Millennials are dumb.
Millennials are stupid.
Millennials don't appreciate anything.
Millennials don't work hard.
Millennials are ungrateful.
Millennials don't appreciate money.
Millennials are [FILL IN NEGATIVE TRAIT]…
Too often do I hear people taking about how bad our generation is.
Sometimes, I can say I agree with them.
I see at times a lot of 20-somethings who don't appreciate hard work. They think they deserve the world and they can't seem to find the will to drive themselves forward. Some are addicted to stimulants to get through the day, others are addicted to anti-depressants. Some just are aimless.
Others, however, are blowing my mind.
I have met scores of millennials that are doing amazing things.
Some own restaurants.
Some run successful blogs.
Some work in fashion and started their own denim line.
Some are mechanical wizards with cars and motorcycles.
These people, in talking with them, have many key attributes in common that have helped form them into their optimal self. Below are the key characteristics for their finding happiness and success in their lives.
They Regularly practice a side-hustle that challenges them.
You cannot grow without being challenged. it just doesn’t work that way.
Think about the most basic and obvious challenge all human being face when learning to live.
It’s how to walk.
When we are learning how to walk we are faced with many challenges. We are learning how to use our body. We are strengthening our legs. We are falling over and bumping ourselves. Over time, however, we learn to walk. When observing a child learning to walk you can see the determination in their eyes. You can see their smiles.
You know they love the challenge.
When you get into your 20’s you are thrown into the working world where you are given a set of guidelines on what job to do and how to do it. The first few weeks or months might be a challenge and you find some pleasure in the struggle. As time goes on, you find yourself going “through the motions” of a job that you don’t necessarily like and that doesn’t challenge you much.
Adopting a side hustle that offers not only a challenge but also offers diving into a passion of yours helps you optimize your time and learn skills and lessons that can completely change your life.
I know my side hustle of writing (working towards my goal of publishing my first book) is a side hustle that has completely changed my life, introduced me to new people, brought mentors into my life and helped me solve challenges that have come my way.
They Stick to a schedule.
“Lack of time is actually lack of priorities.” -Tim Ferriss
Creating an autonomous schedule is hard, but it will completely enhance who you are as a person.
What’s important to you?
What do you want to accomplish?
You will only be able to complete the goals you have set forth for yourself if you adhere to a strict regimen complementing what is important to you.
You want to create your app?
You want to write your book?
You want to train for a marathon?
All these things require countless hours of work. Building a schedule- I know I have formulated mine in the morning and beginning of the day- that allows you to focus deeply on completing these goals is paramount.
They Sacrifice instant pleasure for long-term gratification.
When you’re young and in your twenties, you are “finding yourself.”
You are going to go through many trials and tribulations to form who you are as a person. I know in my early twenties I had a number of life defining events:
I was fired from my first “grown up job.”
I was cheated on.
I moved from Chicago to Boston.
Then from Boston to Los Angeles.
I slept on an air mattress on the floor of my friend’s studio apartment for 3 months.
I spent so much time sacrificing “hanging out with old friends from high school” for self discovery. I spent so much time trying new things and failing at many of them in order to fully develop into a better picture of what I wanted to be.
I was asked countless times to go out with my coworkers and have that Friday beer at the local bar.
I turned them down. I needed to write and work on my side hustle.
Now, nearing the twilight of my twenties, I see how much farther than certain people I’ve gone (still considering how much further I need to go).
I didn’t go out and party much.
I sacrificed a lot of immediate pleasurable events and put a dire faith in a long-term investment that has paid off tenfold in learning and building who I truly am.
Reading is paramount in your twenties.
You have all the time in the world to explore new and interesting topics and it all awaits for you in books.
I can say that I have one true professional mentor (coincidentally, I met him at the job I was fired at). He has helped me in many ways.
His knowledge is limited however. I have a lust for knowledge and improvement and I’m sure you do as well.
Reading helps me bridge the gap of the wisdom this mentor is not able to relay on me.
Every time I read, I am invited to have the most amazing, in depth, and comprehensive conversation with world experts in any subject I desire.
All optimized 20-somethings set a great deal of their time aside to read and learn from mentors waiting to converse with them through the magic of books.
