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What to do in your 20s to be able to build on it in your 30s?
Are you in your 20s (actually if you are 15 or lesser when you are reading this, nothing like it) and confused, like I was, as to what direction should you take up in your Life? Then let me tell you, you are not alone. When I was at the crossroads during & post my graduation as to what should the path ahead be, possibly I am fortunate enough to have a Mentor in my Life: Mr. Sujit Lalwani, who not only showed the direction and guided me at every step but created paths and opportunities for me to learn and grow. A quote that has stayed with me is “Grind yourself in your 20s so that you can build in your 30s”.
Now, having lived the journey thus far and having mentored 100s, if not 1000s, of youngsters in the journey till date; I possibly can summarize some of the key lessons that have helped me and several others:
Let’s accept, not many of us are aware of the abundance of the Opportunities that lie ahead for us in today’s world. The world has changed drastically over the last decade and has given birth to plenty of professions that were unheard of previously.
Well, to be honest, I hadn’t known that a profession like ‘Professional Sleeper’ (if you love Sleeping J) or Professional Taster (if you are a foodie;)) even existed. Jokes apart, those might sound extremes, but there is no dearth of several such opportunities that exist in the world today which we might not know of. And logically, how would you even have something that you don’t know of as an option when you are deciding your Career Path.
Gone are those days wherein you were narrowed down to the clichéd options of becoming a Doctor, an Engineer, or an Accountant. There are umpteen options available to explore.
For example, if you love Writing and Travelling, you could become a Travel Blogger; if you love singing there are various platforms available today for you to be part of; if you are an Artist, there are various types of Arts and Painting styles available, take Vilas Nayak as an example who is a Speed Painter (Did you even know this existed?); if you love Music, there are various ways through which you could work on your Talents and many many many more such examples I can go on sharing. But just ask yourself: Have you explored enough? Are you exposed enough to the available opportunities?
I will give you a simple hack: Just Google search ‘Careers related to (field of your choice)’ and there will be numerous articles sharing the possible career paths. Explore and let me know in the comments below.
Once you have explored the options, one of the most important things I would like to share from my experience is to ‘Volunteer’. There are several reasons for you to Volunteer but the major among them would be to gain Experience. It is certainly foolish of us to expect that we would be paid well for our jobs or do well in our lives without having enough experience for it. I have always loved this quote: “Nothing comes home... You have to Go Out and Get It!” - Sujit Lalwani, Life Simplified!
Hence, it becomes imperative that we crush our Ego and ask ‘How can I Contribute?’ instead of asking ‘What will I get?’. Volunteer for NGOs and be a part of the Social Initiatives; Intern with Companies to get some practical experience; join a Professional in your Field to learn from him/her; Join a Startup to learn the things without any expectations; take up freelancing works; assist a Writer in the Writing works; and several other things that you might like to do. Just take it up without the expectation of an immediate return. Have Patience and you shall receive the rewards one day or the other.
“Volunteering starts as an act, must be developed as a habit and left behind as a culture” - Sujit Lalwani
Trust me on this, the 20s or even earlier is the best time for you to Experiment and gain Experience on several fronts so that you will be wise enough to decide that path that you want to take up as your Career. I have always believed that ‘Decisions that come from Experience, and not from Assumptions, are the Best Decisions’. Hence, don’t adhere to the Fear of Failure; it’s totally fine if you Fail. Failures too become your Experience; you would know the mistakes not to be repeated the next time. Take your Failure as a Pride! If you read the biographies, you will find that all of them have had several Failures and have embraced and learned through the experience.
Experiment with several things you might feel interested in. It could be having a Start-up; take up a part-time job in a field that you want to try; start your Baking/Dancing classes; or any other thing you are interested in and get the hands-on experience in that.
Have you ever heard that Successful People are great networkers? The art of Networking is one of the strongest Foundations of anyone Successful in their life. If you feel that their Network increased as and when they were Successful, the other side is also true that they were great Networkers at the onset. When you build your Network, it could facilitate many things on your path including generating Opportunities and getting the right guidance.
With Social Networking platforms opening up a chance to connect to anyone in the world, utilize it to connect to the people who have become successful in the field of your Interest, be ready to learn from them, request them for Mentoring you or request them for Opportunities that can help you learn. Learning from the people who have the experience helps you learn the Challenges they have gone through and mistakes they have made so that you don’t repeat the mistakes and thereby shorten the time of your journey towards success.
Join Communities and build a network of other people who are also starting with what you are trying to do, which creates a community around you and you could brainstorm and come up with many ideas to foster your growth mutually.
Yet again, once of the key Attitudes of anyone who has become successful in their Life is that they trained themselves in their Field. You might not be the best at something that you are starting but you could certainly learn from many who are. Join as many Training Programs and Courses as possible that could help you learn more things and connect to like-minded people. Have learned this from my Mentor: “The more you learn, the more you can Learn”. If you passionate about Photography, take up a Photography course; if you love Dancing, take up Dancing Classes; whichever your field of Interest is, take up Courses and Training Programs around that.
Did you know that one of the best ways to learn something is by Teaching/Sharing with others? Yes, You read it right! Any lesson that you learn in your Life, gets doubly reinforced when you have shared with someone because when we Teach is when we learn twice. Now you know why this Article ;) Just kidding! I just completed my 20s a couple of days back!
Share a lesson you have learned with anyone and everyone you meet. Share it with your Siblings/friends or others in your network. If you have started learning something let’s say Guitar lessons or Sales Training and even if you feel that you are a novice at that but always know that many others haven’t even started, you could always teach them what you know. You could start a Podcast/Blog/YouTube Channel/FB Page or any other medium to share your lessons.
Or you could take up something as simple as visiting a Government school in your vicinity and taking a session for the underprivileged students on simple topics that include Health & Hygiene, the importance of learning, basics of technology, etc. There are thousands of youngsters who have taken such sessions and have experienced happiness!
Give a Try sharing the lessons through any medium you like, you will love it too!
The above are the lessons that I have learned through my experience of being in the 20s and having mentored several youngsters throughout the journey but the most important lesson that can multiply the speed of your growth is arrived by taking the first letter of the headings above: “EVENTS”.
That’s true! Attend as many Events & Summits as possible as that could facilitate all of the above. You can get to know about new arenas, you could volunteer with the organizing team, you will get a chance to experiment many things from the lessons you learn from those events, you will certainly be able to build a great Network and you might not know that what if someone gets impressed/inspired by your lessons and would want to invite you to share it with their people. Agree?
Get the Latest & Recommended articles in your InboxI have not missed attending more than 300 Conferences, thought I might have been a host in many of them, but having attended 300+ Conferences and listening to the Stories of the Successful People every time, you can’t even imagine what it has done to me. I wish you the best for your journey! I would certainly look forward to knowing if you find this helpful and your experience reading this article in the comments below!
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Any facts, figures or references stated here are made by the author & don't reflect the endorsement of iU at all times unless otherwise drafted by official staff at iU. This article was first published here on 20th August 2020.