What should one do in their 20s to avoid regrets in their 30s and 40s?

Answer by Shikhar Agarwal:

  • Avoid getting addicted to a smartphone

Everywhere – bus, meeting, restaurant, friends and so on, your eyes are always down – staring at the smartphone. Maybe someone has liked your photo on Facebook, upvoted your answer – common on – get some air! Check your surroundings – see that baby is smiling at you, there is sadness in your friend's eyes that can't be expressed in words – there is so much happiness around you, maybe you can learn the route to your destination or throw an out-of-box idea in the meeting. In today's world, avoiding getting addicted to your smartphone would be one of the best things to do.

  • Learn to manage and balance your time

20s is the age when you get out of school and enter the real world, where your peers would try to beat you, a boss would command you. Then you would need to spend time in a gym, your girlfriend might want to go on a date and so on. Basically this is a time where you would lay the foundation of your relationship, career, health and life as whole. Learn how to manage your time in a balanced fashion. Experiment with different strategies but master this art.

  • Travel

20s is the best time – you are mature enough to go on your own and immature enough to learn from others. You don't have family obligations and are care-free. Use this time to meet different people, live with them and understand their thoughts and culture, go backpacking and learn how to survive independently in a new place. This would broaden your horizon and make you confident and more social. Not to mention the golden memories your little adventures would give you to cherish forever!

  • Pursue passion, not money

You don't have much responsibilities during 20s and can take risk. So follow your passion – don't get tempted by short term gains. If you want to do a PhD, don't get attracted towards the huge job package. First find your passion:

If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on – Steve Jobs (SJ)

This would be really important in your life, because:

If you don’t love something, you’re not going to go the extra mile, work the extra weekend, challenge the status quo as much –  SJ

Then follow your passion – become a master when you are young and money would keep on flowing throughout your life

If you keep your eye on the profit, you’re going to skimp on the product. But if you focus on making really great products, then the profits will follow – SJ

  • Know thyself

20s is the best time to start understanding yourself – what is your strength, weakness, passion, interest et al. You should know what upsets you and what makes you happy. Realize what is THE thing that would motivate you in times of greatest failure. Find the answers to these questions – what is your fear; who loves you; what do you want to achieve and so on.

  • Understand your social obligations

Don't forget the other side of the coin – your social responsibilities. It is usual that in the race to build up one's career, relationship, etc. one forgets that there are millions of people who do not get clean water and food; that suffer from abuse, disability; who are underprivileged and deprived from almost everything in life. It is important that you develop an attitude of supporting these people, in however small contribution, at a younger age. Check this: Can money buy happiness?


See also:
What is not important in life?
How can I better apply what I've learned about life?

What should one do in their 20s to avoid regrets in their 30s and 40s?

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