You are only young once, and if you work it right, once is enough.Joe E. Lewis
What a profound saying!
But then, are you proud of how you spent your youth? I have definitely cut corners, which if I hadn’t, I guess the results would be different entirely. But this is hindsight.
Nevertheless, it is crucial that you mend your ways before it is too late. Otherwise, all you would be left with are the regrets.
‘I could have done this ….and I could have done that…’
‘If only….my parents….my teachers…told me…taught me….’
All this self talk of putting your responsibilities on the shoulders of your loved ones is futile. I am no different. I have wasted precious years of my youth on things that I am not particularly proud of. When I look back at my 20s, I see the mistakes that I committed that were terrible for my future.
So if you are in your 20s or know of someone who is in their 20s, it is time to learn from my or others mistakes.
My Terrible Mistakes!!
Mistake No. 1: Not Taking Enough Risks
Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.Helen Keller
One of the greatest mistakes that I still regret in my 20s is that I did not take risks which I could have at that age. I now believe that your 20s are the years where you can take risks. It may be starting your own business, starting a new career and so on.
My reasoning is that even if you fail, you have rest of your life to mend your ways. I remember one of my friends pitching in a business idea, which I really liked. But, I was very cushy and comfy in my day job that I passed the opportunity. Now that busienss has grown leaps and bounds. I do not regret that. I also do not say that it’d be more successful, had I been a part of it.
Even if I failed at that, I could still pick up the scraps and start afresh. Once you reach your 30s or 40s, it is not so easy. By this age, you may have a family and higher responsibilities. Your risk taking appetite would not be as high.
I can only think in hindsight what difference taking risks could have made to my life. I suggest that you take risks early on in your life, than live in regret later. At least you can say, you tried.
Mistake No. 2: No Clear Purpose Or Goals
Success is the progressive realization of a worthy goal or ideal.Earl Nightingale
Call me naive, but in my 20s, I hardly had any goals in life, let alone purpose. In my current life, I have Four goals:
- Financial Goal
- Health Goal
- Relationship Goal
- Spiritual Goal
I have come to decide of these goals because of reading regularly, listening to audio books, watching YouTube videos, taking online course and so on. No one teaches you in life to have goals. And my 20s were the years I wasted without having a specific goals.
All this meant that in my 30s I was doing catch up with the world when it came to my goals. And it only recently occurred to me that we all must have goals in our lives. Without goals you are like a leaf in the wind. Go where life takes you.
As soon as I realised this, I corrected my trajectory in life and set simple, specific goals when it came to my money, savings, health, relationships, spirituality etc.
Mistake No. 3: Not Having A Mentor
A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.Oprah Winfrey
I always felt I did not need any help. I was self sufficient. I thought having friends was enough. But I realised later in my life that if you have good mentors who will guide you early on in your life, your life would be completely different.
Don’t mistake me. Your friends can be mentors too. But if you set specific goals and you seem not be able to achieve them, then a mentor would help you immensely.
I was having challenges in achieving my financial goals. I spoke to one of the entrepreneurs who I knew did well in their financial goals. I sought his help in that area. And my outlook and finances improved quite well.
You assume that you do not need a mentor. But that may not be correct all the time. Everyone has challenges. Everyone hits walls. Don’t be dejected by all the failures. Look for people who have already achieved what you are aiming to be. Speak to them and I am sure, they will readily offer you their help.
Mistake No. 4: Not Learning New Skills
Reading is the gateway skill that makes all other learning possibleBarack Obama
I was just out of business school. ‘Why would I need to build my skills?’ I asked myself. This was a self limiting belief on my part.
Even if you have passed out from an Ivy League University, learning new skills will help you tremendously. When I realized this, I decided to change my thinking.
The world is moving so fast these days; the skill of yesterday are no more in demand. You must think about tomorrow if you still need to be relevant in the marketplace. Even if you are an entrepreneur, keep atop of the trends in your industry and how new technologies are disrupting the old guard.
Once you realise this, do invest in your self education, in up-skilling your self. Look at where the world is going and find ways to be the first to reach there.
Learning news skills does not need to be an expensive affair. Nowadays, YouTube offers so much content for FREE. Know what you are up to and carefully select your sources. I would suggest to go for learning platforms like Udemy, Coursera, Skillshare and so on.
Read books, listen to audio books, Podcasts. Constantly keep yourself updated with what experts have to say. But be focused in your area. Don’t spread too thin. Go deep within your area of interest. You will find your sweet spot.
Some of the modern day skills much in demand:
- Search Engine Optimization
- Content Marketing
- Artificial Intelligence
- Data Scientist
- Emotional Intelligence and so on.
#Mistake No. 5: Not Starting To Save Early
Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.Ayn Rand
If there is one area where I made the most mistakes, it is in the ‘MONEY’ area. I earned a good income. But I am not too sure where that money is!!
Particular mistakes I made:
- Latest mobile in the market: Yes
- Latest gadget online: Yes
- Gym membership: Yes
- Party 3 times a week: Yes
- Night Out every weekend: Yes
- New car: Yes
- Speculating in stock market: Yes
These including other money draining habits made sure that I had not much left in my bank account at the end of most months.
When my mom asked about what I was doing with the salary, I had no answers. And then I realised, I may have side stepped on why I was working. As soon as I realised this, I started reading about how to save money, how to make money, how to budget and so on.
Evidently, it is never a bad time to start. I am proud of myself on what I have learnt.
Years will pass very quickly before you even realize. Everyone makes mistakes. But not everyone corrects those mistakes. If you are growth oriented and have a growth mindset, you will likely realize your mistakes and mend your ways.
My mistakes are not unique to me. And these are not the only mistakes I made in my youth. You may have your sets of mistakes. But do not cling on to the mistakes. Do not blame others for your current situation. The first step is to take ownership of your situation and look for ways to amend these.
Everybody makes mistakes. I have done. I am doing. I will do. Same with you. But to stay ahead of others and have a successful life, it is the one who realizes the mistakes and takes corrective steps.
Once you realize this, you will find peace, you will be successful.
What is done cannot be undone, but at least one can keep it from happening again.Anne Frank
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