What are the most difficult and useful things people have to learn in their 20s? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.
Here are some very useful things I wish I'd learned in my 20's.
I learned most of them in my 30's. Better late than never. Sometimes I'm slow on the uptake.
Hope these help you.
- Try a lot of new things to see what you're passionate about - I let fear hold me back from trying a lot of things. When I look back, I'm most proud of the things I did despite fear. Take the acting class. Backpack around Europe.
- Travel a lot - Every chance you get. Take ski trips. You can do this so much cheaper in your 20s.
- Focus on experience rather than grades - If you want to go to med school, grades are important. I' ve never been asked my GPA in any job interview. Not one. But I've gotten and missed jobs for experience.
- Don't party too hard - Being hung over wastes to much time. You can't do great things when you feel like dog shit.
- Your current job isn't your forever job - And that's ok. I've had five different jobs and two businesses. I've learned a ton and had a blast.
- Your girlfriend or boyfriend isn't your soulmate - Unless they are. I hadn't learned enough about myself to make those kinds of decisions in my 20's. Maybe you have.
- Don't try to figure it all out - You won't and it's ok. You don't ever figure it all out. Life is more fun when you keep learning forever anyway.
- Keep your living expenses low - The big house and the nice car are traps. They make it more difficult to change your situation. You have way more negotiating power when you can live on $1000/mo than if you need $5,000/mo.
- Avoid credit card debt - Pay your credit card off every month. Debt will keep you trapped as well.
- Learn to invest money in the stock market - This one is huge. Read the stock series by . If I had read this series in my 20's, I'd be retired now. This one thing can make you rich.
- Save FU Money - This is different than an emergency fund. It doesn't have to be enough to live on forever. Just enough to say FU to a bad situation. Think of it as walk-away money.
- Maintain your friendships - This becomes harder as you get older because everyone gets busy, and people have families. Maintain them anyway.
- Develop the habit of exercise - Pick a sport you love to play and play it a couple of times a week. I play tennis and do martial arts. I love both of these. It gets harder (but not impossible) to start the habit of exercise in your 30s.
- Help people who need help - This will help you as much as it helps others. It's almost selfish because it feels so good. Small acts of kindness are magic for you and the person you're helping. Giving a few bucks to someone who needs it doesn't just help them.
- Don't spend all your time working - You can always get a new job. You can never get back time with a family member once they're gone.
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