Hello everyone! I’m still in Las Vegas, so enjoy this post from a blogger friend. The following article is from Martin of Studenomics, where his goal is to show you how to become financially free by 30 without ever missing a party.
“I’m not worried about it. I’ll study for the exam on my one hour commute to school.”
That was what I told my friend a few years back before an exam. I don’t know how I survived college. It’s all a giant blur. Between working full-time hours, maintaining an active social life, and trying to get strong grades, I somehow graduated.
As much as I enjoyed college, there are certain skills I wish I started sharpening much earlier. I had to learn most things the hard way since I come from an immigrant family and am the oldest of three boys. I’m not complaining, I just want you to learn from me and have a better life.
There are three skills that you absolutely need to work on in your 20s if you want to get ahead.
1. Social/networking skills.
Life is all about meeting people and making cool friends. They say that your network is your net worth. I agree with this. I’ve met some of the most amazing people in the last few years. I never ever have a dull moment. I’m always laughing about something.
The thing is that it’s impossible to make any new friends if you have poor social skills.
I personally never was a social butterfly growing up. I had to work on my social skills. They’re still a work-in-progress to this day. I realize that not everyone I meet likes me. The good news is that I got into pro wrestling and became a villain so that hating me is okay now.
What should you do?
Get out more often.
Take every excuse to go out and meet new people. This is what I started doing in 2010. I made it a point to try to do something social every single day. Even going for a walk to the store beats sitting at home. You should also read up on the classic book from Dale Carnegie on how to win friends.
[If you struggle with self-confidence, you need to check out Kettlebell Rebels, where we show you how to come out of your shell and conquer the world.]
2. Time management/productivity skills.
We all suck at time management. Nobody is perfect at it. We rarely experience the ultimate productive day (if it even exists).
Do you spend all day on Facebook? Do you manage to get anything done?
It’s okay. I’ve squandered days on Facebook, days on Dexter, and days on doing nothing. It just sort of happens. It happens to the best of us. We just need to work on slowly getting better here.
What can be done right now?
Set an important task for tomorrow and make sure this is the one thing that you complete.
We need to get better at getting the important things done. Brushing your teeth and eating breakfast shouldn’t count towards your daily productivity. We should strive to do the bold work. The work that truly matters. I have the following posted in my room:
“Are you inventing things to avoid doing the important?”
Sadly, the answer is usually yes. The most important thing is to start getting the urgent tasks off your to-do list.
3. Launching skills.
Do you launch? Do you initiate new change? Do you do what you say you’re going to do?
Our biggest struggle is getting things done. As fun as it is to read about blogging, traveling, and adventure, you eventually need to stop only reading about these things and experience them. Making change isn’t easy because well the risk of failure is always present. Who wants to fail?
What can you do here?
There’s only one real option. Launch something or add something new to your life!
All you can really do is force yourself to initiate a new project. If you’re in debt, cut an expense to make more payments towards your debt. If you want to book a trip, then just start saving right now. If you want to learn a language, download Duolingo. Stop waiting for something to happen.
Which skill will you start working on first?
I wouldn’t stress about working on all three at once. You can slowly start to make small changes to your lifestyle. Something as simple as making conversation with the barista at Starbucks while ordering coffee will go a long way.
Image via Flickr by eddi_07
Thomas @ i need money ASAP! says
Hey Martin! One skill you might want to add is perseverance. School is very much within your control. If you study you’ll likely get good grades. In the real world sometimes hard work isn’t the only factor. As a result failure is more common and you need to persevere and keep trying. Nice post!
Well said. One must embrace failure and the harsh reality of failing often in the real world. In school rarely do we experience this.
DC @ Young Adult Money says
I definitely need to work on my networking skills. I think they’ve suffered from being in a comfortable job for a few years now. I also agree that if you can’t manage your time you aren’t going to succeed. Time management should be a top priority for anyone in college, their 20s and beyond. If you can learn how to “launch” you also are much more likely to succeed. I believe the term Seth Godin uses is “ship.” I became obsessed with the idea of “shipping” my work after reading his book!
Same. That’s where I first learned about getting your ideas to the market. They’re not worth anything until you get them out there.
John @ Sprout Wealth says
Great list Martin! I screwed around way too much in college and in my 20s, but then again who didn’t? 😉 The one area I always tend to see myself working on is #2. There is only so much time in the day, but when you’re struggling with time management that can make the days seem like they’re even shorter. I’m a big believer in having a list to work from and then using something to motivate myself if it’s something bigger I’m trying to get done.
I think we all screw around. The key is to get out alive and top of things before it’s too late.
Andy | Income by Example says
These are all spot on. I currently struggle with wasting time on Facebook but I installed the stayfocusd plug-in for chrome and it seems to be helping. Also, less reading and more doing is huge. Have some awesome adventures and write about them. Be the one experiencing more often and the one reading less often (about others that is!)
I also use that app. We all get distracted by Facebook and social media. The trick is to get work done first and the slack off.
Grayson @ Debt Roundup says
I would say that networking is one skill that they didn’t really teach well in college. They did teach it, but not enough to make a difference. You learn way more things in the “real” world than you do in college.
Lol the networking in college revolves around finding the wildest bar that’s open on a Wednesday night.
Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life says
Time management and productivity are my weakness. I’m so easily side tracked or I do things that are productive but not result producing (if that makes sense). I’m an awesome networker though, so at least I have something going for me 🙂
Will Lipovsky, First Quarter Finance says
“You should also read up on the classic book from Dale Carnegie on how to win friends.”
I am reading this book right now. It’s honestly beginning to transform my life.
Thanks, Martin for the great blog post!
John C @ Action Economics says
Very true, I wish that schools taught more of this. Launching and project skills are highly important. I used to neglect networking until I noticed that I was calling other people to hook them up with temporary jobs, I started thinking, is my number in the phones of people who can help me? You can be an excellent worker all around, but if others don’t have your contact info and just plain don’t trust/like/know you, there will certainly be missed opportunities.
Jeffjohn Navarro says
Well said, as always Michelle. Thanks for the those tips especially the 3rd one. Cheers
Mark Ross @moneysavingdude says
I think I’m going to work on my time/productivity skills first, because I think it’s the most important of all those three skills you mentioned.