I do wish that during my 20s there has been some kind of manual that I could’ve read that would’ve guided me in the right direction. Things turned out OK in the end, but I feel that it was a lot harder than it needed to be and if I had a trusted source to guide me it would’ve been a lot less stressful. The main issue with being in your 20s, especially your early 20s, is that you are an adult but you’ve not had much opportunity to practice being an adult.
And it appears that everybody has it figured out, when in reality this is not the case. The real problem is that you know 100% of your own situation and only the highlights of other people’s lives. This creates a problem because you compare the full knowledge of your situation with the partial knowledge of other people’s situations. This can make it seem like you’re the only one who’s got a significant amount of anxiety about the future when everybody else has a clear plan.
One key thing in your 20s you have to become comfortable with being uncomfortable. You don’t know everything and you have no idea how the future will pan out. This is also the case when you’re in your 30s or even older, but the range of possibilities is diminished which gives a sense that the future is more under your own control. So the beautiful thing about your 20s, the large amount of potential, is also the most terrifying. Because you could be anyone you could do anything, every day that passes where you don’t take action is another day when one door closes, where opportunities are lost.
On the flip side, you do have time on your side if you do the right things and make good long-term decisions that compound over time. Everybody always overestimates what they can do in short periods of time like days, weeks, and months and then massively underestimate what they can do in years or decades. Pretty much anything that you do on a daily basis over the course of several years will have a massive impact on your life and the results that you achieve in the world. This is why it is so vital to boil all your goals down to habits that you can repeat, if not daily, at least several times per week. It is also worth focusing on habits that have a huge and positive spill over effects for a rest of your life. Like eating well, getting plenty of sleep, meditation, deep work and so on.
I plan on writing this type of survival guide for your 20s, and I should probably also write myself one for my 30s by interviewing people above 40!