1. Depend on Yourself
People are going to let you down at some point in life. As sad as that may seem and as angry as it can make you, it’s a fact of life. Being emotionally and intellectually self-sufficient is an important aspect of deep maturity. It also means that wherever you go and whatever you do, you’re never working without a net. Be your own primary resource.
Learning how to cook and keep your own space livable are also features of a mature man. Not only will you have an easier life in a clean space, knowing you can feed yourself well, but women find this incredibly attractive. So cultivate a culinary self-sufficiency.
Another way to cultivate self-sufficiency is to take your job seriously. Whatever you do, do it well. It is a reflection of who you are. So, be a leader, a helper, and a strong candidate for promotion.
2. Surround Yourself with Successful People
As dated as it sounds, you define yourself by the company you keep. Humans are group animals, and the values and habits of those you are constantly hanging out with will become your own. Surrounding yourself with go-getters and people who know how to manage their time and resources will ensure that you do too, if only by following the examples you see every day.
3. Write It Down
Jot down your goals and dreams, and revisit this list daily. If you set smaller goals that are aimed towards long-term or large aspirations, you are more likely to attain exactly what you want. Knowing what you want is also a huge part of moving towards it.
As you grow into yourself, what you want for the future may change, even if you don’t realize it. If you set goals, you can stay on top of these changes and tailor your path. This ensures that you can avoid waking up to realize you haven’t achieved anything you really want in life. It happens most easily when you fail to plan.
4. Set a Routine
Setting a routine doesn’t mean having the same breakfast every morning at precisely 6:43 a.m. What it does entail is having your ducks in a row so you can deal with the unplanned incidents that are a part of life.
If your car breaks down or you are suddenly saddled with extra work, you’ll know what resources you have and how much extra time you can spare to deal effectively with any emergency. The basic tenet behind this is similar to keeping your space tidy—a clean, orderly mind will allow you to “lay hands” on resources immediately instead of frantically scrabbling for them
5. Be in a Constant State of Learning
Education does not begin and end in the classroom. It’s an integral part of being a conscious being. You are learning all the time, whether you realize it or not. Make the subconscious process a conscious one. Deepen your understanding of the way the world around you works, pick up skills wherever you can, and treat everyone you encounter as a possible teacher, whether it is how to change a tire or fix an engine, prepare a delicious meal or the best way to clean so you don’t have to do it as often.
As well, diversify your traditional academic load as much as possible. The more deeply varied (not just skipping from job to job) your resume is, the more attractive you are to prospective employers, and the Ladies.
Don’t worry if you aren’t sure what degree you want at first. Take time to explore and diversify, to develop your interests, and find out where your passion truly lies. A degree isn’t a guarantee of a great career. It simply lets you get your foot in the door of the interviewers. So, a deeply diverse and richly developed personality will be the greatest asset you attain in college—the degree is simply a written declaration that you know how to finish what you start.
6. Be Active with Women
Put yourself out there, man! Interacting with the opposite sex is like any other skill—you have to practice, and make a few mistakes along the way, before you become a master. Be willing to talk, and actively listen, to them, and go where they are without fear. In your early to mid twenties, you have an unprecedented opportunity to play the field with minimal consequences, but the girls are not going to come to you.
Sleep around, but do so responsibly, and be a considerate bedmate. Chances are, any young lady who trips into your bed easily knows it’s not a serious attachment. She’s there for the same reason you are—but be a gentleman, make her feel special and desired, and you’ll both part on great terms. Plus, girls talk to each other about guys. Don’t be a jerk—take her safety and fun seriously too—and she’ll likely speak highly of you to her friends. That means more dates for you.
Also, you should shy away from committing yourself to the first girl you meet. Falling in love is great, and it happens to most guys around your age, but considering marriage before age 25 is unadvisable. You aren’t economically, intellectually or emotionally ready for the challenges marriage can present. You’re young, so enjoy it and keep things noncommittal for as long as you can.
