Here are five unconventional answers to things you should avoid in your twenties.
(1) Closing your mind
Don’t cling to your beliefs. Seek out challenging and disconfirming evidence. This is what all the smartest and best thinkers in the world constantly do. If you desperately cling to your beliefs in your 20s, you are setting yourself up for failure down the road.
(2) Thinking you’re done learning
A corollary of #1, but different. Just because you’re done with school, does not mean you are done learning. Learning is a long life journey. Keep reading, seeking out new knowledge, improving, getting better, listening to podcasts, and more.
(3) Not investing
You get so much bang for your buck the earlier you invest. Start investing asap and put some money away. Harness the power of compound interest, which Einstein called the 8th wonder of the world.
Here are 2 examples. If you invest $10,000 on your 20th birthday compounding at 8% annually (a rough proxy for the stock market, though maybe not at current valuations) when you are 70 you will have ~$469,000. Even if you never put another dime in.
If you invest the same amount of money on your 30th birthday, you will have only ~$217,000 when you’re 70. You will more than double your money with those extra 10 years of compounding. Don’t get a late start, begin investing today.
(4) Being selfish
One lesson that takes time to learn, and some people never learn, is that the best path to success is to focus on delivering value and helping other people. Don’t focus on yourself. Follow Ryan Holiday’s “canvas” strategy and realize that helping other people is the fastest way to earn respect, credibility, and success. Zig Ziglar always said you can have anything you want in life, as long as you help enough other people get what they want. Networking and relationship building works the same way. Start out by focusing on how you can add value to others, not how they can add value to you.
(5) Fearing rejection
Don’t be afraid of failure and rejection. There is magic on the other side of rejection and you will never see it unless you push past it. Take a look at Jia Jiang’s 100 days of rejection and you will see how powerful it can be. It’s not about the people who reject you and say no – but its about the magical yeses that result from the fearlessness of being willing to ask and put yourself out there.