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If You’re In Your 20s, Having Savings Shouldn’t Be Your Only Concern

If You’re In Your 20s, Having Savings Shouldn’t Be Your Only Concern

The consumerist world we live in seems to have turned us into money making robots with ever-increasing desire to earn more only to spend more. A growing number of twenty-somethings have fallen victim to this vicious circle of making earning their top priority.

What happened to the fun-seeking, experience-hunting, and self-realization twenties? People in their twenties seem much more concerned about their savings, pressuring themselves to act more grown-up than they actually are. Therefore they seem to settle for mediocre jobs and relationships in order to play by the rules and strictly follow pre-made life paths. True – bills, rent and college debt won’t pay itself, but what you do with the rest of your paycheck, is what makes all the difference.

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People who spend money on experiences are happier

Whenever you are facing the latest version of a smartphone or a trip with your friends dilemma, make sure to pick the experience purchase, suggests Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychologist, in the study “A Wonderful Life: Experiential Consumption and the Pursuit of Happiness,” published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology. He presents his findings from a research where he compared the effects of products to experience purchase on human happiness. The results show that people who collect experiences instead of things, show much bigger and longer-lasting signs of contentedness.

When you spend time and money doing things or going places with other people in your life, you get a chance to enjoy sharing your experiences with others. This way you enrich your life, and apart from learning new skills and discovering new places, you learn a lot about yourself and others, and get valuable life lessons no gadget in the world, no matter how advanced, can teach you.

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Growing older, the excitement of buying the latest smartphone, TV or a car will be long forgotten, but moments you shared on your trips or events with your friends and family will be vivid in your memory, even the bad ones, Gilovich finds out,  “Even those concerts, theatrical performances, or vacations that do not turn out as planned are quickly rationalized (“It brought us closer to together,” “You only find out what someone is really like when things go awry”) and made peace with.”

The hype around the must haves of the season can turn you into a mindless consumer, if you don’t pay attention. Material things can help you feel good in a short run, while the skills you learn, experiences you share with your closest friends, and places you visit make you an altogether happier, smarter, more mindful and open-minded person. As Gilovich concludes “it is the experience that lives on and the possession that fades away.”

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We are our greatest assets

In an effort to always earn more and spend more, young people seem to have adopted a certain consumerist mindset when it doesn’t matter how you feel, as long as it can help feed the consumer beast, so to speak. Hence, the prevailing dissatisfaction with and feeling of being trapped in unfulfilling job positions, which creates the need to spend more in order to feel better – a vicious cycle hard to get away from. Sure, you want to escape the mediocre job, yet the material security it provides, makes it seem impossible. So, most people decide to settle for the security of a regular paycheck, never really utilizing their true potential, with their skills and values gradually declining.

However, if they dare to take one small step towards a different direction, circumstances can change dramatically in the long run. By investing a little bit of their time, at first, in cultivating their talents and skills, they are investing in their future of doing the work they are truly passionate about. Gradually, the transition to a much more desired position can happen, providing them with more time, money and more-purposeful work. Their whole outlook on life changes once they discover the best outlet for their talents. Realizing that you don’t need to settle in your twenties, but to find the time and funds to discover your passion, is a great way to prioritize and to invest in your future.

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Building the right foundations

Another reason to not obsess about savings in your twenties is to create the right mindset that will make your life much more enjoyable. Our twenties seem so challenging simply because it is the time when we make the most mistakes trying to reach maturity and self-realization. The lessons we learn now, influence our future belief system to a great extent. By discovering early in life not to compromise your time and happiness for material rewards, you avoid spending a lifetime blindly chasing the wrong values.

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Ana Erkic

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

For the original article by Celestine: 13 Helping Points When Things Don’t Go Your Way

“We all have problems. The way we solve them is what makes us different.” ~Unknown

“It’s not stress that kills us, it is our reaction to it.” – Hans Selye

Have you ever experienced moments when things just don’t go your way? For example, losing your keys, accidentally spilling your drink, waking up late, missing your buses/trains, forgetting to bring your things, and so on?

You’re not alone. All of us, myself included, experience times when things don’t go as we expect.

Here is my guide on how to deal with daily setbacks.

1. Take a step back and evaluate

When something bad happens, take a step back and evaluate the situation. Some questions to ask yourself:

  1. What is the problem?
  2. Are you the only person facing this problem in the world today?
  3. How does this problem look like at an individual level? A national level? On a global scale?
  4. What’s the worst possible thing that can happen to you as a result of this?
  5. How is it going to impact your life in the next 1 year? 5 years? 10 years?

Doing this exercise is not to undermine the problem or disclaiming responsibility, but to consider different perspectives, so you can adopt the best approach for it. Most problems we encounter daily may seem like huge issues when they crop up, but most, if not all, don’t have much impact in our life beyond that day.

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2. Vent if you have to, but don’t linger on the problem

If you feel very frustrated and need to let off some steam, go ahead and do that. Talk to a friend, complain, crib about it, or scream at the top of your lungs if it makes you happy.

At the same time, don’t get caught up with venting. While venting may temporarily relieve yourself, it’s not going to solve the problem ultimately. You don’t want to be an energy vampire.

Vent if there’s a need to, but do it for 15 to 20 minutes. Then move on.

