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“The best way to make your dreams come true is to wake up.” – Paul Valery
- ) Introduction
- ) The average joe’s approach to futility
- ) A brief digression on choice and risk-taking
- ) Practical perspectives on existence
- ) Zeroing in on a brighter future
- ) Conclusion/Related reading
This piece is geared towards raising awareness in terms of the determining, yet often erroneously disregarded characteristics concerning a timespan of utmost importance during your limited Dasein.
It offers you a myriad of reasons, as for why your twenties will most likely determine the course of action your life tends to take, whilst simultaneously proposing a few key strategies to using said timeframe in the best way possible.
For most of us, the twenties pose a stretch of great uncertainty since our very existence appears to be more often than not somewhere in between adolescence and adulthood. This sort of fuzzy thinking often gives rise to a flawed way of perceiving the only resource, which is constantly dwindling – namely time.
The majority of individuals fails to come to terms with the fact that missing to tackle their aspirations now will most likely result in them putting their intrinsic guideposts on the back burner indefinitely.
Media, unknowing peers, celebrities and even all sorts of advancements in different branches of our society (e.g. plastic surgery), lead us to believe that this span of your most valuable asset does not matter, for we apparently have been bestowed on a never-ending youthfulness.
This kind of erroneous assumption simply pushes those, who never quite developed the sort of mindset needed to perceive the whole picture, constantly further down the road of chronic procrastination.
Those who fail to address our society-wide short-sightedness on a personal level will most likely pay a steep price for their lack of foresight in the future.
It is best to embark upon your journey of self-actualization as early as possible. This not only holds true, when it comes to early birds and worms but also on a personal level.
The earlier you start investing in yourself, the higher the profit from interest will be and this goes double for your twenties.
For most people in this category of being tend to squander their time by means of regular antics in the realm of nihilistic undertakings, such as excessive alcohol consumerism, partying and the like.
Whilst it certainly holds true that the dose makes the poison, it is most often those who defend their weekly self-defeating downtime in the most erratic matter, who fail to perceive the second part of the equation: Refraining from indulging in short-term pleasures in order to benefit in the long term.
Everybody should ask themselves, what they have done for themselves lately – and I do not mean that in a way of heralding short-lived obsoleteness, but rather in the way of genuine personal growth; doing things, which will pay off in the long run, as trivial as they may initially appear.
Life should be perceived as a marathon, but most people live like there is no tomorrow – only to experience a rude awakening, by means of steadily engaging in one futile sprint of subtle self-sabotage after another.
Failing to pay heed to those short bursts of time will get the snowball rolling and grow into a full-blown avalanche later on – sweeping those away, who have succumbed to the stormy winds of bitter resignation, whilst at the same time allowing those who dared gaze into the void and pick themselves up after each setback, to enjoy the lofty heights of the mountaintop.
2) The average joe’s approach to futility
“One day Alice came to a fork in the road and saw a Cheshire cat in a tree. ‘Which road do I take?’ she asked. ‘Where do you want to go?’ was his response. ‘I don’t know,’ Alice answered. ‘Then,’ said the cat, ‘it doesn’t matter.”
Ignorance is not bliss. This goes twice for choices, since not making a choice is a choice as well, and oftentimes a highly foolish one at that.
Psychologists have termed this type of behaviour as “unrealistic optimism”. That is, carrying oneself under the preposterous assumption that things will turn out just fine, without any active partaking in striving towards a brighter future.
It goes without saying that these delusions of grandeur often have no grounding whatsoever in an objective way and should, therefore, be disregarded. In a society where petabytes of information are just a click away, it seems to be common practice to leave the choice to the unpredictable whims of faith.
Doing so is pretty much tantamount to staking your very existence on a single chip and hoping to win a game of Texas Hold’em whilst trying to navigate this somewhat calculable gamble without even knowing a single rule.
Most people fail to grasp the fact that even a small change of a few degrees during the outset of our passing the ocean of being will result in tremendous implications for the future.
Just as being a few coordinates off at the beginning phase of a flight will determine whether you may end up in Venezuela or Florida – given your starting point at Portugal, that is, so will the initial course of action in regards to your life be influenced by your early decisions.
The timelier the change – the bigger its eventual ramifications on your life as a whole.
Despite the fact that our society has never been as prosperous as nowadays, mental maladies such as depression and the like appear to run rampant and are actually on the rise.
Given the seemingly endless possibilities our societal construct has to offer, one has to wonder whether more choices and accordingly more feasible outcomes, actually do correlate with contentment.
3) A brief digression on choice and risk-taking
Putting said train of thought in regard to choice actually into practice has led curious researchers to an interesting find – namely the paradox of choice.
During a study conducted in 2000 by students from both University of Columbia, as well as Stanford, a display table laden with 24 variations of jam has been placed in a regular supermarket. At another day, at the exact same location, another table has turned into a showcase for jam – with a slight tweak to a part of the process, that is.
Instead of offering customers 24 choices, only 6 variants have been displayed this time around.
This study has shown that being given the option of more choices leads to the inducement of some sort of paralyzation when it comes to finally making a decision. For a higher variety of choices has been conducive in regard to generating interest, whilst simultaneously discouraging potential customers to go through with the purchase.
