• Ethan Benge

Things Only the Real World Can Teach You: A Few Lessons You Don’t Want to Learn the Hard Way

Updated: Jul 12

Life is like a dream and everything always works out perfectly for us… just kidding. Life can be really tough sometimes (actually, almost all of the time) and we learn new lessons every day. This is a short list of life lessons that you don’t want to learn the hard way. Pay attention so you don’t make these same mistakes!

Car Maintenance

Getting your first car can be exciting and freeing, but driving down the freeway at about 80mph and all of a sudden your windshield is covered in smoke…. Not so much. Not all of us were lucky enough to have a parent that actually knew about cars and taught us the best way to take care of our new toys.

If your check engine light comes on - pull over and get it checked out… don’t wait three months after your dashboard lit up.

Always check your tires before driving anywhere. Check your oil, transmission, and windshield wiper fluids at least once a month.

Also if you drop something at your feet while driving, don’t reach down and try to pick it up… driving into a ditch is not fun.

- Doing some basic car maintenance regularly can save you a lot of money!

Riding a Bike

Your dad probably taught you how to ride a bike by the time that you were eight, however, he might have missed a few key lessons.

If you're doing downhill, never and I mean never, apply the front brakes without simultaneously using the back brakes.

Never hang bags from your handlebars either… in both of these scenarios, you’ll quickly turn into Superman, fly through the air, and then land on your chin losing a tooth or two and then having to get stitches.


You're at the pool and all the cool kids are jumping off the diving board into the deep end, so naturally, you have to now too - just remember to check your swimsuit before coming back up and make sure it's still covering everything it’s supposed too… unless of course, you want to blind everyone with a quick moon.


When you go to pick something up, don’t be lazy and lift with your back, use your legs. Back pain is serious and takes quite a bit of time to heal (especially after 25), and you don’t want to be walking around like a 70-year-old man when you're still in your twenties because you pulled a back muscle.

Washing Laundry

Never just throw all of your dirty laundry into the washing without checking all of your pockets for gum… or money… or chapstick… or your cell phone. I don’t think I need to explain how bad all of these can turn out.


  1. A rolling stop does not… I repeat, does NOT count as a stop and no matter how convincing you are, a police officer is not going to see your way.

  2. If you're in a turn only lane, please turn - again, the police officer is just going to look at you like you’re stupid.

  3. In either scenario, if your girlfriend or wife is in the car, use her as a decoy. Have her stick that belly out and start breathing really heavy!

Facebook and Google

Facebook does a really good job of shaming you by popping up ads for anything you’ve talked about or searched for… especially if it's something weird or something you don’t want anyone to know you searched. So unless you want a really cringey moment, don’t browse Facebook with your girlfriend… or parent… or coworkers… or anyone.

The “I’ll Have Just One” Person

The person that says they will only have one slice of pizza or just one cookie, is someone you need to watch out for… No sane person can just have one! You either eat the whole pizza, or none. TAKE ANOTHER KAREN!

Credit Score

For some remarkable reason, schools don’t teach you anything about credit scores. This may not seem like a big deal when you're young, but trust me, it’s a big deal. If you don’t want to deal with that awkward moment when the bank calls you back and says that your credit score is bad and you're broke as a joke, so they won’t lend you any money for that nice car you wanted or your first house… start learning about credit score before it's too late.

  • Pay your bills on time, even if Verizon sucks and Progressive is stealing your money.

This was just a shortlist of some cringey and terrible life lessons I've had to endure. I could share more but the list would be endless. What are some hard life lessons you have gone through that you wish you could have avoided?

Extra Tips

  • Don’t buy coffee every morning. A regular order can run you around $6, which is $30 a week–that's $1,570 a year! Go buy a coffee pot before you go broke from coffee like I did.

  • Open a savings account, and start saving money.