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15 Things Everyone Should Avoid In Their 30s

15 Things Everyone Should Avoid In Their 30s

Let’s face it, we all grow old.

It’s become almost cliché that once you reach the end of your third decade you start to let yourself go. Assuming their best days are behind them, people over 30 start gaining weight, giving up on dreams, and losing an overall passion for life.

It doesn’t have to be that way.

Just because your body is growing older doesn’t mean you can’t live an amazing life into your 30s and beyond. If you eliminate bad habits and negative influences, life can still be great even after your glorious younger years.

This post is dedicated to identifying these habits and correcting them for a better outlook on life.

1. Avoid Thinking You Have It All Figured Out

Modern education has trapped us into thinking learning only takes place during school. Just because you finished high school and maybe have a college degree doesn’t mean you’re done learning about the world around you. There’s an endless amount of information and no matter how hard you try you’ll never consume it all. You don’t know everything, and that’s okay. The unknown is what keeps us exploring and experiencing new things every day.

2. Avoid Working A Job You Hate

It doesn’t matter how much money you make, what benefits you have, or how many years you’ve been working at the same place: if you hate your job, nothing will save you from your misery. This doesn’t mean quit right away, but the worst thing you could do at 30 is realize you hate your job only to find yourself still working there when you hit 40. It’s okay to change jobs or even careers. It’s much better long term to take less money for a job you love and enjoy than to torture yourself for a bigger paycheck.

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3.  Avoid Couch Potato Syndrome

Between desk jobs, binge watching TV, and overall laziness, we spend a lot of time sitting down. As we grow past our 20s our metabolism becomes dramatically less effective, making it harder to stay in shape. Whether you’re still below the 30 mark or well beyond, the best thing you can do is to start taking care of yourself now. It’s easy to make excuses for not wanting to get in shape, but when you’re overweight and out of breath after a trip up the stairs remember you have no one to blame but yourself.

4.  Avoid Giving Up On Your Dreams

Just because you’ve surpassed the third decade doesn’t mean you’re too old to turn your dreams into reality. A common misconception is that only young people have unlimited potential to create something amazing that truly changes the world. The truth is plenty of people over 30 are changing the world everyday. Colonel Sanders was over 60 years old when he started Kentucky Fried Chicken. Stan Lee, creator of Marvel, didn’t start writing comics until almost 40.

Age brings experience and wisdom, which gives you all the more reason to go after your dreams and do what you’ve always wanted.

5.  Avoid Distancing Yourself From Friends & Family

As the years pass it seems inevitable that we fall out of touch with family as phone calls and reunions happen less every year. If you’re 30 now, your parents are probably in their 50s or 60s.  Life can be taken at any moment, and one of the worst regrets people have is not spending enough time with their family before it’s too late. The only way to change this is to be the one who keeps in touch. Be that annoying friend that gets everyone back together and talks to everyone in the family. People will remember you for that, and they’ll admire what you do.

6.  Avoid Thinking Your Best Years Are Behind You

If your 20s were like most, you probably spent the decade partying with your friends, staying up late, and job hopping until you found one that paid you enough to at least pretend you liked working there. Yet somehow we trick ourselves into thinking that after our 20s our best years have passed and it’s going to be a boring ride the rest of the way.

The only place this holds true is in your mind.  If you believe your best years have came and went, it will be that way. But if you focus your attention on seizing each moment, there’s little doubt your most triumphant days are ahead of you.

Keep your eyes on the future, that’s where true glory lies.

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7.  Avoid Spending Beyond Your Means

Financial advisers suggest to retire by 65 you need to start saving by 25.  Obviously this depends on a lot of factors, but the best way to guarantee you never save money is by living beyond your means. We thrive on instant gratification in a material world, buying things that make us feel better momentarily only to leave ourselves upset at our purchase later.

In your 20s, it’s simple pleasures like shopping or a night of drinking, but at 30 purchases turn into bigger financial holes like leasing a car or buying a house too big for your own good. Living more with less is a very real thing. Spending less on things that don’t matter and having money in a savings account gives you a sense of security and comfort that will enhance your life in later years.

8.  Avoid Holding Onto Resentment

Life long grudges hurt nobody except yourself. Feeling disgust for not getting hired to a certain job or staying angry at a friend because you can’t allow yourself to forgive them creates a negative energy that diminishes your level of well being. Holding onto resentment doesn’t make the situation any better for either side of the party, and the longer you hold on the stronger that negative energy affects your life.

Holding grudges are for middle schoolers, so hopefully by the time you reach your 30s you can learn to forgive and let go. If not for the other person at least to bring more joy and positive emotions to your life.

