When we are young we think we know it all.
We have our whole lives ahead of us, and the exuberance and energy to go after what we want.
But our 20s can also be a time of great insecurity.
We are hungry and ambitious but lack the experience to know how to calculate risk properly, follow our gut or learn from our mistakes.
Put simply: we don’t have enough runs on the board to make fully formed decisions.
But what if you could have a conversation with your bright-eyed, 20-something self?
If you could have given he or she some wisdom from the future what would it be?
What would you warn them against or encourage them to do more of?
While you think about this for a moment, let me tell you what I would say to my 20-something self.
1. LOOK AFTER YOURSELF
You know you have to work hard to achieve everything you want in life and this is a great thing.
But go easy on the bad food and start exercising now.
While your health is resilient in your 20s, the habits you adopt now will set you up for life.
It will be a lot harder to try and get fit in your 40s after a good couple of decades of irregular exercise so start early.
You will also find the physical benefits of exercise flow on to your emotional state, too, and you will be sharper, more focused and have more energy if you can workout three or four times a week.
2. TAKE RISKS
We are constantly taught as children to avoid risk-taking.
But very rarely are we told by authority figures to simply “go for it”.
Now, I am not talking about reckless risks, but I suggesting not letting your fear stop you from taking calculated ones.
Most people strive to achieve security in life, but there is no such thing — especially in today’s insecure jobs market.
Risk and insecurity are a part of life, in fact, it’s what gives life its richness.
Many people would like to avoid risk at all costs, but they will never grow this way.
You need to learn when it is time to jump into a new venture and challenge yourself.
What is the worst that can happen?
You are in your 20s, remember, and have plenty of time to recover if you fail financially.
3. LEARN, LEARN AND LEARN
There’s no need to reinvent the wheel.
There will be lots of people around you that are older and wiser than you.
Make sure you learn from them.
Ask them questions, study how they work, try and find out what they’ve learned from their mistakes.
Find someone you want to be like 20 years from now and make them your mentor.
Don’t be shy about doing this as we all need to learn from someone and the best in the business realise this.
4. CHOOSE YOUR FRIENDS
Many of us don’t actively choose the people we spend time with, they just sort of become our friends.
Often these are old friends from childhood who we may or may not have anything in common with anymore, but we see regularly nevertheless out of habit.
But we should be careful about who we surround ourselves with because their approach to life and their ambitions (or lack thereof) rub off on us.
We are far more likely to chase our goals if we are surrounded by like-minded friends who are successful and motivated.
Which brings me to the importance of staying motivated…
5. MOTIVATE YOURSELF
As I write in my book, Michael Yardney’s Guide to Getting Rich, laziness is one of the common barriers to wealth.
There are many others, of course, but this is a big one.
In your 20s, you may be tempted to take it a bit easy, spend all of what you earn and not plan for the future.
Now most of us wants to be rich, but they would just rather buy a Lotto ticket and hope against terrible odds that their fortune will find them.
This almost never happens.
If you truly want to become rich then you are going to have to put in hours upon hours of sustained hard work.
You’re going to have to work hard for many years so that one day you won’t have to work hard any more
This means finding what motivates you to work hard and never losing sight of it.
6. MAKE INVESTING A PRIORITY
At some point in your 20s, you will start earning a decent wage and will have more money to spend than you know what to do with it.
My advice is to put at least 10 per cent (and preferably 20%) and save and then invest for your future.
Many people earn a decent wage for forty years, yet still retire poor.
This is because they were never taught the importance of saving for something other than a holiday or a luxury item.
Start saving for your future self and make investing a priority.
And, trust me, when you get to my age, the above rules will no longer seem like rules.
They will be a godsend.
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