Life started to make a whole lot more sense once I figured these things out, and I didn’t do it all at once, but over time. Figuring life out is a part of the journey.
If I were to offer advice to someone in the early 20’s now, I would tell them these 9 things:
1. Don’t waste your time trying to figure out your life purpose.
Just make one up. The idea of a divine purpose is ludicrous and only causes you to doubt yourself or fill you with anxiety. Instead, as Cal Newport suggests in his book So Good They Can’t Ignore You, focus on acquiring skills and mastering those skills to the point where people seek you out.
2. Pick a lane you like and stay in it.
Closely related to number 1. Pick a lane (i.e. a job, career, profession) you like and stay in it. In other speak – pick a niche (the narrower, the better) and abundance will rain down on you.
3. Don’t work too hard trying to keep the peace.
Trying to make everybody happy – your friends, your family, your work colleagues will not get you where you want to go. A little strife is good for the soul.
4. Fuck fear
Fear will only hold you back from living your best life.
5. Travel far, travel wide, and do it solo
The quickest way of finding yourself is to lose yourself especially in a culture that is completely foreign to your own. Don’t be a tourist, be a traveler and really immerse yourself in a foreign culture. You’ll gain an undeniable appreciation for life like you wouldn’t believe.
6. Purge your mind of other people’s expectations
It’s your life, do what you want with it. Don’t live your life to other people’s expectations – not your mother’s or father’s or your best girlfriend’s. Be unashamedly you.
7. Life is a mystery
When we’re young, we tend to think people older than us (especially authority figures like our parents, teachers, priests, and bosses) know what life is about – they don’t! They’re as clueless as you. Yes, they have experience. And they can give you their version of the truth, but it’s only a view. Figure life out by yourself based on your own experiences – not someone else’s.
8. Be an active member of your community
In our early 20’s, we think the world revolves around us. It doesn’t. Get involved with your community. Be concerned about the planet. Fight for social justice. Don’t abdicate your civic duty.
9. Keep a detailed daily diary and journal
Eventually, your memory will fade and the people and places and events that helped shape the person you’ve become will be a blur. Keeping a diary religiously will help you fill in memory gaps when you get older.
So that’s the advice I’d give someone currently in their 20’s.
What do you wish someone had told you in your 20s that would be good advice for someone currently in their 20’s?