dating, and being more attractive to the opposite sex or the same sex is not necessarily the best way to go about it. I think, instead, if you focus on yourself and building yourself up to be a better person. That means exercising regularly, and that includes improving your communication skills, and that includes being more successful academically, and in a professional setting too. Then the attraction results as a secondary effect.
It’s not really a primary focus. This way, you’re gonna learn to be more confident naturally, and go to love yourself. Rather than this whole like, fake it till you make it, which I actually don’t think is the best way of doing things. Number three is cultivating foundational habits.
So as Einstein once said, “Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it,
and he who doesn’t, pays it. Now, this is most obvious in investing and finances because we have a number, we can see the number grow.
But even when it comes to foundational habits, such as productivity, and efficiency, and morality, and being open and being willing to be wrong. This is gonna all have a very positive trajectory on your long term life outcome because they fill off one another. And number four, taking risks and betting on myself. Ballsiest thing I’ve ever done, quitting plastic surgery residency. And I don’t think I’ve really conveyed on this channel how ****ing hard I worked to get into plastics. It was next level. I don’t think I’ll be even telling you right now how ****ing hard I worked, conveys how ****ing hard I worked. And that’s a big reason why it was so hard for me to leave. I mean, number one I love plastic surgery. I think it is the coolest specialty in medicine but number two, sunk cost fallacy, right? You worked so ****ing hard to get here, and then you’re gonna leave it? like, are you sure about that?
And you know, sitting down and really doing the analysis and thinking through the whole process, and I’ve outlined that in a previous video, It made it clear that yes, I was doing the right thing but it was still really scary. Quitting a highly competitive, highly lucrative, highly prestigious career path for entrepreneurship, hey, you don’t know what’s gonna happen, is not an easy thing to do, right? But now, close to two years later, I have never, for one second, regretted my decision. And I’m fortunate things really turned out amazing but even if they didn’t, even if I wasn’t successful with my businesses, I was confident that I would be able to figure something out, and get back up. And at the end of the day, life is short. So don’t waste it, don’t play small. Really do what you wanna do in life because you only got one life to live. And then you look back when you’re 50’s, 60, 70 years old and think, Damn, why didn’t I have the cohones to do what I really wanted to do. So anyways, be bold, live life on your own terms. Speaking of which, I need to go to the airport because I am going to Tokyo. If you guys are gonna be in the area, wanna film the Day in the Life with me, reach out. It’s gonna be a lot of fun. Thank you all so much for watching. Much love to you all, and I will see you guys in that next one.