The first 20 years of our lives are crazy.
We grow from helpless little babies to educated adults with a heavy degree of responsibility.
Within these first 20 years are hundreds of first experiences, pains, growths, laughs, wonders, that slowly begin to shape our lives for the future, and there are many life lessons learned along the way.
The mindset that people begin to create for themselves during these years can waver greatly, and either push them towards what they want, or gradually away from it.
As humans we are most susceptible to drastic changes, which begs the point of this article.
20 Life Lessons Learned in 20 Years of Life
Today I turn 20 years old, which isn’t specifically considered as an important milestone, but it should be. This article outlines 20 life lessons learned in 20 years of my life, that people don’t often tell you when you’re growing up.
1. People’s actions are affected more by what they want to hear, rather than what they actually hear.
What I mean by this is that people act very rashly based on what they wanted to hear, rather than acting correctly on the things they actually hear.
This is the case for many different scenarios, and causes people to take various actions towards things that push them in the wrong direction.
The reason for this is because as humans it’s natural for us to want things our own way. Which leads to us not taking in feedback correctly, or not being able to accept compliments sometimes when they’re given to us.
2. Being different is important. Trying to be someone else can destroy any unique talent that you have.
As people grow up, they want to fit in with others.
They want to make new and cool friends to spend their time with, and as a result copying others becomes a natural thing for people to do, especially if they’ve been made fun of for doing something different before.
Being different is not a detriment. Being different is important in order to stand out and make sure you live your life doing what you love. This is the second of my 20 best life lessons learned within 20 years of life.
A lot of people think their search for happiness will be over once they ditch being different and start fitting in with everyone else. But the key to happiness is to do what you love no matter what, and learn to be proud of everything that makes you different.
3. Time can be both your best friend and worst enemy. How you use it is critical.
Time is something we think we have endless amounts of, in our early years of life in particular.
So the general pattern is that we spend a lot of time lounging around, not doing too much, just ‘chilling’, for the first half of our lives. Then for the second half we feel like there’s so much left that we still want to do, but we don’t have time for. Use your time wisely.
Time can also be our best friend because of the fact that it allows things to nurture. If you feel like you’re giving everything 100% but you’re still not heading upwards, give it time.
It apparently takes around 10,000 hours to become successful, but I think that’s a pretty loose definitive depending on what your definition of success is.
4. When you finish education, the talented start to get overtaken by the hardworking.
When we’re growing up, the majority of us will receive a fairly good education, and some brains will develop more quickly than others. Since we’re receiving the same education for the most part, it’s not difficult for talented people to stand out.
They may not be that hardworking, but their talented and with the same number of hours in the class room, they get pretty good results.
Although, when we finish education and get released into the big wide world of work, talent alone won’t make people a success unless there’s hard work accompanied with it. Hardworking people tend to overtake people who are just simply talented if they don’t put in the same amount of hard work.
5. Everybody has the capability of dreaming and achieving, but most people do not attempt to achieve what they dream.
Most people often think that they can happily dream about everything they want in life, but still believe it will never be achievable. And for this reason, some people never even attempt to achieve their dreams.
6. Anything ever worth achieving does not come easy. Hard work is the key to everything.
This is one of my most important life lessons learned in the past couple of years. Nowadays people are led astray so often by the promise of opportunities that give the same results, but are are quicker and easier to achieve.
“Get rich quick”, “20 minute abs”, they have it all.
These are false promises made to reel people in from the attractive guarantees.
90% of the people that purchase these books or programs fail to accomplish what the book promises, and the other 10% are not just relying solely those schemes to get what they want.
7. The majority of situations can be improved, if you’re willing to drop all the excuses you tell yourself first.
We all have excuses for something: “I don’t have time”, or “it’s impossible, it can’t be done”, but pretty much every excuse you tell yourself or hear from someone is not reality.
It’s a way of giving themselves a reason as to why they can’t do something, in order to clear their conscience. If you’re in a situation at the moment and you want it to change for the better, that can happen if you’re willing to drop every excuse you like to tell yourself.
8. Connecting with like-minded people is the quickest way to developing yourself into the person you want to be.
Jim Rohn says you become like the 5 people you hang out with most. The point is that hanging out with like-minded people is the best of developing yourself into the person you want to become, because they’re on the same journey as you and can share their knowledge.
Truly one of my best life lessons learned within the past year. Let go of the negative friends and hang around with like-minded people!
9. Never turn your back on people who have always supported you.
Loyal friends and family that love and support you, should always know how much you appreciate them. Considering that loyal friends are pretty hard to find nowadays, it’s stupid to neglect those that already support you.
In September last year, I flew to Australia to spend a little time travelling with one of my best mates who currently lives out there.
Obviously seeing the sights was a pretty major reason as to why I visited, but this friend is 100% supportive of everything I seem to do, and it’s essential to stay in touch.
10. The first 20 years of your life build the foundation for the rest.
As I briefly pointed out earlier, our lives for the first 20 years are crazy. The rapid growth and self-development we go through during this time is phenomenal, and whichever routes we choose to go down during this time can, more often than not, stick.
