You are in charge of your own life, and it shouldn't take twenty years to know and recognize that. I don't know much, but after a lot of self-reflection and reading for pleasure, I feel that I know more than I ever have.
1. Having expectations is different from having goals.
You can have all the expectations in the world, and nine times out of ten they will leave you disappointed. Setting goals for yourself is important, but remembering that there are going to be really good days along with extraordinarily bad days is more important. You can't filter your actual life like you can on Instagram.
2. Never let your own happiness rest in the hands of anyone but yourself.
Boys, friendships, family members... it doesn't matter who it is. Make a conscious effort everyday to find happiness in your self and your worth. Surround yourself with good people, and treat yourself better. You are who you hang out with.
3. Know the difference between strong ties, weak ties, and all that is between.
I have been reading a book recently for a class called, "The Defining Decade." It is a fantastic read, and I highly recommend it to anyone in or venturing into their twenties. The book introduces readers to the concept of strong and weak ties. Your strong ties are essentially your inner circle, and the weak ties are the people that you don't necessarily associate with regularly but that you have met in passing.
The author argues that our weak ties are the most important when it comes to getting us further in the sense that they get us out of our comfort zone. Not to mention, your weak ties will be most significant when it comes to networking and other opportunities.
The other concept that she mentions is "weakness in strong ties." When our strong ties fall short, they can hold us back in ways that can be detrimental to our growth as individuals. Rather than surrounding yourself with the same people all the time, branch out and get to know your weak ties.
4. Say YES more.
How many times have you said no to something that you wanted to say yes to? If you are anything like myself, you can't even count on two hands. Unfortunately, we let ourselves get in our own way constantly.
We let things like our self perception and insecurities get in the way of so much.
This brings me to another question, how many times have you gone to something you did not want to, but had a blast?
It is always the nights where your expectations are low that will leave you the most pleasantly surprised. If you have an opportunity to go do something, go do it. You never know where it might take you.
5. Do your homework.
The only thing you can do in the competitive career seeking climate we are in is sell yourself by doing your homework. Know your worth, but don't overestimate your own abilities. Someone is always going to expect more than what you expect of yourself.
6. Put the phone away.
Leave your phone at home for a night out, or have a friend leave it in their bag. There's so much we have been missing. Delete Snapchat for a few days, see who goes out of their way to contact you.
7. People will constantly disappoint you.
For lack of better words, people suck. You can't count on anything or anyone, and the sooner you realize that, the better prepared you will be.
8. Wash your face.
Wash your face after every night out. This one really seems trivial, but you'll thank me later.
9. Be present.
How many times do you think to yourself, "Man I wish I could go back to age _____!" It does not matter what age it was, but with age comes nostalgia. We spend our whole lives waiting for the next best thing. "Maybe by 20," is going to turn into, "Maybe by 30... or 40," before you know it. Time is our most precious gift, stop abusing it.
10. Things come to you when you stop looking for them.
The second you start doing things for yourself, you attract your tribe. Things start happening that you thought never would. Looking for Mr. Right? You'll never find him walking in the same direction you have always gone. Branch out, and don't plan around anything but your own goals.
11. Take criticism and run with it.
Rather than focusing on what people say about you, divert your attention to what you know about you.
Words sting no matter who they're coming from. Use criticism as your weapon to better yourself in ways you never knew you could or needed to.
12. If you love someone, let them know.
It doesn't matter who it is or what ground you stand on.
If you never tell someone how you feel, chances are you'll never know.
Don't do it for anyone but yourself. Whether you want to take a shot at something, or get the closure that you need, don't hesitate to put yourself out there. It's always worth it in the end.
13. Make your own luck.
This was another huge point from "The Defining Decade," that impacted me for the better. I'd be doing everyone a disservice by not sharing. Stop waiting on things to find you or happiness to come down with the rain. Go outside, try new things, and make your own luck. Talk to your weak ties, and stop closing yourself off to opportunity.
14. Take the time to figure out what you like and what you don't.
Now is the time that you have to be selfish, and there aren't going to be many times like that in your life that you can dedicate to your own interest and self-soothing. Take advantage of it while you can.
15. There is a difference between being healthy and counting every calorie.
Don't limit yourself. If you are hungry, eat. So often, you see girls, specifically, limiting portions to the extent that they end up starving. Find what works for you and do that.
16. Don't make excuses for anyone, including yourself.
If they want to, they will. This is the foundation of people, and no one deserves to be someone's excuse. Don't put up with shit. You deserve more than you think.
17. Some days you have to fake it, 'til you make it.
Not everyone is confident all the time. It is a facade, but if you present yourself in a way that people can perceive confidence, you have no idea how far it will take you.
18. Network, network, network.
Treat every conversation you have like an interview. Make good impressions, and have fun in the meantime. You never know who you might meet and where it might lead.
19. Expose yourself to ideas outside your own.
Read, speak, and engage with material outside of your own background. It ultimately makes you more knowledgable, and people feel more inclined to listen when you are speaking not only your own language but also theirs. Whether it is politics, lifestyle, etc. People love someone that can see both sides whether you agree with them or not.
20. Last but not least, love the shit out of yourself.
Cliche, and easier said than done--I know. However, I mean it when I say it. Do whatever you have to do to get there. Whether it is telling yourself multiple times or getting that morning run in, find ways to look at yourself in the most positive light. You'll thank me later.
I don't have anything figured out, but these things have changed the way that I see life and value my own self image. Spread some love, but don't leave yourself out.