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Every 20-Something, Be Careful! 7 Beliefs Held By You Aren’t True

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Every 20-Something, Be Careful! 7 Beliefs Held By You Aren’t True

Now that I’m about a month and a half into my thirties, I I truly feel like I know everything there is to know about life.

Okay, that’s not true in the slightest. Ironically, as I get older, I realize I know much less about the world than I thought I did the previous year. While a person’s twenties are full of “firsts” in the adult world, there’s still so much to learn about the world, and life in general. If I could go back to my 19-year-old self and prepare him for what’s to come, I would have started by letting him know the following notions simply are not true:

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1. Everyone has to like you

Maybe it comes from a youthful sense of entitlement, but many 20-somethings feel as if everyone has to like them. Which is incredibly ironic, because they just graduated from high school a few years ago, a place and time in which nobody really liked anybody. All kidding aside, if you live your life trying to please everyone and make them approve of you, you’ll drive yourself nuts. It might be hard to believe, but some people might actually not like you. But that’s okay. The only thing you can do about it is be as nice as you can to everyone you meet. If someone treats you like garbage in spite of all the nice things you’ve done for them, that’s only a reflection on them. If you react negatively to their detrimental behavior, that’s on you.

2. Your mistakes will ruin you

Life in general is just one learning experience after another. Everybody makes mistakes. Making a mistake in life is okay, as long as you learn from it and improve upon yourself. If you continue to make the same mistake time and again, they stop being mistakes, and start defining who you are. The saying goes, “It’s never too late to change.” While that is true, there are consequences that come with waiting too long. If you find you’ve started to stray from the path you know you should be on, make the adjustments right away before it becomes to difficult to right the wrongs you’ve made in life.

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3. Good college grades will lead to success

Here’s a joke for you: What do you call the person who finished last in med school? Doctor! When you get into the real world, nobody will care that you had the highest GPA in your graduating class. Your employers will only care about how you plan on putting your knowledge into action in order to help their company. I’m not saying you shouldn’t focus on your studies in college; I’m saying you should focus on actually learning and not just “making the grade.” Once you’re out of school, those letters on your transcript become meaningless. Your work, networking, and life skills are what will get you far in life.

4. Getting rejected after a job interview means you failed

Not getting a call back after an interview can be incredibly disheartening. You spent so much time researching the company, the position you were interviewing for, and the questions you knew they’d ask. You thought you nailed it. But you didn’t even make it past the initial round of callbacks. It hurts. But it doesn’t mean you’re not good enough for the job, or that you’re a complete failure. Look at the interview as a learning experience. Think of the times you weren’t sure of an answer, or ways you could have been better prepared to begin with. Keep these shortcomings in mind and focus on strengthening them the next time you get invited in for an interview. Also, be sure to keep yourself on the radar of any company that passed you over; you never know when another position will open up and you’ll get a second shot.

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5. Your health can wait

When you’re young, you feel like you can skip the healthy breakfasts, stay out all night partying, and hit the gym only when the mood strikes you. As you get older, you’ll see these decisions catching up with you almost immediately. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle today reduces your risk of serious illness and disease later in life. You should start a healthy gym routine in your twenties, and carry it with you throughout the rest of your life. Living healthy at forty will be a lot easier if you’ve been living healthy for the past twenty years. Getting healthy when your forty is a whole different story.

6. You need to know what you want to do with your life

Most adults I know have had at least two different long-term careers since their twenties. With the world constantly evolving as it is, experts say this trend will continue to the point that some of us will change careers every decade or so. And really, what’s wrong with that? I’m definitely not the same person I was ten years ago. At 21, I didn’t have a wife, still lived at home while working and going to school, and thought I would be on a completely different path than I’m on now. At 30, my main focus is on starting a family. My career is no longer the main focus of my life, and I’m perfectly fine with that. It’s okay to switch it up if you’re unhappy. As Led Zeppelin famously said, “There’s still time to change the road you’re on.”

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7. You need to be in complete control in your life

I’m not saying you shouldn’t have a five-year plan, or should just drift through life without a care in the world. But you can’t control everything. Things will happen that will derail your plans, and when they do you’ll either have to get back on track, or start down a new path. Learn to be okay with such organized chaos. Be flexible when plans change. It’s the people who shut down when things go wrong that fall short of being where they want to be. Trust yourself that you can navigate your life to the best of your ability, along the smooth roads and the bumpy.

Featured photo credit: Flickrr via farm9.staticflickr.com

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Matt Duczeminski

A passionate writer who shares lifestlye tips on Lifehack

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Last Updated on November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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