By Joseph Rutakangwa
Everyone wants to buy an iPhone nowadays, and that’s great. But how long will it last? We live in a society that is addicted to consumption. We feel satisfied when we consume products. But this satisfaction is always temporary, unless you’re still using and enjoying a Nokia 3210 today.
Experiences per contra, last forever. Investing in experiences is a smart way of investing in yourself. Experiences challenge your thinking, help define your purpose, and bring joyful memories.
Are you wondering which experiences you should invest in? Worry not.
Here’s the list of 20 things you should take on when in your 20s:
Whether you’re saving for retirement or buying a home – the earlier you begin the more you accumulate. Get acquainted with different saving plans and start saving today.
Move out of your parent’s house
You love your parents, and what better way to show them than to get out of their house. Your parents have been serving you for the last two decades – without payment! They changed your diapers and still remind you to turn your lights off – you need to set them free.
Visit a far-off country, alone – and get lost
Travelling alone to another country where you can barely communicate with locals is terrifying. Then, get lost. I know it doesn’t sound right but it will force you out of your shell and help you recognize who you truly are. You’ll become more enlightened and able to look at the world from many perspectives. Your confidence in yourself will fly up. I recently travelled to Rome without learning a word in Italian. And I didn’t want to use google navigation. I got lost a hundred times, but I ended up making friends with strangers and learning Italian. It was one of my most valuable experiences.
Eat strange food
How do you know you’re allergic to it? Just take a bite. If it tastes bad at least you’ll have something to tell your grandkids.
Treat yourself with something exclusive
What better way to motivate yourself than sleeping at an exclusive hotel or buying that luxury item? You will want more of it. You’ll be driven to save, budget more carefully and find ways to earn more so you can relive exclusive experiences.
Master a skill
Master whatever skill you’re inclined to. Any skill can be monetized. Be the best at it and have your signature way of doing it.
Adopt successful habits
We adopt habits, so don’t say your current habits define who you are. Practice successful habits in your 20s and enjoy their fruits.
Take a job that you don’t necessarily want
You will appreciate people you come across in life who have such jobs. You’ll also develop a deep understanding of why people say or do things in a certain way.
LinkedIn doesn’t replace cocktail parties. Meet people in real life, actively listen and share your thoughts. Build a clan and you won’t starve.
Face your fears squarely
As you age and you have more to look after – the fear escalates. Memories of triumph over your fears will take you through so much later in life.
Fail – fast and often
It’s the best way to learn and it’s easier when you’re young. Learn to recover quickly.
Polish your brand
It’s time to clean up your public image. I’m talking about your online presence. Yes, anyone surfing the web can view your social media activity – that includes your current and/or future employers. Your LinkedIn account should represent your glowing professional side and you can use Twitter to demonstrate knowledge in your key interests and causes. Facebook is for hobbies and showing how “nice” of a person you are. “Nice” can mean so many things, I’ll leave it on you to decide.
Find your cause
You don’t have to be a billionaire to change the world, just start with one person. You can mentor someone or volunteer somewhere. Giving back to others makes us stronger.
Apologize and forgive
I know it’s hard, but you build mutual respect with people in your life by doing it. And oh, apologize to your parents for driving them nuts as a teenager. Most people remember to apologize when their parents are dying – don’t be one of them. You will laugh with your parents about it and you’ll feel so good afterwards.
Don’t buy into plain wisdom
You’re often advised not to do X or told you can’t do Y. Society tells you life’s timeline is birth – school – career – marriage – kids – retirement – death. Don’t buy it. You only have one attempt to make the most out of your life – make it count.
This is probably the broadest and most fascinating research you will ever do. Know you values, personality, nature, inclination, drive, fears, habits, etc. You’ll position yourself strategically to get the most out of your life.
Be your number one
Spoil yourself; spend time and money on things you love to do.
Understand that life is long
Who said life is short? That’s their life, not yours. If you were to live to 80, you can go to college at 30, start your career at 35, work for 30 years, retire and start an NGO at 65. There’s plenty of time to do whatever you want.
Fall in Love
A relationship is a mirror for us to reflect and grow. The bitter-sweet aspect of love is what makes it worthwhile.