20 things you wish you knew when you were younger

  1. Talent is overrated

Some of the most talented people in the world have also been some of the greatest under achievers of all time. You may have bossed your exams, you could be straight A-Grade, you might be talented, creative and a great multi-tasker. Congratulations, but now you have got to make it stick. Talent doesn’t win prizes of great salaries; dedication, drive and results do. Otherwise, we’re just talking about wasted potential.



  1. Education doesn’t stop when you graduate

Life is one big game of learning, otherwise you’ll be an out of date has been in the blink of an eye. Look at the speed of change in the 21st century world. New technologies, new best practices and changing world dynamics are all on a quicker spinning cycle then ever before. Don’t rely on institutions to teach you – by the time something is in a curriculum it is already out of date. Dedicate yourself to mastering your craft.



  1. Morning is the time to ‘get things done’ – not 3am

Everybody has a story about an epic all nigher from their youth, but as you progress through the game of life, it quickly becomes apparent that you do your best work in the morning. Pulling super late 3am work shifts is a great way to burn yourself out whilst kidding yourself that you’re super-dedicated. Life’s important work, like the killer sales phone call, critical meetings and key strategic planning are all nailed during regular working hours. Master the art of getting up early and attacking the day, rather than sloping in under-slept and ready to attack the night.


  1. Fulfillment comes with doing something you love

Its easy to think that the best paid job leads to the greatest happiness. This is not to be overly evangelical – lets not kid ourselves, we go to work to sell our labor in return for a paycheck – so of course getting paid well is important. However, we do our best work when we do something that we love. Finding a well paid job which you can take pride in, which you look forward to on a Sunday evening and which you can dedicate your life to mastering will ultimately mean more than a paycheck that keeps you miserable.


  1. You don’t have all the time in the world

Your 21 and your ready to attack life – or more like take some time to find what you want to do. Finding something you love is super-valuable, but you don’t have all the time in the world. What you do in your twenties will go a long way to determining the rest of your life. Those that nail it when they start out, lay the foundations for a prosperous and happy life. Your twenties are a time of rich opportunity – when else in life are you going to be so carefree, with so little big-world commitments? treasure the opportunities that this brings and use the time to take on riskier but potentially higher return bets. If you take these bets on right, following the other tips in this article, then you can’t really lose…


  1. Always be open to meeting new people

You never know when meeting a new person may change your life, so grasp every opportunity to network and connect with new people. Be open to meeting people from vast arrays of backgrounds and ages. Socialise and mix with peers who are older and wiser, and take the opportunity to soak up their experiences and advice. So many people end up being the wiser old head, wishing they had the opportunity to receive the advice that they’re now freely giving away. Capitalise on this, and learn from the masters who can cut out your mistakes.


  1. When it comes to communication, face-to-face is still king… followed by the phone

The modern world has presented us with endless ways to communicate. What started with technologies like the phone, spread to mobile versions, which brought wit them on the go email, Skype and text messaging. But when it comes to getting the job done, face to face remains kind, followed by the phone. People can hide behind a lot of the marvelous modern communications technologies, but i you need an answer, there are ways to give people nowhere to hide. Get over and see them.


  1. First in, last to leave

When you’re fighting to build your reputation, you should focus on being seen at both ends of the day, not just the evening. You’re young, and you still have loads to learn. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you have nothing to prove just because you are super-highly qualified, because you do have a lot to prove. Mastering your trade and becoming the best comes from outworking your peers.


  1. Spend your money on experiences not on fashionable objects

When life is all said and done, it is the experiences that we are said to remember and value the most. Investing your limited funds in building your memory bank of experiences, whilst capitalising on your youth is a far better investment than the latest fashionable objects. You’ll have the added bonus of becoming a more interesting person too, somebody who ca then network better and make more deeper connections.


  1. Have initiative

Too many of us sat back and waited to be told what to do when we were younger. Instead, take initiate and drive innovation, new ideas and solutions to problems. You have a fresh, less-corrupted thought process when you first enter a job, bringing new ideas. This is a recipe for getting ahead in life, yet too many take the opposite approach, trying to sneak on to the latest social networking site or entertainment portal instead.


Take responsibility for what you do

Have the courage to make mistakes, they are after all expected of you when you are leaning your trade. Growth comes from embracing the errors you make, and vowing to learn from them. Anybody can be excused any mistake – just don’t make it twice.


  1. Don’t resent being pushed – welcome it

Having a pushy, task driving, arsey, sun-of-a-gun of a manager in your formative years is the biggest blessing you could ever have. You’re at a stage of your career where you can be mouldered and shaped into something great. Having a boss who demands excellence, and pushed you to achieve it, can set you up for a stellar career.



  1. A fulfilled career doesn’t come with changing jobs every 12 months

You don’t master your craft in 12 months, so why are you moving on? It paints a picture of somebody who is unwilling to see the job through and not dedicated to becoming a master. When you’re young, you don’t outgrow your company every year, so knuckle down and build a legacy at that organisation – a legacy so strong that when you legitimately do look at your options, that company will pull out all of the stops to keep you. You might then find that you have much stronger options that lead to much quicker financial gains then trying to yo-yo too aggressively.


  1. Company culture means more than flashy perks

All the cool companies do annual company holidays, have a bar in the kitchen or a games table in the staff lounge. Flashy perks are abound in the 21st century workplace, and many of them are great bonuses. However, that’s all they are – bonuses. What really matters is the deeper culture of the company, the culture crafted by the founders of the company and embraced by longer serving staff. Seek companies where you feel like you belong, where you can do your best work and where you can do it with a smile on your face. They are the companies that add real value for you.


  1. Speak up, but don’t bitch

The world is full of behind your back snide remarks and general bitches – you shouldn’t become another statistic. Find your voice and air solutions rather than grumbling about perceived problems. Become the solution, rather than a root cause of the failings and you set yourself on a vertical trajectory that launches you about the menial gossipers.


  1. Business networking isn’t all about numbers

Business networking isn’t Facebook in 2007, when all that mattered was the number next to your friend list. The old saying in business rings true – it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. The ‘who’s come from a quality of connection, rather than a volume of connections alone. One big influences can be worth 100 minnows. Connect with the big guns if you want to become one.

  1. Learn from older mentors

Older mentors are master craftsmen. They can also dramatically shorten your journey to the top. Connect with them and take the time to learn from them. Invite them out to dinner and spend the evening listening. Listening can be an alien concept when you’re a ‘go get’em’ youngster, but this is one surefire way to get ahead of the curve.

  1. Don’t spend everything you earn

Learn to live on 75% or less than what you make, and start building a financial safety net whilst young. Its tempting to think you have all the time in the world, but it won;t be long before you start wanting to by your own place and move on with your life. For many, life changes dramatically during the last half of their twenties. Many meet their life partners, settle down, start planning families and doing all sorts of other things that suddenly require capital. Fortify your defenses and plan whilst young, and be prepared for this.  Some sacrifice whilst young – and whilst best able to make these sacrifices – can pay serious dividends in later life.

  1. Obsess about your reputation

A reputation takes a lifetime to acquire and five minutes to lose. As you progress through your business career, your reputation quickly becomes the most valuable currency that you have. Lose it at your peril, and instead value it, work on it and build it. Many people receive the biggest pay cheques of their career based on their reputation, pay cheques that line your pocket at the stage you will ultimately need them the most – right before retirement. Set yourself up to capitalise on your reputation.

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