I Just Turned 20. What Advice Do You Have For Me?

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If there is any one lesson I’ve learnt from broken heart, it is always to wake up at dawn and nurse the wounds of my broken heart so in the morning I’ll be battle ready.  Till today, I wake up at 4am each morning to nurse a heart that comes each day from the battlefield of life, severely wounded and weary.

This morning my heart was ok. It had little to do the day before so it needed no care. When I woke up, I logged onto Quora  and started reading some of the questions people have placed there. One of the questions got my attention instantly; “I just turned 20. What advice do you have for me.”

I presumed this was coming from a clever boy who doesn’t want to make the mistakes people like me did during our years at 20. I tried figuring out where I was, what I was doing and what I was able to accomplish when I was 20. 11 years ago I was 20 and a pupil’s teacher in one of the private schools in the area where I lived. I had completed senior high school in 3 years before then and have been trying to get admission to one of the universities in Ghana.

In my teenage years, the only advise I had was to try and achieve the highest academic excellence and everything else would take care of itself. It was school or nothing else. Back in those days, you could win the heart of the most beautiful girl in your area just because you are in the university. People’s idea was, once a man is in the university, he has life by the neck and could wrestle it down just by wearing academic gown and holding a rolled piece of paper in one hand. It turned out, it was all a piece of BS.

Here is a boy, who just left his teenage years behind and wants the best advise possible so he wouldn’t repeat the mistakes that I did when I was his age. What a clever boy! I decided to offer him my advise. I had none as at that moment but I thought if I should go back in time and see the steps that landed me into trouble, I could advise this boy not to take same steps. So I did!

So I advised him…

#1. Tackle Your Demons Head-on. Every man, however old or young have demons he battles with. Most often, we ignore these demons when they were little. So they grow and we had to find a bigger axe to cut them down. What are your demons? Find them and defeat them. Do you procrastinate? Learn to do it right now. Are you a dishonest person? Let your aye be aye. You find it hard to forgive? Forgive people, even if they don’t ask for forgiveness. It is when you conquer your demons that you can taste the subtle difference between sugar and honey.

#2. Find Something Worth Fighting For. It shouldn’t necessarily be the greatest thing in the world. It could be anything that holds your heart bound. It could be to build the biggest company in the world. It could be to own the most expensive car. It could be to own a piece of the sun. It could even be to win over the girl you’ve always dreamt of. Find it. Reach within your spirit and pin-point that particular desire that leaves you sleepless at night. The point here is this; it is not so much about what you want. It is about the passion that particular thing invokes in your spirit.

#3. Once You’ve Found What’s Worth Fighting For, Start Fighting Immediately. The battle might be long. It’s better you start early. Don’t wait till situations are right, they’ll never be. Make the best of the moment. Arm yourself with the tools that will give you the edge. Get education. Speak with people who have been in your situation before. Read wide everyday. Be ahead of the news. Above all, be in a position where opportunities will always find you battle ready.

#4. Don’t Restrict Yourself To One Particular Idea. There’s nothing like one good idea. Write your ideas down. Put them to test for some weeks. If it works, learn to improve it each day. If it doesn’t work, begin to put another idea to work immediately. Spend some time each day writing down as many ideas as it comes to mind. There is no stupid idea. whatever comes to mind, write it down. Explore it and weigh the outcome if it worths the hustle.

#5. Don’t Ripe Your Soul Out of Your Throat When You Fail. Learn to go easy with yourself when you fail. Sometimes you’ll fail. The truth actually is, you’ll fail often times. Learn from it, improve on your ideas and start working on it immediately. Listen to people when they speak to you but don’t take everything they say. Learn to make your own choices so you can own your failures and rightly be proud of your success.

#6. When You Are Successful, Write a Book. Share your stories let others learn from it. Don’t leave the world without showing them how things worked out for. Leave a piece of you for the future generation to learn. Paint your failures in a way that is clear and understandable so people will understand how you were able to succeed. Leave your name on a back cover of a book and you’ll never die a day.

#7. Try Raising a Parrot and You’ll Learn To Be Patient With The Burdens Of Your Life. It’ll grow with you and learn a lot from you. In all, you’ll learn to be patient. Before you could teach a parrot to say a word or do a trick, you should have repeated such word or trick over and over again in everyday’s life. When one day it is able to say the word back to you or do the trick as taught, then you know you’ve succeeded with something. Then you’ll know patient wins.

At 20, time is on your side. Learn to spend it wisely. Move with people who share your dreams and not people who slow your pace. If today you are not able to accomplish anything, if for any reason you decide to lose yourself in your youth, don’t worry, you can always start from somewhere. It’s still never too late to have a dream.  There will be time as T.S. Elliot  wrote in The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock;

“And indeed there will be time. For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;There will be time, there will be time.To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet; There will be time to murder and create, And time for all the works and days of hands That lift and drop a question on your plate; Time for you and time for me, And time yet for a hundred indecisions, And for a hundred visions and revisions, Before the taking of a toast and tea”

Don’t be too scared when time seems to be running too fast. There will be time enough for you to accomplish whatever your heart desires to achieve. There will be time but don’t waste it.


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