I love twenty-somethings. But it pains me to see so many twenty-somethings flounder on a deep end of the pool treading water. Frankly speaking, many of them are doing things they shouldn’t. The foundation you build in your twenties will shape the contours of your 30s, 40s, 50s and rest of your life. If you’re in your twenties, here’s twenty things you should stop doing:

80 percent of life’s most defining moments happen before the age 35.

1.Deciding Your Self-worth is Based on Your Social Media “Likes”

Take a breather. It’s okay if you didn’t break 100+ likes. I promise. Honestly, no one cares and they aren’t checking anyway. Double or triple digit ‘likes’ do not make you enough. You are more than a social media profile.

2. Looking for Constant Approval

Some call you part of the “Me Me Me Generation.” Truthfully, many twenty-somethings are plagued with constant approval. Everyone around you doesn’t have to approve of you. Sure, validation makes you feel good. But, when this becomes your end goal, you arbitrarily change yourself in order to please everyone. Man up. Some people will like. Some will dislike you. Keep doing what you were called to do.

3. Working for Money, not for Pursuing Your Calling

Don’t fall into the trap of the American Dream. Most people end up becoming a slave to money. Rather, embrace your vocational calling and become the best at what you are called to do. Money will likely follow.

4. Stop Rejecting the Potential to Feel Pain

Suffering is part of life. Sure, no one wants to constantly be in a state of suffering. Here’s the truth. If you’re not in pain, you’re probably not growing. A mentor once told me that growths equals change; change equals loss; loss equals pain; therefore, grows equals pain. If you’re scared to take the risk, you’re most likely not going to grow. Embrace the pain.

5. Being Lazy

Everyone knows that being lazy has negative consequences. But why you do you keep being lazy? No one has become successful by being lazy. Take ownership. Take initiative. Put in the hard work. Show up early.

6. Being Too Busy

Being busy is easy. In the 21st century, it’s a badge of honor. But being busy doesn’t translate into high productivity. In a world that’s deluged with to-dos, focus on working smarter, not harder. Focus on your stop-doing list instead. This will help you focus on what matters most. Here’s a few books that will help you.

7. No More #YOLO

Please stop. Stop saying You Only Live Once (YOLO) because You Obviously Lack Originality (YOLO).

8. Dating

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against dating, but if you have zero intention of marrying the other person you’re dating, you probably should stop dating. You may stay in a relationship because you’re scared to be alone and pray things will somehow get better as life goes on. Face it. Dating with no vision is a recipe of failure.

9. Being Passive and Accidental

Passivity won’t get you anywhere. Don’t let life just happen to you. Be intentional, not accidental. Go get it. If you don’t stand for something, you’ll eventually fall for anything.

10. Never Leaving Your Comfort Zone

Show me a man who never leaves your comfort zone and I’ll show you a man immersed in mediocrity. Nothing great happens in the comfort zone. It’s where dreams go to die. Stretch yourself. Experiment and explore. The more you engage in calculated risks, the more you’ll learn about yourself and how to succeed.

11. Thinking You Know Everything

You don’t. Just because you watched 17 YouTube clips on one topic doesn’t make you an expert. I know this is a harsh reality because I also experienced it. Instead, subject yourself under a leader worth following. Grind it out. This might take a year, five years, or ten years. Sooner or later, you’ll be an expert.

12. Allowing People to Tell You that You’re Not Capable Because You’re Young

1 Timothy 4:12 said it best: “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and in purity.” One classic example: William Wilberforce. At the age of twenty-one and while still a student, Wilberforce was elected Member of Parliament (MP).

13. Hanging Out with Toxic People

Motivational speaker Jim Rohn famously said that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Cut the cord and let those toxic people go. It’s not easy to walk away from these relationships, but that is part of the process of adulting.

14. Playing Victim

Have you ever said this to yourself? “I honestly am the victim in this situation!” Being a victim is the viewpoint that something is being done to you. Being responsible is not about whether or not you were victimized, but your outlook on the situation. You can choose to take the responsible point of view. This will create the incredible liberty for you to move forward in your life and create boundless opportunities.

15. Talking About Improving Your Life But Doing Nothing About It

Talk is cheap. A mentor told me, “What you do speaks so loudly, I can’t hear what you say.” Your choices, not your talk, will determine your destination. Write a list. Prioritize everything you need to get done to reach your vision. Hold yourself accountable. Push yourself. Be a doer.

16. If Your Dream Doesn’t Scare You, It’s Too Small

Mark Batterson said, “If your dream doesn’t scare you, it’s too small.” As you grow up, the realities of life will convince you otherwise. Safe will never get you to awesome. Your twenties is a time to explore and experiment. Go big or go home.

17. Becoming the MVP of the Comparison Game

Oscar Wilde was right: “Be yourself, everyone else is taken.” Stop comparing your behind-the-scenes with someone’s else highlight reel. You are handcrafted and custom made by a perfect Creator.

18. Be Interesting Before Being Interested

Turn it around. Be interested before being interesting. People don’t care about how much you know until how much you care.

19. Waiting Until the Last Minute

When you have to make a choice and don’t make it, that in itself is a choice. Stop procrastinating.

20. Gossiping About Others

This isn’t Mean Girls, nor it is high school anymore. Why don’t you see the best in others and talk what’s positive you see in others.

 

Paul Sohn is a leadership coach, best-selling author and speaker. Paul is the founder and CEO of QARA. Paul is a best-selling author of Quarter-Life Calling: Finding Your God-Given Purpose in Your Twenties. Paul was named one of the Top 33 under 33 Christian Millennials to Follow by Christianity Today.