Mastering life lessons doesn't need to be painful. When information is available at your fingertips, you can take advantage of the wisdom others discover and integrate that knowledge into your life. And while many men are stubborn--always wanting to learn things on their own--sometimes listening and engaging in self-reflection can save you years of hardship and lay the foundation of success that will propel you towards your goals and the life you want.

To learn more about the lessons that helped transform him from broke and depressed to achieving success and building a six-figure coaching and seminar business, I spoke to Andrew Ferebee the founder of Knowledge For Men. Serving male clients around the world, Andrew has written three best-selling books and runs a popular podcast interviewing experts in life, business and relationships with well over 4 million downloads.

Here are the 17 painful life lessons he shared that men don't want to admit but need to learn for maximum personal and professional growth.

1. You will be disappointed and heartbroken multiple times, but it's how you respond that matters.

Andrew shared that most people go through significant changes in their 20 and 30s. As a result, your personality, values, and ambitions change so rapidly that it's difficult for relationships to keep up.

Instead of dwelling on the past for years when a break up happens, immediately find the lessons and spend time figuring out who you are. After you've clarified what you value and what you really want in a relationship, you'll be more prepared to enter a more mature, healthy adult relationship.

2. No amount of money will make women flock to you--and if they do, run fast!

Men often think that once they become successful, women will find them more attractive. Unfortunately, Dan Bilzerian and Tai Lopez's Instagram isn't real, and if you do discover that there are people suddenly giving you more attention when your income increases, chances are they don't care about you--they're only after what they can get from you and your lifestyle.

3. Sex without emotional connection is unfulfilling and a waste of time (so stop pretending otherwise).

While few men are open enough to discuss such a vulnerable topic, Andrew said that he wasted years of his life seeking one night stands, only to discover that felt empty and unfulfilled in the long run. Over time, he learned that great sex and memorable relationships came from deep emotional connections, high levels of vulnerability - not superficial hookups.

4. You need to stop watching pornography.

Porn is a complete waste of time and it teaches you to degrade women. Andrew indicated that the instant gratification of pornography desensitizes you to real sex, which involves love, listening, and presence. It's important to recognize that adult content is a complete waste of time and that porn often prevents men from discovering deeper levels of intimacy that would lead to happy long lasting relationships.

5. Life will separate you from your friends, so appreciate each moment you have together.

Practice non-attachment in all of your relationships. All relationships serve a purpose in your life and recognize that some will be fleeting and others will be life-long. Instead of thinking "why did this friendship end", think about how the friendship impacted your life in that moment and what you learned.

6. Excessive partying is nothing more than a desire to escape your reality, and it creates more problems than it solves.

Andrew attested to the fact that people often party because they have inner voids that they want to fill with external validation. Excessive drinking, drug use and late nights out negatively impacts your mind and body, and wastes valuable energy that you could be using to build a better future. He shared the faster you can get out of the party scene the faster you can build your dream life.

7. Pursue your passions, no matter how outlandish they appear.

"Don't cash in your degree and be so quick to climb the corporate ladder," Andrew explained. It's important to recognize that we set our own limitations, and there's no feeling worse than giving up on yourself. Even if you have to pursue it part time or on the weekends over time you'll look back and have built something wonderful.

8. Invest in yourself instead of buying materials you don't need to impress people you don't like.

Everyone wants to appear successful in their 20s, but it often comes at a price--continuing to refine your craft. Instead of trying to look like somebody that you aren't, read books, join social likeminded groups, listen to podcasts, and attend seminars to learn the strategies and develop the mindset that can actually help you build real wealth.

9. Learn the difference between gross and net income.

As Mark Twain says, "Comparison is the death of joy." Andrew reminded me that everyone bolsters their worth online, but there's no need to feel inadequate. Recognize that most people advertising a 7-figure income, don't actually take all of that money home. Only compare yourself to where you were last month and last year. To do anything else is a surefire way to feel like you're not doing enough.

10. Stop chasing happiness through external validation and start practicing gratitude for what you have right now.

No amount of validation or materialistic success can make you feel grateful. You need to practice appreciating what you have right now in front of you so that you can enjoy the sweet taste of future success when it arrives. If you're not happy with what you do have then future will be the same.

11. How you react to adversity is more important than the event itself.

No matter what happens to you, your reaction is what determines the outcome. Andrew says, like a slingshot, sometimes we have to go backwards before we move forward. Yet, people are so scared to go backward they never give themselves a chance at propel forward.

12. Your body changes with age, and your mindset needs to adjust too.

You're not a superhuman. You need to change your mindset and focus on developing healthy, sustainable self-care practices so that you can continue pursuing your goals. Taking care of your health should be an absolute priority if you want to live long enough to enjoy all the hard work you've done.

13. Embrace your own unique personality instead of trying to imitate someone else.

Andrew says that in the movie of life, we need to be our own character--not pretending to be someone or something we're not. When you embrace your unique qualities, including your shortcomings, you start developing genuine authenticity and attracting people that want you to succeed.

14. Playing the long game is more satisfying than instant gratification.

Instead of spending your adulthood drifting from one job to the next allowing others to determine your journey, Andrew recommends spending 5 to 10 years refining one skill. Playing the long-term game leads to greater successes than settling for short-term perks.

15. Make each moment count--you never know when death will knock at your front door.

There are no second chances. Andrew reminded me that he lost three family members in one year, which showed him that death becomes closer and closer to you at all times. So instead of wasting time, make the most out of each moment you have and make a difference in the world.

16. You cannot put a price tag on traveling, and you need it to continue growing.

One of Andrew's biggest regrets is turning down two opportunities to travel the world. Appreciate the fact that those opportunities are rare and incredibly enriching experiences. He can't remember what he did instead.

17. Get out of your head and into the real world.

Stop wasting time worrying about what other people think. All of the made-up scenarios in your brain do nothing but waste valuable resources that you could be using to build your career and enjoy the people around you. Sitting around and daydreaming won't bring you real happiness and satisfaction--those only come through hard work.

As Andrew says, "Fall forward and give it everything you've got." You are capable of more than you can possibly imagine, and Andrew wants you to push yourself to the limit. After hearing about his life lessons, I'm confident that he's correct.

Published on: Jun 8, 2017