Life happens only once with so many lessons and bumps. However, we can never go back and lessons only help us to get through future hurdles. There are some things I should have learned in early stages of my life. But experience teaches us all. You won't learn a thing unless and until you're hurt.
Today, I am going to list some of the things I learned in later stages of my life and some of them I should've done early in my life which would've made my life better. These are my own personal experiences and all the things I follow or have followed at certain stages of my life.
1. Save Money for the Future
As young people, we take too many things for granted. Money is one such thing that we want to spend as we get our hands on it. I want a new furniture, a gaming console, a phone, a laptop, I want to eat outside every day. It's ok to indulge in few things, but you will also need to save some money on regular basis. This is the money that will help you in hard times and you can invest for future returns. Not spending money on things that you absolutely need is not a waste.
For example, it was always my dream to buy new phones, cars, and luxury items as I get money. But I realized that more I earn, less I feel attached to it. It doesn't mean I don't want to earn, but I will spend it only on necessary things and avoid purchases that signify greed.
I invest a major portion of my salary into 401k, invest some in stocks, cook food at home, hardly go to fancy restaurants for dining and make sure I have enough balance by the end of the month. When I think about spending money, it's not the paycheck I look at, but it's also how my bank balance will look like 5 years later. So be wise with money and everything else will fall in the place.
2. Learn Something New
Learning is a continuous process irrespective of age. Learn things related to your profession, but also try to learn something unrelated. They will give you a leverage in situations where your primary skill is out of job market. You can also make your hobby the learning habit. Don't learn thing just because of the sake of learning, first convince yourself that you really want to learn it and things will get much better.
You can learn new things by reading management books, a biography of inspirational leaders or improve public speaking and presentation skills. With constant practice and solid patience, you can turn your learning into the hobby that you want to embrace. If you just keep learning things related to your job, you will have a monochromatic set of skills. But rather learn something unrelated to your educational or professional field of expertise.
For example, there are many things I learned in past few years which have helped me tremendously. Learning to cook, making origamis, speaking Spanish, public speaking and communications skills and each of this new thing have given me a new perspective on life.
3. Know How to Cook
Cooking is one of the major skills you have to have to get a leverage over so many things. I didn't know anything about cooking until the age of 23. However, when I left home and started living away from home, I had to learn this skill.
It gives me leverage over so many things such as I can customize food to my taste, experiment things without requesting the professional chef to do it, I don't have to spend money on fancy restaurants at least twice a day and I am also saving myself by not going outside when it's bad weather.
When I say cooking, you don't have to be a master chef. You can at least cook 7-8 different dishes. Enough number that you won't get bored of making repetitive food. Cooking can start from anywhere. You can talk to your family members or if you are like me, you can even learn few tips from your roommate who is expert at culinary skills
4. Be Humble
Teen ages is that time period when we all feel invincible and almighty. As you grow and become mature, you realize that there are people in the world who are much better than us and are way humble. Being humble and down to earth also helps you to bond with other people since no one wants to hang out with a jerk or self-centric personality.
I didn't realize this until I met so many talented people who were humble and nice to everyone. Some of these people actually taught me many things. Had they been egotistical and self-bragging, I don't think I would ever have approached them. Actually, our degree of humbleness is directly proportional to the amount of knowledge we have. That's why you will usually see the person who knows so less is the one bragging that he knows all.
So be humble and people will be nice to you. There is always going to be a someone who is better than you and you can learn a thing or two from them. When you are being nice to people, not only your respecting and caring for others, but you are also projecting a good reflection of your own personality.
5. Write Something
Writing is a great way to keep the list of things you did, you want to do or diary of things you learned. I do the last thing where I use the blog as a medium to document and publish the list of things I learned or recently did. When I look back at things, I see the transformation of myself over the years.
When I first started writing a blog almost 3 years ago, it was mostly for writing about iOS development - My primary field of profession. But over the years I have written a lot about new things I learned, life advice, things I want to do, travel and new skillsets.
You can write anything that you think makes sense. Not everything needs to be public, but if you think your knowledge can benefit others, you can distribute it through writing blog posts. When you're writing a quality content and your writing reaches a crowd, you can make new friends or even your existing friends can point out to your writings if it has helped them.
Even better, you can get your writing inspected by the editor and this will help you to have better writing skills.
6. Respect Yourself
What is the point of living the life if you don't respect yourself? It's kind of difficult to draw a boundary between excessive ego and self-respect, but it shouldn't be too hard to understand who values you and who does not.
Feel like you're being avoided by someone? Feel like people are badmouthing you? Feel like people are ignoring or making fun of your advice behind your back? And you're still trying to grab the attention of that person? If so, you're not respecting yourself when another person is treating you like a doormat. If you think any person is ashamed of being associated with you or just don't value you as a human being, better cut-off that relationship for good.
There were so many instances during my teen ages when I have apologized to people for no reason, I tried to grab their attention or tried to sacrifice my own interests and resources for someone who I thought might give me a respect. But no more. I still feel bad for my own self at that time for disrespecting myself. Don't feel like you need to have every person in your life. Rather than going for such people, learn to know people who value you, respect you and try to do some things for them as a token of gratitude.
7. Speak Less
Read it somewhere that "There is a reason humans have two ears and one mouth". People who talk more and listen less are losing a learning opportunity. When I analyzed myself, I realized most of the times when I talk, it's repetitive and not in sync with what is actually expected by the other speaker.
By speaking less you can concentrate on things that are important and avoid unwanted topics and gossips. I mean how many times do we talk at work that is directly connected to real work or carries the importance. It doesn't mean you don't have to talk, but talk what is important and listen before you talk. Try to filter the content which you think is not important and that might be just a filler or outwardly gossip that has no relation to the ongoing conversation.
8. Be Independent
We all need someone to help with something. But we don't need everyone to help us with everything. There are a lot of things that can be done without relying on someone. The point here is not to keep people away, but rather realizing your power of self-reliance. You can still keep your friends and relatives in contact, but don't rely on them for the majority of things that may be achieved without any outside help. Try to be dependent on as fewer resources as possible and your main resource if yourself.
The point is if you have never given yourself an opportunity to do something by yourself, how are you going to realize your potential. There was a time when I thought I can't fly alone, can't cook without any outside help, can't sign a lease and get utilities, can't travel alone or can't do a public speaking without another person. Over the time, as time came and I was forced to do these things by myself, it gives me whole new power and confidence to try out additional new things by my own even when I had a choice to ask someone for help.
Being independent also prevents someone unreliable from emotionally hurting you. Less you're dependent on outside forces, more you're confident about your own abilities, more is the possibility that you will ignite confidence within yourself, learn new things and get work done in a reliable manner.