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20 Harsh Life Lessons Everyone Should Learn In Their 20s

20 Harsh Life Lessons Everyone Should Learn In Their 20s

Your 20s can be the most challenging years of your life. They can also be some of the best. There are also vast differences between a 20-year-old and a 29-year-old, and when there are so many changes that happen in your 20s, you might start to wonder if you will ever have it all figured out. But I’ve got some good news — nobody has it all figured out! Here are 20 life lessons everyone should learn in their 20s.

1. You don’t have everything figured out

I want to remind you of this again. I used to feel so much pressure to figure it all out. We can be so hard on ourselves when we don’t believe we are living the life we are expected to live. Give yourself a break.

2. You don’t have as many friends as before

As you progress through your 20s, you just won’t have as many friends as you used to. Your friends’ interests may change. Both your interests may change!

3. It’s hard to settle down (even if you want to)

Life begins to pull you in many directions. Maybe you want to try living in a new city. Maybe you have a new job opportunity that relocates you to a new city anyway. It’s normal to be drawn to many opportunities.

4. Life doesn’t get easier

While it may be exiting and new to venture out on your own, it doesn’t come without its challenges. The truth is most of life is a grind, and in your 20s you are figuring out the best ways to get through it.

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5. It’s really hard to save money

Financial experts and pundits are always telling people in their 20s to put money away now because by the time you are 65 you will have a nice nest egg. The truth is, for many 20 somethings, it’s just hard to save.

6. Debt is your worst enemy

I could write an entire article on debt in your 20s. Not only are many 20-year-olds burdened with student debt, but credit card debt can also be troublesome. The numbers on student debt alone are staggering.

7. You change jobs, a lot

It’s tough to be raised with a sense of entitlement. We were given trophies for everything. In your 20s, it’s okay to change careers and try out new things. It still is wise to stay at a job for as long as possible but don’t ever feel like you are stuck.

8. You might move back in with your parents

I certainly did. I am lucky my parents accepted me back in after I’d hit some hard times. I’m not the only one who did. According to the New York Times, “One in five people in their 20s and early 30s is currently living with his or her parents.” Remember to make a plan to move out!

9. Loving yourself is hard

It’s difficult to remember to love yourself when you are trying to figure out who you are. It may sound corny, but actually tell yourself you love yourself. I wish I had done better in this area. Even if other people don’t, remember to love yourself first.

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10. Relationships make you crazy

You fall in love. You break up with someone. You think you’re in love and realize that other person isn’t. You think you know what’s important to you but then it changes. Your 20s are full of crazy relationships.

11. The real world sucks

You learn a lot of harsh truths when you hit your 20s. Often we are naive to the struggles our parents went though when we were kids. The more you discover in your 20s, the more you know it just isn’t much fun to do the real world stuff.

12. You can’t party like you used to

As I continue to get older, I understand this more and more. The recovery time from drinking, staying up late, or dancing the night away only increases with age. Also, remember to get plenty of sleep.

13. Your company doesn’t care about you

This is another problem of feeling entitled but it’s also just as true. Companies really care about one thing — the bottom line. You are just helping them reach that bottom line. As much as companies praise team work and culture, the reality is that you are replaceable.

14. College might not have been worth it

If you went to college, you probably had a great time. Most of us have degrees that either we will never use or we will realize we are no longer interested in the field we chose.

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15. It sucks to feel older

I know some will say, “You’re still in 20s or 30s, that’s not old!” Well, yes, I get that. However, you do start to notice your body is changing. You get sore easily. You’re not as flexible as you once were. In your 20s you will notice these things for the first time.

16. You make bad decisions

In our 20s we get caught up in making the “right decision.” We already feel like we’ve made enough mistakes and don’t want to disappoint anyone again. One bad decision won’t ruin your life, but really do try to make good choices.

17. It’s okay to try new things

Your 20s is the perfect time to take risks. Travel the world. Learn something new. Be more vulnerable. I don’t care what anyone says, your 20s is the best time to get out of your comfort zone.

