Sir Isaac Newton who is widely recognized as one of the most influential scientists of all time once invested the bulk of his money in a Ponzi scheme and lost all his investment. As critical-minded as Newton was, he couldn’t see the deception and impracticability of the money doubling scheme he was buying into. We all have a different understanding of the world based on our education, experiences, and environment. Some people are more knowledgeable than others about different aspects of life. But no one has a full grasp of what’s going on. Smart people also do dumb things. One of the critical lessons you need to learn about succeeding in life before you turn 30 is that no one has it all together. For the rest of this video, I’ll be sharing with you 7 things I believe is important for young people to learn early in life. Before we get to it, be sure to subscribe to After School Africa for more insightful videos like this.
1. No one has it all together
Don’t wallow in low self-esteem thinking everyone else has it all together except you. You are not as weird as you think. You are not as terrible as you think. You are just as flawed as every other person. Smart people also do dumb things. We are all lost in the wonder of some unsolved mystery. Why is it important to know this? When you understand that no one is perfect and that everyone is engulfed in a private internal battle, you’ll learn to accept yourself more and judge other people less. You will learn not to get carried away by society’s expectation of perfection and the filtered social media lifestyle. You will also give yourself the chance to improve and learn to forgive yourself when you make wrong decisions.
2. Start from where you are
George Eliot, an English poet cum novelist once said: “Great things are not done by impulse but by a series of small things brought together.”
I was almost in tears while reading some comments on Twitter about a fraudster that was recently arrested in Dubai. Someone remarked that the only way to make money is to take from other people. People with this mindset believe that every rich people stole from other people. And a criminal is only someone who is caught. So to get rich you have to steal from others. The ‘get rich quick mindset’ possesses many young people today. These people no longer believe in building for the long term. They believe that if it is not fast and big, it is not worth trying.
It’s good to dream big and set big goals. But nothing worthwhile is ever achieved without someone planting a seed, and nurturing it to grow. Goals are destinations. But life is a journey, not a destination. And it’s the little steps that make up the journey. So don’t be afraid to start taking steps from where you are. Once you are done setting your goals, start from where you are; no matter how small.
3. Focus on capacity to solve problem; not money
Most people’s money problem is not due to lack of money but lack of skill. Skill offers you the capacity to solve problems. People and organizations pay money to people that can meet their needs. The more you develop your capacity to meet people’s needs, the more money you can make. The problem with making money your primary motivation is that while you are chasing after money, you are losing the time you could have used to deepen your knowledge and increase your value in your area of interest.
If you have been following our channel for some time, you know we constantly encourage considering the future of work and opportunities while making career and business decisions. We encourage identifying and exploring current and emerging opportunities. The essence is not to just look for where the money is, but to look for where you can make the most impact and add the most value. Money is a result of the value created. If you focus more on developing important skills and creating value, you will eventually make money.
4. Your Money Habits will Influence your future
Ibukun Awosika, current chairman of Firstbank, while building her furniture company, made sure every income she made was accounted for and went into building her business. Most legitimately successful under-30s today started with a healthy money habit early in life. They spend their money acquiring skills and knowledge, investing in their idea and opportunities.
Understand that the decisions you’ve made with your finances have brought you to this point. The decisions you’ll make from now on will likewise determine where you’ll be tomorrow. To a very large extent, your habits with money will determine your financial position in the future. Start early to develop your financial education and money management skill.
5. Experience is more important
When Jeff Bezos was about making a decision between keeping his job as a financial software engineer at Wall Street and starting an internet book store, he had to honestly answer a simple, yet profound question, “When I turn 80, which decision will minimize my regrets?” With that it was obvious he should quit his job and start Amazon. In his words, “If it failed, I would be very proud when I am 80 that I tried.”
As you get older, you might feel remorse for things you did wrong, but most life regrets stem from those things you didn’t allow yourself to experience. Experience increases your confidence. The more you experience overcoming difficulties and daring the impossible, the more confident you become. When making important career decisions, consider the option that offers you more opportunity to grow, get out of your comfort zone, and create more experience. Don’t be afraid to try new things and make mistakes. In the end, you are more likely to regret the things you did not do than the things you did.
6. Persistence win over talent
Here is a quote from Michael Jordan “…If you run into a wall, don’t turn around and give up. Figure out how to climb it, go through it, or work around it.”
One of the obstacles Michael Jordan faced at the beginning of his basketball career was his height. At the time he was always considered short by all his coaches. For this limitation, Jordan was rejected from the high school basketball team. Think about that. The man we admire today as the greatest basketball player of all time was once considered unworthy to play for his school team. After experiencing rejection, Jordan decided to develop his skills by privately training for a full season. As they say, the rest was history.
In raising his four children, Jeff Bezos said he gave them this simple advice; “Be proud of your choices, not your talents.”
You can be happy about being handsome or being good at math. But the innate traits you’ve been born with shouldn’t drive your sense of worth. You mostly didn’t choose to be beautiful or good with mathematics. Rather you should be proud of your work because that’s a choice you made. Natural talent is a small portion of what it takes to succeed in life. The world is filled with talented underachievers. A driven hard worker with average talent will beat a talented person who doesn’t put in the work. Rather rely on the rare ability to bounce back from setbacks.
7. Follow your inclination
Late Professor Chinua Achebe, discovered his love for writing and storytelling while at the university. He won a scholarship to study medicine but changed his studies to English literature while at the University. His carefully honed writing and storytelling skill resulted in his first published book, Things Fall Apart; a book that opened his doors to the corridor of immortality.
You don’t have to spend 4 to 5 years of your life studying a course you have no interest in, with the hope that everything will work out fine when you leave school. Don’t be fooled by the pretense; most people in the corporate world hate their jobs. If you want to minimize your regret as you grow older, find what really interests you, and build your career around it.
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