My take on, What should men know-by age 22?

Here’s my take and the list of 6 most-important aspects I’d stick to. Note: This answer is a 10-15 minute attentive read.

1. Realize

A great portion of people deal with their lives the way it accidentally happens, for the most part its just unconscious. Only sometimes, they try and deviate from what’s on the way and exercise any control upon it.  This puts people under what they term as distress (a big made-up mental burden). Then the “emotions” are directly false-attributed to unpaid bills, debt, rent, family members, job and more. When we just realize that, any amount of mental suffering is just worthless, doesn’t make the life-situation any better – we could eliminate this part.

Your happiness is everything.

Realize that our lives are mortal, we’re here for a good time and avoid any imaginary suffering that’s simply not the realty! Your emotions and happiness comes from within. Do not look outside for it and search. Ok! Now we’re equanimous and happy. Lets move on, 

Set your expectations, goals and “do your best” along the way.  A lot of us just call what we do, as our best while there may be more distance to cover to get to where we’d like to.

True wisdom is knowing that we know nothing – Socrates. 

Be present in your moment, carry on with any of your activities with clarity and consciousness. You will then be able to craft your success.

2. Travel

When you are in your 20’s, you have comparatively no responsibilities or outside-expectations that you have to deliver on (vs. when you’re 30 or 40).

Traveling to different places will clearly expose you to different cultures, people and the way of living. This may lead you to opportunities, like-minded people and much more. I personally would recommend not to travel to the obvious places, but the tough ones that will challenge you. To the places that will accept you to be different from what you should be (in common view of the society).

Travel to discover and travel to learn.

Myth #1: It costs a lot to travel, etc. If you’re from a first-world country, and travel the rest of the world – I guarantee you’d save money while you travel. In-fact, I spend less when I travel!

Myth #2: When you travel, you cannot get shit done. I would disagree. I started doing more things when I started traveling. I enjoy absolute freedom to decide what I can do throughout my day. Days just appear to be extended enough to do what I’d like!

Scenario: I am 22, I just graduated and debts to pay back, etc etc. You could just work for an year/two to save enough money to travel. Start freelancing.

3. Fail, fail and fail again, but never give up the thirst for knowledge

When you start doing something, or build things – understand that failure is inevitable. Inject the idea of embracing failure, then wipe away the idea of “fear of failure”. Fear of failure has stopped a lot of people to take any step forward. Every shot that’s not attempted, is not just failure but even worse. It also encourages the habit of not doing anything just because “you may fail”. All you know is that it “may” fail, maybe it succeeds. Just be quick enough to do it. When you do something and fail, it’s “just fine”. Observe and pay attention to everything that has happened. Understand and pay close attention to how it could’ve been done better. Have some take-aways, learnings and just move on to the next thing!

Being narrow-faced will let you avoid any pitfalls/trap

After you’ve thoroughly analyzed and taken a decision to move forward with something – do not look back unless there is a very strong reason to. The other shore will always be green. Do not compare how it would’ve been when you did something else, how good somebody else is doing. When you come across someone doing wonderful, that’s actually great (learn from him). He/she maybe in a different level in the game of life. Work on working your way up. Evaluation just based on comparison with someone else is just “waste of time”.

Once you build this habit in yourself, it’ll naturally start to occur. You cannot stop yourself from something you’ve started and you’ll keep on moving forward, if you train yourself to be that way.

Read. Don’t just read what you already know about or prefer to. Because “our preferences” clearly come from our limited knowledge we’ve acquired so far. Read everyday. Learn how to read quickly, skim through things, observe it so that you understand. If you’d want to start somewhere, start reading about people. Wikipedia and Quora – the way to go! I enjoy surrounding myself with books (this is just an option).

Your exposure, worldview and understanding will be elevated to a different level.

4. Definitely don’t work full-time somewhere

Yes, I am biased but I’d personally not recommend working full time for someone else on their visions (unless you think that’s “the thing” for you and you can truly enjoy it). General corporate meetings are where our ambitiousness, ideas, confidence will go and die (doing something that we’re not at all passionate about). If you’re ambitious and are confident enough on your abilities to do something, then give yourself a try. If you’re “all-in” to improve your “abilities to execute”, that’ll also do. In-fact, I dropped out of my school at 15 to become an entrepreneur when I barely knew anything about what I am doing today. I wonder if I’d employ my own 13 year old self, looking back at how little I knew. All I have done is #3 (above) with unshakable confidence and a thirst for knowledge.

