For many people, living life in their early 20s is like walking through a maze at night time. You’re constantly unsure of which direction you need to take and are blinded by the dark notion that uncertainty will play a large part in your journey. Additionally, you’ll likely feel lost at some point along the way. Often we are swayed by schools, the media, our peers, and societal norms to take a pre-disposed route and this can leave you unfulfilled by the time you hit your mid 20s.
Falling into debt, poor relationships and bad health are not uncommon during the first quarter century of your life. However, this doesn’t have to be your story. You can create your own narrative, build yourself a foundation for winning and become a force to be reckoned with going into your late 20s if you take a few actionable steps towards success.
Here are 5 life lessons that will supercharge you through your early 20s:
1. Get on top of your fitness
Eating healthy and challenging yourself physically will improve numerous areas of your life. Being fit makes you feel good, and when you feel good about yourself, you become a better person to be around. This has a positive effect on your relationships, work, and social life along with giving you momentum going forward.
Lifting regularly in the gym also builds your physical appearance. As shallow as it may seem, you are judged on how you look and present yourself. Set a good first impression by looking the part and this will pay dividends in job interviews, social situations, and your personal life.
If anything, fitness is the gateway drug to self-improvement. If you struggle with stress, anxiety, and are prone to depression, lifting something heavy or going for a hard run is the hit you need to get you back into a better headspace and onto the winning path in your early 20s.
2. Learn to be financially competent
Money isn’t everything, but being broke is never fun. Whilst it is very unlikely that you will be at your monetary peak in your early 20s, it’s vital that you learn how to understand basic financial literacy and begin to become financially independent.
A good rule of thumb is to save 20% of everything you earn. For instance, if your take home monthly pay is around $2,000, try saving at least $300-400. This accumulated over 5 years could be a house deposit, investment into a business, or freedom to move abroad.
Another smart thing to do is create a side hustle. If you work a full-time job, use your weekends and evenings to build a passion project or business that generates you an extra form of income. This can pay for your holidays, drinks with friends, and may even turn into your full-time gig. Whatever your goals may be, having money in the bank and multiple revenue streams gives you choices and options going into your 30s.
“It’s not how much money you make, but how much money you keep, how hard it works for you, and how many generations you keep it for.”- Robert Kiyosaki
3. Build your network and social skills
How many times have you heard someone say “I made friends with X and they knew someone who helped me do Y.” Being personable, likeable and charismatic are the foundations to building your biggest asset – your network. The social skills you acquire to obtain your network will likely get your further in life than your technical ability.
The people you surround yourself with will also have the highest impact on your trajectory. People often say that you’re the average of the 5 friends you spend the most time around, and it’s true. If you hang around with industrious and hard-working people, you’re likely to be industrious and hard-working. If you hang around lazy and unenthusiastic people… well, you know how that turns out.
Invest time during your early 20s into your relationships and meet a wide array of people who are actively working on themselves. Their energy will be contagious and may even be your ticket to the next life-changing job, business opportunity, or relationship.
4. Your issues are your responsibility
One of the coldest lessons you learn in life is that nobody is coming to save you. The issues you carry from childhood and the past traumas you faced may not be your fault, but it is ultimately your responsibility to solve them. Almost all of the meaning that you need to get you through the hard times of life is going to be the direct consequence of adopting responsibility.
Take ownership of your problems. This will make you feel competent and give you a sense of urgency that causes you to move through reality with more confidence and intensity. When you fulfil your obligations today, you don’t have to worry as much about what tomorrow holds. This extreme accountability will set you apart from your peers and move you into maturity much quicker.
“You only have control over three things in your life – the thoughts you think, the images you visualize, and the actions your take.” – Jack Canfield
5. Work is important but so is fun
There’s an undeniable urge for us to seek pleasure and fun as young people. Many self-help ‘gurus’ will tell you that the grind is the only way to get ahead. The issue with this mindset is that just staying on the grind will turn you into an emotionless and insufferable robot that is only useful for hitting company KPIs and being operationally efficient. This is in no way a noble or a sustainable way to live.
A large part of your fulfilment will come from dabbling in some hedonism and instant gratification from time-to-time. It’s important for your development to travel and be open-minded.
Both work and fun are important in becoming fully rounded and curating a person that will be successful moving into their second quarter century. Apply yourself daily but don’t forget to smell the roses!