There are a couple lessons that just about any 20-something should learn. I call them the Immutable Laws of Growing Up. They’re laws about how life operates, and while you can violate them, you do so at your own risk.
- Be nicer to people – Mean people can make lots of money. Money can even buy you friends. But it’s rare for a mean person to be happy. If you want to be happy, be nice. BONUS: You’ll make a lot of other people happy along the way.
- Build routine into your life – If you’re a busy executive or a world traveler or an artist, you need routine. It saves you the mental energy of making hundreds of decisions every day like “What should I wear?” “What should I eat?” “Should I shower now or later?” Routine answers all those questions so you can focus your mental energy on creativity.
- Create more than you consume – This is huge advice for a 20-year-old. So many young people are sucked into Instagram or Snapchat or Netflix. They waste hours per day consuming words, images, videos. If you want a great life, however, the secret is to create more for the world than you consume.
- Simplify your existence – We live in a time when it’s cool to accumulate a lot of stuff. Another gadget, one more piece of clothing, more furniture. None of that will make you happy long-term. Try this: Go through your room/house and put things that you haven’t used in the past week into a box, including duplicates if you already own one. Put that box away for a month. Anything you don’t take out of the box that month gets donated at the end of the month.
- Start a daily practice – Most people overestimate what they can do in a week, but the underestimate what they can accomplish in a year. Consistent effort is the secret to big things. recommends trying to get just 1% better at something every day. Maybe that’s basketball, reading, or talking to new people. Whatever it is, start a daily practice where you do 1% better than you did the day before. The principle of compounding effort means you’ll eventually see exponential growth.
- Read – Top performers in almost every category read more than their competitors.
- Meditate – Top performers also meditate. You decide what this means. Just find time to be quiet.
- Sleep – Scientists haven’t really figured out why entirely, but it’s super important.
- Be young while you can – Do stupid things. Have fun. Be reckless. Go on that trip. Kiss that girl/boy. Climb that mountain. Sail that ocean (this is my dream)
I’m young like you, so what do I know?
Read my essays onand .