In your 20s and in need of some no-bullsh*t advice? Our friends from Just Media Things share theirs.
The concept that you have to be all sorted out and figured out by your 30s is all made up bullsh*t, because we all know that the only constant in life is change. What we can do is only to try to put ourselves in the right position to head towards the right direction.
If you’re wondering what spurred this on, it’s actually because I’m reaching the end of my 20s soon, and as I was speaking to some of my mentees and my peers recently, I recalled my own experience on how lost one can be. So I decided to put out the same advice on Just Media Things that I give to my mentees and peers, to hopefully bring some perspectives to you.
Here are 10 pieces of advice for people in their 20s.
1) Invest Consistently
We’ll skip going into details about investing your savings because we all know what that does, and there are thousands of articles and platforms for you to learn from. Overall, just watch how you spend your money and do something to let your money work for you.
Money isn’t the only thing you can invest in. Time is more precious in your 20s as you have more energy to do a lot more things and fewer commitments to worry about. Similar to what we’ve mentioned in our “8pm Logic” article, how you spend your time in your 20s will greatly affect your life in the future.
Investing in yourself is something that many people tend to forget.
Spend some money to learn some life skills, have a spa day, or spend some money on yourself to look and feel good. I always tell people it’s okay to make a big purchase or spend on certain things once in a while because you should reap the reward that your hard work provides, and it pushes you to work harder.
That being said, I’m not asking you to splurge unnecessarily.
2) Find a Mentor
Mentorship is something I feel is really important and often neglected. Have someone you can go to whom you respect and bounce ideas off. When making your own decisions all the time, without any kind of feedback, you’re going to quickly find out that you can be wrong many times. There’s no harm with another opinion and another voice that can give you some great advice.
You can have multiple mentors or change mentors as your life progresses, but you should have one in your life. It can be your sibling, your parent, your friend, your teacher, your boss or someone completely random. It’s good to have somebody that generally has your best interests at heart, that you can always go to, and be completely honest with them.
All the successful individuals you see have something in common, which is great mentorship.
3) It’s Better To Have Loved and Lost, Than Never To Have Loved at All
Many of us are afraid of catching feelings and having commitments because we don’t want to get hurt. It’s normal to feel that way, our minds are always protecting us from getting hurt. However, I would say that the failures of our relationships make us grow as a person the most.
In fact, you get to learn more about yourself, what you’re like, what you want or don’t want in life, which will greatly benefit in laying some foundation for you to be better.
Don’t be afraid to love. Stop constantly looking for somebody perfect, or expect everything to be perfect for you to get into a relationship. A relationship is to help each other grow and be better. If it doesn’t work out, it puts you in a better position to become more ready for the next one.
But please, don’t go f**k around and ruin people’s lives.
4) Stop Trying to Fit In
The worst feeling to have is to live your life based on other people’s expectations. Even when you’ve achieved success, you will not feel happy. This is an extremely common mistake that I see with people in their 20s. They always think that other things are better, more fun, and want a slice of the cake. Stop chasing the hype because you’ll never finish chasing it. There will always be something new and better. What you need to do is to stay convicted to your values and passion, and you can go a long way.
Don’t do things to impress the people you don’t like. Screw the haters.
5) Don’t Be Afraid To Take Risks and Make Mistakes
In your 20s, it’s the best time for you to try new things and take risks. You’re too young to live in your comfort zone. Just to share a personal experience. I used to be from another industry that had zero relation with media. I took the riskiest decisions to join the industryand I never regretted my decision once.
It is normal for us to be afraid to make mistakes in our next move. That’s a trait of a perfectionist. If it doesn’t work out then so be it. Failing is the best learning opportunity. What you owe yourself is to try your best regardless of what happens. You never try, you’ll know. Don’t wake up 20 years later just to realise that you are unhappy with what you’re doing and you’ve been working hard for all the wrong things.
Take that next step and you’ll never know where it brings you. Nobody became successful while being in their comfort zone.
6) Have a Plan, but Be Flexible
There’s a fine line separating taking risks and running head-first into any opportunity.
Give yourself some idea where the opportunity can lead you while having an escape plan.
Let’s use taking a new job opportunity as an example. Give yourself a timeline to look for a new job if the opportunity doesn’t go well.
