What every 20-something should do now to be more successful
August 24, 2015, 6:02 PM UTC
CAMBRIDGE - NOVEMBER 12: Founder of Facebook.com Mark Zuckerberg, right, and Dustin Moscovitz, co-founder, left; have their photo taken at Harvard Yard. The two are students at Harvard University who are taking the semester off. (Photo by Justine Hunt/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
Photograph by Justine Hunt — Boston Globe/Getty Images
- Read ferociously (everything you can get your hands on). Join a book club. Imbibe books about personal development, communication, achievement, biographies, leadership, success, marketing, sales, business and entrepreneurship. You’ll do many things you may regret, but you will never regret spending time reading. Good sources of reading lists are Quora, blogs (Google 10 best books for…) and Amazon (look for recommendations in categories and popular books with high ratings).
- Accept uncertainty. This comes from The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams by Deepak Chopra, a must-read for getting started. There’s uncertainty to everything, so the sooner you can embrace that the sooner you’ll be able to leverage it. As Joseph Campbell said, “You must give up the life you have planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.”
- Agree with everything and everyone. Stop arguing. Stop trying to control every scenario. Stop trying to prove yourself right. You’ll never change anyone’s opinion through argument, and no one will remember if you’re right. Seek consensus. Groups, teams and life move much better when harmonized than with discord.
- Be curious. There’s a vast, fantastic world out there. Foster your curiosity, and it will lead you to amazing places.
- Be open minded. Your opinions will change drastically on many, many things. The opinions you hold with absolute conviction may be very different in a few years. Don’t let those opinions get in the way of meeting people and experiencing things.
- Learn from adversity. You’ll experience challenges and adversity you can’t imagine right now. You’ll have a choice when you have these experiences to either see them as obstacles or to focus on what you can learn and how you can grow from the experiences. It won’t be easy, but choose the later relentlessly, and you’ll grow in ways you could never imagine.
- Foster the growth mindset.
- Get out of your comfort zone. It sounds cliché, but it’s true. If you stay within your limits, you’ll never know what you’re capable of.
- Don’t hold onto the wrong things. Grudges, anger, opinions: Let them go — quickly.
- Travel. Get out and explore (another thing you will never ever regret). Go to places you’d never think you’d go. Max out your vacation time every year. Take a few weeks off between jobs and travel. Save up for a year and take a few months off.
- Don’t wait for the right time or the right thing to say — for anything. When you wait for the right time, you’ll be too late. Those who win in the world are the ones who speak up and take immediate action. You might say a few things you later regret, but you’ll regret more not saying anything.
- Don’t look for the perfect scenarios, partner or job. Everyone sees success and wonders how Jobs and Wozniak found each other — the perfect partners. Well, it wasn’t the one-in-a-billion odds they found each other. They made each other the perfect partners, pushed each other’s knowledge and expertise and built Apple on their collective knowledge and energy. The vision of your career might include a high-profile company or opportunity (e.g. work at Google, live in San Francisco), but don’t get hung up on these. Focus on the motivation behind that scenario rather than that goal.
- Provide value in the world. Money and success are common goals, but so many people often don’t achieve them. Money and success are important, but focus on creating value in the world first. The biggest disrupters didn’t do it because it would lead to money or fame. They did it because they wanted to change things. They saw a different future and created that. Look at Facebook (FB). Mark Zuckerberg built a tool for Harvard students originally. It now has over 1.4 billion users. Wake up and think about what you can do to create value in the world to your friends, family, company, coworkers and country.
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