We often desire to be accomplished, which means to invent a product, turn a profit or start a business. But what is being successful? One way to look at it is to maintain ethics, principles and self-awareness regardless of how your professional pursuits are going. This seems to be a higher calling, and one that people should strive for as early as possible – in their 20s is the optimal time. There are a host of things that successful people build into their lives early on, and as a result, achieve the success many people long for.
Let’s look at 7 things highly successful people learned early in their journey to help them be highly successful.
7. You will never have it all figured out.
When you were in your teens, and perhaps early 20s, you were sure you would have everything figured out by the time you were 30. As you get closer to 30, you will realize how silly that expectation was. Life is full of twists and turns. Things happen that you never saw coming. It’s part of life. Do not believe your peers have it all figured out, no matter what they say out loud. Everyone this age is still learning.
6. Be humble.
To be humble is to see oneself as whole and human, rather than defined by a few standout achievements or circumstances. If you achieve success and then disconnect, others will perceive you think you are “better” than others. This is very dangerous. You do not want to give the impression you believe you are a higher life form than others.
One way to help maintain humility is to realize you are replaceable at work. Many companies like to portray themselves as families, but at the end of the day that’s just semantics. If your company can no longer afford you or thinks it can invest more wisely in someone else, you’ll be cut from that family pretty easily.
5. You are not entitled to ANYTHING.
Along the same lines as being humble, you must realize nothing is guaranteed. Just because you went to a certain school, come from a certain place or background, or have reached certain objectives, does not mean anything is “owed” to you or must be guaranteed. Nothing is guaranteed, and at any moment you could lose whatever you have accumulated. It goes back to the previous point – maintain your humility.
4. Being right is not the ultimate prize.
Life is not a game show. There is no ultimate prize for always being right. So why try to be “right” every time you open your mouth? People will quickly learn to resent you if whenever a question is raised, you insist that you, and only you, have the answer. The goal should not be to win or be right, but to always strive to do better. Learn to use – and sincerely mean – statements such as “Thank you for your perspective; I will consider that” and “I was wrong; I’m sorry.” Highly successful people understand that the sooner they can acknowledge a mistake, the sooner they can take action to rectify it. Getting past the ego-block of denying wrongdoing not only holds them back further, it looks like a poor display of character.
3. Be vigilant about having sound finances.
If you are a recent college graduate, you probably have tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of dollars of student loans hanging over your head. If you have landed a good-paying job, you will probably get inundated with credit card offers as well. This is the time to establish good financial habits. Prioritize paying off the student loans. If you get a credit card, only charge what you can pay in full at the end of the month. Buy an economy car instead of a luxury car. Invest even more in your retirement fund than the company matches (many recommend putting 10% of your paycheck in this pot). Since you are young, there will be time to indulge in some luxury items down the road. Now is the time to establish a solid financial footing, pay down debt and make sound financial decisions a regular part of your life.
2. Put in the work to build relationships.
If you’re thinking “relationships” means your love life, that’s part of it. There’s also the business application of building a network. Sacrifices and effort are needed as you build your network of business associates and friends as well as potential romantic relationships. The friends you put the effort into staying in touch with are the ones who mean the most to you. Every brilliant inventor, entrepreneur, popular writer and artist in the world has a common skill, and that is to intuit the needs of others. To be able to understand why people behave as they do is imperative to meeting their needs. Rather than interpreting their actions or words on the surface, highly successful people ask why they are doing that.
1. Enjoy yourself
For some in their 20s, it feels like everything is moving so fast that you can’t see what’s going on around you. They get tunnel vision and forget that the 20s are also meant to be enjoyed. These are the young years – full of energy, big dreams with no reason why they can’t become reality. Remember to take time to enjoy yourself and bask in the fact that you are still very much a child in the world. Stop saying you’re getting old. Stop thinking you’re “all grown up.” You’re not. You just got out of tutorial mode (school) and you JUST stared playing the game of life. You have the rest of your life to “be an adult.” There’s no rush.
It seems the pace of life never stops increasing. There always seems to be something new coming around that adds another layer to this complicated thing called life. As this pace continues to quicken, we have to make sure we are grounded with good fundamental practices. Using these principles, you will be well on your way to success – in all the ways success can be defined.