A few months ago I turned 31. I’ve actually been excited about my thirties. I think it’s going to be a good decade with a lot to look forward too. But perhaps that’s a way to look at any decade in life.
Usually I like to enjoy the present or at least try to while keeping a focus on the future. I like to have things planned out at least a little bit. That seems to put my mind at ease so I can enjoy the present.
But recently I was thinking back on my 20s. It was a pretty good decade with a lot of changes and experiences. It’s hard to say that I’d do things different, but there are some things I think I did well along with some things that I would change.
So based on my observations I’ll share some of my suggestions for entrepreneurs in their 20s.
1. Read More (No TV)
This is one of the things that’s been good for me, but it’s been a recent change in my thirties. I’ve been a big TV watcher my entire life and still do, but I’m working on eliminating it as much as possible.
Instead, I’ve embraced reading. I guess in my 20s I did read a lot of blogs and online publications and still do. But I like reading books of all kinds including biographies. I read a couple local newspapers.
It really is a great way to absorb information.
And studies do find that watching TV is negative for gaining information while reading is positive.
2. Associate With People Of All Ages, Backgrounds, Etc.
This is a big one and I’m trying to do more of it. It’s something I’ve heard from folks that are older than me. They like associating with kids because they can stay up-to-date on popular culture and how things might change in the future. And many people that are older are now mentors in some way and they often had mentors in their lives.
When you’re leaving your teens you’ve spent much of your life with kids exactly your same age. You learn things about life from others that have likely only experience similar things to yourself.
It’s good to be around others that are older, but also others that are younger. You can learn to listen and learn to teach both groups.
And the same goes for people of all backgrounds and other demographics. If you approach life with the mindset that you can learn and possibly teach people of all demographics you stand to live a good life.
3. Don’t Be A Fan (Be A Doer)
I just read this in Jackie Burke Jr.’s book and it really struck me.
In many ways we’ve become a population of fans. I know in my life that I’m a fan of the Green Bay Packers, of entrepreneurs, professional golfers and others in life.
I don’t know if that’s okay. The idea from Burke was that it’s good to be a doer in life. He mentioned it in the context of golf where people today are more likely to be fans and casual golfers than golfers that embrace competition and improvement.
That seems like a good approach for many things in life. People that succeed are doers. They may still be fans, but they’re more focused on doing and achieving.
4. Take Responsibility For Your Own Life
This is a big one. I think I’m getting better, but am working on understanding it even more. I think it’s good anytime a political election comes around. It seems that many people put a lot of focus on how a politician can affect their lives.
I guess that’s true, but it’s really out of an individual’s control.
Is it better to focus on the election or is it better to wait for the result and then respond with what you control?
That seems like taking responsibility for your own life and it can apply to many different aspects. Your parents may not have been the best, but you can be in control.
5. Focus Only On Controllable Aspects Of Life
Building on the last point is the idea of focusing on what you can control. It’s easy to fall into the habit of focusing on the things you can’t control in life. Everybody experiences bad breaks or however you define them.
The ones that seem to succeed in life are the ones that know things will happen while focusing on how they can move forward with what they control.
You can’t ultimately control a person’s choice to go with your business. You can change your offer. You can change the customer you focus on. You can change your engagement and sales process.
Focus on what you control in life and in business situations.
6. Compete Regularly In A Sport Or Game
This builds on the idea of being a fan versus a doer. Activity is important in life. We know that some exercise, perhaps not excessive, is good for our well being. It’s good for our spirit to compete.
I’m not talking about casually tossing a ball around or playing a video game or golfing at the course. Add competition to the sport or game you choose.
Life is a competition whether you realize that or not. Sport can help build that spirit and it can bleed into areas like business.
7. Embrace Insecurity
Ben Hogan loved to play golf in an insecure way. I think Tiger Woods was/is similar. They both would be happy, for a moment, with a win, but would quickly move on to focusing on the next tournament. They knew that they were only as good as their next win.
Life is that way. If you get complacent you’ll start to fall behind because someone is always living in a position where they need to succeed because they have nothing.
8. Understand The Power Of Silence
Silence is good in many ways. It can help you understand your own life. It can also allow you to connect with others. Many people are addicted to noise. They can’t live in silence. They need to be talking or watching or doing.
Silence is powerful and can be great for living a good life and that includes in business.
9. Learn Proper Feedback
It seems to be a common thought that good feedback or constructive feedback is telling someone what they’re doing wrong.
However, positive feedback seems to have more of a long-term effect on improvement.
I’ve learned this and am still learning in our business at Ghost Blog Writers. When giving feedback to a writer on a blog post it’s important to point out what should change, but just as important to tell them what they have done well.
If you don’t tell people what they do well they won’t know to continue doing it.
10. Be Grateful
Finally, we all live in a great time in the history of the world. There is great opportunity.
Yes, bad things happen, but usually it’s never as bad as it seems in the moment.
This is just what I was thinking today as I looked back on life in my 20s. I certainly didn’t do all these things when I was living back then, but some I did. Based on my own experiences and observations I think a person in their 20s would improve and grow by doing the things above.