Our life is short, our time is limited. If we’re not spending our time in a meaningful way, we’re wasting our life. Rizwan Aseem has shared on Quora how young adults should invest their time to lead a positive and successful life.
Invest your time in the following activities and you will gain more power, money, friends, love and affection.
Your friends will look up to you for your courage to do the things that they’ve only just dreamed about, your family will look up to you and be proud of your many achievements.
Your colleagues will become jealous of your stratospheric success. They will look towards you for advice on how to become successful.
If you don’t do these things, 10 years down the line you will wonder where all your time went, and what you did wrong to become such a failure.
Here are 5 things you should invest your time in everyday to become successful.
But a WORD OF WARNING…
If you try to do all these things at the same time, you will fail. So pick one of the things mentioned below.
Learn how to do it. Figure it out. Then spend one month to learn how to do this better. Practice it every day for one month before taking on anything else.
When one month is over, this will become your habit and you will be able to do it unconsciously. By then, it won’t seem very hard if you add another thing from the list below.
Within the year you’ll be doing each of these things unconsciously and will have developed an arsenal of habits that will support you for the rest of your life.
The Power Of Creating Good Habits
The biggest secret that man has discovered over the last few decades is the power of habit. Once a habit is established, it lasts for a life time.
Developing a habit in the beginning seems hard, but once you’ve mastered something and made it become your habits, things will be easy.
Think about tying your shoelaces. How do you do that? Do you loop each lace and then knot them, or do you loop one and then knot the other lace through the loop?
Each of us ties our shoelaces differently. But once we get this, we’ll tie them each time the same way, without even thinking about it.
This is the power of habit. This is the first thing you should invest your time in.
A habit is usually formed when you repeat something in the exact same manner everyday for at least 21 days. Some habits take longer, some shorter.
So to average it out – invest 30 days to establish each habit.
The 5 Most Powerful Habits That Anyone Can Learn
These 5 habits will support you throughout your life.
Whether you decide to become an academic and do multiple Phds, or are an athlete trying to become professional; whether you are a mother wanting to give your kids a better life, or a high powered business woman seeking venture capital investment; these habits are universal.
1. Take Care Of Your Body
No matter what you do in your life, you will do it in your body. You cannot replace it, get a new one, or trade it in. This is your body and you will live in it.
It might not be the perfect body that you want, but this is the one you have. If you take care of it now, it will take care of you when you are 60, 70 or 80 years old.
The way to take care of your body is simple. Eat less and exercise more.
Spend 30 to 60 Minutes Each Day Exercising.
This does not mean that you should join a gym and start pumping weights. It means that you should work every muscle in your body.
Spend conscious time to move the muscles in your arms, back and legs. Take the time to join a gym and workout and use your muscles. Do this because most of us now spend more time sitting on couches than moving around.
The human body is made to move around to do things. That’s the first thing to take care of the body. Learn this habit first.
Spend 30 to 60 minutes each day exercising.
Eat Food that is Fresh & Healthy
The next step to take care of your body is to eat well. Treat your body like a home. This is the home where you live.
If you bring good things to this home, the home will become nicer and you’ll enjoy living in it. If you bring rotten stuff into this home, the home will decay and you’ll hate living in there.
So eat good stuff. Eat as many fresh fruits and vegetables as you can everyday. Include fruits and vegetables in your diet. This will give you the energy that you need.
Play a Sport that You Like Everyday
This is something that will help you relax your mind. While this can get you moving physically, this gets you out of your head and to be present in the moment.
The rush of the moment will help your mind relax for a minute and focus on the present instead of being stuck on analyzing the past or estimating the future.
Additionally the competition will rejuvenate you. Competitions in life are what help us grow. The more competitions we have, the sharper, faster and better we become.
Unfortunately in the current environment that we work in, we can’t get immediate feedback on competitions. Most of the time at work, we are working in teams where we need the team to succeed. But our personal success is often based on the failure of other members of the team. For example, you can’t become the manager of your team if everyone on your team also becomes the manager of your team.
Taking up a sport will give you the immediate rush of competition, the instant feedback of success or failure, and you will grow.
Avoid Junk Food
Junk food as the name suggested is junk. It’s useless, worthless for the body. It doesn’t provide the nutrition that your body needs.
If you feed your body with junk food, you will become lethargic, you will lose energy and over a period of time you will gain weight and lose health.
Eat food that is free of preservatives, sugar, corn, syrup and overly loaded with salt and carbs.
These sugar and carbs have an addictive effect on the body and will cause you to crave them more and more causing your body to become dependent on these foods.
Good foods will make your body strong and healthy. Addictive foods will make your body lethargic and rotten.
