I turned 25 earlier this year and so much has changed. It is said that 25 is the age where your brain is biologically fully developed. It is the age where you’re definitely no longer a child and expected to be an active serving member of the broader community. 25 is where people are pursuing their own timelines, some are getting married, some are pursuing a post-graduate degree, some are working. Regardless of what everyone is doing, there’s one thing we all have in common – finding ourselves and understanding who we are as individuals and how we fit into this vastly complex world we live in. Here’s what I learnt in the first 25 years of my life.
‘Speed up by slowing down’
There’s something about a counterintuitive saying that just sounds right. When I was younger I was ALWAYS and I mean always in a rush to do something. Whether it was playing basketball, grinding MMO’s and RTS’s or something else, I felt an intense need to always be doing something. This is most likely as a result of an asian upbringing where achievement is expected and hard work is pushed (this isn’t a bad thing). As I reflect back, ‘being busy’ for the sake of ‘being busy’ is meaningless. Why you are doing something is MORE important than what you do. For example: why are you going to university? To further your education? To be with your high school friends? To enable you to pursue a career that requires it? Because everyone else is doing it? Whatever the answer is, be honest with yourself because the sooner you come to the realisation that what you’re doing isn’t worth it, the quicker you start spending more time on those things that are worth it. Lastly, in a world where we are all connected all the time with technology, there is little ‘space’ for us to PAUSE & REFLECT and ask ourselves ‘why am I doing this?’, ‘is what I’m doing important to me?’. Slow down and think, be more methodical about the things I’m spending my time on and be honest with myself.
Takeaway: Be purposeful and conscious with how you spend your time. If it isn’t important, why are you doing it?
Book recommendation: Start with Why by Simon Sinnek
No one is coming to save you
Australia’s education system is extremely linear and structured. Couple this with growing up in times of economic prosperity and being raised in a country like Australia where people are friendly, weather’s good, theres no on going wars and safety of individuals is more or less certain. Environments like these create weak individuals because it takes away the opportunities for them to make those tough decisions. At school, if you don’t know what to do, you ask your professors or your teachers or your parents. There’s always someone to ask for help. As you enter the real world, there isn’t a play book on how you ‘should’ live your life. You’re thrown from a system of linearity and structure into a world of chaos and unknowns. I was lucky to realise early on that no one owed me anything and that wanting something was not enough, I had to work for it.
Takeaway: Stop waiting for life to come to you. Make the conscious decision to go and face the metaphoric dragon that lies in its den. This could be a task that you have been putting off or an assignment or a book you know if you read it your life would be better. Trust me, it’s infinitely better that you face the dragon at its den instead of waiting for it to come after you.
Book recommendation: 12 rules for life by Jordan B. Peterson.
Becoming my own best friend
It’s sad to read a title like this. but when you deconstruct it makes sense. We go through life making big decisions and making small decisions. The consequences of these decisions, although many help us make these along the way, are ultimately only experienced by ourselves. We make the decision and we bathe in the benefits and suffer in its consequences.
Growing up I struggled with reconciling who I was on the outside and who I was on the inside. I would set these BHAG (Big Hairy Audacious Goals) for myself – get a six pack before summer, work out 30 times in a month when only starting out, climb to challenger this season, etc then come 3-6-12 months later, they were left ultimately unachieved and a sense of disappointment a little of resentment grew inside me. With age and experience my perspective started to shift. I began reading aggressively which gave me perspective that I couldn’t see myself and thinking back to these situations I think of a couple of things, 1. Einstein says ‘you can’t solve a problem with the same level of consciousness/thinking that created’, which I interpreted as ‘I need to level up my thinking or consciousness’ and 2. James Clear’s book, ‘We don’t rise to the level of our goals but rather fall to the level of our systems’ which I interpreted as, ‘The goals are important but the systems are even more important.
Ultimately, through reading and reflection, I have strengthened the bond between who I am on the inside and the outside and I strive to live with a harmony between the two. Now when I set a goal, I implement the system that is required to get there and evaluate if hitting the goal would be good or would it be a stretch. An example of this would be my salary goals: It was 2020 and I was making $62k, I remember on 31/12/2020 I wanted to make six figures in 2021. At the time, I thought this was near impossible but by implementing the system approach and levelling up my thinking I have been able to achieve this. I remember writing the date on the sticky note I had on my wall that I achieved it and was still in disbelief it happened.
Takeaway: What does your success system look like to achieve your goals? What does your daily, weekly, monthly routine look like that makes incremental progress to your goals?
Book recommendation: Atomic habits by James Clear
That’s all for now. I have learnt a lot in the first 25 years so I will write a couple of lessons per post. Any feedback is appreciated and thanks for reading!
- Compete against those that are better than you
- Be good at being bad
- Relationships and people are more important than money