Blunt Advice for a Young Man



This is the season of graduation and transformation. A nephew graduated from high school last week who lives states away and I wanted to take the opportunity to give him blunt and real advice. I’ve also noticed in this season of the World Cup I’m reflective of the past. Each tournament is so passionate and I have vivid recollections over the past 12 years of who I was watching games with and where my life was at. I’m forced to reassess and reflect.

And here you go, some things for a young man on his way out of the house he grew up in.  Some things I’ve noticed over the years.

Things A Young Man Should Know On His Way To College

  1. The only person you have the opportunity to understand is yourself.

  2. You will never truly understand anyone’s core or essence, not your friends, your girlfriend, your parents, or your children. Most dysfunction and drama begins here. Let them go.

  3. Look people in the eye.

  4. You will be judged by the shoes you wear.

  5. Don’t go cheap on tools, eye wear, and shoes.

  6. Carry an umbrella, a sweatshirt, and a swiss army knife in your car.

  7. When in a meeting it is best to have your hands on the table.

  8. Early in your career a large part of your success is showing up and showing up on time. Leaders are first on the job and last to leave.

  9. When loaning people money expect you will never get it back.

  10. Don’t borrow money from friends.

  11. When sending a text or an email to anyone, personally or professionally, ask yourself if you’re comfortable with it being on the front page of the Wall Street Journal.

  12. The internet encompasses all of humanity with good and evil. Avoid porn be it sexual or violent. Learn to move on. More on this in The Spirit of The Internet.

  13. You are being marketed to at all times. Learn about this at Cookies, Ghostery, and Online Privacy.

  14. Before going out with your friends drink a glass of whole milk.

  15. Nothing good comes out of being the last to leave a party or being at a bar during last call. Go home.

  16. Dignity is not preserved in alcohol. Sign at a bar – Union Street in Detroit.

  17. Hold off on telling a girl you love them until you really know and understand. Wait three times before doing so.

  18. Buying a dog with a girl is a bigger deal than moving in with her.

  19. Follow your bliss. – A quote from Joseph Campbell – Youtube video below.

  20. Keep your stick on the ice.

  21. Head on a swivel.

  22. The secret to life is the rhythm of your breath.

  23. The meaning of life is to be happy.

Joseph Campbell – Follow Your Bliss

Everything written here are the views of Tim Aten and Tim Aten only. They have no relation, nor are they the views of any of my employers past or present.


  1. WORD

  2. 24. There will be times when it is best to just keep your mouth shut, THINK before you speak!

  3. Karen King says:

    Pretty good advice for any age person, not just my graduate grandson. It’s amazing how much you’ve learned in your young life, Tim. I always knew you were a fast learner. We missed having you all with us at Corbin’s graduation. We are all so very proud of a very capable and admired young graduate. I pray that all this great advice and his great desire to learn will take him a long way in his life that lies ahead.

  4. A friend and colleague, Josué Diaz, posted his own list of 23 which are also spot on. The one about finance, #6, is crucial. It’s despicable how the credit card companies go after, at least they used to, young naive college students.

    • David Livingston "Liver" says:

      Haven’t read the other list yet, but based on your comment I would agree that finance and learning the scams is a big lesson in life.

      I would also add something about…
      1. planning
      2. list of goals
      3. help others in day to day life (goes with look people in the eyes)
      4. find mentors (not your buddies / family). Learning to talk with seasoned (would never say “old”) vets in life can really open your eyes and preps you for so many different areas of your personal and professional life. Just ask a question, shut up and listen.

      Tim, have a kid going to be a freshman at Seaholm this fall… A link has already be sent to him. Thanks for getting this out in the wild for us.

      • Wow. High School. That’s nuts. Mine is starting middle school. I’m a little apprehensive.

        So agree with you on the mentor one. Crucial.

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