What could a 20-year-old do to potentially improve their quality of life further down the line?

November 18th, 2014 § 1 comment


问题是:What could a 20-year-old do to potentially improve their quality of life further down the line?

Highly upvoted answers below make the following points:

We will start with a few overarching principles and advice and then break down into the finer points of each (still summarized from everything).

At 20, there are two things you’re trying to critically balance, the short-term versus the long-term:

  1. The decisions you make at this stage will impact the rest of your life. This is easy to vastly underestimate: don’t. Consider the long-term impact of your serious decisions.
  2. You have unique opportunities and freedoms in the short-term that will grow more distant with time/age.Your responsibilities to external factors increase to the point that you can’t be as spontaneous and wild, so use this as a chance to have these experiences.

Time is your most precious resource, and yours is fleeting. Money is no substitute for youth. Money can be earned, given, or stored; not time.

Envision your older self looking back, thinking “I’m so glad I ____” or “I wish I had done ____” or “I wish I hadn’t _____.” Always try to fill in the blank for the second term and seek it out!

The concept of diminishing time + short term vs long term leads to some big take-aways:

  • Take big risks (you’re young and can afford to do so, due to relatively few commitments, etc)
  • Travel as much as possible (don’t wait till you’re retired, you may never live that long)
  • Always re-invest in yourself: learn, develop new skills, keep getting educated
  • Don’t be ashamed to seek professional help when life’s got you down.
  • Your 20s are the absolute best time to do that thing you’ve always dreamed of. Travel the world, act, sing, design a video game, make art, write, compose, paint, start a business, whatever: just do it! If you don’t do it now, you may never fulfill that dream.

All that being said, these are the main components of vital 20-something knowledge:

  • Habits
  • Socialization
  • Dreams and Goals
  • Money
  • Mind

Let’s drill into these!

At this early stage, developing good habits (and avoiding or stopping bad ones) is a huge part of overall life success and happiness.

  • Make exercise and proper nutrition a key part of your daily/weekly life
  • Learn to cook (since you eat every day your entire life)
  • Floss as often as possible
  • Drink lots of water
  • Take vitamins or minerals (if deemed unhealthy)
  • Manage sun exposure properly (a little bit is necessary, a lot is carcinogenic).
  • If you smoke, quit. (Do this ASAP, it’s really hard to quit later.)
  • Don’t drink yourself to sleep every night.
  • Practice safe sex (use protection).
  • Finish things you start.
  • Keep in mind: Build good habits early in your life so it’s easy to maintain later.

Master your social dimension (dating / relationships / friendships):

  • Understand your emotions and learn to like yourself (but not to a fault)
  • Laugh often.
  • Date often: understand what you want AND what a potential life mate should ideally be to deal with you
  • Don’t be afraid of marriage or long-term relationships: people have been in these for millennia for a reason.
  • Alway try to be friendly and optimistic (smile!)
  • Always try to help others. (Volunteering is a great human endeavor.)
  • Don’t burn down bridges (grudges achieve very little)
  • Edit your friends: avoid people “going the wrong way” with drugs, excessive drinking, odd cults, extreme politics, laziness, irresponsibility, negativity and lack of motivation/ambition. You don’t want these people around. Also: seek out useful, active, interesting people and build those relationships instead.
  • Break through “age apartheid:” Be friends with those older than you (optimally some 5 years older and some 10 years older) so you have proper mentors.
  • Hustle is better than passivity (but not to an extreme, don’t violate the “friendly principles” listed above.
  • Don’t make friends purely for self-gain, but always keep in mind who can be a good partner for any future venture.
  • Learn a second or third language to make more friends (around the world)! See ‘expanding mental skill sets’ subsection below.

Be able to fulfill your dreams:
PART 1: Lay out your dreams and goals (optimism)

  • Don’t live your life for anyone else. Do what YOU want to do, not parents or significant others.
  • Be true to YOUR individual goals and dreams.
  • Be open-minded about your goals and dreams. They will evolve over time.
  • Periods of uncertainty and/or setbacks are guaranteed. Accept them and learn from them!

PART 2: Work toward your dreams and goals (realism)

  • Get credentialed: university degrees, vocations, trade skills and crafts, certifications, licenses, etc. No harm in racking these up. Minimal chance of regret
  • Get experienced: teach or tutor, even for a little bit. Travel counts too!
  • Get smart: try and get credentialed/recognized for hobbies or any other way you spend your time.
  • Go for advanced degrees only in subjects you’re passionate about.
  • Be patient: great stories, companies, research, structures, etc take years to build.

Master money, finances and investing:

  • Start learning how to make money work for you (not the other way around) early.
  • Get a core understanding of personal finance (you don’t need to be a pro, just the 101 intro course-worth)
  • Stay out of debt.
  • Start saving NOW.
  • Live within your means.
  • Money is not the most important thing in the world, but financial security will give you a choice, and choice is important.

Maximize your mind (expand mental skill-sets):

  • Learn to think using multiple mental models: math, physics, biology, psychology, etc… and work up to the point where they’re deployed automatically. To do this, see the next bullet point.
  • Read as much as you can possibly withstand (this will help with the above).
  • Write as often as you can. It helps organize your thoughts and makes you a better communicator (on paper at least).
  • Master attention and focus: these are lifelong tools that will lead to greater self-improvement.
  • Learn to be disciplined and work with deadlines (yes, your 20s are a time to be free and spontaneous, but remember to balance short vs long term).
  • Learn at least two languages (besides your native language). Learn one language for business. Learn another to expand your social life.
  • Make sure you know how to touch-type.
  • Learn to use library research and web search tools to your advantage.

  • avaziyi