2. Take Care of Your Mind
We are living in a time when we do most of our work using our minds. We sit in front of computers to develop ideas and create stuff with our minds.
If you are a construction worker who lays bricks, or a day care assistant who helps kids, this is true for you too.
Your mind is the one thing that controls your thoughts, and the thoughts that you have everyday create the reality that you see.
The mind, like anything else, has the characteristics of a muscle. You use it or lose it. And as long as you are using it, it will remain fit and healthy. The minute you stop using it, it decays and rusts.
So how do you take care of your mind?
Read Every Day
There is no difference between the person who does not read and the one who cannot read. Spend 30 minutes every morning and night reading.
Read motivational books. Books about philosophy, economics, politics, literature. Read fiction. Read self-help books. Read about parenting, read about health. Read about science and technology.
A book has a very permanent nature. It is written with a lot of thoughts and research. It is the gist of an author’s life experiences. So read a book everyday.
This will keep your mind stimulated and open to ideas. You will get a number of ideas for each author that you can implement in your life. You will also get opinions from across the globe.
You would not be able to reach many ideas if you only spoke to the people you met everyday. So spend 30 minutes reading every day.
Write Every Day
The only way to bring your thoughts to reality is to write them down. If you don’t write them down, they will be lost to the electric impulses inside your brain.
Write your thoughts down, write down the ideas that come to you, and write your philosophy about life.
Write ever day. This will help you clear your thoughts and formulate complete ideas.
If you have a problem, write it down. You will be able to come up with a solution better once you’ve written down the problem.
If you have a crush on someone, write it down. Write down the things that you like about that person, how it makes you feel, what you would do for them.
Writing down all these things will help clarify your thoughts about love and life, about right and wrong.
As you progress in your writing, read about how to write better. Then write better.
The better you write, the better you will think.
Develop Your Mind In Other Ways
The more neural connections your mind has, the faster it functions, and the better it fights against disease like Alzheimers in old age.
You can create new neural connections in your mind by doing new things. The more new things you try, the more active your brain will be.
Even if you suck at something, the experience of learning and trying it out will still develop your mind.
Listen to and watch things that will develop you mind. Instead of watching TV dramas, watch TED Talks.
Instead of listening to ‘distressing’ music, listen to sweet, kind music like Mozart’s and Beethoven’s.
Plan to learn a new skill every year. Pick up playing an instrument every year. Spend time learning this instrument like this will be something that you’re going to play for the rest of your life.
The next year learn to play a new sport. Something that you’ve never tried before. This will both improve your muscles and your mind.
Avoid Junk In You Mind
Just like your body needs good food to run, your mind needs good fuel to run.
If you feed your mind with junk ‘input’ like mindless television, excessive drama, or constant news coverage whether it be TV or newspapers, your mind will become lethargic and fatigued.
You will lose the will to do things, since your mind will associate doing things with depressing news.
So avoid news and junk TV programmes. This will give you space in your head to do things that will build up your mind.
Take a look at the world news today. Pick up the newspaper and read the editorials in your newspaper. Then go online and read the newspapers of the country that those editorials were about. The opinions in those editorials are completely different.
You won’t be exposed to different point of views from only the news. The news will only report the ‘bad’ shocking news that create anxiety and fear.
A better way to be exposed to other cultures, mental stimulation, and discover what’s going outside your own home is to travel, or meet other people.
Nothing in the news will impact your life on a daily basis. If there is something that impacts you – you will hear it form your friends and family before you see it on the news. You won’t miss what’s happening in the news – people will tell you anyway.
Excessive news will only stress you and make you feel like you can’t do anything, and become indifferent to the sufferings of others. A better idea is to discover issues that affect the community you live.
If you think a TV show is good – write down what you like about the show, then go out and experience that yourself. Meet people and do the same stuff in the real world.
This will give you the habit of becoming an action taker, getting in the game instead of sitting on the sidelines watching others.
If you like House of Cards – go volunteer with a political campaign to learn what really happens there, instead of watching someone else’s version of real life.
If you like Mad Men, intern for an advertising agency in your town. Learn in the real world – not sitting on your couch. For sure your friends will have a lot of opinions about what ‘cool’ stuff you’re missing out, but while they are warming the couches, you will actually be having more fun than they are.
You’ll be living – not watching life from a couch.
3. Take Care Of Your Relationships
In life you are born with very few people in your life. Your parents. Your siblings. Your grandparents if they are still alive. Your cousins if you are close to them.
Every other relationship in your life you have to go out and create. You make friends along the way. Some of them are good, some of them are not so good.
These friends that you make in your life journey will become your support system; the people you meet everyday, from the grocer, to the kid working at Best Buy.
You’re probably thinking, “who cares about these people…” but down the line it is these people, these relationships that will matter most to you in your life.
