The 20 Things You Shouldn't Take For Granted In Your 20s

by Paul Hudson

Our 20s are a time for self-indulgence, when we relish in ourselves and think of few consequences. The goal is to get it out of our systems: to learn that we’re being selfish and to grow into better people.

So use this time to take a look at yourself and examine how you can make this life one worth living. Here are the 20 Things That People In Their 20s Take For Granted:

1. Talent Only Gets You Into The Race.

Growing up, I made the mistake of thinking that talent was enough to get you to the top. Talent is not something that one is either born with or without. Talent is a person’s ability to take in information and learn. A talented athlete is able to learn how to use his or her body more efficiently than others. They learn to function within a world governed by physics more rapidly then most. With this said, a person who isn’t considered “talented” could become just as skilled or as successful as those considered “talented” if he or she put in the work.

Of course, this may very well take the less talented person longer to achieve the same goals, but nevertheless the untalented are just as capable of success as are those who learn quicker. In fact, because those that are talented often experience a feeling of uniqueness, they more often than not fall behind those not believed to be especially talented.

2. You Don’t Put In The Hours, You Don’t Get The Payoff.

If you don’t do the work, then you won’t see results. Gen-Yers often feel entitled to…well, everything. We have big egos — it’s true. Having a huge ego can be very useful as long as you understand how far your ego alone will take you. No matter who you are or how intelligent you believe yourself to be, mastery of any subject takes time and effort; there’s no shortcut.

3. Eat Junk Now And Pay For It Later.

Metabolisms slow down with age. They also slow down when you eat crap every day. Your metabolism greatly influences your life’s longevity. The better shape your metabolism is in, the longer you will be able to survive. You can eat junk food all you want as long as you realize how many years of your life you are exchanging those Big Macs for.

4. Social Media Is Available To The Public.

Every time you or your friend put up a photo or comment about how you puked your brains out last time you got bottle service at the club or about how much blow you did that had you thinking that your “Heart is going to explode! OMG! LMFAO! #YOLO #CrackWhore” -- others can see it. The stuff you put up is visible to anyone and everyone. For some reason, we think that only those that we believe should see it are able to see photos of us hitting that bong, but the truth is that your prospective employer also has access. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the future’s rap sheets.

5. Family Is Most Important.

Friends will come in and out of your life, but family is for life. If you were lucky enough to be born into a caring, loving family, then count your lucky stars and do what you can to make them feel appreciated. Not all of us have parents and siblings that treat us well and with respect. If you weren’t born into a good family, then your goal should be creating your own loving family in the future. Your family will get you through some of the most difficult times in your life; you are one another’s support group.

6. If You Don’t Accept Your Mistakes, You Will Never Grow.

Everyone makes mistakes — no exceptions. 20-something year olds seem to have an issue with taking responsibility for their mistakes — for owning up to them. They view mistakes as weakness, when in reality their only weakness is not having the courage to accept their mistakes for what they are. The first step to growth is accepting the mistakes that you make and then being willing to learn from them.

7. No Skills Means No Success.

People don’t buy you, they buy what you know and how well you can use that knowledge to procure some benefit. You may believe yourself to be diligent and intelligent, but others — such as employers — see you as a tool. If your skills haven’t been sharpened, then you’re dull and useless.

8. Time Is Your Most Valuable Commodity

You can make money, you can acquire objects, but the time you are allotted can never be replaced or purchased. Every time you are wasting time doing anything wasteful, you are willfully giving up the most valuable thing that you possess. On average, most people waste more than enough time to have learned a whole new set of skills that would place that a step ahead of all their competition.

9. Having A Financial Buffer Comes In Handy.

It rains — make sure that you do have some money saved for such a day. There is not much worse than the worry and stress associated with financial instability as a result of an unexpected event or crisis. Save yourself the headache and start saving your pennies today.

10. Everyone Judges You.

Everyone — there are no exceptions. Judging others is part of human nature; it’s a defense mechanism that wards us from dangers. Think about all the things you think about and take into consideration when meeting someone new. They are doing exactly the same. Always do your best to look and act your best. You never know what opportunities you’ll miss by not being in control of the way you are perceived by others.

11. It’s What You Know And Who You Know.

The saying: “It’s not what you know, but who you know” — is a little misleading. If you are a very popular moron with lots of important people, you may be able to get yourself out of tight situations, but at the end of the day you are still a moron. No one wants to work with a moron, regardless of who they do or don’t know.

12. Tomorrow Is Not A Promise.

You can never be sure that you will wake up tomorrow. You can never be sure that you’ll make it home in one piece. This is simply the way the world works and something that everyone must accept and understand if they wish to take all that life has to offer. Live everyday like it’s your last because it may very well be your last.

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13. You’re Privileged.

You have a place to sleep. You have food to eat and clean water to drink. Believe it or not, that is a privilege — a privilege that some pray for every single day of their lives as they watch those they care about die from starvation, thirst and easily treatable diseases.

14. You Only Get One Body.

You can’t switch and you can’t upgrade. Medicine and plastic surgery are only bandages. If you don’t take care of your body, then your body won’t take care of you. Why risk an early grave? Eat well and exercise regularly — live longer and happier. Start now because the older you get, the harder it gets.

15. Your Mind Can Only Take So Much.

Our mind is like a muscle; it gets fatigued with constant use. We use our mind all the time, no matter whether we are awake or asleep. Do your best to keep your stress at a minimum and allow your thoughts to focus on the present rather than everything else. The only way to keep mind and body aligned is to focus on the world around. Meditation is proven to allow the brain to perform certain ‘repairs’ that have before only been associated with the sleep cycle.

16. Efficiency Leads To Happiness.

Do less, get more. It’s possible if you make sure to think things through before you just go ahead and do them. You have more than enough time to take care of everything that you need to take care of — you just need to prioritize and secularize. Don’t multitask — it literally makes you dumber.

17. Money Can’t Buy You Happiness — But It Helps.

Money is not the answer to all problems, but it gives you a great way to find the solution. Money won’t make you happy, but it will make you comfortable. Comfort, on the other hand, could be either a good or bad thing. Either way, for true happiness you do need financial stability, otherwise you will always have worry.


18. Caring For Your Belongings Builds Character.

Things aren’t always made to be disposable…more often than not, we have no choice but to trash and replace because we never bothered to maintain. Caring for the things that you do own will lower your cravings for other material things. It will teach you to appreciate and respect what you do have and it will help you build character. Having such a sense of responsibility will fill other parts of your life.

19. We Have A Responsibility To The Rest Of The World.

You may only be you, but you are not alone. You have something in common with every other person in the world: you are priceless and should be respected. 20-something year olds have a tendency to splurge on dumb things without taking into consideration the needs of others in the world. Being privileged is almost entirely luck. Why should those that weren’t so lucky have to pay for their hand for the entirety of their lives?

20. Chances Are That There Is No Afterlife.

Believe in what you will, there’s always a chance that this life is all you get. Statistically and scientifically speaking, it is unlikely that there is an afterlife. You may be certain that there is, but you have to admit that you may be wrong. Either way, you should not take for granted the life that you have. You won’t get another one. All the opportunities that you are allowing yourself to miss out on, you will likely never get a chance to relive. Live your life to the fullest and do all you can to make it mean something — something grander than self-indulgence.

Top photo courtesy: Tumblr