My early 20s was like one kick in the nuts after another.
In-case you were living in a bubble, or you were raised middle or upper class, or you were sheltered, real life was probably a shit storm for you. It was for me.
I was raised in a mid upper class white area, went to a good school, yadda yadda, the typical scenario you see on front of a magazine advertising universities. Preppy little white boy goes to college. I was given a lot more than most people on earth from the start. Half the battle was already won.
… But it wasn’t until I reached my early 20s (and left college) that I realized how much of a disservice this was.
Except for getting good grades, I wasn’t used to working hard.
I wasn’t used to figuring out shit on my own.
I wasn’t used to solving problems that didn’t have equations to work with (Ahem… success… life… happiness?)
I wasn’t used to HUSTLING.
There were some really hard knocks and life lessons I went through in the five years between 22-27. I’m going to share those with you today hoping that the sooner you realize them, the easier your life will be – whether you’re in your 20s, 30, 40s or later.
#1 The Epic Battle: Your Passion Vs. Your Rent
Most of what you’re struggling with is going to be two things:
If you were raised in a wealthy family, you’re usually going to choose fulfillment, until you realize you aren’t making money, then you’re going to go for the highest paying job possible, then you’re going to email me because you’re unfulfilled (just kidding, I hope).
Caveat: Unless you’re an immigrant or someone who was brought up struggling – and was told to follow safe/secure routes – in which case you were probably pushed into a high-paying job you hate and wasn’t at all related to what you love.
So it’s going to keep coming back to:
Having enough money.
Doing what you want.
Usually you won’t be having both – the goal is to have BOTH situations occur 90% of the time.
So most days you’re waking up, doing what you want, and have enough money to do what you want.
Here’s how I survived #1:
First, I freelanced on the side for the extra $5-10,000 a year it gave me. That was plenty to do whatever I wanted, travel, etc. Learn to freelance if your job isn’t paying you enough (who knows, it might turn into a business too).
Second, learn to ask for raises and how to negotiate. I won’t give you any other resources other than Ramit over at Iwillteachyoutoberich.com. Just follow him, read everything, and buy his products. They’ll make you rich.
Truth: You will almost NEVER get a raise, unless you ask for a damn raise and prove why you should get one (hint: not just because you’ve been there for a few years doing a shitty job surviving).
Learn how to ask for raises and become the “linchpin” at your job. Read this book.
#2 No One Cares About You… Only You Care About You
Holy jesus if you learn this one principle you will succeed AT ANYTHING YOU DO IN LIFE.
Look: no one cares about you. They only care about what you can give to them. Yes, even friends. Yes, potential employers. Yes, ANYONE you email.
The sooner you learn this, the higher you’ll fly.
Emails: Don’t email someone important or busy and ASK FOR THEM TO DO SHIT FOR YOU. They will either A. Not respond B. Think you’re an asshole, C. Just push delete.
Also, anything over 5 lines instantly gets deleted or archived.
Want a mentor or want to meet someone influential?
Reach out and OFFER help. A book to read. Blog post ideas. Free help with something.
They WILL respond if you make an offer like that. Add value.
Reaching out to make connections:
Again, never tell a busy person “hey could I pick your brain?” Hell no, they’re busy and you’re a nobody – what do you think they’re going to say? (Don’t worry, I’m usually much nicer :-))
Offer something. Provide value. Add value to their life. GIVE.
Friends: Want awesome friends? STOP texting people only when you need something. Text when you have something to offer. A great book. A movie. A game. Free tickets.
They will become lifelong friends.
This is seriously one of the most important life skills you can learn.
#3 If You Want Your “Dream Life” You WILL Work Your Ass Off
(Note: Metaphorical nuts, if you’re female. Some readers have pointed out that I’m fond of “balls” jokes. Must be a dude thing. I’m sorry.)
Let’s do the math.
You want to pursue your passion and get paid millions for it, right? Or at least replace your day job income. All of the above are possible.. WITH WORK.
Most of the people I know building businesses do it WITH day jobs.
So you work 9 hours at your day job.
+1 hour commute.
You get home. It’s 6 pm. You only have so many hours left.
