As the end of my 20s draws nearer, it’s been a time to reflect on the lessons I’ve learned over the past decade. Each year that passed seemed like an epic journey and was filled with so many life lessons. I soon realised that this would not stop and each year that passed would become more interesting and would teach me more than the last. This list is constructed from a viewpoint of a young man but I know it will be relevant to most of you.
1. You have to create your future or others will create it for you
At some point or another, you have to decide where your life is heading, and the type of person you want to become. You have to imagine it and make it happen. If you leave it to fate, you will inevitably end up where others want you to be, not where you’re going to be the most happy. The sooner you do this the better and taking control of your life, regardless of anyone’s perception is a major lesson.
2. You get back what you put out
Whether its attitude or energy, you only get back what you put out there. Being aware of your emotions and being able to control them, instead of being controlled by them is something important to learn if you want to be in charge. We all feel down at times, but taking control of that, rising above it and moving forward is the best way to handle it. Being energetic about a new project, even if it has to be forced initially, will have the desired positive effect on you and those around you. Fake it until you become it.
3. Society has motives for you that may not be in your personal best interest
Advertising and movies have a huge impact on you at a young age. Even musicians and celebrities become a sort of role model for you. This is inevitable because we’re constantly surrounded by them. These people are the extremes of our society and making them the role models is making the extreme become the norm and therefore pushing the boundaries. Stick to what you believe in and enjoy the entertainers for what they are; entertainment.
4. Sometimes you’ll have to make enemies to get anywhere
To use the over used cliché, life is a journey. Through the journey, you’re going to be pursuing goals and if they are worth having, there will be others with the same aspirations as you. Having goals and a direction means sometimes, you’re going to upset some people. They may have wanted what you have and so now, they hate you for it. It’s not your fault. It’s inevitable that on your journey, you’re going to annoy some people and its natural. The biggest mistake will be to try and appease everybody. If you are on the right path, and its making you happy, the important people in your life will be happy for you. The ones that aren’t happy for you don’t matter. You need to get rid of those people anyway. Be aware of this trait in yourself and don’t hold resentment towards anyone more successful than you as it will waste your energy. And when you come across a hater, know that you’re doing something right and keep going anyway.
5. Having a job will only pay you enough to get by
Jobs give you security but you are only helping someone else grow their business. They decide the role you perform, the hours you work, the length of your employment and the value that your time is worth. The pay is barely enough to get by and you are wasting your life away just accumulating money to enjoy yourself once the work hours are over. You are sacrificing your time to help someone else get rich. The sooner you get yourself out of this the better. Self-employment, however it is achieved is the only way to ensure you get satisfaction from your work and enjoy your time as well. There are exceptions and some people are very happy in their jobs, but to achieve this, they usually have to endure many years of hardship and only a few people can fill these types of positions. Find out what you want to do and go do it. Waiting for an employer to give you what you need is a waste of time and the sooner you realize that, the better.
6. Following the same routines as other people will not make you happy
Everyone is doing what makes them happy and this is a combination of their life experiences and future goals. It has no relation to your life and your experiences, so by copying others, you can never get what you want. Other people have had a different upbringing to you and no two people have had the same opportunities so following others, or comparing yourself to others is a waste of time and energy. Think for yourself and only worry about making your dreams come true. You can get inspired by other people’s stories but this is not the same as mimicking what they did. Get ideas and try them out but don’t think that just because it works for them, it’s the right path for you.
7. Self-development never ends
Working on your limiting beliefs and breaking through your comfort zones is a constant and ongoing process. It’s a daily task and by doing things that makes us feel uncomfortable at first, you will constantly be in a state of development. This is not a necessity for all, but if you want to have more experiences, learn more and have a more fulfilling life, it’s important to be open to change and growth. Taking in information and knowledge regularly, as well as focusing on the areas that you need to improve on will help you break through any barriers and open up more opportunities for you in the future.
8. You’ve made lots of mistakes, and nobody cares
Growing up is about making mistakes and learning from them. We’ve all made them and no one cares about yours because they are more concerned about their own. If you haven’t learned the lesson the first time, you will keep making the same mistake until you learn, so try to pick it up quick. Don’t concern yourself with what others think about what you’ve done because they’ve probably done the same or worse.
9. You will really love someone and they will change your life
Much of your 20s are spent figuring out who you are and what you want. The same can be said for the type of partner you want to have in your life. During your 20s, as you get a clearer idea of what you want for your future, you also get a better understanding of what makes you happy. This is in direct correlation with finding a partner that has all the qualities that you look for and the decision of being together is not based on any external factors and only on making each other happy. The past will have its mistakes, but as we said earlier, they’re inevitable. Now is the time to learn from them and make better decisions. Falling in love in your 20s is a big deal. It will be harder to do, but when you do, it will be deep and it will change your life. Embrace it and enjoy it
10. Live now or forever regret not doing so
This is a simple one. What I do is to imagine that I am 80 years old and looking back on my life. I picture myself thinking about the things I did and didn’t do. I want to be able to say that I did everything I wanted to do, and I didn’t let fears stop me. If I had a dream, I focused all my energy to live it because I realised that there is a finite time that I am here, and if I don’t do it now, I will soon have too much arthritis in my knees to do it later. Procrastinating your dreams is the biggest mistake you can make, so think about how you’ll feel when you’re 80 and going through the photos of when you were young and living your life without regrets and start doing that now.