The 13 Lessons You Need to Learn in Your 20s to Discover Yourself

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How to capitalize on the decade that blurs by in a heartbeat.

You’re invincible in your 20s. I know, but there are still some things you should know that can dramatically improve the quality of your life. Live and learn, baby. Your path to self discovery begins now.

1. “I am enough.”

Let that resonate.

It is easy in your twenties to compare yourself and your possessions to others. And while you are busy looking at them, some other guy is wishing he was you.

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Stop comparing. Accept yourself, shortcomings and all. Acceptance is freedom from thinking that happiness comes from outside sources. Knowing you are enough means you don’t need to buy useless crap that only makes you happy for a short period of time. There is no comparison. You are the only you there is.

There are thousands and thousands of people out there leading lives of quiet, screaming desperation, where they work long, hard hours at jobs they hate to enable them to buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like. – Nigel Marsh

Do not let society dictate your self worth and happiness in life. It must come from within.

How to get this done: Literally say the words. Let it become a mantra that infects every decision you make. Now you’re making better choices getting better results. Bam.

2. Know when to let go of the pastSometimes you just have to let go of the past. You can’t relive it even if you so badly want to. Staying in a toxic environment isn’t doing either one of you any good.

You build on failure and learn from your mistakes. You use it as a stepping stone. You cannot live in the past. You don’t try to forget the mistakes and experiences, but you don’t dwell on it either. You don’t let it have any of your energy, or any of your time, or any of your space. Never let someone or something wipe that beautiful smile off your face.

“The truth is, unless you let go, unless you forgive yourself, unless you forgive the situation, unless you realize that the situation is over, you cannot move forward. – Steve Maraboli”

The past is like a dead weight. Just drop it. Take the pain and learn from it to grow stronger. Especially in your early 20s, when you should really be commitment-free, walk away from it. It’s really as easy as that.

Identify the people and thoughts you are holding on to that aren’t helping you. Yes, even thoughts can be debilitating and draining on your time and energy. Replace those people and thoughts by releasing them, wishing them well, and moving forward to a brighter future.

3. Neither hard work or talent are sufficient on their own to produce success. Success requires hard work but working hard for another man’s vision yields him abundance, not you. Work hard towards your goals.

success

Talent without effort ensures mediocrity. Period. Being a reluctant superhero isn’t getting you anywhere, hotshot. Slowly now, put down the twinkie. You made it. Now get up and start kicking some ass.

Anything great can’t be done in one step. Get started. Do NOT stop until that step is done. Identify the next step. Rinse, cycle, succeed.

4. Be grateful. For everything. Don’t just think it, feel it. A deep appreciation for your possessions and talent prevents taking them for granted. Not just Thanksgiving-hand -holding-bullshit-announcement thankful, I’m talking about being really grateful for what you have. 

“Acknowledging the good that you already have in your life is the foundation for all abundance.” – Eckhart Tolle

It is real easy to be grateful when you realize nothing is guaranteed. None of it. The stuff, the talent, the day. It is all a gift, don’t throw it away.

Look around you. Look within you. Everything you see is something to be grateful for. Feel it in your core. Like no shit. The energy of your authentic gratitude is going to draw more to you. Gratitude spawns things to be grateful for.

5. Be humble. If you lack humility, learn it. Life will beat it into you repeating your challenges like some never-ending Groundhog’s Day if you don’t. Acknowledge you don’t know everything.

The less preoccupied you are with your status, your haircut, your popularity, your godforsaken facebook, instagram, twitter page the more open you will be to creating some truly magical shit in your life.

Realize the scope of your life. Think of the size of your community, your city, your country, your world, your universe and see yourself in each one. Then, realize the impact you can have on each and every one. That awesome scope, that feeling you get from looking at it, that’s humility. It is the stuff wonder is made of.

6. Play your game, not theirs. Blaze your own path. Be a visionary. Celebrate other people’s success and don’t be too hard on yourself if you misstep.

Businessman along a way to success

There will be plenty of opportunities to succeed as long as you have the courage to meet them.

“The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure. The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.” – Jon Krakauer, Into the Wild

Trust in yourself. Have unyielding faith in your abilities and view what you are about to do as a responsibility to the globe. No one else can play your game, write your song, realize your dream. It is your duty to get it done. No one else will do it for you. This is essential to discovering yourself.

7. Do what you love. Follow your bliss and your ‘work’ will feel timeless. Find work that inspires you. That will generate the velocity to work insane hours, make the most in return, and love what you do all the while. Discover yourself by doing the things you love.