7. Save Your Money and Spend It Wisely
Don’t be ashamed to shop the sales and save money wherever you can. It cannot be said enough—invest for your future. If your company offers a 401k plan, especially if they offer a matching percentage, enroll immediately. The sooner you start, the easier it is to retire comfortably. It may seem quite distant at age 20, but life happens and time flies. Start now, so you can do it without even thinking about it later. You won’t be sorry; you’ll be rich.
This ties into other related advice. Money can often equate to happiness in the sense that if you earn and save it wisely, it will be there to enable you to live the sort of life you want and care for those you love later on in life. Hard work is inevitable. Have something to show for your efforts.
Consequently, in your 20s, you don’t want to go into debt if you don’t have to. A few splurges here and there won’t hurt, but be sure not to saddle yourself with a ridiculously high car or house payment. Live without these encumbrances for as long as you can.
8. Know How to Sell Yourself
Prepare a resume, know your best qualities, and be able to present them cogently. Being assertive and confident is not a crime, and those who can manage to self-promote get the better jobs, the higher wages, and the chance at landing their dream careers. They work at it, and so can you. If you had the opportunity to interview with your ideal company, would you be ready today? If not, there’s no time like the present to start preparing.
A big part of this is having excellent communication skills. Most people your age do not. You can distinguish yourself from the herd of others by being able to cogently and compassionately communicate with anyone, irrespective of social status, age group, or gender. It will mark you out for great things, because it is a rare talent these days. If you aren’t sure how to improve your skills, take a public speaking class. You’ll have fun and learn how to present yourself at your best.
Get in shape. A fantastic skill set is essential, but being healthy and fit are also keys to attracting better jobs. As well, it will increase your self-esteem, and improve your personal presentation at interviews.
9. Don’t Push Yourself Too Hard
This is about prioritizing your lifestyle. Don’t burn the candle at both ends by staying up until the wee hours of the morning if you have to be up by 7 a.m. for work or class. You have to know the limits of your body and respect them in order to be sharp, take advantage of the openings life offers, and ultimately succeed. Get your eight hours of sleep, and leave yourself time to take your time when you wake.
10. Never Stop Exploring
This is similar to continuous learning. Take vacations, say “yes” to new experiences, and don’t miss out on an opportunity through excessive caution. You only live once, and when you are older it is the experience you missed rather than the chance you took that you will regret. Be aware of the world, life, and your passage through it.
Take up a hobby that you find interesting. This will make you interesting to others, including women. It’s a part of focusing on yourself, not being selfish. As well, you will discover new avenues for adventure through your interests, and that’s never a bad thing.
11. Respect Yourself
This means not sacrificing personal pride. But it also means that you must never let others goad you into unnecessary fights or arguments that will cost you deeply in other aspects of life. Someone is always watching, be it your buddies, women, or someone you may one day approach for a job. Conduct yourself with honor. It’s your life.
Attach value to your time. It belongs to you and your goals. Don’t be at the beck and call of your friends, because if you fail to achieve a goal, they won’t be there to take the blame. Do what you need to do first.
The advice of being yourself is often brushed aside based on the fact that we attach too much importance to what others think. Focus on cultivating qualities you want in your own personality, not trying to act out a version of what you believe others expect. That only makes you seem fake, and people tend not to trust you if you appear fraudulent or underhanded. Plus, you’ll be happier and more comfortable being who you are around others—which will make you more attractive as a friend, lover, or employee.
12. Be Happy but Accept Responsibility
The ancient Greeks defined true happiness as adherence to Virtue. This is a good way to approach happiness in the long run, because it helps you acknowledge that sometimes dirty or undesirable tasks must be done now in order to ensure long-term contentment.
13. Personal Relationships
Remember to spend time with your family. They may have been a constant source of irritation when you were younger, but you’re an adult now. Cultivate a caring bond with your relations, because they may be a source of advice or assistance when you need it most.
Lastly, develop your sense of empathy. When dealing with other human beings, a lack of understanding where the other person is coming from can lead to friction and unnecessary disagreement. When you can relate, you can also avoid time-consuming drama, and that’s something every man strives for.