To follow up with my post on the 20 lessons I have learned in my early 20s, I wanted to give you some advice on the things you should already be doing at this age. Life is short so let’s go. Here is what you need to do in your early 20s.
1. Be selfish (sometimes)
You should come first. Actually, it is your life that is at stake. Therefore, it is important that you learn to do what is best for you even if it implies putting yourself as a priority at times.
2. Set your goals
I know that you feel like Y.O.L.O. (a.k.a. you only live once). Nonetheless, it does not mean that you shouldn’t have any ambition nor think about the future you want. Indeed, I am convinced that you can both follow your instinct and have fun while building your life, career and goals.
3. Have a plan
Having a good balance between enjoying the moment and planning your future is an imperative in my opinion. In order not to look back and regret in a couple of years, it is now the good moment to have a plan to help you achieve what you want in life. Besides, you will always be able to come back to it and adjust it with your current aspirations.
4. Be willing to change and grow
At some point, you will have to take your responsibility and ownership on your life. No one could do it at your place. You have to be willing to learn some hard lessons and evolve throughout time to become the best version of yourself.
5. Surround yourself with good people
And I don’t mean the popular ones. Good people are the ones who stimulate and encourage you. They are there through ups and downs and also carry a positive mindset themselves. If you could find a mentor for yourself who has a lifestyle that inspires you it is even better.
6. Stop consuming start producing
When you lived with your family you were used to ask for pocket money or just asked your parents to buy you things. Then, when you got your first paycheck you spent it on useless items that you always wanted. Bad idea! After a while, you’ll realize that you need to start producing and adding value to others. Doing so does not always implies spending money. It could involve sharing your expertise on a particular subject as well as being active in your community.
7. Think about your retirement
Indeed…because the current retirement systems in many developed countries are in jeopardy, there is no guarantee that the state will be able to take care of you once you will be too old to work. So, if you don’t want to be taken by surprise, think about it now. At what age do you want to retire? With what kind of lifestyle? If you already have the answers to these questions, then you know what you have to do.
8. Work on your weaknesses
We all have weak spots. The aim here is not to become excellent at everything but to work on what you could improve and could be of use to you in the future. Develop some sets of skills to help you navigate through your journey, always keep learning and grow your knowledge.
9. Deepen your strenghts
You also have things in which you are good at. But you could also be excellent at it and that makes a huge different. Being an expert in something will not only enable you to strengthen your self confidence but also allow you to share it with others and therefore bring out value to the society.
10. Learn to say no
You want to be like everybody else, I get it. So you might have said yes when you actually really wanted to say no. You should always listen to your intuition. If you feel like something is wrong somewhere just don’t go there. People who care for you will understand and the others…well their opinion should not really matter.
11. Be open to opportunities
Because you could never know how much you will earn from it. Go for the right opportunities. Nothing comes to you just by mistake. And what if this is the life changing opportunity that you have been secretly waiting for?
12. Follow your intuition not people
It will rarely lead you on the wrong path. Your intuition is the little voice in your head that guides you. You decide whether you want to listen to it or not though. When the majority agrees on something it does not necessarily mean that it is right. Remember that.
13. Read a lot
To acquire new knowledge and skills. Books contain truths about life that you could not find on TV or social media. I believe they are precious also because their stories are passed on from generation to generation so they never die.
14. Trust actions not words
One may talk a lot and have nice talks too but you need to trust people based on what they do and not only on what they say. When you notice a difference between words and actions that is a sign that you should pay attention to. Also realize that your own actions should match your words if you want to be taken seriously.
15. Build your own opinions
Everybody will have an opinion on how you should handle your life. Most of the time they mean well. But you need to master the art of listening to others and having your own point of view. Everyone’s experiences are different so what may have applied or worked for someone may not be the best option for you. Find your purpose and stick to it. And if you fail it was at least your choice not someone else’s. You will always grow from it.
16. Set your values and limits
Use this period to build and set your values and limits. These are the principles that are important to you and help define who you are and how you are expecting to be treated and perceived by others.
To learn, discover and enjoy life. When you have the possibility to discover a new place, cease it. You don’t know if it could occur in the future again. I think traveling is one of the best experiences that one could spend money on. If you can cease the opportunity to study abroad it is even better.
18. Try different things even the ones you don’t like
You will learn a lot about yourself and your abilities by having a “do it” mindset. It is easy to judge before trying or to believe that your assumptions are true until you really try something and then make your own idea of it.
19. Lean on your loved ones
You are neither invincible nor omniscient. So do not hesitate to lean on your loved ones. They are here to support you and sometimes give you the little push that you need to move forward.
20. Be appreciative
Of life, people, and the education you had the chance to have. Realize that your issues are nothing compared to what others may have to live on a daily basis. Name at least three things for which you are grateful to start your day on a positive note and create a mindset of abundance.