Your 20s is not the time for making your resume look awesome. “Building up your resume is like saving up sex for old age.” – Warren Buffet

Do work you love right now. I understand you have obligations and you need to keep your “day” job, but you still have the weekends and M-F from 5pm-10pm to make some amazing shit happen. If you don’t take this seriously and take action now then it is very possible that you will be exactly where you are right now 6 months from now, 3 years from now or even worse, 10 years from now.

“Don’t let your dreams be dreams.” – Jack Johnson

Your work is your contribution. Perform the best work you can that will give the most to society. Develop your skill set and get so good they can’t ignore you!

This is key to living a great life .

Do this: close your eyes. Think of a world without money. The way to get ahead in this world is to contribute by doing what you love. What are you doing in this scenario? Open your eyes. Now start doing that and nothing else!

8. Procrastination kills. Some people wait their whole lives. For what, who knows, but they’re still waiting. You remember that really inspiring movie about the guy who sat on his ass? Yeah, me neither.

Everyday should be one step closer to your goals. Get moving. Right now, like no kidding. Otherwise, you’re just waiting. And waiting. And waiting. And waiting (go on to the next section already).

9. Career and Money is not everything in life: You get that promotion, hit the sales goal, or that record contract and you have no one to call… you call your ex-girlfriend. She tells you that’s great, she’s really happy for you. She has to go, but it was really great hearing from you. Get my drift?

I learned the hard way from someone special who once told me, “Do not alienate the people who care about you”. Sometimes you can focus relentlessly on your career or business that you forget about the people who matter. Don’t let this be you. Aim high and work towards your passions, but be there for the people who love you.

“I’ve learned that making a ‘living’ is not the same thing as ‘making a life’.” – Maya Angelou 

I have seen friends sacrifice their personal life for their career with no one to share it with. You want to arrive at the finish line surrounded by the people you love. Find the balance between money and relationships. Don’t chase just one or the other, chase a life worth living. A life well lived.

Take time for your loved ones and for yourself. Do not view it as changeable or bendable. Take a stand and say “this time is for my ____.” Do this, and the quality of your life will make exponential bounds as you find that perfect work life balance.

10. Be spontaneous, take risks. We don’t have kids yet! Those little angels come with an unimaginable love and a way tighter schedule. You can literally get up and travel the world if you want to. Hint hint: NOW is the time. What are you waiting for?

Success

Spontaneity will make you feel alive. Risks are what bring rewards. And for crying out loud, don’t listen to anyone who tells you to be reasonable or even worse, to be more realistic.  Rational people work for other people. Unreasonable people define the world they live in (Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Richard Branson, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jay-Z). Listen to your free spirit and Live. Out. Loud. Damnit one more time, LIVE OUT LOUD!


Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat. – Theodore Roosevelt”

Avoid the complacent and safe life. Give yourself the opportunity to grow by taking risk. If you don’t try you will not truly discover yourself.

Start out small. Go left instead of right, take a trip into another city you’ve always wanted to visit. Get in touch with the feeling this gives you. Then make bigger spontaneous actions and take bigger risks. The world is full of unimaginable opportunities if you have the courage to take risk and “just do it”.

11. Be willing. Life is a series of choices. Be willing to make them and learn from them. Avoid worry and analysis paralysis. “You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

Your 20s are a great time to learn what works; what doesn’t, and become wiser for it. Now is your time.

A nice fuzzy motivating article means nothing if you are not willing to implement what you learn. Be willing to jump in the middle and have stuff work out. That is what separates the doers and the dreamers. Which one are you?

12. Surround yourself with good people. Your environment matters. Ladies and Gentlemen I present to you the greatest lifehack of all time:

“You are the average of the 5 people you spend most of your time with.” – Jim Rohn

If you don’t get along with the people in your school, change schools. If “friends” bring you down, or even worse, you feel alone when surrounded by “friends”. Change friends. If your major doesn’t suit you after all, fuck it, switch. If it all seems fake, find your own song that screams out that it is real!

There is nothing wrong with you. You just need to find the people who support and motivate you to be your best self. And if you haven’t found them yet, keep looking.

Set yourself up to win. Surround yourself with like-minded, driven individuals who you can contribute to you, and who can contribute to you.

13. Don’t make permanent life decisions in your early twenties. Discover yourself, have fun, go out, try new things, switch careers, party, explore, find out what you want. Date as many people as you want. Discover who you are. Build your business. Develop yourself. Become the the best man you can be and the man your future partner will want to be with for the rest of their lives.

The person you are at 20 will be completely different from the person you are at 25 and even 30.