18. You continue to compare yourself to others

You compare yourself to your peers and think some of them have everything figured out. Even though they appear to have figured things out, the reality is they are probably just as scared as you.

19. Peer pressure doesn’t go away

While your friends may not dare you to do something, you still feel the pressure to be a doctor, lawyer, make more money, etc. Often, these pressures just don’t align with who we are, so we become angry with ourselves. Begin to accept yourself just the way you are.

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20. There is no magic bullet to success

I used to think that I’d figure it all out in my 20s and then I’d be a success. Remember that all of us take a unique path to success and there is no one right path to take.

I survived my 20s and so can you. There is no doubt they are a confusing, strange, and lonely time. But they can also be a lot of fun. I accomplished a lot in my 20s, no doubt. I wish I wasn’t so hard on myself and was more accepting of who I was. Take these 20 harsh realities as a reminder that we all struggle with similar things and that your 20s is only a small sliver of a long and prosperous life.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via pixabay.com

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Last Updated on April 6, 2020

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

10 Powerful Ways to Influence People Positively

Most discussions on positively influencing others eventually touch on Dale Carnegie’s seminal work, How to Win Friends and Influence People. Written more than 83 years ago, the book touches on a core component of human interaction, building strong relationships. It is no wonder why.

Everything that we do hinges on our ability to connect with others and formulate deep relationships. You cannot sell a house, buy a house, advance in most careers, sell a product, pitch a story, teach a course, etc. without building healthy relationships. Managers get the best results from their teams, not through brute force, but to careful appeals to their sensibilities, occasional withdrawals from the reservoir of respect they’ve built. Using these tactics, they can influence others to excellence, to productivity, and to success.

Carnegie’s book is great. Of course, there are other resources too. Most of us have someone in our lives who positively influences us. The truth is positively influencing people is about centering the humanity of others. Chances are, you know someone who is really good at making others feel like stars. They can get you to do things that the average person cannot. Where the requests of others sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the request from this special person sounds like music to your ears. You’re delighted to not only listen but also to oblige.

So how to influence people in a positive way? Read on for tips.

1. Be Authentic

To influence people in a positive way, be authentic. Rather than being a carbon copy of someone else’s version of authenticity, uncover what it is that makes you unique.

Discover your unique take on an issue and then live up to and honor that. Once of the reasons social media influencers are so powerful is that they have carved out a niche for themselves or taken a common issue and approached it from a novel or uncommon way. People instinctually appreciate people whose public persona matches their private values.

Contradictions bother us because we crave stability. When someone professes to be one way, but lives contrary to that profession, it signals that they are confused or untrustworthy and thereby, inauthentic. Neither of these combinations bode well for positively influencing others.

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2. Listen

Growing up, my father would tell me to listen to what others said. He told me if I listened carefully, I would know all I needed to know about a person’s character, desires and needs.

To positively influence others, you must listen to what is spoken and what is left unsaid. Therein lies the explanation for what people need in order to feel validated, supported and seen. If a person feels they are invisible, and unseen by their superiors, they are less likely to be positively influenced by that person.

Listening meets a person’s primary need of validation and acceptance.

Take a look at this guide on how to be a better listener: How to Practice Active Listening (A Step-By-Step Guide)

3. Become an Expert

Most people are predisposed to listen to, if not respect, authority. If you want to positively influence others, become an authority in the area in which you seek to lead others. Research and read everything you can about the given topic, and then look for opportunities to put your education into practice.

You can argue over opinions. You cannot argue, or it is unwise to argue, over facts and experts come with facts.

4. Lead with Story

From years of working in the public relations space, I know that personal narratives, testimonials and impact stories are incredibly powerful. But I never cease to be amazed with how effective a well-timed and told story can be.

