Lessons at 20

 

 

If my life was a line graph, I’d like to see it as having linear growth from ages 0 to 12, stagnant growth from 13 to 17, and exponential growth from 18 to 20.

After the miracle of conquering my social anxiety right around when I got to college, things became astonishingly smooth sailing. Sure, I still have a lot of problems I come across, but they feel like physical, tangible issues now. Things like finding a job or getting the bills paid. Things that most people deal with.

And I feel like, in this way, conquering social anxiety was what led to this exponential growth. Social anxiety disorder is hard because there’s no predefined map of what to do to overcome it. So, while I might have stumbled through getting rid of it all throughout high school, I luckily got the whole thing fixed up right as college began.

And so, in an effort to catch up to the rest of my colleagues, I essentially took a bite at every opportunity I got. Some of them ended up being awful dead ends. Some of them turned out to be as great, or even greater, than they were advertised. So the next thing I learned was to cut off the dead ends and keep sniffing out the opportunities that turned out to be bargains.

Another thing I learned was to read. A lot. This is something I started out doing in high school and eventually got better at over time. The more you read, the more you learn about the world. The more you learn about the world, the more you can develop it to benefit you. By that, I mean things such as using communication books to have better relationships, or using business books to start a company. That being said, current events tend to be a waste of time. From what I understand as of now, the two things you want to focus on are the past breadth of knowledge (books) and the future conjectures (research journals).

I think the combination of these two key principles lead me to where I am today; not rich and famous (actually quite poor and obscure), but relatively in a good overall position and also quite happy. I think one overall piece I gain from both of these principles is that life is all about throwing out the net, pulling it back in, and sorting the junk from the treasure. And then doing that ad infinitum. Of course, I could be totally wrong about that. But the only way I would know is if my net caught a truth that was even more appealing.

Another important bit is to think for yourself. You need to be the one who decides what’s important and what’s not. The best way to figure this out is to try things and see whether they work or not with you. I conduct these experiments all the time; I’ll read something that sounds like a good idea, try it, and then determine if the pros and cons are worth it to me. If they are, I incorporate it into my life. If they don’t, I brush it off. It doesn’t really matter too much where the source is from (although I tend to only start to pay attention from things when I’ve heard it multiple times from people I find reputable), all it matters is that it works for you. A lot of things that work for rich and famous people will not work for you. That is fine.

Finally, I want to focus on where I’ll be in the next ten years. Preferably, I’d like to keep this exponential growth going, but I’ve got no idea whether that’s sustainable. I feel as though the two things I want to learn most before I’m 30 are to not take things too seriously and to find out where my time and money should be going to in order to get the highest return.

That first one is pretty self-explanatory. I want to live up to who I believe I should be internally and not have others shape me externally. I believe that the best way of going about that is to just learn to not take those external factors as seriously. Everything goes away with time. People, businesses, governments, ideologies, concepts. The only thing that stays with you throughout the entirety of your life is yourself. So focus on that.

For the second one, I’m not talking about time and money from a traditional investment sense. Specifically, I’m talking about the process of finding the right projects, career, and opportunities to maximize wealth of knowledge, capital, and status. I have traditionally been distracted by a lot of different cool looking things, and so I’d like to figure out if there’s some sort of algorithm or method that can be used to best find out what’s worth working towards. Maybe that doesn’t exist yet. At the very least, I could learn some discipline.

I’d like to try doing one of these every ten years. I’m not sure if this blog will be around in ten years — hell, I’m not sure that I will be around in ten years — but I think it would be interesting to conduct a sort of longer-term State of the Union that focuses specifically on personal development as opposed to project development. We’ll have to see what happens next.

Anyway, that’s all for this one. If you want to keep in touch, check out my biweekly newsletter! Following this will give you the low-down of all the new stuff I’m working on, as well as some things I found interesting. As an added bonus, you’ll also receive the Top 10 Tools I Use on a Daily Basis to help better manage your workload and do higher quality work in a shorter amount of time. You can subscribe to the newsletter here.

 

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