I had to work really hard, and pay some big prices, to figure out the below. Here's hoping you don't.
  1. 1. The most important thing, bar none, is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If you don't have this, nothing else will matter.
  2. 2. The second most important thing is to belong to & regularly attend a church that is faithful to all the teachings of the Gospels. This will be hard to find and possibly even harder to do. But the rewards of being truly counterculture are immense.
  3. 3. How your spend your time and who you spend it with is of the upmost importance. You can get more money, food, clothes, etc but you cannot get more time. Once it's spent, it's gone. And your energy levels are MUCH higher now than they will be much sooner than you think. This means the time is ripe for peak productivity. Trust me on this one.
  4. 4. Do not worry about what most other people think. Leave the high-school popularity chase behind. Focus on being faithful to the teaching of Scripture. James 1:27 is a good example of what to do.
  5. 5. Cultivate the ability to form an actual argument. This means a claim supported by evidence. Think scientific method: a hypothesis that can be tested, proven, and the results duplicated. You will be amazed at how many people can't do this.
  6. 6. Don't make the mistake of thinking that feelings are arguments. They are not and the person who falls into this trap reveals their intellectual shallowness. Conversely, don't argue with other people's feelings. It makes you look small and won't win you many friends.
  7. 7. Key communication skills: look people in the eye when talking to them. Give them a firm handshake. Use their name multiple times in conversation. Smile & show teeth. Put. The. Phone. Down.
  8. 8. People shouldn't judge you by your appearance. Oh but they do. And that ain't gonna change. So shower, shave, and do laundry. Learn to iron a shirt if you don't already know.
  9. 9. For all influence that Feminism has had in the latter part of the 20th century, women still love a man who will hold the door open for them, grab something that's out of reach at the grocery store, offer to help with heavy loads, can change a flat tire, jump a battery, etc and not have any ulterior motives.
  10. 10. Don't be afraid to take a stand when necessary and don't worry about what people say. You should ultimately be working for one boss. The Boss. And His assessment is what truly matters.
  11. 11. It is not worth joining a fraternity. Skip the empty calories, meaningless relationships with the opposite sex, questionable "brotherhood", and spend your money on building a business instead. Find a need, someplace, somewhere, that you can be passionate about filling and get to it.
  12. 12. Don't use profanity. The English language is full of a variety of words, terms, and phrases that can accurately describe your feelings about any situation under the sun. Your absence in participating in the communal ritual will be noticed.
  13. 13. Make it a point to master at least 1 foreign language while you're there. If you can get 2-3 this is even better.
  14. 14. Society likes to play up the "excitement" and "experience" of all kinds of "experimentation". It doesn't like to talk about the dark side of this. No amount of oh-so-short-lived thrill is worth the price of pain & shame that follows. Stay away from the drugs, alcohol, and sex. I repeat: NOT. WORTH. IT.
  15. 15. Try to be in a variety of situations with someone before you decide whether or not you want to sign up for a serious relationship. It's very interesting how quickly a front disappears when when someone is under pressure.
  16. 16. Pay your bills. On time. All of them. No exceptions. Folks are finally getting wise to the fact that credit scores a leading indicator of a whole host of things.
  17. 17. Stand up to bullies. The wonderful thing about this is that you only have to do it once.
  18. 18. Know the difference between being assertive and aggressive. Put it into practice.
  19. 19. EQ (emotional intelligence) matters more than IQ. And you can have much more impact on the former than the latter, too.
  20. 20. Study history. Learn from it. And don't be surprised when it repeats itself.
  21. 21. There are three elements of what psychologists call "The Dark Triad" - Machiavellianism, Narcissism, and Psychopathy. Learn what these are. If you see any of them in someone else, RUN AWAY. God can fix this but you cannot.
  22. 22. You will make mistakes. Lots of them. Learn from them & move on.
  23. 23. You've heard the phrase, "there's no such thing as a dumb question." This is true, provided that one doesn't keep asking the same question. Also, it is dumb to NOT ask the question, especially if pride is getting in the way. You'll be shocked how many are glad you were willing to ask what they weren't.