Pick a partner when you are 100% certain you can live with this person forever. Being in a marriage because you think it is simply the next step in a relationship is worse than having your balls in a vice. It’s not fair to her, yourself, or your potential future children. Prevent a divorce by first understanding yourself fully and what you want out of life. Then go get it.

Do not confuse lust with love. You literally have decades of options, don’t be hasty in locking yourself into one now. If your current relationship does stand the test of time, you always have your late twenties and thirties to settle down. That’s what they’re there for.

If you liked this article please share it with your friends on your preferred social network on the left. I spent close to 20 hours writing this article for two days straight and I want to impact the world.  Take a second to share this article on your preferred social network on the left!

Photos by: © alphaspirit – Fotolia.com © olly – Fotolia.com © lassedesignen – Fotolia.com

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  • leongaban

    Best advice! “Pick a partner when you are 100% certain you can live with this person forever. Being in a marriage because you think it is simply the next step in a relationship is worse than having your balls in a vice. It’s not fair to her, yourself and potentially future children. Prevent a divorce by first understanding yourself fully and what you want out of life. Then go get it.”

  • Cristian

    This is the best advice by far, I bookmarked it to look at it every day, thank you so much for posting this, It means a BUNCH!

  • Lauren Rhena Bowman

    I love this

  • Alipio Gabriel

    I hope. I can remember to come back here later and comment this:

    “Thank you. You changed my life.”

  • John B Thoreson

    Hey Andrew,

    First of all i loved the post. I don’t know why there are so less comments. But yeah i must say, either people don’t wanna understand and they are ignoring or they understand but they don’t want to agree with all this.

    What ever the matter is . But yeah i had personally felt and gone through what you have mentioned in 9th point “Career and Money is not everything in life”. That’s so true…

    And yeah how can i forget 10th point, i am in favor of that..i go with it and suggest all to incorporate in their life to be a successful person and to learn and love life.

    Loved it…

  • markose baby

    True words…..

  • Roger Williams

    Fantastic words, man.
    To throw this out there, too- Even if you have kids, these same ideas still make sense.
    Check out the interviews on http://www.dadverb.com. They are inspiring.

  • http://www.smartbusinessrevolution.com/ John Corcoran

    great article, Andrew. Very well written.

  • Anjoleen San Nicolas

    Numbers 1 and 12 are my favorites. The moment you become perfectly fine with exactly who you are is the moment you can really create the life you’ve always wanted! Love this! Awesome job!

  • Doug Pretorius

    I’m sorry, but I think this advice is complete crap. If you follow this advice in your 20s you will be mourning your decisions in your 30s and beyond.

    There is NO SUCH THING as being commitment free at any age. Every decision you make has consequences.

    • Mike

      says the guy way past his 20s…

  • scottschimmel

    Excellent article, Andrew– keep ‘em coming!!

  • Ginger Humbert

    I got married in my twenties cuz I was told that’s what a woman does. Not go to college like I wanted to. Results, three kids, single parent, misery and finally in my fifties, Success!! OMO !!

  • Albin Bäckehag

    Thank you for a brilliant article. I liked your advices and I am trying to adapt a few of these right now.

  • Tony Robinson

    Number 1 hits home with me. I find myself constantly thinking of those guys who are older than me who are driving nicer cars, living in bigger houses, taking more vacations.

    I’m so determined to find succes and accumulate wealth that my drive can, at times, overpower my patience. But you’re absolutely right. I need to remember that there are probably other guys out there who envy my situation right now.

    Patience is learned skill.

  • Prachi Garg

    Wow. I read the entire post and I realized how awesomely unconventional my life already is and how ungrateful I’ve been in the last couple of months. I am already doing something that I love but its so offbeat that I end up mixing it up with what’s expected of me instead of what I want to be sometimes. Thanks a ton. Will carry on with what I’ve been already doing but with more pride and make it a point to remind myself that i’m on the right track as it is ‘Now or Never’ to be taking such risks.

  • Arlene Aquino

    This is really a great article! I learned a lot. Keep on posting valuable and brilliant articles! More Power!

  • http://themodernyou.com/ The Modern You

    Loved what you had to say, I am in my twenties and I sure could use a little maturity and knowledge in quite a few things you discussed.

    Great Post.

  • Bromar

    take risks travel the world….how am i supposed to that if id ont got any money

  • John

    I love this article so much. But to a point. some of it will just result in you being poor at 30. But don’t get me wrong it is truly inspiring but be careful.

  • Brian

    Outstanding… made me fucking cry! Wish I’d of had this advice when I was in my teens and 20’s.

    BOOM

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