I am in my late 30s and have been through multiple careers and phases of life. I made multiple mistakes and learned multiple things from those experiences. Sometimes I wish, someone had told me these 5 life lessons in my 20s.
Although I can give hundreds of life lessons, I feel these 5 covers most aspects of our lives and can make a huge difference in our lives if followed properly.
Life Lesson 1: Find the Purpose of Life
Most of us just keep moving with the flow without thinking about the real destination. Without thinking about the real purpose of our life. I understand that earning money to pay bills and buy food is one of our primary survival requirements. But is that the only thing you want to do in your life?
Yogis spend years to find the true purpose of their life. I am not asking you to go on some mountain and meditate for years to find your true self. All I am saying is, sit alone in a calm place tonight. Think about how you want your life to be after 20 years from now. Don’t focus only on your career or job.
If you have enough money to do anything possible on this earth, then how your ideal day would look like?
Would you like to sit on the beach and drink beer the whole day? Or would you prefer to go hiking? Probably you may want to spend time with your family. Or even sit alone and listen to music.
You may have hundreds of options but what is that one thing that you would love to do not for one day, one week, or one month, but consistently more than a year. Something that would keep you motivated. Something that will keep you awake even at 4 in the morning without feeling tired.
Our natural tendency is to get trapped in the rate race. Get a good degree, a good job, get married, have kids, and so on. This is one of the reasons why most people struggle with a mid-life crisis. All this while they kept moving with the flow without thinking about the true purpose of their life. And then, they hit the tipping point when they feel it’s too late. Although it’s never too late, however, having a plan in your 20s will prevent you from having a mid-life crisis and will keep you focused on the true purpose of your life.
Life Lesson 2: Don’t work for Money, Let Money Work for You
In his bestselling book Rich Dad Poor Dad, Robert Kiyosaki quotes this: “Don’t work for Money, Let Money Work for You.”
This is how it can be interpreted. Don’t be a slave to your job or employer. Don’t be a victim of fear and greed of losing a job and money coming from it. As an employee, you will earn money only when you are working. So instead of being a slave to someone else, build your income streams. Real Estate investment, business, publishing a book, YouTube channel, blogging, and stock market are one of the few examples where you will not be dependent on anyone else. I agree they will not make you rich in a day but if you have a good product or service then all of these can grow exponentially.
Find and build different sources of income where you are involved in the beginning, but eventually, you can come out of the process without impacting the revenue stream.
Life Lesson 3: Don’t Worry about Social Acceptance
Our decisions, including critical life decisions, are influenced by social norms. Our life choices, career decisions are highly impacted by our worry about social acceptance. We all want to be loved and appreciated but don’t let it influence our life decisions.
Most of us chose to become doctors and engineers only because it’s an acceptable and reputed career. Careers like fashion designers or modeling are not seen positively in some of the communities. Getting married and having babies is considered a natural phenomenon and someone not following those norms are usually criticized.
It’s okay to be different. As the company, Apple started an advertising slogan in 1997 “Think different.” Steve Jobs led that initiative and only because of his different thoughts, he could bring a change to the tech industry. Check out this video narrated by Steve Jobs himself.
Again, I want to say, don’t worry about social acceptance. If you know something is right, then do it.
Life Lesson 4: Invest in Stock Market
I grew up listening to stories of people going bankrupt because they invested money in the stock market. I never learned about the stock market in my 20s. But when I started watching videos and reading books on how the stock market works and how to invest, I realized that I missed 10 crucial years of compounding.
Compounding is the 8th wonder of the world.
Do you remember the wheat and chessboard problem? If you start with 1 grain on the first square and double it with every square, then by the time you reach 64th square, you will have over 1.4 trillion metric tons (about 2,000 times the annual world production of grains).
Money gets doubled in 7 years at a 10% interest rate. Had I started investing 10 years back, I would have more than doubled my savings.
Start investing in index funds or ETFs and then move to value stocks like Apple and Microsoft. Then move on to learning about growth stocks like Netflix and Amazon. After that, you may even get into Options.
The stock market can be daunting initially. But if you study the concepts and types of investments, you can earn millions from them. Warren Buffett is a living example of someone who made billions from the stock market only.
Refrain from blindly buying stocks because your friend or some YouTuber did. These are the people who may lose money in the stock market because they didn’t do their research. Instead, just relied on some media news and followed the herd.
Life Lesson 5: Focus on Health
Although it’s last on my list, I want this to be your top priority. All other lessons are useless if you are not healthy. We tend to be fit in our 20s because we are naturally very active. As time passes by, we lose physical strength and start becoming less active. Most of the time people gain a lot of weight in their 30s. They blame it on marriage and kids saying that they don’t get time to work out.
I would suggest instead of finding an excuse, spend 15 minutes every day for a quick workout. Get your heart pumping in those 15 minutes. This would not only keep your heart healthy but would also give you glowing skin.
When we use the term health, we only think about physical health. I want you to focus on your mental health too. Make sure your mind is calm and free of anxiety. Seek help if you are struggling with depression or other medical disorders.
I can list hundreds of things you must do in your 20s, but these are the 5 most important things I wish I had known earlier which probably could have changed my life positively.
Sit down today and think about the purpose of your life. Then create a sustainable source of income where you earn money even when you are asleep. Some of the society members may discourage you but don’t worry about social acceptance. Keep focusing on your goal and purpose. The same group of people will praise you once you start achieving your goals.
Then with your savings start investing in the stock market. But before investing, make sure you study about investments. Understand the company and its balance sheet. Finally, while doing all this, make sure you are taking care of your health too. Spend at least 15 minutes EVERY DAY to get some sweat. You may go jogging, play tennis, hike, swimming, etc. Keep in mind this old quote: ‘Health is Wealth’. And is this is not going change ever.
Message for people in their 20s: let me know your thoughts about these life lessons. Even if you disagree, I would like to know your reasoning and understand your point of view.
Message for people who are 30+: what are your thoughts about these life lessons. Did I miss your favorite life lesson?
Let me know in the comments section.