11 Things Every 20-Something Should Do To Fully Prep Themselves For The Next 5 Years
First things first...
Before you do anything, learn how to work hard and stick with something.
Hard work goes a long way in ensuring survival in this cutthroat competitive world. If you can work hard and stick with something for an extended period of time, there's almost nothing in life that you cannot do.
Now let's get down to the list:
1. Be athletic.
Pick up an athletic hobby (can be anything, even running or skipping ropes) that you can do through the years. It's the only way to stop your sedentary academic lifestyle from doing horrible things to your posture, back, and gut.
2. Be entrepreneurial.
Yes, entrepreneurial. Start some kind of little side venture to learn entrepreneurial principles. The earlier you start, the better your later life will be. For example, you can start a window washing business, become a part-time barista, sell flowers, become a courier boy. Literally do anything. I started as a tuition teacher at the age of 17 and drove autorickshaws in India.
3. Be budgetary.
Learn to track and manage your expenses. Make a budget and learn how to stick to it. Practice it. Make it your goal to never exceed your budget goal. If you can learn to live on a budgeted sum now while you can, you won't be forced to later on in life.
4. Be bilingual.
Because bilinguals get all the perks. Better job prospects, a cognitive boost and even protection against dementia. Besides, if you live in a culturally diverse countries like Malaysia and India, knowing multiple languages is always a benefit and eases your transition into the society.
5. Be travel-ready.
Save up and go somewhere crazy with a few friends. Or alone. Live in villages among the under-privileged. Be ready to explore. The more you do the more experience you will have. I started traveling when I was 15. Traveling gave me insight about things otherwise not possible.
6. Be independent.
Make sure to not completely rely on any one thing. Whether you're in college or starting early in your career. For example, if you work at a big company, constantly make small steps to reduce your dependence on your job. Write a book, build an app, learn to code. Take risks.
7. Be decisive.
Have that "do it today, right now" attitude! If you've decided to do something, then start from today, do not rely on tomorrow. (It never comes.) Most importantly, once you start anything, do not let it down in the middle. Complete it. No matter how hard it is. No matter how long it takes.
8. Be unconditional.
I know, it's not easy to be completely unconditional. But at least try to be one to that extent where you do not expect anything in return or be given to you just because you feel you deserve it. Expectations hurt more than anything else. Try to do things unconditionally. If you help someone in their difficult times, do not expect that he/she will do the same for you.
9. Be resourceful.
You have the Internet, and it is free (except the data charges). Use it. Learn things. Read. It's deep and vast, just like our universe. The more you use it the more you will find is left there to discover. Don't underestimate its usage in enabling to make you resourceful in this digital age by simply thinking of the Internet in terms of social media.
10. Be good.
As in, at what you do! If you can achieve expertise in what you do, it will be a lot easier to obtain an audience. Practice your medium (whatever it may be, art, sport, business, etc.), hone your skills by learning as much as you can to develop them to the point where, if needed, people know you by what you do and not by your name.
11. Be prepared.
There is nothing more unexpected than life itself. Be prepared for it to throw at you the most unexpected of things in almost all stage of your life. It may not necessarily be unpleasant or bad but even if it is, try to handle it in the best possible manner. Be prepared for the possibility of having your heart broken (more than once). Be prepared to be backstabbed by friends. Or being fired. Failing. Be prepared.
In addition to all that, develop effective speaking skills.
Most people are nervous about speaking in public. However, communication is critical to success in business and in life. Practice speaking up. Among friends. Wherever you can. Don't stay quiet just because you feel you have nothing valuable to say or add to an ongoing conversation. Participate. Engage. The more you do, the better you get. It won't be easy, but will surely help you later in life.