Blah, Blah, Blah: 4 Common Words Of Advice That 20-Somethings Should Ignore

When you're 20 years old, people feel the need to push their wisdom onto you. It’s not always a bad thing; I could definitely use some good advice when my hands are closer to the remote than my textbooks.

But as long as you keep your own head at the forefront, every piece of advice needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Just because someone twice your age is spewing something out doesn’t mean you have to follow it.

At the risk of being called pretentious by the very people who dish out this advice, here’s what I keep hearing as a 20-year-old and why I refuse to follow it as life advice:

Don’t do something different just for the sake of doing something different.

Nothing I can do at this point in my life is a waste of time. If I’m engaging myself in a challenging way; I’m growing.

If you’re looking for an extra challenge, why not push yourself do something different for exactly for that reason?

Taking the road less traveled because you’re feeling an urge to trek through the tall grass can make you realize things you never would have if you stuck to what you knew.

Even if what you learn is that you don’t like the tall grass, you’ve had an experience that no one can take away from you and that most people will envy.

The only thing scarier than trying something new is going through the motions of life without ever knowing what else is out there.

If you want a good job, find a connection and use it.

This is age-old advice reworded to fit today’s society. I’m not really knocking those who do find jobs through connections; in today’s job market, if you don’t have a “whatever it takes” attitude, you’re probably falling behind.

But the difference between exploiting your connections and staying scrappy is that only the privileged have the former option, whereas everyone has the latter.

It’s insulting when I hear people saying that the only way I’m going to find work after graduation is by using the people I know to leapfrog others.

I have two older siblings who have found work on their own accord and I’ve achieved an entry-level position at a Chicago-based company through persistence. It can be done; hard work is not overrated.

Maybe I’m naïve, but I’m going to continue to believe that effort and ability outweigh relationships. That’s how you stay both impressive and hungry.

Find your niche and stick to it.

Going off of the previous “do something different” sentiment, why do I keep being told to fall in line with one thing I think I’m good at?

There’s nothing wrong with finding a niche. In fact, having a specialty can be advantageously effective. But a specialist only sees action a few plays a game, while a jack-of-all-trades plays for all 48 minutes.

Why not take the extra time to learn to code as a writer or take a class on investing as an MD? It can cut out the middleman and put a few bucks back in your pocket.

Aside from a professional standpoint, it can feed the thirst for knowledge. Learning as many skills as you have the time for and becoming a well-rounded individual helps expand your mind and your interests.

Always get a good night’s sleep.

There’s really no denying that the human body needs sleep. It is a necessity and I’d be a fool to contest that. But as I said before, you get ahead by doing whatever it takes to succeed, short of murder.

There are some things worth losing sleep over. Currently, I’m in the stage of my life of preparing myself to be totally and completely independent of any external care.

Through a primal lens, I’m leaving the nest; through an evolved lens, I’m about to face the toughest competition of my life in the job market.

I’ve been berated with this advice ever since I realized the world doesn’t come to a halt at my given bedtime.

It’s often regarded as a staple in health guidance, but there are times when it feels like every hour I devote to sleep, when I could be studying, means less money in my future paycheck.

Sleep is natural and amazing, and I love it, but at a time in my life when tradeoffs are as common as coffee cups, there seems to be more important things than getting my eight hours.

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