A. Play Mario Kart
B. Work on your business idea/passion
C. Watch TV
… Well, you only have 3-5 hours, right? Less if you exercise, have a spouse, or do something else.
That means you sit down and HUSTLE. Put in those 12 hour days as long as it takes. That’s what I do, that’s what just about everyone else I know does. Because that’s what It takes.
The learning curve will be fucking huge at the start – enormous, terrifying, confusing – it will scare you shitless.
Promise to put in those 3 hours each day after work – 3 hours of WORK, not reading, not studying – GRINDING.
Just take a tiny step forward each day.
This is why you’re going to have to work.
No one will be there to motivate you. No one will say “good job lassy!” No one will be there to sympathize if you mess up either. You have to drive yourself forward.
Momentum is critical in this stage.
That’s why I don’t even SEE my house until 10 pm on average.
I get up at 7 for my morning ritual, cook all my food for the day and pack it, get to work by 9, work till 5, go right to the gym until 6:30, then drive to a cafe until they close at 10 to work, then go home.
… And then I often do that on weekends. You’re going to have to work – just do whatever it takes to figure it out. It’s that simple.
Some of you will have to work harder/longer than others. Some of you will have to sacrifice more than others. It’s just the name of the game.
#4 Only YOU Are Responsible For Your Happiness: So CULTIVATE Those Habits NOW
Your 20’s might really suck.
I hope they don’t for you, but a good portion of my 20s did.
This is one of the highest risk periods for depression during your entire life.
Maybe the single most important thing you can do is cultivate the habits of happiness.
Here are my top 5:
#1 Exercise. Do it INTENSELY at least 4 days a week. It’s like hitting the crack pipe – instant happiness hormone release (yay endorphins).
#2 Meditate. Get over the bullshit swirling in your head.
#3 Morning ritual. Wake up every morning and start with a list of your top life goals – every single day begin by reviewing them. Make sure success is ONLY one of those goals – not all of your goals.
#4 Daily ritual. Do at least ONE thing every day that’s awesome, that helps you decompress. Exercise, reading, sex, whatever. I just don’t recommend alcohol or drugs because you can’t work 12+ hours a day on those. :-).
The bottom line: nothing is worth it if it doesn’t make you happy at the end of the day.
You can’t “store up” happiness for the future. That’s not how it works. So be happy today (for no reason) or you never will be happy.
Sometimes you’re going to want to put off happiness, thinking that you can’t possibly work 14 hours a day and be happy. FIND A WAY.
If you get in a “I’ll just be unhappy for a few years” rut, be careful – that’s how many people die.
#5 Study – And Practice – The Habits of Success
Success is actually really simple.
There’s a reason why so many books are written on it – because here’s the SECRET:
It’s simple, and it’s un-sexy, so no one wants to do it. They look for a fancy, new shiny book with new principles that hold the promise of a shortcut.
It’s called “The compound effect” (book here).
Here’s all it is: It’s the results of DAILY success habits, done a thousand times.
Getting a six pack (or weight loss) = compound effect.
Business success = compound effect.
Happiness = compound effect.
Great marriage = compound effect.
Fulfillment = compound effect.
What do you wake up and do every day?
Do you exercise or not? No? Well then that’s your daily habit which is leading to disease and being unhealthy.
Do you come home and watch TV or work on a side business? Watch TV? Well then that’s your daily habit which is leading to an unfulfilling work life and long-term misery.
I don’t really need to go into detail because you know the habits – if you don’t, just type “success” into Amazon.
Or better yet, find someone successful, and ask about their daily routine, and do that.
What you’re doing TODAY will tell you EXACTLY how you’re going to feel when you die.
Was today the life you wanted?
Did you have enough money?
If not – today holds the answer. Because what you did today is what you’re going to do tomorrow and the next day.
Understand this, and you’ll be a hit success at anything you do.
Leave a comment below.
These were my top 5 tough revelations in my 20s – what are some of yours? Let me know below.
P.S. THIS IS AWESOME.
I currently have clients paying $300+/mo to work intensively on building an epic life – finding dream jobs, discovering their passion, determining which
But I also wanted something more affordable for most people that still wanted to hustle and make their dreams a reality.
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