Not only because we’re more susceptible to things like peer pressure and other influences, but because our brains develop and adapt at a much quicker rate during this time than they do at adulthood.
The route you decide to take during this period can have a large effect on the rest of your life. How will you build your foundation?
11. To create something your truly proud of takes time. Your vision always has the potential to become reality.
Ever since I was a child, I was obsessed with creativity and design. Patterns, drawing, creating something that just kept on improving; that was what I craved.
To this day, I still look for ways I can create something I’m passionate about, and consistently improve it over time. Then look back at the original creation and realize just how terrible it was.
The point of this, is that your first idea or vision for something big may seem like the best it could ever be, but only time can reveal whether you were right or not. As time progresses, so does your knowledge and your creativity.
Ideas only get better over time.
12. Peer pressure is a test of your will. Strong will is essential for success.
One of the hardest life lessons learned, and hardest thing to overcome growing up, is peer pressure. What with people trying to fit in with others, and just be like everyone else, some find this impossible to avoid.
Back in high school, pretty much every one of my friends started smoking, and I was one of the only ones to not take it up. I would go outside with them whenever they went out for one, but I wouldn’t smoke with them.
I had no desire to instantly become popular by starting something that personally I wouldn’t get anything from.
The nature of this life lesson is that strong will is important for succeeding in life. Because whenever anybody tell you “no, it’s impossible, you should just give up”, and they try to put negative thoughts in your head; your will determines which side you end up on.
13. Anybody who sets out to make a big impact or go against the grain will receive some level of hate.
The thing with trying to have a big impact on the world, is that everybody is different and in a world of free speech, opinions will always be mixed.
The more publicity you start to receive for whatever it may be that you’re trying to accomplish, the more people that will possibly have something bad to say about it. It’s unavoidable. So don’t be afraid to go against the grain, and make a difference in the world.
14. Many people think they have the option to either live and die young or live elderly and die without truly living.
The two options people think they have in life is to either live and die young; meaning do whatever they want before they take up a boring job that they hate.
Or to live elderly and die without truly living; meaning they work hard and become successful, but don’t have all the fun experiences they can whilst they’re young.
The options you have are the ones that you create for yourself. The majority of people will probably believe that they have to choose one of the above, but this isn’t the case. You can live your life however you want to live it.
15. Things aren’t just naturally attracted to you. It’s up to you to make the first move.
Naturally, we think that if we work hard and take care of ourselves, opportunities will present themselves. The fact is that opportunities only present themselves if you make the first move.
You should go up to that girl, you should contact that company, you should reach out to people, you should ask for training.
Waiting for opportunities to come to me is not a game I like to play. Number 15 is one the best life lessons learned in my life.
16. Trees can’t be chopped down without persistence. Only after so many hits in the same spot will it be brought down.
One of my favorite sayings that I once heard in an Eric Thomas speech, is that if you hit a tree with an axe a thousand times in a thousand different places, you won’t bring it down. But if you take that axe and you hit that tree a thousand times in the same spot, you’ll bring the tree down.
Persistence is the key to improvement. Whether it’s with a girl who you thinks playing hard to get, a business that can’t quite get off the ground, or a quest for building muscle mass that is going far slower than first expected. Persistence is the key.
17. It’s better to act and be embarrassed for five minutes, than to not act and be embarrassed for the rest of your life.
Back when I was in school, I was afraid of asking questions. I wouldn’t do it in case the question was stupid and people felt compelled to laugh at me.
But since then, I’ve realized that asking those questions would have helped me out a great deal, and it’s better to be embarrassed for 5 minutes and gain that knowledge, rather than never ask and be embarrassed by how little you know in the future.
18. You don’t have to follow the crowd just because it seems sensible.
The general pattern when leaving school is to go on to university or college, but it’s not a must. So many people are leaving uni with the same degrees, that when it comes to getting a job none of them stand out compared to a guy who’s had some incredible real life experience.
You don’t have to follow the crowd just because it seems like the most sensible thing to do. Remember, it’s good to be different.
19. The best form of learning is outside of school.
School education is a general form of learning that has to be applicable for every child. Nothing about it is tailored to what you want to do in life, and it doesn’t give you any in action training.
Going out of your way whilst in education and even after to progress your knowledge in subjects your passionate about, is something you absolutely must do. The education system can only get you so far.
20. Above all, never give up on what you believe is possible.
The last of the life lessons Learned in the past 20 years of my life, is to never give up on what you believe is possible. No matter how much you feel like you’re up against it, if you truly believe it’s possible, you can get it done.
Thanks for reading the list of 20 life lessons learned in 20 years of my life. Some people say that just because I’m young means that I shouldn’t be giving people advice, and they’re unlikely to listen.
But thank you for all the returning visitors to Wealthy Gorilla. You have proved those people wrong.
One of the greatest “life’s lessons” lists I’ve read in a long time! Very inspiring and true! I’m 36 – coming up on 37 in a few months, and I’m an elementary school teacher. Listening to the young is some of the best listening we can do as we get older. It keeps us young and passionate! Peace, my friend! May God bless you with a long and passionate life ahead!