5 Lessons From My Youth That I Value In My 20s


1. Make reading a habit

Books, newspapers, magazines, pamphlets, etc… Read anything from which you can learn loads of sensical, significant things. Do not engross yourself much on romance pocketbooks as much as possible, as this does nothing but to tickle your imaginations, heighten your expectations and stray you away from the realities of relationships. Should you read romances, make sure that you read those authored by refutable writers. Experiment on reading different genres, but also have your favorite genera. It will also be helpful to have variance in terms of extremity or level of difficulty in your choice of reads. For example, on a Monday, flip through easy, light reads like your favored teen fictions; on Wednesday, go through some literary masterpieces like The Iliad by Homer and Don Quixote by Miguel De Cervantes; and then on weekends, immerse yourself in your grandpa’s thick, grubby law book at the top shelf. Challenge your abilities. Dare your mind. This may be some kind of an “adult” thing, but very soon enough, when you find yourself seated (or stucked) at the middle of wines and lackluster talks with a client, prospective business partner, or your boss in a company dinner, or simply when you meet for the first time your future in- laws, you’d be thankful for some handful of information you can inject and banter with in these conversations. Not only reading will expand your perspective, it will also enhance your relationships and connections because of the brilliance and talc you can readily demonstrate. A well- read person has a vast horizon to glide and soar up to, both in his thoughts and in his reality.

2. Get both quality and quantity with friends

It is during the teenage years that people most value relationships, most especially, friendships made.

Teens associate popularity, angst and rebellion as coolness. Therefore, they tend to seek these kinds of people and befriend them. They lean on them for social acceptance and self- worth. They use them to stand out, for the sake of uniqueness and individual difference. The young populace is vulnerable when it comes to their emotions. And this vulnerability is exposed and fed upon by the same chaos experienced by their friends. This has a ripple effect. No problem is solved, just veiled or denied, when all the while they were thinking, “My friend helped me resolve this problem.” and “I have given her the best advice on what she should do under this circumstance.” This is a common mistake of the young. It is important that at a tender age, a person learns the characters of people that he’d like to be friends with for a long time. You should befriend people that will not help, but encourage you; people that will not advise, but will listen to you, first and foremost; people that will not fight with you, but will calm and lead you away from harsh confrontations; people that will not compliment you in your face, but will talk good things about you to other people, behind your back. Choosing friends is not easy; it will be a long, tedious a trial and error process that will continue up to old age. Though it is ideal to be Little Miss Sunshine of the neighborhood or Miss Congeniality of the campus, this will not assure you that you have made worthwhile relationships with people around you. True, it shows great character when you get along well with everyone. But it is also important we keep a knit of people we’d entrust our lives to for the years to come.

Take note also that friendships are investment for the future. Be with people who can help you out in imminent impediments and ordeals. At a young age, establish and expand your network of connections. Know people you can learn a lot from and you’d potentially have business dealings with, fast forward to ten years from now. Acquaint yourself with achievers from different fields of expertise. By surrounding yourself with driven, strongly motivated, success- oriented people, you give yourself a one surefooted path to success. And the competition this will trigger will keep your focus towards being ahead and upwardly mobile in this game of life. It is also advisable that we familiarize ourselves with the older ones and learn about their strategies and techniques in handling problems, personal and career wise; and their lives as a whole. Take as much learning you can draw from them. Their experiences, with all its faculties and triumphs, are a lesson for you to ponder on.

3. Explore, develop and enhance your talent

There is always one thing that you can do much better than the rest… be it belting out that Mariah Carey song a key higher or mixing colors on the canvass, giving a painting a new dimension. Usually, people discover their talents at a very young age. Though most utilize and enhance it, some tend to leave it behind and some are too shy to showcase it. You were given these capabilities not because of luck or whims. This is no coincidence. You can sing, dance, write, speak, cook, persuade, declaim, draw, paint, contort your body, play this instrument and touch your eyes using your tongue because you were born to these! This gift is a tool for you to use for the betterment of your life, and hopefully, of others’ too. Enhance it, use it. It was made yours for a reason. Join competitions, show it off to people. Study and continuously learn new techniques. Innovate and beat what you think is your best. It is one of the many things that will help you stand out, express your exceptionality and mark a name in your path. People who knows their strengths and nurture it has the “home- court advantage”, they always have the heads up in this rat race.

4. Structure your roadmap of success

Set a timeline for your goals for the next 10 to 15 years of your life. This will ensure that you have your goals set in a realistic boundary and your progress and achievement rate are checked and monitored. How many years shall you allot for a master’s degree? Would you pursue a doctorate’s after? How long do you think shall it take you to be an assistant to being a manager? Is three to five years achievable to you? At what you age do you want to own a car and a house? How much is the possibility that you would be the vice president of the company at age 30? When you attain this position, then is it time to settle down and build a family? This might sound some serious stuff for a teener to think about. But it won’t hurt to start early and plan ahead, would it? Roadmapping your growth and advancement as a person, in all aspects of your life, shows you what should be the priority and what should be not. By directing your energy on what needs to be done, you save yourself from lots of wasted time and future regrets. Armed with your step by step plan, tread on life cautiously to avoid sabotaging your dreams with short- term pleasure. Remember that not all that glitters is gold. No matter how fun it seems to do something that most people your age do, analyze first if the delight you would take on it would last for long. Is it worth putting behind or giving up your dreams for? Will this help you move forward, to be what you want to be? If it is not, then go ahead and hit your target. Most of young people tend to get distracted rather easily. Then before they knew it, they have already lost their way and had to retrace their steps from the start. What if you can’t go back anymore? Will your little distraction be able to compensate for what you have lost? You are your own motivation, your own discipline. You have a dream? Eye it, chase it.

5. I am not the best…I am second best

“To be the best.” this is how many answer when asked what they want to be, or what they like to become in the future. If this best exists, who is he or she?

People perceive life as a gladiator match, wherein one is declared the winner and one, trampled upon and wounded, is waiting for his death. People are often stimulated and enthused by wrong perception of things. A person who gets out in a match not a victor isn’t a loser, he is a second best. All people are second best. The “best” term is a label we tag to people who we think have done extraordinary. Well then, what is extraordinary? Has someone you know been able to bring to life a corpse? Has someone been able to solve the mysteries of life? Has someone been able to feed hungering stomachs all over the world? The answer is no. No one will ever be. Being second best is the best we can ever be. Do not be discouraged if someone has scored higher than you in that quiz. Like you, he’s also a second best, for the best’s knowledge isn’t confined in a 20 item quiz. They’d praise someone who’d make living in outer space possible as the best, but no. The best is that one who can construct and replicate the universe and all the complexities of life.

You are you. Stop striving to be someone which all people now, and in generations to come, will never be. Rejoice your persona. Ace as much exam as you can. Make mistakes but be back on track. Dance like it’s the last rhythm you’ll hear. Study and quench your thirst for learning, then make yourself desire for more. Run like Channing Tatum’s waiting at the finish line. Fill your memories with worthwhile stills and imagery. Lust for the goodness of life… For being second best is the best state we’ll be in. Second best is not having all that you want in life. Second best is being almost there. It is not arising defeated and conquered. It is going after the “more”. Because in reality, we cannot have all that we want. Life is a long stretch. And the “best” is that hazy, thin line. Who knows who have been there? Keep up with the spirit. Be the best second best. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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