15 Lessons You Must Learn in Your 20s to Create a Fulfilling Life

Here you are. It's the early morning, you've got your coffee, you've got your tunes, and you're ready to take on the real world.

You make an early start because you're eager to get to work. It shows that you're committed and ready make an impact.

But just hold it there for a second, sparky.

I love your enthusiasm but you can't create a fulfilling life unless you first learn these crucial lessons.

So let us begin. Your true path starts now.

 

1. Believe in yourself, completely

 

Listen up: You are good enough. Don't let anyone tell you that you can't do something, not even yourself.

A fulfilling life requires that you believe in yourself.

You will come across plenty of people in life who question your goals and aspirations. They'll try to bring you down. They'll ask you what your qualifications are, give you judging looks, and make your dreams seem unrealistic.

DON'T GIVE IN!

 

Sean Stephenson
Therapist, Self-Help Author and Motivational Speaker
"Never believe a predication that doesn't empower you."

 

People like that wish they had something to work for. They wish they were like you, but they're not so they will to try to spoil your fun.

On the other hand, stay aware of the negative thoughts you have of yourself. Many times it's not other people who bring us down, but ourselves.

Which brings me to the next lesson...

 

2. Surround yourself with positive people

Emotions are contagious.

If you surround yourself with people who are depressed, angry, and have a bad outlook on life, then they'll drag you down with them.

What's more? You'll start becoming that type of person.

The negativity will seep into all aspects of your life, and you'll watch as your most exciting years pass you by

Instead surround yourself with people who love life. Surround yourself with people who will challenge you and help you grow.

It will help you create a fulfilling life.

 

3. Do work that you're actually interested in

Be your own master. You don't have to do what your parents or friends say you should. Forget about that.

You like to travel? Go be a travel blogger. You want to be a musician? Go become one. You enjoy knitting pictures of kittens while riding in a jeep that's off-roading through the woods? Then create a niche competition/organization that does exactly that.

 

Bruce Lee
Martial Artist

"I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations and you’re not in this world to live up to mine." 

Listen, for all you and I know this is the only life we have. THE ONLY ONE. Life is a gift that we have been given, so who in their right minds would spend 40+ years doing something they don't like?

You'd have to be a fool.

This is important not only because doing work you care about will make you happy, but because you will work much harder for something you like. Working at a job you don't care about will make it hard to stay motivated, which means it'll be hard to move up the ranks, which will only lead to a low level of happiness.

 

4. Success can be anything

Society tells us that success means having a steady job and a lot of money, so most people chase these two things. The problem with this is that when most people achieve this, they realize they're still not happy.

What gives?

The truth is that success is based on what makes you personally happy, and not what someone else tells you success is.

There are plenty of people that don't have normal 9-5 jobs who are happy. They do what they love and live on their own terms.

This takes a certain level of self-awareness, of being real with yourself and knowing what you want in life.

 

Alain de Botton
Philosopher
"The thing about a successful life is that a lot of the times our ideas of what it would mean to live successfully are not our own. They're sucked in from other people."

 

5. Pick a goal and start working toward it 

Apart from going to work and maybe hitting the gym, what else are you working toward?

I'm waiting...*crickets chirping*...

Get up and get yourself some goals! Sitting around watching TV, playing video games, and mindlessly browsing social media is not going to get you anywhere. It's a waste of time. Period.

These are some of the most formative years of your life. Realize that what you do now, are the memories that you will look back on. So make sure that they're damn good.

Psychologists have understood the importance of goals for years. It increases your happiness because when you have something to work for, it helps build a fulfilling life.

 

6. Nothing worthwhile comes easy 

A fulfilling life takes work.

Whatever it is that you decide you want in life, be prepared to work for it. Be prepared to dedicate hours upon hours of meticulous work every day in order to make your dreams into a reality.

Generations before ours understood the importance of hard work. They understood that things weren't just going to be handed to them.

Unfortunately this is something that our generation has completely lost touch with. We assume that as soon as we get out of college everything will be set. We'll land a good job that offers great pay, and that in about a year or so we'll be promoted to a managerial position with our own office overlooking the city, a secretary, and plenty of vacation time to spend on beaches all over the world.

WAKE UP CALL: The real world is nothing like that!

The truth of the matter is that the real world is going to be expecting a lot more from you than just a piece of paper that says you finished a couple years of college. And for the entrepreneurs our there, I feel your pain because it's going to be even harder.

Your only solution is hard work, because nothing good in life comes easy.

 

7. Focus on your emotional strength as much as your physical

Just because you're physically fit doesn't mean you're emotionally fit.

Life is going to throw you many curveballs. Some you'll be ready for, but most of them you won't. How you handle yourself in those tough situations is what will set you apart from the crowd.

Your emotional strength will not only affect you, but will affect the people around you. It'll affect how others see you.

No one is going to hire or promote a person who doesn't seem to have their emotions in check. And sure as heck no one is going to look to you for leadership if you always lose your cool in stressful situations.

So learn to master your emotions instead of simply letting them control you. Meditate. Do yoga. You must become aware of your internal world in order to create a fulfilling life.

 

Marcus Aurelius
Roman Emperor
"If you are distressed by anything external, the pain is not due to the thing itself, but to your estimate of it; and this you have the power to revoke at any moment."

 

8. Live in the present moment

We all get caught up in our heads from time to time. Shoot...some of us all the time, and that greatly affects our level of happiness.

