Today young people, from teenagers to those in their early thirties, are facing a world and a global economy that is changing rapidly and faster than ever, and the sort of world that will exist only a few years from now is impossible to imagine.
It is for this reason that it is more important than ever to be proactive and to take action now in order to be equipped and prepared for the problems and uncertainty of the future. Here’s how to get ahead NOW as a young person.
Discover Yourself, What You Enjoy, and What You Can’t Stand
Most people, especially young people, know far less about themselves than they care to admit. Many go to college hoping to find their passion there while simultaneously taking on large amounts of debt and developing bad habits along the way. Spending 4+ years specializing in a field only to realize one hates it is all too common.
As a young person there are countless topics, industries, jobs, and paths that we are completely unaware of and have never attempted. There are also parts of ourselves that have yet to be discovered and unleashed. The best way to speed up this discovery process is to try many different things, learn about new topics, work many different jobs, gain all sorts of experiences, and to experiment with life.
You should introspect, contemplate, and even write out on paper your thoughts and feelings on questions such as:
- What can I not imagine doing for the rest of my life?
- What things am I good at but do I not really enjoy?
- What things appeal to me and which ones don’t at all?
Simply understanding what you don’t like and what is mundane to you can be powerful as it means you’ve gained some insight about yourself. Digging deep into these questions can help you discover what drives you, what choices you should make, and your life’s purpose.
Develop Your Ability to Hustle and to Enjoy it
Today it has become normal for college students not to begin working full-time until after they’ve graduated. I think this is a mistake. I say start working as young as possible and as much as possible. Many students I’ve known would say “I don’t have enough time, I’m too busy, I don’t have enough energy,” but really what that is, is laziness and limiting beliefs.
You’ll start building savings early, you’ll develop a strong work ethic and appreciation for work, your energy and work capacity will increase, you’ll get used to the feeling of working a lot and eventually it’ll come easy to you and your earning power will be higher. All of this is incredibly valuable and underappreciated. You should be setting your goals incredibly high, that way even if you fail you still exceeded expectations. Most people are capable of far more than they know.
Start Creating Right Now
Everyone has value to offer. Each of us has a unique perspective on life, unique background, unique passions, interests, knowledge, and personality. And we all have a creative genius in us, likely lying dormant from years of conformity and obedience training at school.
Find a creative outlet and start creating. It could be writing articles or blog posts, making motivational videos or humorous sketches. It could be music and lyrics, code and technology, painting and sculpting, or even architecture or engineering. Find something. It’ll provide you with an impressive portfolio of creative work you’ve done and it will help ingrain in you the habits of creating and practicing creativity.
Start Building a Strong Foundation of Habits and Soft Skills
Right now you are much more malleable as a person than you will be 10, 20, 30 or more years from now. When you’re older it will be much more difficult to change your habits, to learn new skills, to change the trajectory of your life, and to fundamentally change as a person.
Practice a daily ritual of habits and cut out anything in your life that is not supporting you. Read, write, meditate, wake up early, build a supportive diet, exercise, defer gratification, build willpower, set good goals, visualize and plan for your future. Embrace practicing public speaking and communicating, nurture your confidence and self-esteem, learn about leadership and being a role model, and work towards being your best self.
The fate of your future and your life success lies in the choices you make and habits you practice in each moment of each day. Embrace being alive, embrace putting in effort, embrace living a life of purpose. Start taking action now! The moments that you waste and pass by are not small moments, they influence who you ultimately become.