THE INC. LIFE

10 Life Lessons All 20-Somethings Need to Know

The big lessons that will help you live a life without regrets.

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BY Andrew Thomas - 15 May 2017

PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images

Your twenties are the time when you discover who you are and set the stage for who you will become. They are both exciting and challenging. On one hand, you'll never be more free to have fun and pursue whatever excites you. On the other, you're setting the trajectory for your future, both personally and professionally.

The pressure to go in many different directions, coupled with the anxiety that comes from inexperience (and options), can make your twenties tricky to navigate. Here is a list of advice that will help you maximize your twenties while setting the stage for a fulfilling and productive life.

1. Have some fun

Here's what people don't tell you about hustling 24/7: all of the money you make can't buy back the freedom, friendships or spontaneity you gave up to earn it. I know plenty of investment bankers, attorneys and entrepreneurs who would gladly cash in their Porsches for a chance to go back in time and have the experiences they gave up.

2. Invest in meaningful relationships

Success is more about who you know than what you know. Turn your focus on creating meaningful relationships instead of simply accruing contacts. Contacts are superficial. Meaningful relationships, on the other hand, are deep connections in which the other person becomes an advocate for you and actively supports your success.

3. Ignore unsolicited advice

Sometimes older adults feel it is their right or responsibility to tell you what you should do with your life. Though they often mean well, much of this advice is rooted in their own insecurities or self-limiting beliefs. It's often best to ignore it.

4. Discover the magic of "flow"

I define "flow" as the process of setting intentions, putting energy into those intentions and then allowing the results to unfold without trying to control the process. When I learned to trust that things would work out, amazingly, they did, and many times better than I could have imagined.

5. Say "yes" to opportunities

Serendipity favors those who say "yes" to meet-ups, events, trips and meetings, even if there isn't a clear reason for going. I didn't begin doing this until late in my twenties and wish I had started sooner.

6. Hustle

Successful people crush it during their twenties. They meet lots of people and try lots of things before narrowing in on their purpose. Get out there and meet people, go to conferences, learn as much as you can, work hard, start a business, add value, etc. You have the gift of time in your twenties - use it.

7. Get a mentor

A great mentor is a role model who will pour gasoline onto your fire. Find someone whose life, career and character exemplify the vision you have for your own life. Lean on them, learn from them and listen to their advice.

8. Read as much as you can

Your ability to acquire knowledge and learn from others will help you exponentially, so make reading a top priority. Want a great place to start? Here's a list of books that all entrepreneurs should read.

9. Take care of yourself

Your business won't work if you do don't work. Learning to eat right, exercise and meditate have been key to my health and success. The entrepreneurial journey is hard on your body, mind and spirit, so invest in all three, starting now.

10. Travel

While many of my peers regret not traveling more in their twenties, I am very grateful I made it a priority. By the time we started SkyBell (I was 28), I had already visited nearly two dozen countries and lived in China for a year, which meant I could focus on my business without any fear of missing out.

A final word

Professional success, in my experience, is the number of meaningful relationships you have multiplied by how hard you work. Personal success, by contrast, comes from your ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle while living the life that you want (and not the life that others want for you). If you consider these formulas, and heed the aforementioned advice, you can build the sort of habits that lead to a more satisfying life - no matter your age.