We all make mistakes, but for Millennials in our 20s the real pressure's on.
We've been told that we need to build our careers, escape the shackles of student loan debt, make our first major purchases, and find our one and only soul mate.
With all of these financial, career, and personal pressures, there's almost no room for one of the most important tasks--discovering who we are, what we value, and how we want to make an impact on the world.
When we get caught up in all of the expectations, tasks, and duties that have been passed down from our parents' generation, we're bound to make mistakes.
Here are the seven biggest mistakes 20-somethings make, and how to avoid them:
1. Looking for approval on social media.
Last weekend I was at a large music festival in Chicago called Lollapalooza. I watched two men take out their phones and take selfies with the crowd and the main stage in the background.
They're posing was excellent--perfect selfie angle and all--but I noticed something else: they refused to dance. It seemed like gaining virtual approval was more important than letting go and enjoying the moment itself.
While we live in an age where your online presence is meaningful, don't let that determine your worth or detract from your ability to enjoy the beautiful moments in life.
If you want real happiness, then you need to find genuine self-esteem and authentic confidence IRL.
2. Thinking talent and education alone will make you successful.
Individuals that achieve long-term success aren't the most talented, they're the ones that work every single day on their craft.
We were told that we could be anything in life, but we weren't told that it's the consistency, determination, and delayed gratification that builds wealth.
You need to play the long-term game--stop chasing fireworks and start building a constellation.
3. Being convinced that success and money will make you happy.
Believe me, the fancy watches and nice cars look beautiful, but those alone will not bring lasting happiness. As your income increases, the monkey on your back wants more and more, which forces you to work longer hours.
The game of money and success is a never-ending trap if you lack awareness.
When you start caring more about how you're perceived than how you feel about yourself, then our surface-level consumerist culture has transformed you into a robot.
There are more important things than money and success, and those things like relationships and a deep gratitude for each moment of your life are what matter most when you're confronted with your own mortality.
Strive for something more than materialism.
4. Living in the past or planning out your future.
The human mind wants us to learn from the past and anticipate the future, but that doesn't help us stay grounded in the present moment, which is where happiness exists.
Several of my 20-something friends are either stuck re-living their "glory days" of high school, or have created a rigid timeline for getting married, having kids, and moving to the suburbs. While there's nothing wrong with reflecting on the past or contemplating the future, planning or simply reliving your life events can have a negative impact, especially when life throws you a curve ball.
Sure, it's important to plan for the future and learn from the past, but the most important thing is soaking up the nectar of this moment.
5. Thinking that you have to be the best at one thing.
No matter how good you are at one thing, there's always someone better. Pick one thing, and I'll show you 100 people that are more talented that have been doing it professionally since they were eight years old.
Right now you need to be really good at three to five things, find the common intersection, and then build a business around those talents. You can create your own personal brand and offer something truly unique that few people on this planet could do in the same way.
Your parents thought they had to be the best at one thing, but we need to master several and then create something entirely new because innovation is the new key to success.
6. Searching for love and relationships instead of focusing on self-growth.
Between dating apps and the power of the internet, we're hardly ever alone.
This chronic dependency on relationships with virtual or real others prevents us from the alone time that we need to become in touch with who we really are.
When we continually look for love, pleasure, and comfort outside of ourselves, we prevent ourselves from the self-reflective contemplation that's needed for self-growth.
Stop giving into the social pressure to find your one and only, and start refining your gifts and trying to become a better person.
7. Blaming others for your circumstances.
Our parents are not to blame for our current circumstances.
We need to accept responsibility for being the authors of our own lives, and we need to start writing a story that we want to read.
Stop blaming others for problems in your life and start taking accountability for your decisions, the sooner you realize that you only have yourself to blame, the more quickly you can take the wheel and drive.