9.  Avoid Holding Onto Your High School Identity

For people who didn’t have a lot of friends or despised their time in high school this is easy, but when you were the class clown or a star athlete it’s difficult to let go of the labels you earned. The truth is no one cares what you did in high school, they care about what you’re going to do next. It doesn’t matter what athletic awards you won: if you don’t play any sports or stay in shape, you’re no longer an athlete.

Living in the past is a dangerous path to tread, especially when you look back with pride and admiration. Save yourself the trouble and change your vision from who you were towards who you want to become. This way you can avoid becoming the guy at the bar who tells everyone he would have gone pro if it wasn’t for his bum knee.

10.  Avoid Staying In One Place Too Long

There’s nothing wrong with becoming part of the community and establishing roots in your neighborhood so your kids have a place to come back to when they get older. There’s a big difference, however, between growing roots and never leaving home.

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Rather than living in the same 50 mile vortex your entire life, a simple road trip or vacation every now and then can give you a whole new perspective of the world. The longer you wait to travel the harder it is to finally do it. Start before your 30s if you can, but even if you’re older it’s never too late to see a different part of the world. I’ve never met someone who said they regret traveling, but millions regret never seizing the opportunity to set foot on new soil.

11.  Avoid The Routine Trap

When you’re young life is constantly changing, but once you get older and have a full time career working it’s easy to fall into a routine: wake up, shower, rush to work, spend the next 8 hours there, drive home, eat dinner, watch TV, sleep. Some people are stuck in this routine until they retire. There’s nothing wrong with having routines to help you be more productive but your entire life shouldn’t become a routine. Leaving yourself room for spontaneous action will keep you feeling younger as you age.

12.  Avoid Having Too Many Opinions

Everyone has an opinion about something. Whether it’s fashion, sports, global warming or the president, the opinions people feel strongest about are the things they don’t like. Opinions are almost never based on facts but rather rumors we hear and experiences we have.

Holding onto a negative opinion is like picking up a piece of burning coal and squeezing because you don’t like it. You only end up hurting yourself and nobody cares because what you’re doing looks completely dumb. Instead of holding onto your opinions for the rest of your life, let them go and see what happens. For one, you’ll still be perfectly okay. But who knows, once you gather a broader mindset you might find the exact opposite of one of your old opinions to be true.

13.  Avoid Caring What Other People Think

If nobody cares about your opinions then you shouldn’t waste your time caring what they think either. It’s human nature to want people to like us, but it should never be at the expense of changing who we are. When you were younger if someone called you stupid or ugly, it might have bothered you for weeks. As you grow older it’s important to let go of caring so much what people think.

Remember, everyone has an opinion. If you spend your time worrying what everyone else thinks about you, you’ll never know what you think about yourself. And that’s much more important. As long as you aren’t hurting anyone you should never have to change who you are just because someone else wants you too.

14.  Avoid Continuing Bad Habits

As humans we have a terrible habit of doing things to our bodies that aren’t healthy whatsoever. Eating processed foods, smoking, excessive drinking, lack of sleep, and plenty more.

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In our 20s, our bodies are still young enough to put up with it and keep us functional as long as we don’t go overboard. But as you grow older and your body ages these habits start to wedge their way into your life and take over. Look at it this way, most people don’t get cancer from smoking one cigarette but from years of smoking that eventually deteriorated the body.

No bad habit needs to come with you into your older years. There’s still time to change and make a positive impact on your life. Leave your negative habits behind and your body will thank you in the future.

15.  Avoid Thinking You Need To Settle Down

Just because you’re getting older and your friends are married with kids doesn’t mean you have to start doing the same. If you aren’t at that stage in your life there’s no reason to rush into a relationship because society says it’s time to slow down.

This is more than relationships, too. If you want a career change, have a desire for travel, or want to move to an entire new place, do it. You can settle down later when it’s right for you.And honestly, you never have to settle down if you don’t want to. There’s no law saying you have to slow down your life at a certain age, if the status quo isn’t working you have to do what’s best for you.

Being only in your 30s, you still have lots of life in front of you. You can call it quits and assure the next few decades will bore you to death by staying at a job you hate, giving up on your dreams and continuing your bad habits. Whether you’ve passed 30 or yet to reach the Big 3-0, you can set yourself up for success to live a long and exciting life by deciding to take care of your body and committing to causes that mean something to you. It all comes down to a set of simple choices that no one else in the world can make except you.

So choose.

Featured photo credit: Ed Gregory via stokpic.com

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Last Updated on May 22, 2020

What Makes a Good Leader: 9 Critical Leadership Qualities

What Makes a Good Leader: 9 Critical Leadership Qualities

The word “leader” makes you think of people in charge, high-ranking people: your boss, politicians, presidents, CEOs…

But leadership really isn’t about a particular position or a person’s seniority. Just because someone has worked for many years doesn’t mean s/he has gained the qualities and skills to lead a team.