On the other hand, being offered less led more individuals towards taking the decisive step and settling for one flavour.
Henceforth, having more possible paths at your disposal may actually stall your progress in a specific area of your being. Therefore, narrowing your field of interest may be the best course of action and further help your becoming the best version of yourself.
Positive implications of risk-taking behaviour
Using “risk-taking” and “positive” in a single sentence may be deemed an oxymoron by most, yet often times serves as the point of origin of the journey of a thousand miles. Taking calculated risks distinguishes the go-getters from those who tend to be bound to one place by means of living a life enmeshed in their self-fabricated cocoon of sheepishness and stagnation.
Never stepping out of your comfort-zone, testing out your boundaries and living a life of overweening self-gratification in the form of short-lived pleasures serves as a somewhat normative primer of guaranteed discontent, if at first only at a subliminal level.
A shard of our very existence, whose subtle influences result in all sorts of tangible intemperances at the perceivable stage of our being – namely the conscious and all its measurable repercussions.
Evolution has not formed human beings to shrivel away in a rigid square of self-fostered borders. Mother nature has endowed us with powerful innate abilities to transform our very being by means as seemingly insignificant as thinking alone – but thinking without taking action is ultimately worthless.
We are the masters of our destiny. Or at least that is, how it should be, yet most do not dare step out of their self-constructed reality of perpetual confinement.
The majority of those who tread upon our earth will spend their given time without ever living life to its fullest – never knowing what their bodies, let alone their minds are truly capable of.
A cryostatic way of being; following the given path of relaxation without ever honing one’s critical thinking skills and tackling new challenges – missing opportunities for growth on a regular basis, never discovering one’s hidden talents and ultimately regretting the risks one did not take.
Avoiding responsibility, procrastinating on choices and drifting through life amidst a cozy layer of deniability and avoidance only ends in needless suffering, for doing so will eventually trip you up and the pending fall will steadily grow in height as time goes on.
The modus operandi for the broad masses appears to exhibit itself by means of stumbling through their lives in a sleepwalking manner and ultimately regretting the risks they did not take.
All the while condemning those who have made it – whining about their current state of affairs, but doing nothing in order to better themselves and help further their own cause is the hallmark of an unfulfilled way of being and the quality of one, who will always be left behind by those who simply chase after their dreams.
For execution poses the antidote to stagnation.
The fixed mindset has been the bane of a great many intelligent individuals. Those who failed to think outside the box have squandered their hidden talents and indirectly denied themselves of a better future.
Whilst it is certainly possible to fail, it is infinitely better to venture into unexplored territory and risk salvaging hidden gems instead of taking the downtrodden path and risk having to sit in traffic for the remainder of one’s life. The most successful entities of our time have all dared steer away from the commonly taken path and ventured into the unknown.
They are humans and so are you – the only one who is stopping you from becoming the person you want to be is yourself.
Not the government, your teacher, or the supposedly rigged system – which is why it is imperative to not only take responsibility but also to start spurring on your innate mechanisms of growth.
And the simplest, yet also apparently most frightening, course of action is to start taking calculated risks, as minuscule as they may present themselves.
For personal growth is a tedious, but rewarding path – one riddled with countless opportunities and benefits to be reaped.
4) Practical perspectives on existence
This part of my essay will demonstrate a few highly important concepts in a concise manner.
Taking into account the following aspects regarding our journey will be of great aid to those who wish to examine their present way of living in a more careful and societal style.
This sort of term basically encompasses the sum of the parts, which permeate all aspects of our very being: our way of conductance, the accumulated knowledge, our experiences and so forth.
It is of utmost importance to ensure the continuous investment in regard to said integral part of your life.
For material goods are ephemeral, yet your identity capital, and, speaking on a broader tangent, your character will ultimately decide your fate.
Stock market crashes, inflation, depreciation brought about by the ravages of time, and the like, have proven over and over again that one can do no wrong by intelligently investing in oneself.
This is precisely why should go to great lengths in terms of building up your identity capital – making certain to take care of this sort of important, life-traversing denominator, will help you prevail, when push comes to shove. Besides, this sort of internal currency is going to be of benefit to you, wherever you go. Your state of mind, to reduce a whole array in regard to said amassed idiosyncrasy to a single concept, is not chained to the confines of your current space (and this not only in a figurative manner).
The benefits of weak ties
Hanging out with the same group of individuals for the majority of time may strengthen your convictions concerning a specific paradigm and thus make you feel good by means of hormonal release, for we are wired to react to certain influences, which confirm our current worldview.
Yet this course of action is somewhat bereft of growth due to the missing influx of a new kind of stimuli, which may contradict, but also further our imminent understanding of our Weltanschauung.
It is in most instances not those closest to you, who will be most inducive towards your overall growth, but those to whom you are only loosely connected.
Since everybody perceives the reality to a certain extent in a divergent manner, it is most important to see beyond your own nose and hang out with different people from time to time.
