Every adult I know who has a hard life can trace that hard life back to one of these things that they did when they were younger. It is good to learn from these mistakes to avoid repeating them now that you know the consequences that they faced that you do not want to go through as well.
Mistake #1: Not having an adequate understanding of the world we live in.
There are many reasons why this is so. But one of the most persistent reasons is that a person’s upbringing is far from perfect. These are just facts and figures, not placing blame on anyone. That’s why, for example, Robert Kiyosaki wrote a best-selling book titled: If you want to be rich and happy, don’t go to school. You can even write a book titled: If you want to be happy, don’t get married. This does not mean that I am against schooling and marriage. Far from it. I am for schooling and marriage.
However, the world we live in may be described as volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous, dangerous, and highly competitive. So if you don’t understand this kind of world, you will survive with great difficulty. For example, do you know how to spot fraud and scams in every arena of life – religion, finance, investing, government, food industry, and the medical sector?
When you don’t know how to thrive in this kind of world, it will lead to a pressure-cooker life that will stress your health, relationship, marriage, and finances. All these will eventually lead to the breakdown of the family, the basic unit of society.
Mistake #2: Having a distorted self-image.
So to enjoy the journey, a young person must have the iron in him or her to meet each of these elements – volatility, uncertainty, complexity, ambiguity, danger, and competitiveness. An unexamined life is not worth living because if you don’t examine your own life, how can you ever know where you have a competitive advantage, and where you are vulnerable.
Having sufficient self-knowledge empowers you to apply this wise rule that Jack Welch lives by: If you don’t have a competitive advantage, don’t compete.
Mistake #3: Inability to delay gratification.
Life is difficult. Life is difficult because life is a series of problems that will continue to come at us whether we like it or not. Discipline is a set of tools or habits that can be used to solve the problems of living effectively and efficiently. With no discipline, we solve zero problems. With some discipline, we solve some problems. With more discipline, we solve more problems.
One tool of discipline is to learn how to delay gratification. The human brain has a small portion called the lizard brain. It is a low-level portion of the brain that deals with binary thinking – Is it edible? Should I fight or run, Should I rest or work? Should I sin or flee? By pandering to these simplistic approaches, we will be seeking immediate gratification without thinking about more important things such as consequences, medium-term goals, long-term goals, and the end game. If our lizard brain is more dominant than our neocortex (thinking brain), we may become our own worst enemy.
The best solution to tackle this tendency is to seek God’s wisdom and live by principles, values, and virtues. This requires a humble spirit to keep on learning new things until we pass on.
Mistake #4: Poor relationship with money.
Some young people, for whatever reasons, grow up with an unhealthy relationship with money. Some think that money is everything while others have a wrong definition of what the Bible means when it says ‘money is the root of all evils.’ Still, others think that talking about money is materialistic, immoral, or anti-social.
The truth is that money is a two-edged sword. It can cut either way. So you must have a set of best practices regarding personal finance. Money can be used to do good. It allows schools, houses, and hospitals to be built. It is a measure of diligence & creativity or our laziness & cynicism.
So to correct this mistake, as a young person you can learn from such exemplary people as, in terms of seniority, Li Ka-Shing the responsibility-centered billionaire from Hong Kong, Warren Buffet, the frugal billionaire from the US, and Ray Dalio, the principle-centered billionaire from the US.
Mistake #5: Wasting instead of valuing time.
When you are young, you feel you have plenty of time. So you tend to waste it. You seek pleasure rather than training. You don’t keep records of your activities, money management, time schedules, and goals. Accountability and responsibility are farthest from your mind. There’s so much to read, learn, and grow in this beautiful world and this one life is certainly not enough.
The idea of rituals to manage time, energy, and money seems too difficult. Young people think, “I’m still young.” Of you are young at the moment but then you will not remain young forever and so you ought to do something before you look back and regret. The reality is that time and tide wait for no man.
So value your time and spend it doing important things in your life. The Holy Scripture records that there is time for everything.
For yesterday is but a dream, And tomorrow only a vision.
But today well-lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope.
Look well therefore to this day.
Such is the salutation to the Dawn.
Today well-lived means that we must treasure time, in order to sustain things that are precious to us – such as our worthy goals, family, friends, health, relationships, nation.
Mistake #6: Inviting disease.
Having unhealthy habits that will lead you to the wheelchair and hospital. So practice healthy habits such as a principle-centered life, stress management, a whole food plant-dense high-fiber diet, intermittent fasting (autophagy), Spiritual growth, exercise, sleep, and recreation or meditation.
Mistake #7 – Valuing individualism rather than teamwork.
Learn how to move from individualism to common good, moving from “I” to “we.” The world we live in has taught people to be full of themselves and not thinking about others. This should not be the case and you ought not to adopt this. There are better and intelligent people out there from whom you can still learn and they are also ready and happy to help. So go out and speak to as many people as you can and learn from their experiences. No one will ever say that you are too young to know that, in fact, they will be happy to share their life moments with you and help you, trust me. With that, you will have an opportunity to grow and become a better person than you were yesterday.
Most people expect the best of themselves every single day, almost demanding their motivation 24/7 due to them thinking they will only need to find the one calling to be forever passionate. They expect the love they feel for their partner to always be as intense as it is on their most romantic days, expect themselves to work as hard as they do on their most motivated days and be as confident, strong, and powerful as they are when everything in their life goes right.
The truth, however, is that we all have off days. Life gets in the way, things happen, and it is not supposed to always be perfect. And neither are you always supposed to be perfect! That being said, if you do not develop strong enough habits to carry you through those particular phases in your life, you will fall back into your old habits and old routines, and fall into the hole described above before you even reach your own success. Be wise in every stage of life.