Sometime ago, I asked a friend how the hell does a 23-year-old become a bestselling author, get featured in Forbes, lined up to be in Season 2 of an Amazon Prime documentary series, do business with Fortune 200 companies and collaborate with the greatest thought leaders alive today?⠀
The answer he gave me was simple. He said to me: “I intentionally spent many years in my own head with the support of my mentors, trying to figure out who I am, what I stand for, what makes me happy, what will and should bring me pain, and creating my purpose here during my limited time on planet Earth. Then, I spilled my guts out to the earth and began the journey of bringing my message outwardly to the world, consistently with vigor. I got noticed.”
I said to myself, “if he could do it, I certainly can too!” And I must say, he has influenced me greatly in some kind of way.
One of the most important career advice is to take note of these ‘young people’s trap’:
‘I’m only 20-something’ Trap
Most young people in their 20s use the ‘oh, I’m young’ fallacy to justify their behavior when they do something. Some people in their 20s live unhealthy lifestyles – excessive drinking, smoking, drugs and so on. In the long run, it exposes them to great health risks. Reality is, your health is created largely by the lifestyle choices you make in your 20s.
There are so many talented young people who are not working, not hustling, not trying because they believe this fallacy perpetuated by social media, parents, peers, etc. In their minds, they have decided their life’s start time, and have become irresponsible in their decison-making.
While all young people have one thing in common – the desire to be successful, those who fall in the ‘I’m still young trap’ miss out due to the fact that they thread with unintentionality, low-level of self-awareness, poor lifestyle habits, coupled with self-deceit. What’s worst? A lot think that they shouldn’t experience pain or failure at all! What’s the value of success without pain and failure?
‘No experience = No value’ Trap
Most young professionals assume that at work, in business or in their career generally, older people are most experienced and it consequently means they’re smarter and better than them. Wrong. Many companies, including Apple, Google, startups and bigger corporations intentionally hire young people because of our mindset and thought-pattern. Our perspective is also different from older people and can be very valuable in bringing solutions to problems.
Young people have zeal, curiosity, strength and a high potential to disrupt systems. This is the advantage you have to put to use. Choose your path and contribute because you have something unique to offer, whether in social life, governance, business, and anything you want to be devoted to. Being 20 doesn’t devalue your contributions to life.
‘You can eat your cake and have it back’ Trap
Young people are often filled with the illusion that because opportunities are everywhere for them, it’ll remain so. Companies are looking for employees within the 20s bracket, scholarships, startup funding, enough time to study and switch jobs, and sometimes consistent support sources (parents, family members, ties, etc). This illusion, coupled with irresponsibility, breeds procrastination and wastefulness. While you may be in luck to escape 1% of the time from this trap, you may be disadvantaged 99% of the time.
For everything, there’s a season. A time to sow and a time to reap. Growing up, you’re sent to school, and expected to finish college at a stipulated time. Parents also expect that, at a certain age, you should be able to take responsibility and take care of yourself and your loved ones. If you hamper this algorithm, it is always difficult to straighten the process. The best thing you can do is to do every necessary thing in the process to become what you want.
‘LinkedIn is only for job seekers’ Trap
I was taught that LinkedIn was an online resume platform for finding a job. No hypes, but that’s just only a small part of the network. LinkedIn is one of the most underrated platforms. It helps in spreading a message faster, starting a business, building a brand, and creating your career.
Forget the statistics as regards number of users or active persons using LinkedIn, people have gone on to land their dream jobs with LinkedIn. Relationships have been built, with partnerships that have turned out to see successful businesses come out. The reality of our present age should make you see social media more than just a place for likes, comments, re-share, follow-backs or trends. If you’re intentional about everything that takes your time and attention, you’ll find out that there’s more you can get out as well as how you give. Look beyond the surface.
‘You need freedom’ Trap
When we leave for the university, what is the first thing that brings us joy? That we’re going to be free! Free from parents, aunties, uncles and the guardian angel that’s micromanaging us. When we are able to afford our needs and no longer feel dependent, we feel like since nobody provides for us, they can’t tell us what to do. This is a very wrong feeling. The essence of having value and sense of responsibility is to be able to live right with minimal supervision, make right choices from set principles and to appreciate honest feedbacks and seek recourse and guide when in doubt or confusion.
Whatever you do, never lose yourself longing for undue freedom as a young person. You have to know who you are, where you’re coming from and what guides your life. You have to place a premium on relationships, the people whose opinion you value, especially as life can be a warfare and can hit you hard. They’re going to be your support system (your friends, parents, mentors, supervisors, colleagues, and so on).