Life’s a wild ride, isn’t it?
One minute you’re learning to shave without butchering your face, and the next, you’re grappling with existential dread as the big 3-0 approaches.
The world will shove countless “shoulds” down your throat — what success looks like, what milestones you should’ve hit by now, blah, blah, blah.
But let’s cut the crap for a moment.
While there’s no secret sauce to guarantee success (whatever the hell that means), there are experiences and lessons that can help you live a richer, less regret-filled life.
So, instead of offering the same tired platitudes, here’s a no-nonsense rundown of 8 things every man should think about diving into before 30.
1. Define your own success, not society’s version of it
This point is first on the list for good reason.
We live in an age where success is often portrayed as a checklist: a high-paying job by 25, a house by 28, a fancy car, and a picture-perfect family.
But blindly chasing these benchmarks can lead to a life of hollow achievements.
For years, I chased goals and milestones that I believed represented “making it.”
But despite the achievements, something felt amiss. It wasn’t until I paused, reevaluated, and defined what success truly meant to me that I witnessed rapid progression in areas of life that genuinely mattered.
I’ll admit, this realization came later than I would’ve liked.
But once I shook off the societal expectations and honed in on my personal vision of success, life not only became more rewarding but also took on a depth and purpose I had previously overlooked.
As you navigate your late twenties, take a moment to pause and reflect: What does success truly mean to you?
Maybe it’s the freedom to pursue passion projects, the time spent with loved ones, or the ability to make a difference in your community.
Whatever it is, define it for yourself and own it.
By establishing your own metrics for success, you anchor your pursuits in authenticity, ensuring that the path you tread is genuinely fulfilling, not just impressive on paper.
Because at the end of the day, genuine success is living life on your own terms, not someone else’s.
2. Cultivate genuine connections, not just “contacts”
In our digital age, it’s easy to get lost in the numbers game — more followers, more friends, more likes.
But when the chips are down, it’s not the 1,000 followers on your Instagram that’ll have your back, but that one genuine friend you can call at 3 AM.
Before you hit 30, prioritize building deep, meaningful relationships over superficial networks.
Attend fewer pointless networking events and instead, invest time in those few who resonate with you on a core level.
Listen actively, share authentically, and be there for others in their highs and lows.
Because success isn’t just about personal achievements; it’s about the community you build, the shoulders you lean on, and the lives you touch along the way.
3. Invest in skills, not just degrees
While formal education has its merits, the real-world rarely asks for your GPA.
By the time you’re gearing up for 30, it’s evident that life’s most valuable lessons aren’t always found in textbooks or lecture halls.
Invest in acquiring a diverse range of skills—be it coding, public speaking, cooking, or even something as unique as woodworking.
Attend workshops, take online courses, or simply learn from the school of hard knocks.
These skills not only enhance your professional versatility but also enrich your personal life, making you a more well-rounded individual.
Remember, the most interesting and successful people aren’t just those with a string of degrees but those with a plethora of experiences and skills.
And, as we saw in a previous post, in a rapidly changing world, adaptability and continuous learning aren’t just buzzwords; they’re survival tools.
4. Travel broadly, not just luxuriously
There’s a vast difference between vacationing at an all-inclusive resort and backpacking through unfamiliar terrains.
While there’s nothing wrong with indulging in luxury, the most transformative experiences often lie beyond the comfort of five-star hotels.
Before 30, challenge yourself to explore different cultures, cuisines, and communities.
Whether it’s a remote village in Southeast Asia or a bustling metropolis in South America, immerse yourself in places that force you out of your comfort zone. Interact with locals, learn a new language, even get lost a few times—these are the moments that expand your worldview and foster empathy.
Travel teaches patience, adaptability, and a profound appreciation for the myriad ways life can be lived.
And often, the road to success is paved with such experiences that broaden the mind.
5. Become financially literate
In your twenties, it’s easy to fall into the trap of equating a hefty paycheck with financial success. But true financial stability goes beyond just how much you earn—it’s about how wisely you manage, save, and invest.
Before you cross into the next decade of your life, invest time in understanding the basics of personal finance. Learn the difference between assets and liabilities, get familiar with the principles of investing, and appreciate the magic of compound interest.
Start saving, even if it’s a small amount, and explore different investment avenues, from stocks to real estate.
It’s also the time to understand the importance of credit scores, insurance, and retirement planning.
Money might not buy happiness, but financial literacy can provide a safety net, freedom, and peace of mind, which are invaluable components of a successful life.
6. Learn to celebrate the small wins
Amidst the hustle to achieve big milestones, it’s easy to overlook the smaller moments that bring joy, lessons, and progress.
But these seemingly insignificant wins often hold the essence of life.
Before you hit 30, cultivate the habit of celebrating your daily victories, no matter how trivial they seem.
Did you make someone smile today?
Did you finish a task you’ve been procrastinating on?
Or maybe you just chose a salad over a burger.
Additionally, practice gratitude daily. Whether it’s through journaling or quiet reflection, acknowledge the things and people that enrich your life.
This mindset not only fosters positivity but also magnifies the beauty in everyday experiences.
After all, success isn’t just about grand achievements; it’s about cherishing life’s journey and recognizing the blessings scattered along the path.
7. Cultivate a growth mindset
Life has a knack for throwing curveballs, and the landscape of success is riddled with unexpected detours.
As you approach 30, it’s paramount to develop a growth mindset—a belief that abilities and intelligence can be developed through dedication and hard work. T
his perspective creates a love for learning and resilience in the face of challenges.
Embrace change, even if it’s unplanned or unwelcome. See setbacks not as definitive failures, but as feedback mechanisms.
Pivot when needed, and recognize that stagnation is often a bigger enemy than failure.
By adopting a growth mindset, you not only amplify your potential for success but also cultivate a lifelong passion for learning and adaptation—a trait invaluable in our ever-evolving world.
8. Find a mentor (and offer it in return)
No man is an island, and often the insights from someone who’s been down the road can prove invaluable.
By 30, it’s wise to have sought out mentors—people who can guide, challenge, and support you in both personal and professional spheres. They don’t necessarily have to be older; they just need to have experiences or knowledge that you value.
Conversely, take the opportunity to mentor someone else. Sharing your experiences, insights, and lessons learned not only benefits the mentee but also reinforces and solidifies your own understanding.
This cycle of learning and teaching creates a ripple effect of growth and upliftment, ensuring that the road to success is a shared journey, enriched by the collective wisdom of many.
The bottom line
As the sun sets on your twenties, it’s not about ticking boxes or meeting society’s benchmarks.
It’s about forging a path that’s uniquely yours, learning from each twist and turn, and crafting a life brimming with purpose, authenticity, and fulfillment.
These points aren’t just steps towards success; they’re an invitation to live deeply, to challenge the status quo, and to embrace the beautiful chaos that life offers.
Remember, success isn’t a destination but a continuous journey of growth, exploration, and understanding.
And as you stand on the cusp of a new decade, arm yourself with these insights, but more importantly, with an open heart and a curious spirit. Here’s to the adventure ahead!