Remember Birthdays & Anniversaries
Even if your friends tell you they don’t celebrate birthdays, and even if your family becomes sullen when you call them for anniversaries, remember them.
Even though people say they don’t care, everyone cares about their own special days. When you remember their birthday and anniversaries, they will remember your kindness.
But it doesn’t end there, try to remember the special moments in their lives. If they are going to deliver a baby, remember the date and call or write a card to congratulate them.
Yes, even these days, a phone call or a card has a HUGE impact than a Facebook message or text. Over the years your kindness for others in the form of remembering their special days will snowball and you will become a powerhouse.
It’s good to know that someone cares about you – both for them and for you.
Don’t forget your friends when they had hard times in their lives. If their grandparents passed away,help them get over those moments.
When you need them, when your loved ones leave you, your friends will be there to catch you before you fall.
Forgive Them Before They Ask For Forgiveness
In the long scheme of life, small things don’t matter. It doesn’t matter if your friend forgot to tell you first about their new job; or they didn’t tell you about the girl they were proposing to.
Be a gentleman and forgive them in your heart even before they ask for forgiveness. Then let the incident go. They will realize you are a big hearted person and treat you the same.
But when you do this – don’t resent them after. Really forget the incident and forgive them.
This is more for you, than for them. If you keep holding onto the hurting feelings that any one has done to you, then your baggage will become so heavy you won’t be able to go through the door.
You’ll be stuck inside your own head and no one will want to be around you. No one will want to trip on your baggage.
But if you do forgive them and forget the incidents, you will be free. Your carefree nature will be reflective in everything you do and everyone will want to be around you.
Avoid Emotional Vampires
No matter how good you are to people, occasionally there will be some who are vampires. They suck all the time and energy out of you.
Sometimes you will encounter them at your workplace. Some of them will be your childhood friends, or even a member of your family.
No matter what you do, you can’t change them, you can’t help them improve, you cannot guide them.
So the best thing to do with these people is to avoid them. Though it might hurt you at the beginning, it’s the best thing for you to do.
You can be kind and make an excuse for not meeting them, but that will not last long. So take a bigger step and let them know that they are an emotional strain on you – and you’d rather hang out with positive people more.
People who support your goals, your dreams, your aspiration, and people who share your ambitions and values are the people who will really help you grow.
The vampires will get hurt – but there is no better way to deal with them. The sooner you get rid of them the better.
Really dig deep and find out the people who bother you in your life and stop hanging out with them.
CAUTION: If it turns out that everyone in your life seems to be a vampire, you either need to change them all, or look inside yourself and change yourself.
Most likely, the conclusion will be to change yourself and your attitude towards them.
4. Take Care Of Your Finances
No matter how you grew up, in abundance or poverty, it is your duty to take care of your own finances.
Even if your parents have taken care of them for you, even if you have a trusted fund, even if you have an empty bank account, you are responsible for it.
If you take care of your finances starting today, they will take care of you when you most need them. When you are old, or sick, or sending your kids to school, or helping a parent through sickness, your finances will help you.
If you don’t take care of your finances you will end up in debt. Your shoulders will droop and your mind will be gripped by thoughts of money. You will end up living the life of an indebted servant, where you have to work to pay of your debts.
Get Positive Cashflow
To begin taking care of your finances, you need to have more income than you spend. You need to have more savings in your bank account than your spendings.
Most people don’t learn this until after they get their first job or after they’ve maxed out their first credit card.
As long as you have a positive cashflow, you can get other things in your life a lot easier. If you don’t have a positive cashflow, spend the next year or two to get a positive one.
Spend the next 15 minutes ti figure out how much money you spend, including the rent for your house (or your contribution to it if you’re living with parents), utilities, groceries, car, internet, insurance, and other expenses on entertainment.
Once you’ve figured out your expenses, take them out of your income. If you have no income, then you have a negative cashflow. Do whatever you can to get a positive cashflow, teach other people, pick up a second job, or mow lawns.
What do you do after getting a positive cashflow?
Pay Yourself First
Every cent you earn will be spent on other people. The government wants it in the form of taxes; the bank asks for the mortgage payment, insurance, car payments… and so on, until you don’t have anything left in your account.
So before this happens, pay yourself first.
Get into a retirement scheme where they take 5 to 10% from your salary and put it into a gratuity and provident fund. Then when you get your salary, take another 5 to 10% to put into another account for your retirement.
Because you have this money sitting in your account – you won’t become a slave to anyone, no one will control you.
But you can’t just get a small amount and then stop. This is a lifetime practice. You have to keep adding money to this account until it becomes big enough to invest in assets that make money for you.
Avoid Financial Sinkholes
If anything sounds too good to be true – it probably is. There’s a few things to avoid when you’re taking care of your finances.
