Entrepreneur Advice: 7 Life Skills You Should Learn In Your 20s

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For many, your twenties can be a confusing and perplexing time. You may be graduating from school, switching careers or questioning your next-play within an organization. Adopt a growth mindset towards learning these life skills in your 20’s so you can confidently navigate what’s to come in your thirties.


According to “The Social Dilemma”, Netflix’s hit documentary, “the very meaning of culture is manipulation”, which is a distressing thought. I’m writing now to challenge that perception because our twenties are full of ‘rough patches’ that can’t be lived out publicly on social, and do run the risk of leaving you vulnerable to manipulation.

1. How to Live In the Moment

No doubt, social media reactions and responses have become the primary qualifier for happiness among the younger generation and even for older people too. Today, social media has become fully embedded within everyday culture but it would be a mistake to believe that, ‘if you’re not online, you don’t exist.’

Living in the moment, instead of racing toward the future, is truly the key to happiness and success. Learn to understand and control your sense of self, block-out the misconceptions and perceptions that are created by manipulative content and media, and identify your strengths and weaknesses.

Once you can find your balance and do this, everything and anything becomes possible.


2. How to Handle Uncertainty

Life has its ups and downs. It’s important to focus on what you can control and dismiss what you cannot.

Remember to consciously release ideas and opportunities during times of change. Instead of clinging onto the uncertainty that a first job may bring, a failed relationship, or more tangible stress like personal finances and goods – move beyond your comfort zone and see what’s out there.

The calculated risks you can take in your 20s can earn you a greater return in areas you never knew were possible.

3. How to Receive Criticism

No one likes being told what to do or that they are wrong. It’s easy to resent the person critiquing you or even completely ignore them.

Instead of building a wall, open a door. Accept criticism with positivity and don’t think ill of people who point out your mistakes.

Because you can never know the whole picture. Criticism that you initially perceived as negative might just set you on the path you were looking for all along.

4. How to Ask for What You Want

This is probably my favorite piece of advice, because it took me a while to realize how to constructively and emotionally master it. You can’t miss chances you don’t take.

If you never summon up the courage and confidence to ask for a new opportunity, a job promotion, a date with a significant other, or any other need that may be dwelling in your professional or personal life – you have no chance of getting it.

The more you can put yourself in uncomfortable situations, the more you will realize they are not as uncomfortable as you expected them to be. After all, you may get exactly what you want.

5. How to Communicate Effectively

No matter what career space you are in or the context of the conversation, you can always improve the way you communicate. To be perfectly clear, though, I’m not talking about how you talk… I’m saying better communication happens when you take the time to listen.

Remain silent and accept what others have to say. Taking the time to digest one-another’s ideas and opinions will give you the ability to effectively respond and contribute to the situation at hand.

Rather than rushing to interject your own thoughts or beliefs, listen to others, understand the underlying meanings, and produce a more effective result.

6. How to Manage Your Time Wisely

We all want to be better at managing our time. The everyday stress of life itself only adds to present limitations.

Learn how to schedule your workday which should consist of short, calculated breaks and deep work sessions. Utilize resources and the empowerment of technology to get the job done, smarter, not harder.

Meanwhile use your personal time to take care of yourself, family, and those close to you.

7. How to Be Persistent

Throughout life, and especially early on in adulthood, you will encounter many ups and downs. Learn to fail fast and get back up.

Maybe it was a project that didn’t meet goals, or a job interview that didn’t go as planned. Or maybe it was a get-together with high school friends that never quite came to fruition.

Persistence is the key to building your self-worth and identifying personal strengths that can help you achieve more.


Mentioned in this Article

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Zach is a Co-Founder at Curate, a St. Louis software startup that streamlines and automates operations and processes for event professionals. Prior to joining Curate, Zach worked extensively in early-stage technology startups in the Chicago and St. Louis areas with both PowerPost and PointDrive, filling sales and product capacities. PointDrive was acquired by LinkedIn whereby he then served as a consultant at LinkedIn. Zach has volunteered as a mentor, advisor, and analyst at organizations such as 1871 in Chicago and GatewayVMS and Washington University in St. Louis. In his downtime, he specializes in research, strategy and development of early-stage startups, small businesses, and personal brands.

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