20 People Share The Most Difficult Yet Important Lesson They Learned In Their 20s.

Your twenties have the highest change and growth rate of any other period in your life. Use the time right.


Thanks to the awesome folks at Quora who shared their best lessons.


1/20. Here are some things I really, really wish I knew when I was twenty.

You are not your job. You are not your bankroll. You are not the sum of your possessions.

The company does not love you. It has no heart. You are replaceable. Keep your parachute handy.

Few decisions will ever shape your future life more than who you choose to marry. To marry well, you must choose well.

Love is a commitment.

Your passions will grow out of your values. Make early, wise choices to value what (and who) is good, trustworthy, and praiseworthy.

Rich Tatum


2/20. There are always going to be people smarter/"better" than you.

This point is not a matter of your acceptance, this situation is actually good for you --- this is how you will become smarter/"better". In fact, being surrounded by smarter people is extremely important for developing an individual. If you consistently find yourself being the smartest guy in the room, you are doing it wrong --- either your self-assessment is way off, or you are in a wrong place.

We are defined mostly by our background and our environment. Studying the mental development of children has shown that their IQ "moves" in direction of an average IQ of a group they socialize with: "dumber" people getting "smarter", and "smarter" people getting "dumber" depending on their surroundings. It corresponds to my observations for adults too.

Eugene Lazutkin


3/20. Adult life is about learning to live with ambiguity. Remember when you thought you'd have it all sorted out by 30? No. Whether it be your career, your relationships or your beliefs, you will always question whether you are making the right choices and will have to deal with regret.

Brandon Chu

3/20. Don't "follow your passion" when you're 20: Often people who aim to follow their passions will develop new passions whenever their current track becomes difficult. This can lead to a life of jumping around too much and never getting truly good at anything.

. . . build career capital instead. When you're 20, you don't know all the things there are to be passionate about. You will also find that your deepest passions will come when you're truly good at something. Get good and connected first, and then, when you are 35, you will naturally find yourself following passions much more compelling than the silly little things you called "passions" when you were 20.

Jim Stone


5/20. First impressions make a difference - I flew to over 70 cities in 2 years for business. When I wore a hoodie and fell asleep once, the stewardess woke me up and said "It's time to wake up teddy bear." I was 29 years old at the time. When I wore a suit (because I had business meetings that same day), people would treat me differently and call me "sir." First impressions make a difference.

Nelson Wang


6/20. Be more original: Following the status-quo may help you achieve short term academic success, it might assist in enabling you to pass exams and get into university, but ultimately it is going to detrimentally affect your creativity. Take risks, spot chances and dove in. Share your ideas and get feedback. Be brave.

Chris Herd


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7/20. "If you have time to whine and complain, you have time to do something about it." - Anthony J. D'angelo. When you don't like something you have two options in hand, as usual (i) Shut up or (ii) Do something about it. When you whine it always makes you less attractive.

Marshall Samson


8/20. Gotta serve somebody. Bob Dylan said it plainly. That may sounds religious and corny, but what it underscores is a secular truth: the payoff in life really does come from serving others. I know this from experience. When I feel deep satisfaction, it's because I've really helped someone else or contributed to a greater good. Desperately unhappy people are those who are trapped in a vicious cycle or utterly disabled and unable to make an impact on problems outside themselves. I don't think I realized this truth until I was much older. Just understanding this helps you connect with others.

Alan Morrison


9/20. Believe in yourself. Having full faith in oneself is the best defense against a world saturated with naysayers. Remember that doubt has killed more dreams than failure ever will.

Mudit Kakkar


10/20. No Emotion is 'Negative'. Just because we get angry, scared or sad does not mean that does emotions are 'negative'. Every moment of Sadness teaches us about ourselves, every moment of Fear teaches us about our limits, and every moment of Anger teaches us about what we want.

Every Emotion is there for a Reason, all we need to do is find that reason.

Lukas Schwekendiek


11/20. Network: Keep talking and making connections with people who are achievers, and are constantly creating things. Attend seminars and conferences. Expanded horizons and connections will help you get to places in life. Its not just about using connections to pull favors, rather people add more completion to your life through their myriad thoughts and achievements.

Anshuman Sanghvi


12/20. Social media paints an unrealistic picture of someones life. No ones life is perfect. Spend less time envying other people and spend more creating value for yourself and the people around you.

Alex Chuang


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13/20. Learn to say No. This is very important. You will often find yourself in this weird situation, where you will hesitate to decide. If you cannot commit to something or help someone, learn to say a polite no.

Pradeep Nayak


14/20. Don't waste time on "so-so" relationships: It's better to be happy alone than unhappy with someone. Simple as that. It's easy to find someone, but it's very difficult to find someone valuing you, your perceptions and goals. So if you see first signs of disrespect, please leave (and leave with dignity).

Kamile Kaselyte

15/20. It's OK if you don't know what you want to do with the rest of your life, but don't use that as an excuse to stagnate. As the great Baz Luhrmann song that was released the year I graduated from high school says: "Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your life...the most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don't."

Your 20s will probably be some of your fondest years; you have the freedom of living on your own, without the responsibility of having a family to care and provide for. Don't waste it building a career you're not interested in just because you're supposed to already have it figured out, and don't waste it stressing because you haven't figured that out yet. And, worst of all, don't be content with sitting at home doing the same thing you did through your teens just because it's comfortable; if you don't want to build a career or go to school, at least keep learning, trying new things, meeting new people. Enhance your experience wherever you can, and see what new paths open up for you.

Thea Pilarczyk


16/20. Just because one lifestyle works for a friend doesn't mean you should follow their lifestyle. Everybody is different.

Being able to travel and meet different types of people has given me exposure to a wide variety of lifestyles. I've met people who enjoy climbing the corporate ladder and prefer a structured life. I've met others who enjoy being their own boss. Others who are digital nomads. Some who prefer living in relaxed cities - others who like living in fast-paced environments.

There is no right or wrong way of living life. You have to do what fits your personality.

Francis Chen


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17/20. There is no shortcut in life. We are fortunate to be in the period where technology growth (specially in the communication field) has been tremendous. Everything has become quick and LIVE, be it texting, chatting, video chatting etc, which is awesome. But one thing cannot be changed-success cannot become instant, one needs to perspire, toil and then only success comes.

Abhishek Srivastava

18/20. Failure is the best teacher : When you meet some of the meanest and sociopathic teenagers in their late twenties, it's somewhat surprising to meet a pleasant and wise person. That's because nothing builds character like the suffering of the real world. Failure, heartbreak and hitting rock bottom are the only three things in life that have the ability to completely change a person's entire thought process and belief system and the lessons that you learn at your lowest points in life will be your best lessons ever!

Vineeta Tyagi

19/20. Learn to be happy when you're alone.

Kumar Utkarsh


20. Screw your pride. It will only hold you back from doing the things you know you should be doing and screw up most of your relationships. Hes the one who has to make the first step. She has to call back. Its been like this for ages. Its the rules. So it has to be like this. You know what? Forget about the rules. Thats your ego talking and its complete BS!

Yann Girard


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