Getting promoted to a managerial position doesn’t automatically turn you into a leader either. CEOs and other high-ranking officials don’t always have great leadership skills.

So what makes a good leader? What are the characteristics of a leader?

Good leadership is about acquiring and honing specific skills. Leadership skills enable you to be a role model for a team in any environment. With great leadership qualities, successful leaders come in all shapes and sizes: in the home, at school, or in the workplace.

The following are some of the many characteristics great leaders exhibit.

1. A Positive Attitude

Great leaders know that they won’t have a happy and motivated team unless they themselves exhibit a positive attitude. This can be done by remaining positive when things go wrong and by creating a relaxed and happy atmosphere in the workplace.

Even some simple things like providing snacks or organizing a team Happy Hour can make a world of difference. An added perk is that team members are likely to work harder and do overtime when needed if they’re happy and appreciated.

Even in the worst situations, such as experiencing low team morale or team members having made a big mistake at work, a great leader stays positive and figures out ways to keep the team motivated to solve the problems.

Walt Disney had his share of hardships and challenges, and like any great leader, he managed to stay positive and find new opportunities. In 1928, Disney found that his film producer, Charles Mintz, wanted to reduce his payments for the Oswald series. Mintz threatened to cut ties entirely if Disney didn’t accept his terms, and Disney chose to part ways. But in leaving Oswald, Disney decided to create something new: the iconic Mickey Mouse[1].

The key is to break down huge challenges into smaller ones and find ways to tackle them one by one.

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Think about the lessons you can learn from the mistake and jot them down because sometimes you win, and sometimes you learn.

2. Confidence

All great leaders have to exhibit an air of confidence if they’re going to succeed. Please don’t confuse this with self-satisfaction and arrogance. You want people to look up to you for inspiration, not so they can punch you in the face.

Confidence is important because people will be looking to you on how to behave, particularly if things aren’t going 100% right. If you remain calm and poised, team members are far more likely to as well. As a result, morale and productivity will remain high, and the problem will be solved more quickly.

If you panic and give up, they will know immediately and things will simply go downhill from there.

Elon Musk is a great example of a leader with confidence. He truly believes that Tesla will be successful, which he has shown many times through his actions. He converted 532,000 stock options at $6.63 each, their value on Dec. 4, 2009, before Tesla went public. It was a hefty bargain considering Tesla’s stock price stood at around $195 per share at that time. He doesn’t apologize for his beliefs and has drawn fire from just about everyone for his political actions.

You can’t instantly become a very confident person, but all the small things you do every day will gradually make you more confident:

  • List 5 things you like about yourself every day (something different every day), and you’ll appreciate yourself more.
  • Work on your strengths and do your best to enhance them.

3. A Sense of Humor

It’s imperative for any kind of leader to have a sense of humor, particularly when things go wrong. And they will.

Your team members are going to be looking to you for how to react in a seemingly dire situation. It would probably be best if you weren’t stringing up a noose for yourself in the corner. You need to be able to laugh things off because if staff morale goes down, so will productivity.

Establish this environment prior to any kind of meltdown by encouraging humor and personal discussions in the workplace.

As a president, Barack Obama exuded confidence and calm during stressful situations. But he was also known for his “dad jokes,”[2] his genuinely funny speeches at the White House Correspondents’ Dinner, and appearing on Zack Galifianakis’s Between Two Ferns.[3] Obama’s sense of humor made him grounded, realistic, and honest, which no doubt helped during some tense moments in the White House!

Learn to laugh at yourself. Confident people laugh about their own silly mistakes, and when you do this, others will also trust you more because you’re willing to share your experiences.

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Be observant and learn from the jokes others make. You can also get a lot of inspiration from the internet.

4. Ability to Embrace Failure

No matter how hard you try to avoid it, failures will happen; that’s okay. You just need to know how to deal with them.

Great leaders take them in strides. They remain calm and logically think through the situation and utilize their resources. What they don’t do is fall apart and reveal to their team how worried they are, which leads to negative morale, fear, and binge-drinking under desks.

Great leaders do, in fact, lead, even when they’re faced with setbacks.

Henry Ford experienced a major setback after designing and improving the Ford Quadricycle. He founded the Detroit Automobile Company in 1899, but the resulting cars they produced did not live up to his standards and were too expensive. The company dissolved in 1901. Ford took this in stride and formed the Henry Ford Company. The sales were slow and the company had financial problems; it wasn’t until 1903 that the Ford Motor Company was successful and put the Ford on the map.

Get to the root cause of any problem so you can prevent it from happening again and learn from the mistake.

By asking “why” 5 times (or more) on why something happened, you can find out the key factor that caused the problem and can find the best solution to tackle the problem.

You’ll also learn how to prevent this from happening again in the future after finding out a problem’s root cause.