They Keep close and honest contact with a trusted network of a few individuals and foster growth with one another.
“Surround yourself with only people who are going to lift you higher.” -Oprah Winfrey
It’s hard to put into words how important my best friend is to me.
For most of my twenties we have been roommates. We moved from Chicago to Boston together and then from Boston to Los Angeles together.
One might say we have separation anxiety issues…
What he has done for me in helping me grow has been unequivocally important in my personal development- and I know the same goes for him.
He as well as a few other trusted individuals have kept me honest in life.
When I am going astray, they ask me why.
When I make mistakes, they are there for me yet relay the gravity of the mistake.
When I am optimized, I am there for them. I teach them where they can get back on track and how they can optimize themselves.
We are all on a journey together. Sure we share different specific challenges but we use one another as a tool to help lift one another up.
They Focus on output over input.
In this overly connected world, it’s hard to detach from all the stimuli that comes your way looking for consumption.
From the never-ending newsfeeds to the constant bombardment of emails and notifications it seems like you are being pulled in a plethora of different directions.
When you are reactive, you are working at the whims of others. You are letting the world know your time is less valuable than theirs and they will take that and run to the moon with it.
When you focus on output and shift your mindset in such a way, the “noise” begins to diminish a bit.
Strategy for increasing output and minimizing input:
- Turn off all automatic notifications on your phone- especially on social media apps. YOU tell the world when you are going to respond and react to their tweets, messages, pokes, likes etc.
- Charge your phone away from your bed at night. Don’t, under any circumstances react to the notifications of your phone first thing in the morning. Take the morning to develop a routine that optimizes output and an emphasis on completing certain morning rituals in a succinct and routine manner.
They Shop at the grocery store and learn to cook for themselves.
Too often do I have friends that spend all of their money on take out.
They are sacrificing not only their finances but their overall health as well.
The local Chinese restaurant that you order delivery from twice a week doesn’t care about your health or wallet.
Neither does McDonald’s.
All they care about is that you buy their food and come back to purchase it again.
When you shop at the grocery store and cook your own food, you learn many skills.
You learn an element to be self sufficient.
You learn budgeting.
You learn creativity (in experimenting with different ingredients).
You learn micro failures (in realizing what doesn’t work with your cooking).
It all culminates into a healthier body and a thicker wallet- two elements of your life that are extremely important to monitor in your twenties.
They Travel to foreign countries alone (or with a very small group).
I remember the first time I left the United States. I went on a few week trip journeying through Europe.
I met a friend in London and then headed East through Germany, Austria and Hungary.
It completely altered a certain perception I had on the world.
I learned how others lived and what was important to them.
I learned how to live on fewer resources (I traveled with 2 pairs of pants, 4 t-shirts, 4 pairs of socks, 4 pairs of underwear and a light jacket).
I learned lessons on life from complete strangers (I met an Australian couple who was on month 9 of 12 in their year-long honey moon. I learned how they were leveraging the mortgage of their house to supplement their income and also their worldwide network of friends to supplement some of their shelters).
When you travel, you completely take yourself out of the pond of water that you have been comfortable in and drop yourself in an ocean of newness and uncertainty. It is literally sink-or-swim in terms of finding your way, meeting people, enjoying yourself and learning.
Your body will thank you for it as you get older.
It is also a direct preventative measure in combating depression- which can come and go often in your twenties.
They Regular Journal.
Journaling is awesome- especially in your twenties.
You discover yourself on an exponential level.
You are experience extreme highs and catastrophic lows.
When you journal, you document your entire existence. You are benchmarking who you are in that moment, how much you’ve grown and how far you still need to go.
The human memory is great but it isn’t perfect.
In going back and rereading many of the journal entries I wrote years ago, I am amazed to find who I was then and how far I’ve come to this day. I can intimately see what struggles I was dealing with and what thoughts I had on a given accomplishment.
There have been plenty of times I’ve read a past entry and smiled uncontrollably thinking to myself, “wow, there is no way I would have remember this! Especially in this extreme detail.”
When you journal, you are documenting your life. You are setting up historical “checkpoints” that you can revert back to and reflect on in order to optimize yourself further.
Unlock Your Optimal Self.
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