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Time and experience is limited, so it is best to learn from observing others

I drafted the following this morning for an upcoming book. I don't see any reason to delay an initial share. Forgive typos and grammar, I don't have time to proofread it right now.

Many of life’s most valuable benefits are only available at certain times

Many of life’s greatest offerings stem from choices made early in life. Time matters, and the more significant the consequences of a decision, the more likely it must be made at a young age. 

For example, your available options for marriage will never be better than they are at 22 for almost all women and around 30 for most men.

Other choices are still possible but excessively more difficult later in life than sooner.

For example, the longer you wait to lose weight, the harder it will be and the less difference it will make to your health and appearance. It is much, much easier to avoid gaining weight than it is to lose it.

As another example, consider the comparative sacrifice required to prepare for a worthwhile career as a young adult verses as an older adult, potentially encumbered by family and financial obligations. With every year, the cost of pursuing such a shift increases, while the maximal benefit decreases.

There are many other such examples. 

Many of life’s most valuable benefits are only available while other decisions have not been made

Many of life’s greatest outcomes require successive decisions with little to no tolerance for wrong choices early on. Many decisions made by young adults carry a much greater consequence than they consider. There are many possible decisions among these choices that will absolutely remove the best outcomes from the space of what remains possible.

For example, your family experience will likely depend on many earlier choices, such as who you previously dated, how long you dated them, how you have spent your time as a young adult, and how long you waited to pursue marriage. The gravity of who you marry, when you marry, how many children you have, and what your home life has such overarching effect on a person’s quality of life that it is difficult to imagine anything more important.

There are many other such examples. 

You can change your perceptions of value through reflection on the consequences of the choices of others

On one hand, the fact that the greatest decisions must be made when the individual has the least wisdom to make them is tragic. However, it is intentionally designed this way by God as only one of many ways that life is engineered to favor those who exercise the faith to intentionally pursue life using the faculties for observation, understanding, and choice that he has given us.

In the face of such steep successive consequences and short time limits, it’s extremely important to actively observe the consequences of the choices made by others.

It is rare for anyone to do this, and difficult for those who do to exercise the faith necessary to truly believe what they are seeing sufficiently to change their default course into choices that will lead to something much better.

It is difficult to be different, but better outcomes require different choices. For example, successful admission to med school requires tailoring your application much earlier than normal applicants do, and prepping in different ways than they do.

Those who rely on their own experience to learn of their options and their value relative to alternatives will do so only after it is too late to choose them for themselves.

Human nature makes people reluctant to admit fault, however the sheer number of people who make such mistakes makes it possible to really find those who are willing to talk about it. In fact, many people in such situations will go out of there way to share their experiences, realizing that preventing others from repeating their mistakes is the only way for them to ease the regret they feel for having missed out on the greater outcomes that were before them.

The ubiquity of internet-based information sharing guarantees that for any issue one can quickly and easily find an abundance of people who have shared their experience of missing out on time-sensitive choices. In our day, there is simply no excuse for remaining ignorant of the choices that exist or the ends that follow them.

With each major decision ahead of you in life, spend time researching what people have to say about it, based on their own experiences.

Do not rely on majority perspectives. Actively seek out contrary positions so that you can add their reasons to your decision process. For instance, if you aren’t sure whether a business degree is worthwhile, explicitly search for outspoken critics of business degrees. In this particular example, you will find there are many successful businesspeople who give compelling reasons why a business degree may be a mistake in certain situations.

Ensure you pay special attention to time frames of decisions and sequential consequences!

Seek out people who have been successful at whatever you seek, and investigate how they did it. If you want to have a successful marriage, find older couples who achieved that, and find out what they think made it work. If you want to have a family, find people who are do and find out from them what is required to be able to find a spouse worth marrying and what it costs to have children today. If you want to have a purpose in life, and accomplish many worthwhile things, find someone who does and ask them to tell you what makes them different. 

You will find abundant resources for most if not all such topics freely and instantly available online without ever having to speak to anyone. 

In the event you actually have to speak to someone, you will find almost everyone surprisingly willing to talk to you about their life successes and failures.