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If you want to influence people, learn to tell stories. Your stories should be related to the issue or concept you are discussing. They should be an analogy or metaphor that explains your topic in ordinary terms and in vivid detail. To learn more about how to tell powerful stories, and the ethics of storytelling, take a look at this article: How To Tell An Interesting Story In 4 Simple Steps

5. Lead by Example

It is incredibly inspiring to watch passionate, talented people at work or play. One of the reasons a person who is not an athlete can be in awe of athletic prowess is because human nature appreciates the extraordinary. When we watch the Olympics, Olympic trials, gymnastic competitions, ice skating, and other competitive sports, we can recognize the effort of people who day in and day out give their all. C

ase in point: Simone Biles. The gymnast extraordinaire won her 6TH all-around title at the U.S. Gymnastics Championships after doing a triple double. She was the first woman to do so. Watching her gave me chills. Even non-gymnasts and non-competitive athletes can appreciate the talent required to pull off such a remarkable feat.

We celebrate remarkable accomplishments and believe that their example is proof that we too can accomplish something great, even if it isn’t qualifying for the Olympics. To influence people in a positive way, we must lead by example, lead with intention and execute with excellence.

6. Catch People Doing Good

A powerful way to influence people in a positive way is to catch people doing good. Instead of looking for problems, look for successes. Look for often overlooked, but critically important things that your peers, subordinates and managers do that make the work more effective and more enjoyable.

Once you catch people doing good, name and notice their contributions.

7. Be Effusive with Praise

It did not take me long to notice a remarkable trait of a former boss. He not only began and ended meetings with praise, but he peppered praise throughout the entire meeting. He found a way to celebrate the unique attributes and skills of his team members. He was able to quickly and accurately assess what people were doing well and then let them and their colleagues know.

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Meetings were not just an occasion to go through a “To Do” list, they were opportunities to celebrate accomplishments, no matter how small they are.

8. Be Kind Rather Than Right

I am going to level with you; this one is tough. It is easy to get caught up in a cycle of proving oneself. For people who lack confidence, or people who prioritize the opinions of others, being right is important. The validation that comes with being perceived as “right” feeds one’s ego. But in the quest to be “right,” we can hurt other people. Once we’ve hurt someone by being unkind, it is much harder to get them to listen to what we’re trying to influence them to do.

The antidote to influencing others via bullying is to prioritize kindness above rightness. You can be kind and still stand firm in your position. For instance, many people think that they need others to validate their experience. If a person does not see the situation you experienced in the way you see it, you get upset. But your experience is your experience.

If you and your friends go out to eat and you get food poisoning, you do not need your friends to agree that the food served at the restaurant was problematic for you. Your own experience of getting food poisoning is all the validation you need. Therefore, taking time to be right is essentially wasted and, if you were unkind in seeking validation for your food-poison experience, now you’ve really lost points.

9. Understand a Person’s Logical, Emotional and Cooperative Needs

The Center for Creative Leadership has argued that the best way to influence others is to appeal to their logical, emotional and cooperative needs. Their logical need is their rational and educational need. Their emotional need is the information that touches them in a deeply personal manner. The cooperative need is understanding the level of cooperation various individuals need and then appropriately offering it.

The trick with this system is to understand that different people need different things. For some people, a strong emotional appeal will outweigh logical explanations. For others, having an opportunity to collaborate will override emotional connection.

If you know your audience, you will know what they need in order to be positively influenced. If you have limited information about the people whom you are attempting to influence, you will be ineffective.

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10. Understand Your Lane

If you want to positively influence others, operate from your sphere of influence. Operate from your place of expertise. Leave everything else to others. Gone are the days when being a jack of all trades is celebrated.

Most people appreciate brands that understand their target audience and then deliver on what that audience wants. When you focus on what you are uniquely gifted and qualified to do, and then offer that gift to the people who need it, you are likely more effective. This effectiveness is attractive.

You cannot positively influence others if you are more preoccupied by what others do well versus what you do well.

Final Thoughts

Influencing people is about centering your humanity. If you want to influence others positively, focus on the way you communicate and improve the relationship with yourself first.

It’s hard to influence others if you’re still trying to figure out how to communicate with yourself.

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Featured photo credit: Wonderlane via unsplash.com

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