13 Things Successful People Do in their 20s that Sets Them Up for Life!

I was listening today Audible book Obstacle is the Way written by Ryan Holiday. At the end of the book, there is a beautiful podcast episode by Tim Ferris interviewing Ryan Holiday. This was an episode mainly focussed on Stoicism.

If you do not know Ryan Holiday, he is a bestselling author of books like:

His work has been translated into thirty languages and has appeared everywhere from the Columbia Journalism Review to Fast Company. His company, Brass Check, has advised companies such as Google, TASER, and Complex, as well as multi-platinum musicians and some of the biggest authors in the world. He lives in Austin, Texas.

And he is only 33 years of age!! I am a massive fan. I have learned 100X more than what I have learned in school or colleges just through his books, articles, and YouTube videos.

One of the most fascinating feat about Ryan is that he has achieved which eludes many at such a young age. But has this all been easy. Far from it.

In this post, I look to cover Ryan Holiday and my own observations on what sets you up for success through reading about success. I am particularly interested in setting up goals early on in life, preferably in your 20s.

#1. They have Goals:

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Successful people know where they would like to reach. They know their goals. Without this basic requirement, it’s quite hard to achieve anything in life. At some point in my own life, I felt entitled. But the world does not function that way.

I improvised and set proper goals. List your top-level goals and keep at them for a successful life. Successful people know what they want in life very early on in their life.

Once you have your goals, work on them in consistent manner.

#2. They Manage their Time Well:

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I remember my grandfather who was a man of time. Everything was scheduled. Time to wake up, time for breakfast, time to go to the shop, time for lunch, time for sleep. Everything. He was a man of discipline.

And that created a sense of responsibility among all of us in the family to follow our own time. Successful people manage their time well. They know that time is the most important resource they have.

Using time for productive activities early on will set you up for later part in your life. Make time management your key area of focus.

#3. They know the importance of Saving:

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Saving money was an afterthought for me when I was in my early 20s. In contrast, successful people know the importance of saving.

One rule of thumb I have learnt from successful people is that they save first and spend next. They reward themselves first.

#4. They have a Mentor:

A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yoursel

Oprah winfrey

Successful people know the importance of having a mentor. Ryan Holiday had few mentors when he was young. I used to think that mentorship was something that is very formal. But I was wrong. Mentors can be your close friends, colleagues. It need not be formal and paid one.

You can learn literally from anyone. Having a mentor provides you with a perspective that you you may not have developed at your age.

#5. They know that Money isn’t Everything:

Wealth flows from energies and ideas.

William Feather

We tend to think that the person who has lots of money is successful. yes, money does count. But what counts more is your impact on society and money is a side effect of your contribution to society.

If your primary goal in life is to amass, after a certain point in time the drive you have will dilute and you may not have the energy to get going.

#6. They don’t Take up Bad Debt:

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A bad debt is the one which goes towards unproductive purposes. A good debt is the one which creates further cash flow.

For example: If you are taking a loan for foreign vacations, I would call this bad debt. Whereas if you take up a home loan, I call this a good debt as you are building an asset which will generate cash flows in the future.

#7. They Take Calculated Risks:

The biggest risk is not taking any risk… In a world that’s changing really quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks.

mark zuckerburg

Risks can be in any areas of life. Career, Financial, Relationships etc.

Successful people take calculated risks. They ponder on various outcomes of the choice they make in their lives. I remember the time when I took a financial risk without thinking about the alternatives. I lost a good sum of money.

This has taught me a good lesson to take calculated risks when it comes to money, relationships etc.

#8. They Take Care of Their Health:

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I don’t a successful person who does not take serious care of their health. As an old adage goes, Health is Wealth.

You can be the richest person and if your health is lost, you lose everything. Successful people know this and take expreme care of their health right from a young age. Being physically and mentally fit makes the probability of success higher.

#9. They are Continuous Learners:

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A friend of mine is a scientist. I am amazed at his inventions and way of thinking. Initially I presumed that since he was a scientist, he is much ahead of the rest of us. But then I garnered enough courage to ask him how does he keep himself updated.

He said, ‘I learn every day.’

The secret to success is to learn something new everyday.

#10. They Network Effectively:

You can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want

zig ziglar

One habit successful people start early is to network with people who have already achieve success. Ryan Holiday had mentors like Robert Greene and Tucker Max as his mentors and learnt the art of networking early on in his life.

I remember him mentioning about this point and how this has had a great effect on what he is today in the podcast episode.

I have read somewhere: Your network is your net worth.

Successful people develop a habit of networking early on in their lives.

#11. They Nourish Relations:

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Your network should not be built on the premise of just receiving. A relationship is firm when you and your network or mentor both nourish the relationship through interactions and sharing.

A relationship should not be a one way street. Successful people know this and nourish their relationships through positive and respectable feedback.

#12. They believe in a balanced life:

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Work sometimes gets the better of me. But I have made a practice of a good way to keep work from overtaking my personal life. When I do my daily work, I effectively manage the time for various tasks that I have to do. I time them well, I have a to-do list for my daily work activities as well as personal activities.

#13. They are Persistent:

It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.

Albert Einstein

Once a goal is set, having it on the wall or your diary will not do the trick. I break my goals into smaller chunks of mini goals, which then are easier to achieve. I keep at my goals in a consistent manner.

Successful people know this from the beginning of their career. Every goal is broken into small chunks of bite sized mini-goals. Persistency is paradigm to achieve any goal.

These were some of the things I believe are important to set your life up for success, be it financial, spiritual, relationship and so on. Most of us can do these. But we are lazy. We are Cynics. We think we are not meant for success.

But the truth is that we are meant for success. It requires some focus. Some luck.

Luck is when preparation meets opportunity.


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References: Business Insider

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