I think there is a lot of pressure on twenty something year olds to have it all figured out. We have the media telling us we are useless, the worst employees to date etc, we have people younger than us, those in their teens who are making millions and creating amazing apps and then we open our newsfeed and we see our friends and acquaintances travelling the world, getting married, starting families or rising up the career ladder. And then we look towards ourself and wonder what we have achieved. Have we even achieved anything? Am I not supposed to be a multimillionaire right now? Am I not supposed to be madly in love with the person I am going to spend forever with right now? Should I have not travelled the entire globe by now? What am I doing with my life?
Relax. Take a deep breath. Take a few more deep breathes. Now read this.
Everyone has their own timelines for success. And everyone has their own definition of success. Some people I went to university with will be fully qualified fledging lawyers before 25, while others will have married and had kids, while others will have travelled to a few countries. Some people will work 70 hour weeks and will become partner by 45 but may not have children, might never be home to see their partner, might not get the time to travel the globe, might retire by 60 and get to see the world. Others might postpone their professional careers and travel the globe, see the northern lights, eat pizza in Naples, dance in the Monsoon rains in India and enter the corporate world at 28, a few years behind others, forever perhaps playing catchup.
Every success requires sacrifice. If you want to become a CEO, no matter what, you are going to have to sacrifice some aspect of your life. You will not make it to every single one of your child’s recitals, you may not make every single meeting, you may not make every training session, every date night or see every country in the world. But you will make the ones that are important.
And thats the thing, to be great, to be an expert, you need to cut other elements out of your life. Figure out your priorities and eliminate anything which is not a priority. For example: when I was studying for my final law exams, I cut out socialising and sport for a year as those were not priorities. What were priorities? Study, sleep and my mom. That is where my time went, if I was not studying, I was sleeping. If I had time off from university, I was at home with my mom. Those were my priorities. And that is how I came out with a first class honours in law as I knew what my priorities were.
Now, that university is over, my priorities have shifted. The things I want to achieve in life are different. This brings me to my second point. Your priorities or the things you expend your energy on, don’t always have to be the same things. As soon as a priority is not bringing you happiness or a sense of achievement, reevaluate and change it. For example, health and fitness has been a massive priority for me the last couple of months. This meant I was eating clean and getting up before work to gym. Now, between being sick and in bed for the last week and getting on a flight to South Africa to spend two weeks with family, my priorities are shifting. I will be focusing more on family time and less on fitness and health. I will still be keeping myself accountable but will not be doing intense gym sessions, simply for the reason that if I stand up I feel like fainting, and due to possible time constraints.
What to take from this article: figure out your priorities, time is limited so you only have so much time you can expend. Make sure your time is going to a worthwhile place. Secondly, your priorities are not set in stone and can shift. Just because you make something a priority or a goal, does not mean it always has to be, as soon as you don’t feel a burning passion for that goal or it does not make you happy anymore, reevaluate it and change it if required.