When I was 21, I announced to my parents and family members that I would not continue with schooling. I announced that, unlike what they wanted me to do, I wouldn’t have any degree or ever work for anyone in my life. As expected, I became the black sheep of the family, as everyone thought I was crazy. It took me one decade to prove that they were all wrong. In this blog post, I’ll be sharing with you the one thing the rich do in their 20s that the poor don’t.
Now let’s get into it. If you take your time to study the lives of some of the most successful people in the world, from Steve Jobs to Muhammad Ali to Martin Luther King Jr., one thing will become very obvious and that is; they all know what they wanted to do with their lives right in their 20s.
Muhammad Ali began his boxing career at age 12 and by the time he was in his 20s, he already knew that was the only thing he would do with his life. The Wright Brothers were 32 and 35 in 1903 when they successfully invented the flying machine we know as planes today. If they succeeded at 32 and 35, you can be sure they started 5-10 years earlier, in their 20s.
Mark Zuckerberg was 19 when he decided to connect the world. Henry Ford, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs. You name them. They all already knew how they would spend the rest of their lives right from their 20s.
Successful people are usually very convinced about what they want to do with their lives; right from when they are 20-something, while most other people simply waste their 20s in pleasure, parties, and fun.
Now, let’s look at this from another perspective. Why are successful people able to get ahead simply by knowing what they want early?
You see, between any dream and its actualization, there are days, months, and years of troubles. Between the day you’ll be convinced about what you want to do with your life and the day you’ll actually achieve such dreams, there are hundreds of mistakes, failures, and rejections. And if you think about it very well, the best time to go through tough times is your 20s because right in your twenties, you’re no longer a baby at the same time, you have a lot of time. And little or no responsibility.
Let me share my personal experience with you. I went into the business world at age 21. Even before I made up my mind to give it whatever it took, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy, but I knew I was young and could afford to waste an entire decade trying to figure things out. That exactly was what I did. Though mistakes, failures, and rejections are painful, because I was young, it was easier for me to remain optimistic and because I had no child and no family, being broke for years actually wasn’t that bad. If you ask me to try again all those things I tried 10/11 years ago, it’s now 3 times more difficult because I now have a family.
Steve Jobs granted an interview which is still on YouTube today, where he explained that the reason he and his partner could put all they had into App Inc. was that they really had nothing to lose since he was around 20 and his partner was around 25
So, what is the essence of this blog post?
Well, we’re not here to discourage people who are already in their 40s or 50s. No matter what your age, you can still change your life. Yes, it may not be as easy, but you can do it. Now if you’re in your 20s it’s a different ball game entirely because you really don’t have any excuse. You have the time, the bones, and the mind to dream anything and pursue anything. You have an entire decade you can invest into mistakes and failures. You have nothing stopping you except those excuses you’re making.
Here are 3 pieces of advice I have for everyone who is in their 20s;
First, stop seeing your 20s as the time for fun:
Most people think their 20s are the most interesting period of their lives and that’s correct. But the last thing you want to do in those years is to dedicate them to having fun. If there’s anything you should do in your 20s, it’s know who you are, what the world is, and what you really want to do with your life. These three things are not so easy. Knowing yourself is a difficult thing because the society you grew up in has probably labeled you. Your parents and family members have probably defined you. To take a few steps back and redefine yourself is a tough job and you have to do it.
Knowing the world is actually not that tough. In fact, I can give you some insights. The world was not designed to favor you. The world was designed to consume you. Your unique identity is your asset, but that’s the first thing society will seek to destroy. It’s a jungle and the powerful animals always eat the weak ones, so you have to be strong. You’ll understand the world better by reading and observation. Though this may take time, it shouldn’t cost you a lot of headaches.
After knowing who you are and what the world is, the next thing you’ll want to do is to know what you want with your life, in specific terms. You don’t just say, “I want to be rich” or “I want to be successful”. You have to state in specific terms the problem you want to spend your life solving. No one should have a goal to “just be successful” because success is not a means. It’s an end. Success is the outcome of solving a problem, so you have to define specifically the problem you’ll spend your entire life-solving. What makes this part very difficult is that society and the world around you are always ready to tell you what to do.
For instance, your parents may want you to be a doctor, a lawyer, or anything. Your uncle or anyone else in your family may have some suggestions. The world in general may want to suggest to you that success means the Ferraris and Lamborghini. To really know what you want, search and listen to your own self to determine what will make you happy.
The second thing you should do after knowing who you are, who the world is, and what you want to do with your life is, don’t take life easy:
In your 20s, I advise you shouldn’t expect life to be easy or take life easy. Whatever you desire, be willing to fight hard for it. Get out and pursue your dreams. Don’t be surprised by failures. Instead, tell yourself before you leave a home that you’ll make mistakes and fail but that you won’t ever give up. You have to dare life and try things because it’s by doing so you’ll know your strengths and weaknesses.
Lastly, respect time:
Earl Nightingale once said, “If you invest one hour every day to develop yourself in any career, you’ll become a national expert in 5 years”. The same one hour which can make you a national expert in 5 years can easily be wasted on Facebook. Another hour could be wasted on Instagram and a few other hours on TV. The very hours you’re wasting are the same hours some other people are investing into things that will make them respected heroes in the future. Respect time if you want to have a meaningful life.
In conclusion, the number one factor that makes the rich is their ability to know who they are and what they want out of life as early as possible. If you want to be rich and successful in life, you need to maximize your 20s. Take time to know who you are, what the world is, and what exactly you want to achieve with your life.