Matt Forney
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What I Would Tell My Fifteen-Year Old Self


Recently, I received the best belated birthday present a guy with minor Internet fame could get. Ten plus years of writing in some form or another and it’s paying off in the most spectacular fashion imaginable. Half the men in this country would commit mass murder to be me right now.

But as I was leaving the airport, I thought to myself: I could have had all this five years ago.

It took me this long to get to this point because I spent most of my life floundering around without a goal or any idea what I wanted to do with myself. Had I figured this stuff out earlier, I’d have spared myself years of pain and tribulation. With that in mind, if I were to somehow get my hands on a time machine, here’s the wisdom I would give to my teenage self.

1. Don’t go to college.

This will give your parents a heart attack (and shock about half the people at school), but trust me, it’s for your own good. You want to be a writer? You don’t need to spend four years and $50,000 to learn something you already know. All your English professors will teach you is how to be a bland, skittish Beigeist loser, when they’re not making you read crap by Robert Creeley or Toni Morrison. You’d be far better off going hitchhiking across America—or cashing out and heading to Brazil to get laid and snort cocaine—than going to college for a liberal arts major.

At least with the former, you’ll enjoy yourself and get some fun stories.

If you absolutely must go to college, major in something useful like engineering or math. I know you hate math, but any major that doesn’t involve it is a waste of time and money.

2. Start working out.

Nobody likes fatasses, and the only way to stop being one is to work at it. Use some of your retail monkey wages—not like you need them for anything else—and get a gym membership. At the same time, stop eating sugar and pasta. It’s going to be an uphill struggle given that half the people you know are fat—and none of the people you know are willing to give you the encouragement you need—but a little sweat now will pay dividends later.

3. Start playing the guitar.

Every single one of your musical instructors, mentors and friends has said that you’ve got talent, yet here you are wasting it by playing the trombone and barely putting in the minimum for that. Quit playing video games, head to that crappy music store down the street, buy a Strat and start taking lessons. It will suck in the beginning, but then again, learning how to play the trombone when you were ten wasn’t that fun either, and you persevered through that.

Practice the guitar for fifteen minutes a day every day and you’ll be a master before your first semester of college.

Plus, if nothing else, chicks dig a guy who can play the guitar. It’s practically in their DNA.

4. Stop listening to your parents.

Mom and Dad aren’t bad people, but the problem is that they’re not much more informed about the world then you are. They really do think that it’s still 1979 and that you’ll be able to achieve the same high-earning, white picket fence married lifestyle that they pulled off. Take their advice and the most you’ll end up with is a $38,000/yr office job and biweekly sex with some fat-faced harridan. You don’t have to ignore them entirely, but take everything they tell you with a grain of salt.

Remember that the only person who will look out for your interests one hundred percent of the time is you.

5. Start hustling online.

The Internet is still relatively virgin territory, meaning you can make a killing with the right amount of work and know-how. Skip the politics and start some affiliate marketing sites. Even if some fail, one will eventually succeed, and you’ll be able to make a living without having to report to a boss or being chained to wherever you happen to live. In this country, freedom is money, and the more of it you have—and the more of it you can earn on your own—the more you can live your life the way you want.

6. Stop caring what other people think of you.

Your classmates may be nice people—most of them anyway—but you’re never going to speak to them again once you graduate. Same goes for most of the other people you interact with on a regular basis. You have no reason to give a crap what they think about you. In fact, most of them don’t even really notice you; they’re too wrapped up in the inane psychodrama of their own lives.

7. Finally, stop “respecting” girls.

Mom may have told you that the way to get a girlfriend is by being nice and polite, but Mom grew up in an era when people were still sane. If you want to get laid, start treating girls like shit. Look at the guys you know who are getting laid the most and/or are getting the hottest girls; they are unapologetically masculine and do their own thing. Nice guys, timid guys go home dick in hand.

Sorry if you fantasized about being the white knight, but you weren’t born in an era of chivalry, you were born in an era of knavery.

It’s far better to assume that all women are backstabbing whores, because the majority of them are: the good ones are like bits of corn in a diarrhea-filled toilet bowl. Hardening your heart will make it that much more difficult for girls to break it. To put it another way, if your expectations for humanity are low enough, you will never be disappointed.

I know this advice will help you out, because it helped me out; I just didn’t have anyone to tell it to me. Good luck!

Read Next: Re-Review: Around the World in 80 Girls: The Epic 3 Year Trip of a Backpacking Casanova by Neil Skywalker

  • I consider myself lucky that I got my fate intertwined with guitar and bodybuilding early on. Started when I played around with some old jackson guitar my uncle owned- my old friend from elementary helped me repair it and he taught me chromatic scaling and taught me the finger conditioning (he majors(ed) guitar in conservatory) and the old man he knew who repaired my guitar taught me the blues scaling- was pretty cool- then I watched Zack wylde and I decided that every metal-head needs to look macho so I started bodybuilding. It was fun.

    ButI do regret not knowing the internet’s potential as early as then.