3. Realize there are others out there facing this too

Even though the situation may be frustrating, you’re not alone. Remember there are almost 7 billion people in the world today, and chances are that other people have faced the same thing before too. Knowing it’s not just you helps you to get out of a self-victimizing mindset.

4. Process your thoughts/emotions

Process your thoughts/emotions with any of the four methods:

  1. Journal. Write your unhappiness in a private diary or in your blog. It doesn’t have to be formal at all – it can be a brain dump on rough paper or new word document. Delete after you are done.
  2. Audio taping. Record yourself as you talk out what’s on your mind. Tools include tape recorder, your PC (Audacity is a freeware for recording/editing audio) and your mobile (most mobiles today have audio recording functions). You can even use your voice mail for this. Just talking helps you to gain awareness of your emotions. After recording, play back and listen to what you said. You might find it quite revealing.
  3. Meditation. At its simplest form, meditation is just sitting/lying still and observing your reality as it is – including your thoughts and emotions. Some think that it involves some complex mambo-jumbo, but it doesn’t.
  4. Talking to someone. Talking about it with someone helps you work through the issue. It also gets you an alternate viewpoint and consider it from a different angle.

5. Acknowledge your thoughts

Don’t resist your thoughts, but acknowledge them. This includes both positive and negative thoughts.

By acknowledging, I mean recognizing these thoughts exist. So if say, you have a thought that says, “Wow, I’m so stupid!”, acknowledge that. If you have a thought that says, “I can’t believe this is happening to me again”, acknowledge that as well.

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Know that acknowledging the thoughts doesn’t mean you agree with them. It’s simply recognizing the existence of said thoughts so that you can stop resisting yourself and focus on the situation on hand.

6. Give yourself a break

If you’re very stressed out by the situation, and the problem is not time sensitive, then give yourself a break. Take a walk, listen to some music, watch a movie, or get some sleep. When you’re done, you should feel a lot more revitalized to deal with the situation.

7. Uncover what you’re really upset about

A lot of times, the anger we feel isn’t about the world. You may start off feeling angry at someone or something, but at the depth of it, it’s anger toward yourself.

Uncover the root of your anger. I have written a five part anger management series on how to permanently overcome anger.

After that, ask yourself: How can you improve the situation? Go to Step #9, where you define your actionable steps. Our anger comes from not having control on the situation. Sitting there and feeling infuriated is not going to change the situation. The more action we take, the more we will regain control over the situation, the better we will feel.

8. See this as an obstacle to be overcome

As Helen Keller once said,

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experiences of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired and success achieved.”

Whatever you’re facing right now, see it as an obstacle to be overcome. In every worthy endeavor, there’ll always be countless obstacles that emerge along the way. These obstacles are what separate the people who make it, and those who don’t. If you’re able to push through and overcome them, you’ll emerge a stronger person than before. It’ll be harder for anything to get you down in the future.

9. Analyze the situation – Focus on actionable steps

In every setback, there are going to be things that can’t be reversed since they have already occurred. You want to focus on things that can still be changed (salvageable) vs. things that have already happened and can’t be changed. The only time the situation changes is when you take steps to improve it. Rather than cry over spilt milk, work through your situation:

  1. What’s the situation?
  2. What’s stressing you about this situation?
  3. What are the next steps that’ll help you resolve them?
  4. Take action on your next steps!

After you have identified your next steps, act on them. The key here is to focus on the actionable steps, not the inactionable steps. It’s about regaining control over the situation through direct action.

10. Identify how it occurred (so it won’t occur again next time)

A lot of times we react to our problems. The problem occurs, and we try to make the best out of what has happened within the context. While developing a healthy coping mechanism is important (which is what the other helping points are on), it’s also equally important, if not more, to understand how the problem arose. This way, you can work on preventing it from taking place next time, vs. dealing reactively with it.

Most of us probably think the problem is outside of our control, but reality is most of the times it’s fully preventable. It’s just a matter of how much responsibility you take over the problem.

For example, for someone who can’t get a cab for work in the morning, he/she may see the problem as a lack of cabs in the country, or bad luck. However, if you trace to the root of the problem, it’s probably more to do with (a) Having unrealistic expectations of the length of time to get a cab. He/she should budget more time for waiting for a cab next time. (b) Oversleeping, because he/she was too tired from working late the previous day. He/she should allocate enough time for rest next time. He/she should also pick up better time management skills, so as to finish work in lesser time.

11. Realize the situation can be a lot worse

No matter how bad the situation is, it can always be much worse. A plus point vs. negative point analysis will help you realize that.

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12. Do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it

No matter how bad your situation may seem, do your best, but don’t kill yourself over it. Life is too beautiful to worry so much over daily issues. Take a step back (#1), give yourself a break if you need to (#6), and do what you can within your means (#9). Everything else will unfold accordingly. Worrying too much about the outcome isn’t going to change things or make your life any better.

13. Pick out the learning points from the encounter

There’s something to learn from every encounter. What have you learned from this situation? What lessons have you taken away?

After you identify your learning points, think about how you’re going to apply them moving forward. With this, you’ve clearly gained something from this encounter. You’ve walked away a stronger, wiser, better person, with more life lessons to draw from in the future.

Get the manifesto version of this article: [Manifesto] What To Do When Things Don’t Go Your Way

Featured photo credit: Alice Donovan Rouse via unsplash.com

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