Things to do in your 20s so you don’t live in regret in your 40s


They say youth is wasted on the young. It doesn’t have to be. If you take a look at Quora and Reddit, hundreds of people older and wiser than you have shared their best tips for living life to the fullest before you hit middle age. All you have to do is heed their advice.

We checked out some of those Quora and Reddit threads and highlighted some of our favorite insights about maximizing your youth. Read on to see what life changes you can make, starting today.

‘Learn to accept and love yourself first.’
So says Quora user Ruchi Rashinkar .

In other words, show some self-compassion . Scientists say it can make you more successful because you’re learning from your missteps, instead of just berating yourself for them.

One self-compassion exercise involves treating yourself as you would treat a friend or a colleague who has failed. You might say to yourself: “This is really hard right now,” or, “I’m sorry you are struggling.”

‘Learn to say no with confidence.’
That’s another tip from Rashinkar .

It’s best to learn this skill now, while it’s still relatively early in your career. That way, you can prioritize the people and experiences that are truly meaningful to you.

If you’re looking for tips on turning down an invitation — without seeming antisocial — etiquette and civility expert Rosalinda Oropeza Randall recommends keeping it simple: “It sounds great, but I think I’ll pass this time.”

You can even push back on your boss when they give you an assignment you feel like you can’t take on. For example, if you’re already overloaded with other projects, national workplace expert Lynn Taylor suggests responding:

“I would be happy to do that project, but what that could mean is that [whatever other project you’re working on] will have to be put off until tomorrow, because I was actually going to spend the next three hours finishing that proposal. Would you like me to put that off?”

‘Take risks.’
Quora user Pranav Park writes :

“This is possibly the best time to take multiple leap of faiths and learn your lessons the hard way. If you succeed, you succeed. If you fail, you have a great story to tell in your 40s. At this age, you will have all the energy, courage and spirit required to rise back. Moreover, you will not be afraid to fail which apparently sets apart successful people from the others.”

Similarly, Redditor Bhruic says :

“Don’t talk yourself out of doing things you want to do. Don’t let fear win. If you want to vacation in Europe, do it. If you want to talk to that hot girl/guy at the bar, do it. If you want to start your own business, do it (and do the research first). Getting to your 30s and having a string of regrets is going to haunt you.”

Park is right about successful people not being afraid to fail some, and therefore being more willing to take risks. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, for example, is notorious for this quality. Bezos has said : “Given a ten percent chance of a 100 times payoff, you should take that bet every time.”

‘Pull the trigger.’
This one goes back to the fear of failure. Quora user Jordan Allen says :

“Some people get the chance to see if their band could make it big or their business could skyrocket or their love of their life was moving to the other side of the world and wanted them to join. It’s scary to think about the life we know versus the one we don’t, and so often people drop these chances for no better reason than that they’re scared.”

If you think of your life as an engineering problem , you always want to be prototyping — building a model and testing it. As Bernard Roth, Stanford professor and author of ” The Achievement Habit ,” says, you don’t want to be tinkering forever, until you’ve got the seemingly perfect model.

So try out life in another country, or launch your business on a small scale and see how it goes. If it doesn’t work out, you can always try again.

‘Turn your weaknesses into strengths.’
That’s a tip from Quora user Piyush Jbd , who writes about thinking of your weaknesses as a “competitive advantage.”

It’s something both Michael Phelps and Winston Churchill learned to do , as Eric Barker writes in ” Barking Up the Wrong Tree .”

For Phelps, having a somewhat awkward body type made him a pretty bad runner and dancer — but it also made him an incredible swimmer. For Churchill, being paranoid meant that he was once “deemed unsuitable for the highest offices” — but it also meant he recognized Hitler as a threat to the world.

Figure out what makes you weird, and turn it into the thing that makes you a winner.

‘Learn to negotiate with politeness.’
Quora user Nupur Jain includes this tip in her response.

Learning to negotiate early in your career is a pretty big deal. As Business Insider’s Tanza Loudenback and Skye Gould reported , “Negotiating your starting salary — and continuing to negotiate every few years or when you start a new job — could make a $1 million difference in your lifetime earnings.”