Buddhism has been preaching this for millennia.

When we're stuck thinking about how good things used to be or how they'll be so much better in the future, we forget to notice the beauty of the present moment. The trees, the birds, the sun, our friends and our family.

Remember, you're a 20 year old, bright, and strong individual who has so much to offer to the world. Focus on how amazing life is. Right. At. This. Moment.

 

Eckhart Tolle
Author
"As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease. When you act out the present-moment awareness, whatever you do becomes imbued with a sense of quality, care, and love - even the most simple action."

 

9. Find happiness in what you already have

This ties in directly with Lesson 8 and is crucial to a fulfilling life.

The more time you spend wishing you had "nicer" things or were in a "better" situation, the less time you have to appreciate what you already have. Don't get lost in that negativity, because even when we get what we want it isn't long before we're back to being stuck in our heads hoping for something EVEN better.

It's a never ending cycle.

Don't get me wrong you should always strive for better, but don't take for granted the amazing things that you already have. It'll keep you grounded as you pursue a life of greatness.

Let's move on...

 

10. Take risks 

What better opportunity do you have than right now to be bold and do something out of the ordinary? Never, that's when. The time is NOW!

You don't want to end up sitting in an office 20 years down the road thinking, "Damn, I never even tried." That's why so many people hit a mid-life crises. They never took the chance early on to pursue what they really wanted.

Great risk brings great reward. Look at people like Elon Musk, Lori Greiner, Mark Cuban, and Bill Gates. They're the ones who shape our world, not the people who play it safe.

And I'll tell you another thing, not only will this make you feel truly alive but other people will admire you for it. They'll admire your bravery and desire to live on your own terms.

Be bold. Take risks. Don't settle for the ordinary, and become the person you've always dreamed of being.

Remember, you have one life.

 

11. Travel and experience other cultures

The world is a BIG place.

It's filled with thousands of cultures, languages, vast landscapes, beautiful architecture, delicious foods, and fascinating ways of life. It would be a shame not to experience a great bit of the world during our lifetimes, especially now when you're young.

Traveling will broaden your mind. It'll open you up to different ways of thinking, and make you respect the cultures of other people.

It'll teach you humility. It'll show you that there's more to life than just your air-conditioned car, brand new apartment, high-end sunglasses, and caramel frappuccino from the Starbucks down the street. Life is more REAL than that.

So go travel. Go meet new people. Go experience new things because a fulfilling life is built on novelty.

 

12. Keep learning

 I congratulate you for making it to your 20's. I'm sure you have a wealth of knowledge and experience, but believe it or not there is so much more amazing and beneficial information out there. So many things that can help you in your path to greatness and a fulfilling life.

If you're interested in public speaking, go join a Toastmasters group and start watching videos on how to speak in front of a crowd. If you're a psychology buff, there's a plethora of information on the internet and in books.

This will help you become a better and more valuable person. And from a business standpoint, it'll make you marketable. Knowledge can yield great power when put to use.

 

Albert Einstein
Theoretical Physicist
"Wisdom is not a product of schooling but of the lifelong attempt to acquire it."

 

13. Don't rush into relationships 

Alright, time for some real talk.

Having a significant other can be a wonderful thing. They're there for you when you need them, they show you love and respect, they surprise you with nice things, and even give you foot massages when it's obvious your feet stink.

But don't make the mistake of being in a relationship just because you feel like you NEED someone. 

 

Steve Maraboli
Speaker, Author
"Just because you are available for a relationship doesn't mean you are ready for one. If you're not comfortable enough with yourself or with your own truth when entering a relationship, then you're not ready for that relationship."

 

I get it, some people have found the "one" and they see the importance of relationships when it comes to building a fulfilling life. Fine, but be sure that you really want to spend the rest of your life with this one person.

It's not fair to yourself, the other person, or even your potential future child if it's not the real thing. Wait to see what kind of person they are. Live with them. Understand them to their core before tying the knot, otherwise it could lead to worse problems in the future.

And if you have found the ONE, you'll know because they'll support you in your pursuits and won't hold you back.

 

14. Build strong connections  

This one is HUGELY important for a fulfilling life, and it encompasses both friendships and professional relationships.

Friendships will boost your mental health, physical health, and build your influence. Not to mention friends will help you in times of need.

Professional relationships are essential to your career satisfaction and a vital key to moving up the ladder.

And to extend this further, work on building connections with everyone you meet or come across. Showing people kindness and respect will go a long way. People will remember you easier and will be more willing to help you out later on, even if they only ever met you once.

And last but not least...

 

15. Don't compare yourself to other people

We live in a world where we're encouraged to be the "best" at something, and if we're not at least really good at it we feel like failures. It's what drives so many people to depression, anxiety, jealousy and low levels of fulfillment.

 

Steven Furtick
Pastor
"The reason why we struggle with insecurity, is because we compare our behind the scenes with everyone else's highlight reel."

 

Instead be proud you who you are and where you are right now.

Accept your strengths and weaknesses. Admit what you're skilled at and what you may need work on. And if you want to get better at something, you can always work to get better at it.

By not comparing, you don't rely on the opinions of others.

True, long-lasting happiness doesn't come from outside of ourselves. It doesn't come from having a lot of nice "things" or holding a certain position within a company. True happiness come from within, from an internal peace that doesn't rely on what other people may think about us.

That's how you create a fulfilling life.