10 things I wish I were told before I got into my 30's
I was in a conversation with a fellow the other day talking about life, politics, society and everything else under the sun. Given the fact the fellow was considerably older than me I asked him “If you could go back in time to your 30’s what would you do differently”. He thought for a moment and then replied: “I wish I would have listened to the useful advice told to me before I turned 30”.
I ruminated over his answer and said to myself “What advice do I wish I was told before I was 30”. After a few hours, I came up with this list. I think it might be of use to you so please enjoy The ten things I wish I were told before I got into my 30's:
#1. Safe is Risky.
Gone are the days when you could work a job and be there forever. Not saying that employment is terrible, but working for a place that doesn’t respect you and expecting their loyalty is no good. The company is always loyal to their bottom line. And Human Resources is an expense that undergoes scrutiny.
You hear countless stories of people being laid off. It is the nature of the business, years of personal investment in a company then one day you are gone.
Now what remains is a hollow feeling and constant thoughts of wishing you would have made more investment into yourself than on the job. Yes, I have been there before.
The most significant risk is not taking any. In a world that’s changing quickly, the only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking chances.
With this said there has never been a better time to create your opportunities. We have an abundance of different options to make a living and build a life we want.
Should you choose employment at a company, that is fine just keep in mind to develop yourself daily. Take more responsibility, take the risk, take those chances. You have absolutely nothing to lose.
#2. Don’t waste time agonizing over minor choices.
When there is too much choice, it becomes difficult to choose at all.
I remember before I went to college I wanted to be in at least twenty different careers. I saw a few that were interesting, but waited too long to choose and almost missed my enrolment.
So I ended up taking Business Administration because that major still had spaces left. Funny enough that was the first one I was interested in but passed it to keep looking for more.
Throughout my 20’s I continued the pattern of agonizing over minor choices. From choosing an outfit or which place I should go to eat. Giving up precious time, on decisions so trivial in the long run.
Nowadays I utilize a simple strategy to make quick decisions. I learned this tactic from a book “Paradox of Choice” by Barry Schwartz.
“At restaurants, close the menu after you find the one dish that you like.”
Simple logic, right! When I read that, I decided to apply that to many areas of my life. When you come across something you like — go with it. Instead of spending time searching and trying to decide from your options.
#3. When you finally conclude, don’t worry about what others say.
How many regrets we cast in the subconscious for going against our gut instinct.
I saw this a lot in the Oil and gas industry. I remember an incident where a Journeyman pipefitter I knew opened the wrong pipeline causing a minor spill. Thankfully this fellow did not get himself or his apprentice killed.
Upon investigation, the facts showed that his apprentice, who was assisting him, informed him not to open that pipeline, as the blueprints indicated it might be the wrong one. The apprentice had a strong feeling that it was the wrong line, but figured since the Journeyman had more experience that he knew what he was doing.
Nevertheless the line had pressure in it. Fortunately, it was only a utility water line. Had that been a steam or sour gas line those guys would have been dead. The apprentice said he wishes he was more forceful in telling his Journeyman. I know that well because I was that apprentice.
Sometimes we tend to think others know much more than us, so we underestimate ourselves and rely on them more.
After your careful deliberation with the best info you have, don’t worry about what others say or hurt feelings — Just go with what you feel is right.
#4. Do things that scare you daily.
Not super wild things like driving the wrong lane on a highway, but things that give you courage.
Networking is a thing that terrifies lots of people. Public speaking is another. Writing, blogging or starting a business, you name it. The benefits of doing these things outweigh fears you get doing them.
Being able not to let fear consume me would have given me a lot more advantages in my 20’s. There were tons of things I was fearful of and yet haven’t had the foresight to do them anyway.
Doing things that scare you makes you more confident. If you are insecure, here is an exciting revelation, The rest of the world is, too. Everyone is uncertain about something. The key is chipping away at the things that scare you so as you don’t let it consume your life.
Do not overestimate the others and underestimate yourself. You are much better than you think.” Most people never put themselves in demanding situations — situations that humble and scare them, thereby building up their confidence muscles. Obviously, me included.
#5. Don’t feel guilty if you still don’t know what to do with your life yet.
The other day was in a conversation with a 70-year-old man in line at the grocery store. The man informed me that it was when he was 64 years old that he finally figured what he wanted to do with his life. Intrigued I asked him “What was that?” He said, “To retire at 65”. This made me realize not be too hard on myself as I was.
Not knowing your purpose or what you want to do with your life can be worrisome.
There is a relevant book on this age-old question called “What should I do with my life” by Po Bronson. Bronson spent two years researching and interviewing more than 900 people pondered the same question.
After his findings, he realized a lot of people hadn’t found their purpose yet. They went along with what they thought their parents and society wanted them to do. As time passed the subjects in the book made hard decisions and gave up careers, lifestyles, and associations to give themselves reasons to get up every morning, and maybe to find true happiness.
Point being you are not the only one who doesn’t have a clue so don’t berate yourself or the choices you make.
Your choices are half chance anyway.
#6. Don’t expect anyone to support you.
Sometimes you have to practice self-reliance well, a lot of times. Of course, you need help with many things, but when you expect support, it will become an issue.
We lean on family and friend way too much than needed. We put a lot of faith in what others say and get mad when they let us down.
At the end of the day when all’s said and done, it is a lot more said than there is done. People who believe in and dedicate themselves to personal responsibility control their destiny.
Ironically once you strive to be self-reliant, enough people will jump in to help you anyway.
#7. Learn a trade.
I was never mechanically inclined as a kid. I used to draw but not create pieces by hand. I believe learning to use your hands is a fantastic asset. It has paid off well for me. I wish I would have learned it in my 20s. I probably would have had two additional trade tickets.
Learning with your hands teaches you profound hand, eye coordination. You even start to solve problems differently.
To master building skills, you will never be out of work. There is always something that needs to be built, fixed or maintained.
Also, you can help many people with your building skills. A great example of this is habitat for humanity — skilled handyman utilizing their talent to build houses for those in need.
#8. Be yourself.
Everybody else is taken. The odds of you being alive were slim; you beat out a lot of competition to be conceived. With that said, we spend a lot of our early life fitting in and emulating others when we should accept who we are and stand out more.
It is funny that it takes getting older to realize this.
Don’t be afraid to embarrass yourself publicly, to be awkward. Be authentic to yourself. People are going to yap about you anyway. So it’s best to be yourself.
#9. Be present.
“A man’s life is what his thoughts make of it” — Marcus Aurelius.
Too much time daydreaming of the future could get you nowhere because you are missing out of the beauty of now.
One of the best pieces of wisdom I have heard was in a book called “Shortness of life” by Seneca In which he states:
“The present is short.
The future is doubtful.
And the past is certain.”
The past is always plentiful. There is no promise of your future because you can die tomorrow. And the present moments are fleeting as every second goes.
Be here now you won’t miss out.
#10. Do right by your money.
I wish I were told this one when I was younger. We never spoke about money when I was a kid. I never got taught the right things about finance. Only when got older was I more prudent about money. Financial education is a lesson I will not fail my kids on.
The basis of our system relies on money. As the adage goes “Money is the root of all evil,” However, I agree more with a different saying stating “The absence of money is the root of all evil.”
The sooner you learn to:
-Save a portion of what you earn for yourself.
-Not get into debt.
-Invest your money
-Understand taxation, and what benefits you can get in the tax bracket you are in
Then the better off you will be. Especially before you get into your 30’s.
Hope you enjoyed. Please feel free to share.
As always continue to be great.