Recently I had a conversation with my fiance about whether I was stretching myself too thin with the extracurriculars I do outside of work. Since graduating and going from an insane class/work schedule to a regular office job, I’m attempting to tweak #5 of the 23 Things I’ve Learned.
Through my life, I feel as if I haven’t been able to keep my attention on one thing for too long, flitting from one activity to another. I’ve tried so many sports and hobbies that it’s a little disconcerting– if only for the fact that I am, almost desperately, trying to master one of them.
“Jack of all trades, master of none.”
So then the questions I constantly ask myself are these: Am I doing enough? Am I doing too much? It seems to be a neverending cycle of uncertainty that I can’t seem to break myself out of. I don’t want to be complacent, and yet I don’t want to be discontent.
It seems to be an ongoing trend with other young people like me. We’re finding our way in our careers all while looking for that something that will give us our big breaks. In a world where the internet can make you famous seemingly overnight, each of us strive, with stars in our eyes, to be named the youngest on some ranked list for coming up with the next best thing.
Just as much as anyone else, I strive to become something greater than I am right now. With each and every endeavor I take on, I have the hope that it will give me credibility as a rightly-dubbed young professional.
“But you’ve only just graduated.”
Sure, but it doesn’t make me any less anxious to do something great with my life. It’s just a matter of being patient, since success isn’t created overnight but is instead a culmination of hundreds of hours of hard work.
To be fair, some young people had forgone college education in order to pursue something else, something non-traditional. Imagine what you could accomplish if you, instead of spending thousands of hours sitting in class and staying up to do papers, focused all that time, effort, and energy (and perhaps even money) to one or a few entrepreneurial endeavors. The possibilities are endless.
Sometimes I get frustrated that I’m not as far along in my own success as I’d like, and it takes me constant reminding that most of us don’t come out of the womb ready to conquer the world (unless you’re the baby of a power couple like Beyonce and Jay-Z– let’s be real here).
“So when will you know you’re successful?”
I’d like to call myself successful once these criteria are met:
My student loans are all paid off.
I am earning an above-average salary for the industry.
I have had a significant amount of managing experience in my professional career.
I’m sure there are other criteria that I’m missing, but these are the top 3 that I believe are most important to fulfill. And it’s not to say I don’t feel successful now, but I’m thinking down the line, perhaps 7 years from now.
Let this blog post mark my long-term goal of success. It seems a little daunting, but I know that I can achieve this as long as I am steadfast.
Brain poke of the day:What are your long-term goals? How do you define your success? Let me know in the comments below.
Featured Image Credit: Original photo by geralt. CC0 Public Domain via Pixabay.
Happy birthday to me! Yes, you read me right– I am now 23 years old. And to celebrate, here’s the second-half of the 23 lessons I’ve learned in my (now) 23 years of living (if you haven’t read the first half, click here):
12 – Wean yourself off the daily cup of joe
For years, I really let my caffeine addiction get out of hand, and it was only when I switched over to tea for two months that my sleep schedule finally normalized. Now that I’m back on coffee, however, my bad sleep schedule reemerged. So for those of you coffee-reliant folks, maybe it’s time to reset the effect of caffeine on your system. Your body, mind, and wallet will thank you.
13 – Be okay with being alone
I’ve never really had a problem being alone, but the biggest excursion I’ve done on my own was travel down to Baltimore for Otakon one year. Even then, I only took the Acela down and missed my crack of dawn return trip. Whoops.
14 – Be mindful of others
I think it’s in our natures to be self-centered (you know, with the Cartesian theater and all), but we should strive to do more than what will benefit ourselves. Open your eyes and turn your heads once in a while. You may notice someone who needs a seat on the bus more than you.
15 – Appreciate the little things
We’re conditioned to weigh the bad things in our lives more than all the good things. But your attitude can change a lot! Just give life a chance to show you how beautiful and lovely it can be. Laugh at every joke, and smile at every baby and dog.
16 – Don’t sweat the small stuff
If it’s not a big deal, don’t fret too much about it. Unfortunately, growing up, all I did was sweat the small stuff, so it’s still a pretty deeply-ingrained habit that I’m still struggling to change. But there’s a difference between not sweating the small stuff and being totally apathetic, so don’t go too overboard with “not sweating”.
17 – Listen
Sometimes we need to shut our mouths and open our ears to what other people are saying. It makes a really big difference in the long run, because when communication is actually a two-way street, the relationship between people improves. Remember, it’s not about just hearing what somewhat has to say, it’s about actively listening.
18 – Take the lead as necessary
Don’t automatically shrink in fear when a professor or your boss’s boss asks for opinions. If you feel strongly about something and no one else wants to be the first to speak up, it’s your chance to take the lead. I recognize that not everyone is comfortable with doing this, but I’ve (admittedly) broken the ice in what would otherwise be very awkward situations. Sometimes all you need to do is think up what you’re going to say, turn off that sensor for danger, and dive in.
19 – Read
I used to be quite the little bookworm, gnawing on every chapter book I could get my hands on when I was in the first grade (pfft, showoff). As soon as I got into high school though, I stopped reading as often as homework piled on. Only now, after I graduated college, did I pick up my reading habit again. And boy, did I miss losing myself in magical worlds and learning about all sorts of interesting, worldly things.