    Recently I visited my alma-matter in college to interview a new fraternity initiate – he’s 17 and that’s my advice to him- start your own site now and take a piece of the pie from the internet. I hope he takes my advice. If he would – he wouldn’t need to look for a job after he graduates four years from now

  • Jeremy

    1) Don’t Go to College: Absolutely still true, and getting more and more and more true. Unless you’re going for 2-3 degrees of STEM, I would wager the average 15 year old man is wasting his time. Worse, without a worthwhile degree in a degree that teaches critical thinking, college is more likely to just pollute your mind with crap.
    2) Start Working Out: Absolutely still true, and getting more true. In a world of fatties (the U.S.), the trim body immediately says you are an individual worthy of respect.
    3) Start Playing the Guitar: I would say any instrument outside of a wind instrument, but yeah. Find something in the performing arts that is a hobby, not a background activity to TV watching.
    4) Stop Listening To Your Parents: Absolutely still true, and getting more and more and more true. Parents have allergic reactions to reality when it comes time to teach their kids about sex and dating. They’re still trying to arm their kids with bows and arrows in a dating world where UAVs with precision weapons are being used, and then they find themselves baffled at the consequences.
    5) Start Hustling Online: This will be less true in the future. However, I still know of guys who, as I like to call it, “invent money” on the internet just from being clever at writing up websites. How do they do this? Well, let me just say that in certain areas of society where the legality of your online activity may be questionable, the moral argument for chasing you and convicting you may be not just zero, but in the negative. IANAL, this is not legal advice, do not break the law.
    6) Stop Caring What Other People Think of You: For me, this advice would be like throwing pebbles at a concrete structure. I would have needed years of not listening to my parents to get this one, but it’s always good advice.
    7) Stop “Respecting” Girls: I would actually rephrase this for myself. I would tell myself to “Stop presuming girls are more virtuous than you, most of them are probably far less respectable than you.” That would do the trick, especially if I could see examples of how some girls had treated me, and then surrendered to other guys.

  • Time for me to chime in:

    1. Very true, but when I went (over 20 years ago) the Net didn’t exist and it was more or less expected that this was something that you’d do, even though my parents probably wouldn’t have objected had I chosen to go into a trade and be blue-collar. But, I felt I was too smart for that, and some of the older, conventional wisdom of:

    Just get a degree in anything and find a company that will train you.

    was still floating around. It took me a few years to realize that that was a huge steaming pile of horseshit.

    If you have a degree and managed to learn something useful while keeping your sanity in tact, and escaped with no loans or under $15,000, consider yourself very fortunate. But, playtime is over and now it’s time to start learning how to make real money somwhere and somehow.

    2. Yes, find a way to exercise and keep those endorphins flowing. Use the Net to find a workout that works for you, and learn all you can about nutrition. I was lucky in that I’ve been thin all my life (Dad’s genes) and was physically active as a little boy. I started working out at the gym when I was 14 and then started martial arts in tandem with this. I kept that up for three years until I graduated. Off and on, I’ve been a member of a gym in some form or fashion. I’ve also slacked off with exercise, but manage to get back into the saddle when it’s time.

    If nothing else, go out walking in all weather. Get the blood pumping and the ideas flowing.

    3. Just learn any instrument, more or less. I’m glad that my mom forced me to learn the piano from about age ten. I discontinued it shortly after I graduated from high school, but it laid the foundations for appreciating music all these years later. I can still read a bit of music.

    4. Not only your parents, but your other relatives and friends that chose to settle down early and be conventional. Being conventional in your life, at times, is merited, especially when you need some external stability in your life. But, you risk becoming complacent and stagnating. Looking back, I welcomed those times when I unconsciouly shook things up in my life. Chances to grow, and grow I did.

    Your external influences, remember, aren’t really to blame because, as you said, they don’t have all of the facts, either. The best you can hope for is time and the will to find out for yourself what’s really going on. Now there’s the Net — something I didn’t have when I was a teenager. (At least in its present form. I started reading some Red Pillish stuff back in my mid-20s when the Net was still in its infancy,)

    5. Not sure what to say about hustling. If anything, create stuff that people will want and have them come to you. I”m still working on this one.

    6. I think this subsides in time and with effort. Remember that, when younger, your sense of self is relatively unformed and still malleable. You simply lack the experience to be your own counsel. You seek out relationships — some that will turn out to be good, and others that will turn out to be bad — to validate yourself and find out what you’re made of. Pain and suffering are inevitable. Eventually, you reach that point where you know yourself better, and could give a shit less.

    In addition, it’s harder for men because we don’t operate under the hive mind like women do and we have so very few solid and credible role models in today’s society. Nothing else more positive I can say about this.

    7. Just ignore chicks unless they bring something positive into your life. Or, as Roosh said in his one post, when you’re in your teens and early 20s, treat most girls as the lubricaed holes that they are. Don’t assume virtue. Check behavior and actions. Have sex when it’s on offer, but don’t sell your soul for it. Concentrate on yourself, first and foremost. When you get to my age, you can soften your stance a bit, but not by much.

  • Fuck it! I will go ahead and say it! Those are some great words of wisdom Matt! :)

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  • Short, sweet and on point.