The Stock Market
Most people will tell you to invest in it – but don’t. Only invest in a S&P Index Fund at best if you really want to. Even though some friends of yours will tell you they have a big ‘tip’ on a stock that could make you millions – don’t invest.
Investing in the stock market as a habit is not a very productive habit. Some days you’ll do well, other days you won’t.
When you do well you’ll be on top of the world; when you don’t do too well, you’ll become anxious, stressed, or even suicidal.
If you made 50% one year, you’d not probably make another 50% the next year. If everyone could make 50% each year, anyone could be Warren Buffet.
It is the job of people in Wall Street to invest, they are professionals and very good at their jobs; yet they sometimes fail still.
In Wall Street you are always playing against the professionals. In a sport you will play most days with people on your own caliber. So you’ll win some, you’ll lose some. However, in Wall Street you’ll lose a ton. Professionals will beat a hobbyist.
If someone tells you that you can make a million dollars in 3 years by investing a small amount of money, or any other such scheme – don’t listen to them. Shut the door, hang the phone, and kick them out. If it’s a friend – stop meeting them again.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do your own thing. If there is a business that you think you can run – go for it. Just don’t fall for Biz-Op schemes.
If you are tempted to buy a lottery ticket, or you can win a cruise trip, or that you will earn X number of points, run away – don’t walk, run away!
Yes, even the lovely credit cards. These are probably the worst things invented since the dawn of time. Credit cards don’t increase your spending power – they just make it seem that your spending power has increased. You still have to pay for what you bought, plus interest.
It’s great that you pay your bill in full. Most people don’t. This habit of paying for full on a credit card is great. But there is a flaw in this habit…
The average credit card debt in the US is $7,000. Most people can’t pay that off every month, so many are paying for very expensive credit card debt.
Someone did think that they could make the complete payment every month, then got stuck in and is now paying less than the whole payment.
Points, miles, bonuses is a way of getting you to spend on your card, until you get behind on payment. The system is more patient and disciplined than you can ever be.
A better alternative is to save for what you want – then when you have the cash, then buy the thing that you want to buy.
Here’re three benefits of this:
- The thing will in all likelihood be cheaper by the time you’ve saved for it.
- There will be a newer and shinier model that you can now buy with the money you saved.
- You will realize that you didn’t want it in the first place anyway and were going to buy it on an impulse.
These sinkholes mentioned are all just ways to get a single $1 out of you. Don’t give them the dollar. It represents a part of you, of your life. You might think “what’s the big deal about a dollar?” But a dollar properly invested can become the greatest fortune in the world.
Read the story about how the Native Americans sold Manhattan for a $1, and how much that dollar would be worth today invested properly. Hint: It is worth more than the value of all the buildings, land, and businesses in those buildings on Manhattan – put together.
5. Take Care Of Your Communication
The biggest problems in the world arise because of mis-communication. People mis-understand each other.
Spouses fight because they don’t understand what was being said.
Employees get fired because of a communication error.
Friends fight because of something that was mis-understood.
Communication errors cause major problems in relationships between friends, employees, board members and even countries.
So take care of your communication. Become a communication master. Become someone who can communicate clearly communicates effectively – not just in your speaking, but in your writing and your thoughts.
Communicate At The 6th Grade Level
This is one of the most important thing you can do for your communication. If you can explain things to a 10 year old, you can explain them to anyone.
Just by communicating at this level, your communication will be understood every time. Your kids will understand you, your parents will listen to you, your employers will ‘get’ you.
In fact by communicating at this level, every one around you will think you are wise that you are able to explain complex ideas in the simplest of manner.
Learn The Vocabulary Of Whatever You Are Doing
By learning the vocabulary of what you are doing, you will learn faster; you will be understood quicker; and your responses will be to the point.
In every profession, there’s a variety of vocabulary. The faster you learn this vocabulary and use it in your conversations, the quicker you will rise.
If you play tennis, learn everything that the pros are saying. Learn their meaning and then when you talk to your friends about tennis, using the vocabulary will enhance your game.
The same applies to your profession. The sooner you learn the vocabulary of the profession, the faster you will progress. But this isn’t a technique, use it to enhance your overall vocabulary.
Putting It All To Work For You
Putting these habits into action will enhance your life profoundly.
You won’t feel it at once, but as you progress and spend more and more time on this, the results will multiply and compound.
By the time you turn 30, you will have more friends who love you, more employers who want to hire you, and more energy than you can ever imagine.
But on top of that, since your life will be built around a number of activities instead of your job only, you will be more fulfilled and happier.
Every year, the results will speak for themselves when you apply these ways in your life.
Featured photo credit: People sit at night round a bright bonfire via shutterstock.com