Your 20s is a time where you’re only just starting your career. 20.2 million students have just left education and its time to start the path that will only end with your retirement. But cruising through your life and just managing the minimum isn’t going to get you anywhere. You need to start investing in your long-term success.
This guide is going to introduce you to some of the pursuits you should invest your time in right now.
1. Life Skills
For most people, they don’t have the life skills every young professional should have. These aren’t the skills that will get you a promotion. These are the skills that will help you to survive, such as paying your bills on-time, diagnosing when there’s something wrong with your boiler, and making sure that you have clean clothes ready every single day.
Without the guiding hand of your parents, you will realize that you are responsible for everything. You have to take care of your own business. It’s all about growing up.
2. Learn to Question Yourself
Young people are notorious for being extremely confident. They believe in themselves and their set of skills because they have grown up under a system that has constantly told them they can do anything and be anything. The real world isn’t like that and younger people are shocked when they are violently slapped down by the powers above them.
Start questioning yourself. Begin asking the questions that could change your life forever because it’s the only way you’re going to grow in the long-term. Famous thinkers like Albert Einstein and Benjamin Franklin got into this habit every single day. They learned to question their own egos and their own actions, and that helped them to grow.
3. Read and Learn
What makes some people more intelligent than others is the fact they are constantly making a commitment to learning. It’s easy to leave college and never want to read another book again. In fact, many young professionals follow through on that wish and it isn’t until they are into retirement that they pick up another book.
You should go out of your way to constantly read. Try to read widely and get a lot of contrasting views from a range of times. It’s a prime way of exercising your mind and keeping it sharp. Furthermore, it can help you unwind after a difficult day.
4. Start Thinking About Your Health
You are only as good as the body you happen to be living in. It’s easy for a young person to dismiss any concerns about their health because it’s unlikely that their bad habits are going to show up for some time yet. The chances are they are not going to see any negative effects whatsoever until they reach middle age.
But if you punish your body enough you are going to find yourself on a slope that you can’t climb back up later on. Don’t take your health for granted. The US healthcare system will take everything you have and bleed you dry.
5. Learn to Be Early Not Late
It may seem crazy to have an entire section dedicated to being on-time, but it’s really one of the skills that make a professional. People who are late create a bad impression, they miss opportunities, and they tend to have poorer relationships in their personal and business lives.
Get into the habit of building in some cushion time for when you need to arrive somewhere. Even if you happen to arrive early, the worst that can happen is you have to take a book out of your bag and read for a few minutes.
There are worst things that can happen!
6. Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Do the same things day after day and you are stagnating. You need to be able to get out of your comfort zone so you can learn new skills and banish many of the fears that plague you.
For example, if you have always been afraid to dance, take up a dance class. Your 20s is the time to get over these fears because if you don’t do it now it’s unlikely you will do it later. Social situations are often the most terrifying situations, so be brave and jump right in.
Last Word – Planning for the Long-Term
The most difficult part of being in your 20s is looking 30 or 40 years ahead. It’s why so many people don’t do it. But if you can skip the trend you are setting yourself up for future success.
How will you plan for the future today?
About the Author
I am a regular writer for Forbes, Inc., Huffington Post, Entrepreneur Media (among others), as well as CEO and Chairman of Alumnify Inc. Proud alum from 500 Startups and The University of San Diego. Follow me on Twitter @ajalumnify