20 – Silence is okay
Apparently many of us fear or dislike silence because we’ve been conditioned to having background noise day in and day out. Hence our anxiety when there’s silence between two people. But for one reason or another, I’ve never had so much of an issue with silence. If there’s nothing to say (or if I’m too sleepy to think of anything to talk about), then silence is golden.
21 – Give your thanks
I thank a lot of people in a given day– people who hold the door for me, the train conductor when he or she takes my ticket, when people step aside for me to maneuver around them, even when another driver lets me turn first at an intersection. There’s nothing wrong with showing your gratitude, no matter how insignificant it seems.
And while you’re at it, thank your parents for everyday things too, like when they cook you dinner! A little gratitude certainly goes a long way.
22 – Take responsibility
The biggest mystery to me is the bystander effect, especially in the workplace. If you notice something wrong, why not report it? It’s not as if you’re personally taking responsibility that the faucet in your kitchen is fixed, but the least you could do is report it, right? Even that is too much for some people. All you need to do is just speak up. The worst that can happen is duplicate reporting, which bears no dire consequences.
23 – Question everything
Okay, so this gets me into more trouble than I want to admit, but I think this is one of the most important life lessons everyone should learn. With controversy of all types floating around, especially with the accessibility of the internet, it’s crucial to read into each topic to look into as many different perspectives about the topic as you can.
Too many times I see people preaching and sharing articles on Facebook without wanting to engage in meaningful and civil conversations. Don’t be just sheeple. At least look outside of your filter bubble occasionally to see what the opposers have to say. You’ll not only broaden your own mind, but you’ll be better equipped to formulate a good counter the next time someone uses that argument against you. And who knows, maybe you’ll change your opinion.
And you know what? Maybe you should question the past 23 lessons I spouted at you. Did you ever consider doing that?
Brain poke of the day:So how’d I do in my 23 years? Are there any lessons that I didn’t mention (that I may not have learned yet)?
Thank you all for your readership and support. Stay rad~
In case you missed it, read the first half of this list!
Featured Image Credit: Photo by Kaz. CC0 Public Domain via Pixabay.
Twenty-three seems hardly an age to start talking as if you have the wisdom of ten monks. But you’d be surprised just how much brainstuff I’ve accumulated in the past 23 years of my life. In honor of my (soon to be) 23rd birthday, here’s the first part of a list of 23 lessons I’ve learned in my lifetime:
1 – Straighten out your priorities
It doesn’t necessarily matter what you prioritize, so long as you’re happy with what you’re spending your time on. Personally, I spent a lot of time in college working, which was fulfilling for me. Find the parts of your life you want to focus on and experiment. It’s also highly unlikely you’ll find the perfect mix from the get-go, but eventually you’ll find your happy medium.
2 – Be confident
This is somewhat cliche, but you should think highly of yourself and of your opinions. Why shouldn’t you be heard in the next club or work meeting? But beware: there is a difference between being confident and ego-maniacal. Make sure you’ve got the right mix of humility with your confidence as well.
3 – Understand yourself
Why do you think what you think? One of the biggest mistakes we can commit with this is to classify ourselves as members of a generalized groups. You don’t need to have all the answers to every question, but make an effort to figure things out for yourself.
4 – Drink more water
Self-explanatory. Just do it. If you’re one of those “detoxify your body” people, water is the best way to do it.
5 – Find something you’re passionate about
Life should be more than just, “going through the motions”. Spice up your life: take that language class you’ve always wanted to take; start up a blog; attend conventions. Find what makes your life feel more meaningful and run with it.
6 – Understand that friends can disappear… and reappear
The sad truth is many times we lose touch with our friends. A lot of time I find it’s just a difference in schedule that can make it difficult to catch up on a regular basis. Admittedly, I’ve let a number of friendships fall to the wayside, but it’s my hope that, in the future, my friends and I can pick up where we left off.
7 – Dress fabulous
Even though my office has a fairly lax dress code, I typically come in with business casual on (minus casual Fridays). I feel particularly ready to take on the day’s work when I’m dressed for it.
8 – Learn to take criticism
For any young person entering the workforce (whether you’ve got a blue- or white-collared job), I find this is really important for your personal and career development. Anyone who’s defensive is really difficult to work with, so make sure that you’re open to hearing out what your critic has to say. It could help you in the long run.
9 – Sort out fights as soon as they happen
Don’t let anything simmer. Even better yet, as soon as you realize something bothers you, let the offender know before it turns into something bigger– and quite possibly something irreversible.
10 – Exercise at least once a week
I wish I was maintaining this at the moment, so don’t be like me. Make use of your local YMCA, go jogging in your neighborhood, or make some room for a WiiU Fit workout system– anything is better than nothing! Doing this at a minimum of once a week will be good for your health all-around; you sleep better and can run to catch the train without losing your breath!
11 – Take pride in your work
No matter what job I had, from retail to my current white-collared desk job, I always worked my hardest to give it my all. Putting the kind of effort I do directly reflects what I want people to see in me– success. Even a menial task is worth a certain level of effort, so long as it contributes to your company in some way.