We have all looked back on our lives—for however brief a moment—and wondered what if I would have known better at the time? Well, here are the 15 best things you can do for yourself at 22 years old!
I also wish when I was a 22-year-old I had a few more of the ingenious inventions others created. I would have loved to have email and a cell phone. It would have been especially handy if the cell phone could house all my friends’ phone numbers.
Instead, I had to write them in an actual notebook (called a phonebook). Of course, I lost that book (a few times) and it wasn’t backed up to a cloud thingy like we have today.
Don’t even get me started on how there wasn’t an Apple Store I could zip into to have a blue-shirted-tech-geek (proper term, not derogatory) provide me with a new book with all the numbers (none lost).
I was thinking the other day, what lessons could I share with new professionals to get them started on the right track?
Network. I meant that as a verb. I also meant the “offline” version as opposed to the abundant “online” version. I know you’re just getting started, but imagine if you met one new person every week for the next eighteen years and maintained those relationships (in some capacity). Those 936 people will be more valuable than any compounding interest you generate from your investments (eh, keep reading). Those 936 will actually introduce you to others and so on…compounding relationship interest so to speak.
Network Part Deux. Hang on to everyone’s phone number, email address, next of kin, favorite foods, and any other data you can gather. You will need it someday. You’ll even need the information from the people you don’t like. Trust me. (Feel free to network online here.)
Network Part Trois. I have no idea why I’m using French, but it seemed to be the thing to do since I went with deux for two. One of the most important aspects of networking is actually providing help before you need it. Start helping others as early in your life or career as possible and don’t use a scorecard. Help people because you want to help them, not because you need something in return. The universe will take care of the repayment—likely tenfold—if your heart is in the right place. The universe will typically deliver the repayments using different couriers.
Be nice. That means to everyone, especially those who can do nothing for you. It goes double for the subordinates you’re likely to have in a few years. One benefit of many years of work experience is knowing that if you work long enough you have an estimated 67.58% chance of reporting to one of those subordinates some day. (They also might serve as an unsuspecting reference sought on your behalf thanks to the networking and social sites.) I might be off the tenths or hundredths place, but who wants to quibble? If you never need them, you can take comfort knowing that you’ve generally been a nice person.
Remain observant. There are absolutely no rules when it comes to innovation and invention. You also need not many years of work experience. You simply need “necessity” as the saying goes (coupled with the passion and energy to see it through). If you want something to make your life easier, more efficient, more fun, or whatever, think about how to bring a contraption or process or website into the world to make it happen. If something already exists, look for ways to make it better or use it in conjunction with your new inventions. Some ideas might require extensive research and product development. Other ideas might only require an iOS application.
Keep an open mind. The more you learn, the more you’ll realize how inexperienced you are at so many things. The other thing you’ll learn is there are loads others can teach you—no matter who they are. I learn a lot from people in their twenties. That stands to reason, because I also knew everything when I was their age.
Collect memories not things. Things come and go. They wear out. They cost lots to maintain. Memories can last a lifetime. Here’s another way I like to look at this: Your entire past simply trains you to live today—the only day you can live at any moment. Your past is nothing more. Nothing less. I want to be trained not only to survive, but also to enjoy every minute to the fullest.
Travel. See collect memories not things. Feel free to grab a few mementos along the way. A few things here and there won’t hurt.
Balance your day. Variety is truly the spicy topping of life. Variety should be applied to everything except having multiple spouses (at least at the same time). If you learn to balance your day between work and play as well as within work and play, you’ll remain fresh and perpetually interested. Creatures of obsessive habit get bored or burned out. Aside from my daily exercise and social activities, I make sure to do a little part of each aspect of my businesses—long-term marketing, short-term marketing, sales, fulfillments, product development, writing, networking, and so forth. Every. Single. Day. Try to work variety into whatever you do. You’ll smile more often without effort.
Balance your diet. You’ll look better and feel better.
Enjoy what you have instead of pining for what you don’t have. What you think about creates energy. What you think about you bring about as a result of it. Cherish and appreciate all that you have from a roof over your head to the people in your life. You’re appreciation will set you on an amazing journey. Here’s a little test: Do you know how many thank-yous, I-appreciate-yous, and I-love-yous you’ve said in the last day? Do you know how many I-can’t-believe-its or why’d-they-do-that-to-mes you’ve said in the last day? Count ’em today. If you can change your rhetoric, you’ll change your life.
Pursue your purpose in life. Although I want you to enjoy what you have, I also want you to strive for what you want. That means discovering what it is and working smartly, remaining patient, and enjoying the journey until you get “there.” I’ve heard many think successful people know how to delay gratification effectively. I think that’s nonsense. Successful people never delay gratification because they are gratified daily in their pursuits. Check out How to Figure Out Your Purpose in Life in Fewer Than 600 Words, 7 Signs You Found Your Purpose, and 4 Must Do’s To Fulfill Your Purpose.
Read. You don’t have to believe everything you read or everything you hear, but reading will do you a tremendous amount of good. It’ll help make you more knowledgeable, mentally stimulated, relaxed, a better orator, a better writer, and more focused. And, think about the entertainment value!
Save. This can be a little every day or every paycheck or every month. If something goes into the pot without coming out, the pot just keeps getting bigger. You get more financially comfortable by accumulating dollars as opposed to spending them. If you want to spend beyond what you’re earning, there ought to be some extreme return on your investment. Keep in mind, the most financially successful people never spend money unless they see it as an investment into some aspect of their life or business. This can be additional schooling, building a business, or something of that nature. “Poor” people typically buy things they can’t afford with money they don’t have to impress people they don’t know or care about.
Don’t compare. Comparison kills. Even worse, it provides a lower bar than what’s truly attainable for you or anyone else. Think abundance as opposed to a zero-sum game. Think with no limits. Comparison also leads people to be “realistic.” Being realistic never changed anything. Being unrealistic does! Read Out of Reach but in Sight: Using Goals to Achieve Your Impossible. I give it away.
Make sure to grab The Ultimate 22-Year-Old’s Survival Guide for Work and Life!