If you have a clue about where to get started and what to do – great. Whether you’re gonna be a star soccer player, or a statesman – I salute you! Do not know where to get started? There are numerous articles in Quora that you can look into. Or maybe Google it. Here’s a result I got from Google (specifically relating to becoming an entrepreneur – that’s what I know best), 200 Ways to Make Money From the Internet(this compilation is by far the best I’ve seen about freelancing/working online). Once you’ve an idea, get it going from there and keep moving on. It’ll take you to places.

If you find yourself in a corporate job that you wish you could leave, then do it. Leave.

5. Health

a. Eat Well

We’ve looked at happiness in #1. I find a lot of people in their 20’s not caring/considering their diet to be a great deal. The need for a nutritious meal is just simply underrated. The rate at which people get sick, and the amount of GDP spent on healthcare is truly alarming. Eat enough fruits, vegetables, raw natural products. Just I mean, some healthy food (I wouldn’t personally consider too much of cheese/processed junk food and red-meat healthy)!

b. Stay healthy

I personally do yoga (pranayama, asana, dharana and dhyana) to stay physically and mentally fit. I’d recommend the same. If you’d instead choose an outdoor sport (or) to go for a long-run, – that’s good too (just do it everyday). Try to sleep well, during the same hours because, you’re screwed when you get sick both financially and physically.

6. Finally, a few things:

  1. I’d say, do not watch television. That clearly doesn’t appear to help people get any better at what they do. Yes, too much of negative influence. Before a century or two, you’d have no knowledge about war going on a few miles away. Even now, the world is doing great, the sun rises everyday and billions of people are engaging with their everyday activities and are very happy. Maybe there’s some war, robbery, murder, etc. It’s much less than what it used to be ages ago. Let’s get to the point – opinions on gun laws, ISIS, extremism, women getting cheated on facebook making it to foxnews, is not going to get you anywhere ahead.
  2. Relationships and people. You somewhat become an average of the five people around you. People are generally ok, sometimes great and sometimes bad. In some cases, some of the unselfish people, I sought have been among the best things that has ever happened to me in life. I have not been let down in most cases when I sought for knowledge/help from someone. Don’t ask for a money or job when you reach out to someone.
    Seek advice, surround yourself with likeminded people. It’s fine if there are only a limited number of them. #2 will greatly help this effort.
  3. Trust. Trust everyone and everything until you have a reason not to. Do not let your suspicion stop you from engaging with somebody or attempting something. Read a little bit of human psychology, so that we can know why we’re doing things the way we do (Parataxic distortionPsychological projectionCognitive biasNegativity effect, etc)
  4. Value time, and be patient. You’ll not get the moment back. Spend every moment of your life exuberantly, consciously and at the same time achieving the progress you’d like to. Do not waste other’s time. It’s simply not OK.
  5. Act polite, talk generous. I’ve personally had a big problem, being an introvert coming from a third world country to effectively put my ideas, thoughts and communicate in-front of people with generosity. Some books and reading has helped, a lot more has to be done. I understand that the way we communicate can influence anything. You can design your sentences to achieve what you’d want. I’d recommend you to read the books “Crucial Conversations”, “Psychology of Persuasion”. Maybe, you could learn NLP (neuro-linguistic-programming) – I am just not there yet.
  6. There could be more, but I think it’s good for now. If you keep searching for more, you will probably find better answers and a lot more life advices. Difference isn’t caused when you come across all these advices, it happens only when “you” enact and constantly follow what you find befitting. Unless you truly believe, buy into a given thought and enact the same – it won’t happen likely. You just have to craft your own personal experiences and the life ahead of you (that you are totally free to choose either with utmost clarity (or) it will happen as an accident).

Even though most of our ideas are influenced by social realty, the purpose/goal need not necessarily come from the same. You just need NOT do things a particular way just because everyone else around you does. I wish you a very happy, abundant and a healthy life ahead!

Your comments are welcome!

PS: I am 21, and my answer is based on my own [limited] life experiences. Well, actually I am about to turn 22 and kinda have this same question striking my mind. This is my attempt to consolidate my observations and come-up with an answer that’s not just befitting but also serve as a reference to myself, my like-minded friends and the community at Quora.

Read Vishnu Prasath's answer to What should men know by age 22? on Quora


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