Engaging in elaborated speech (a way of communication, which forces you to reflect and carefully organize your thoughts – commonly used with shallow ties) in contrast to restricted speech (a somewhat predictable form of linguistic engagement – usually used with strong ties) forces you to not only partake in a deeper way of self-reflexion, but also allows you to garner new inputs and expand your knowledge.
People whom we know the least may actually transform us the most.
Deceit in bits and bytes
A great many humans tend to compare themselves to their peers on online platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and the like. Those who are unable to see the wood for the trees sometimes even go so far as to take their actual state of apparent inferiority as proof of their failed existence.
While I am all for competitiveness, so as to utilize one’s own potential to its fullest, one should not neglect the fact that most users tend to put up appearances.
Every human being is flawed in one way or the other. Neglecting the fact that most everyone keeps their troubles hidden is a sure-fire way to a constant cascade of negatively rooted feelings, for social media is pretty much a global façade-marathon.
One lost soul, who binds their self-worth to virtual goodie points, such as likes, tries to best the other by means of deception and simulated prowess.
Those who are faint-hearted and easily influenced by their peers should take a logical approach towards their present state and act accordingly. Comparing yourself to a prior version of yourself on a regular basis is consequently highly advisable and should be self-evident for those who wish to continuously prosper.
The fallacy of groupthink
One should not commit the error of letting their whole being be guided by external forces.
Determining one’s specific gifts and boundaries, respectively limitations is mandatory in order to excel in any given field.
“If you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”
Discovering your strengths, as well as weaknesses and using them in an appropriate manner as soon as possible will give you the edge over peers who
only follow those around them in a blind, self-deceiving fashion.
In their deluded search for glory, most chase after unrealistic and self-sabotaging ideals – trying to fulfil the often-misdirected aspirations of the group of reference, without ever indulging in careful self-reflexion.
Final destinations are authentic directions, arising from the deepest nooks of our very being, whilst misguided branches feel like oppressive obligations – their roots being grounded in external wells.
Utterly devoid of the nourishing effects of sun rays and thus eternally halted in their growth. A truly pitiful way of living, but nevertheless a common way of procedure.
5) Zeroing in on a brighter future
Pulling out a great career out of your hat in your thirties is a jesters’ dream brought upon by a failure to properly internalize the fact that time only moves in one direction. You should always ask yourself, where you want to be at in 10 years and act according to your (hopefully) lofty ideal.
Aim as high as possible – for it is better to target the moon and miss, since you will at least be among the stars.
You have to start this whole transformative undertaking as early as possible in order to get the most out of it.
The 20’s are basically a point of origin for a future well-lived.
You need to come to terms with the fact that most, if not all of your decisions should not fall into the category of nihilistic fleetingness, but much rather into the category of long-term profitability (in its furthest sense).
Your resolutions need to not only pay off right now but also in the distant future. This goes for all sorts of pieces regarding your life – not only finances, personal transcendence and the like, but also those on a social and interpersonal level.
Relationships are one such fragment of our oftentimes shattered being – you need to keep the future in mind.
Simply choosing a relationship due to convenience and putting up with all sorts of negative influences despite its implications of impending evanescence may work right now, but will definitely become a hindrance in the future.
It is highly important to apply the same type of ambitiousness not only to one specific area of life but also to other aspects of your thereness, which are quite often left behind.
Putting together the pieces of the puzzle of your life in this kind of crude manner is pretty much akin to colouring one part of the picture in a bright, refined red, whilst colouring another part in an archaic black and white.
A brief discursion on behavioural economics
Humans are far from being adept at calculating future costs as a result of immediate undertakings and are thus constantly at risk of having to pay a hefty price for their seemingly innocuous imminent decisions.
Three important processes, which take place at a subliminal level should be taken into account when it comes to changing existing ways of conducting oneself.
Setup costs: These pose the initial investment – basically the price to pay for a certain kind of return on investment. It may be a car, a form, the time spent during the creation of a web account, and so forth. The higher this initial payment – the higher the probability of having to face “lock-in”.
Lock-In: This constitutes the decreased likelihood of moving from one option to the other (even though it may be a better one) after the initial payment has been made.
Switching costs: These costs basically pose the time, money, and effort needed to make a change.
Due to the hypothetical, distant nature of switching costs (timely speaking, that is), we tend to underestimate them, for we usually believe that when the time arrives, we will have no problem whatsoever dealing with the issue at hand.
It goes without saying that, when the dreaded occasion finally arises, said costs appear bigger up close.
6) Conclusion/Related reading
As outlined in the post above, it is best to start investing in your ideal future as early as possible.
Investing in yourself should be your number one priority and take precedence above everything else, in order to not only ensure a bright future for yourself, but also for those who will become a part of your life.
You need to make sure to pay attention to all areas of your life, for they will, without a doubt spill over to each other.
After all, it is you who determines whether this sort of overflow constitutes a positive, or negative experience and it is best to do so starting in your twenties.
Whilst age should never pose as a hindrance to your journey of self-development, doing so earlier on is most definitely the way to go, inasfar as maximizing your innate abilities is concerned.
If you wish to learn more about maximizing your potential during the twenties, I recommend the following books:
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