5. Careful Listening and Feedback

This is far more complex than it actually sounds. Good communication skills are essential for a great leader. You may very well understand the cave of crazy that is your brain, but that doesn’t mean that you can adequately take the ideas out of it and explain them to someone else.

The best leaders need to be able to communicate clearly with the people around them. They also need to be able to interpret other people properly and not take what they say personally.

The Dalai Lama, as a symbol of the unification of the state of Tibet, represents and practices Buddhist values. The Dalai Lama’s leadership is benevolent and aims toward truth and understanding, alongside the other Buddhist precepts. This is a great example for all leaders: if you want to give good directions to others, you have to get feedback from others to understand the situation properly.

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Encourage communication between team members and establish an open door policy.

Practice not interrupting team members when they’re talking. Instead, summarize what they say and ask for feedback after you have talked about your ideas.

6. Knowing How and When to Delegate

No matter how much you might want to, you can’t actually do everything yourself. Even if you could, in a team environment that would be a terrible idea anyway.

Good leaders recognize that delegation does more than simply alleviate their own stress levels (although that’s obviously a nice perk). Delegating to others shows that you have confidence in their abilities, which subsequently results in higher morale in the workplace, as well as loyalty from your staff. They want to feel appreciated and trusted.

Although Steve Jobs was known for focusing in on the smallest of details, he knew how to delegate. By finding, cultivating, and trusting capable team members, Jobs was able to make Apple run smoothly, even when he had to be absent for extended periods of time.

To know when and how to delegate work to team members, you have to be very familiar with each of them:

  • List out all of their strengths, weaknesses, and personalities.
  • Talk with your team members more to know about their passion and interests.

Take a look at this guide and learn more about delegation: How to Delegate Work Effectively (The Definitive Guide for Leaders)

7. Growth Mindset

Any good leader knows how important it is to develop the skills of those around them. The best can recognize those skills early on. Not only will development make work easier as they improve and grow, it will also foster morale. In addition, they may develop some skills that you don’t possess that will be beneficial to the workplace.

Great leaders share their knowledge with the team and give them the opportunity to achieve. This is how leaders gain their respect and loyalty.

Pope Francis has been unusually popular with many Catholics and many non-Catholics. His position isn’t totally traditional, which is part of his appeal, but he also has admirable leadership skills. Pope Francis’s TED talk[4] drew attention because he encouraged leaders to be humble and to demonstrate solidarity with others. This inclusive, kind, and respectful style of leadership is incredibly important for any situation.

It’s important to spend time talking with other team members individually to understand them.

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Find out team members’ current challenges and try to give feedback and encouragement so they will grow and do better.

8. Responsibility

Great leaders know that when it comes to their company, work place or whatever situation they’re in, they need to take personal responsibility for failure. How can they expect employees to hold themselves accountable if they themselves don’t?

The best leaders don’t make excuses; they take the blame and then work out how to fix the problem as soon as possible. This proves that they’re trustworthy and possess integrity.

Howard Gillman is the chancellor of UC Irvine. You might have heard of how the university rescinded a bunch of acceptances, and then changed its mind[5], This past spring, an unusually high number of accepted students decided to matriculate; the school initially responded by rescinding offers over things like missed deadlines. But the college realized this was a mistake and reversed its decision. Gillman and the university accepted responsibility and decided to move past their earlier bad decision.

Always ask yourself what you can do better or what you should change. Take responsibility and think about what you can do better to prevent this from happening next time.

9. A Desire to Learn

It’s safe to say that all great leaders will have to enter unchartered waters at some point during their career. Because of this, they have to be able to trust their intuition and draw on past experiences to guide them.

Great leaders know that there’s always something to learn from everything they have experienced before. They are able to connect the present challenges with the lessons learned in the past to make decisions and take actions promptly.

You can either recall what you’ve learned from your memories or search your notes (ideally, a software that you can access anywhere with things well-organized).

Warren Buffett, one of the richest people in the world, has mostly made the right calls. But in dealing with huge amounts of money, Buffett has also made several multi-million (and sometimes multi-billion) dollar mistakes. He has stated that buying the company Berkshire Hathaway was his biggest mistake[6]. From that poor choice, he realized that it was unwise to pursue “improvements” and “expansions” in the existing textile industry. Despite mistakes like this, Buffett has invested wisely, and it shows.

To effectively learn from the past, write down lessons you’ve learned from any mistakes you’ve made. Have all the lessons well organized, and when similar things happen again in future, take these lessons as references.

The Bottom Line

Leadership traits are learnable. If you practice consistently, you can be a great leader, too.

Make small changes to your habits when you work with your team, wherever that may be. Most of us aren’t presidents or CEOs, but we all work with other people, and our actions always impact others. This gives every person the chance to develop leadership skills and to stand out from the crowd.

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Featured photo credit: Markus Spiske via unsplash.com

Reference

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