Advice To 20 Year Old Me – 10 Things I’d Tell Myself!

1. Education

Education is hugely important, but don’t let it define you. Who, at 20 knows exactly what they want to do in life? Very few. Just because you have a degree in Economics doesn’t mean you need to become an economist! You can alter your educational path if your gut is telling you it’s not right for you and it is much easier to do that at 20 than 30.

2. Training/Development

Never stop learning. Step outside your comfort zone and try new things. Learn about things that are related to your topics of interest. You have a lot of spare time. Get off the playstation, turn off the TV, and do something that will add some value to your life. Procrastinating by watching hours of re-runs of Friends isn’t going to help you! Read a book, travel and experience new cultures, try learning a language or learn a musical instrument.

3. Interpersonal skills

Don’t try too hard to be the funniest, smartest, wittiest person in the room, it’s not a good look. When friends, colleagues or family members lash out and it is out of character, it can often mean that they have things going on in the background. How you react to it, is what’s important. Be empathetic and put yourself in their shoes. Trust the good in people and always give the benefit of doubt. Listen to people and hear what they have to say, don’t just wait for your turn to speak.

4. Money

Don’t worry too much about money. It is a struggle at this time of your life, but unless you win the lottery it’s generally unavoidable! On the bright side, you have fewer responsibilities. Spend your money on experiences and not just things. Buy quality once, not poor often. Get into the habit of saving, even if it’s only a little a month. Start cosying up to that rich aunt!

5. Being Decisive

Sometimes decisions need to be made using deep and considered thought, but these are the exception and usually decisions which carry significant importance. Do not fear making the wrong decision. Most of the time making a quick decision which is good enough, is better than a perfect decision which has taken a long time.

6. Long Term/Short Term View

Don’t Panic! Don’t expect success overnight. Make short and long term goals and don’t be afraid to make some sizeable. Of course, it’s important to think of the future but not at the expense of the present. Enjoy the moment.

7. Failure

If you can say with complete and total self-honesty that you did your absolute best with the tools you had available then you haven’t failed in my definition of the word. Sometimes you can do everything right and things just don’t work out. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and learn a valuable lesson.

8. Making mistakes

Keep making them. Sometimes the biggest moments of epiphany in life are learned from making mistakes. There is often no direct route to goal success, even with the best plan you can possibly set you will meander through many mistakes and that’s ok.

9. Taking Accountability

Always be accountable for your own actions and decisions that you make. It doesn’t matter how hard you try to blame others, you are the architect of your present situation and future direction in life. If things aren’t going your way, focus on what you can do about it, not worrying about what’s going to go wrong next. If you mess up, fess up – people lose respect for those to refuse to hold themselves accountable.

10. Mental Health

Try not to worry about other people think of you, as Regina Brett said, “What other people think of you is none of your business”, besides, they’re probably caught in thought about what you think about them! Get comfortable in your own skin. It’s ok to feel down sometimes, and if things are getting too much, talk to a professional or someone you trust and can speak to in confidence. It is nothing to be ashamed of. Stay in touch with your close friends and family and surround yourself with those who lift you up, not put you down. Don’t compare yourself with what you see on social media! It is merely a highlight reel and projection of how people wish themselves to be seen. You’ll delete your Facebook in a few years anyway, trust me!

Larry McCowen
Managing Partner
Quest Recruitment