Take risks, but don’t be stupid.
This is also for many other things in your life, whether it’s starting your own family, buying your own property, your life goals etc. Give yourself some indication or gauge on the urgency or effort required and then pace yourself. You don’t want to run a marathon and have no idea where the endpoint is and where to go. When you have no idea what you are running for, you will be demoralised all the time.
At the same time, life never ever goes as planned, so be flexible when things happen. Don’t beat yourself up just because things are not going the way you thought they would. Be adaptable, evaluate and tackle what life throws at you accordingly. Sometimes taking the longer route will lead to a better view.
7) Take Care Of Your Mental Health
I can’t emphasise this enough but take care of your mental health. We can only go as far as our mental health takes us. Learn how to protect your mind and guard your brain against all the noise. Start finding mindfulness through meditation, finding spirituality, or anything similar to create space for yourself; space to think, space to breathe, space between ourselves and our reactions.
The human mind is an extremely complex machine and there are many ways that can cause problems to your mental health. Learn to stop comparing yourself with others because life is not a race. How can it be a race if we all start from different starting points and have different ending points? Why feel horrible when your mile-run takes a longer time to complete than somebody’s 100m run?
Love yourself, be kinder to yourself, do what makes you happy.
Don’t live your life as somebody else and don’t live your life for other people.
8) Take Care Of Your Body
I’m sure no one is surprised that exercising and dieting is here.
In my early 20s, I drank a lot of alcohol had the unhealthiest diet that revolved around fried and processed food, which was not right for my body. When I was 24, I gained 20kg in a year. Yeah, you heard that right. I was so caught up with the grind of life that I kept making excuses for not exercising. Within a few years, I developed chronic illness and health issues that may nag me for the rest of my life. There’s this saying in Chinese that roughly translates to “If you ruin your body before your 40s, your body will ruin you after your 40s”.
Nowadays, I take care of my diet and exercise regularly. You won’t realise the benefits of being healthy until you experience it yourself.
I feel less lethargic, I am able to sleep and breathe better, feel less depressed and so on.
This is not about body positivity and how you should look. Even the thinnest person can have arteries clogged up like the roads of Bangkok. I’m sure that even while enjoying life, we can all make room for better living habits.
At the end of the day, if you can’t preserve life, what’s all this hard work for?
9) Talk to More People
Even as an introvert, I’m not afraid to start conversations with people; regardless of whom they are. This can be the private hire car driver, a cashier at a local coffee shop, some guy you meet at the gym.
Some of the best advice I’ve gotten in life is from people whom I don’t even know their names. Everyone has their own stories and their own perspective to share. Learn from these conversations, form genuine connections – there will always be something that we can learn and take away from others. The more we speak to others, the wiser we become. This is how I am able to provide advice to people when I have not experienced what they are going through.
Step out of your comfort zone, allow yourself to know more people, form healthy relationships and social connections. Studies have shown that people who are more connected to others are happier, healthier and live a longer life compared to those who are less connected and more isolated.
Having said that, be genuine when you talk to others, and not expect something in return. If you expect something in return (maybe a favour in the future), that’s manipulation.
10) Choose Who You Spend Your Time With Properly
Jim Rohn famously said that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.
Surround yourself with people who already are who you want to become. I’m not asking you to find 5 successful people and be best friends with them, but be careful of spending a lot of time with people that are holding you back. Negative people only spread more negativity. Toxic people only spread more toxicity. As you get older, your social circle will get smaller and you have less time for others. It is okay to cut some people off your life.
Most importantly, spend more time with your family and loved ones. I myself am guilty of not spending enough time with my family in my early 20s, but now my life revolves around them. Some friendships may come and go, and relationships may not work out all the time too. But think back on who was there to pick you up during the lows in your life. Give your best to those who have been there at your worst.
These are my advice for people who are struggling to find themselves in their 20s.
Hopefully, you have some takeaways as you make your choices in the future. Share this article with someone who really needs to see this because Quarter-Life Crisis is real and we are not in this alone.
I wish everyone nothing but the best, and I want to see each and every one of you happy and successful.
This article was contributed by Just Media Things. Just Media Things (@justmediathingss) is a platform run by two fellas in their late 20s who create content for folks in media as a coping mechanism for their own vicissitudes of life.