The 10 Best Nuggets of Life Advice for People in Their Twenties
I have a love hate relationship with advice. In a nutshell, I love when someone advises me what I've already planned to do, and hate it when someone tries to get in the way of a plan that I'm forging on with against all logical reason (although, credit where credit is due, I'd like to thank my parents for advising me against renting that poky flat above the SPAR store in Staines).
As Sebastian the crab so wisely surmised in Disney's The Litte Mermaid, "Children have got to be free to lead their own lives." With this in mind, I don't see the point in reeling off a load of practical advice that every twenty-something should follow (open an ISA, travel the world, be in the terrible relationship - it's up to you,) instead, I wanted to share 10 quotations that have inspired me to be the best version of myself that I can be while I find my feet in this big ol' world.
Here they are laid out for you in no particular order, in the hope that some of them may also resonate with you.
"Focus on what you can control. Be a good person every day."
- Michelle Obama
Let's begin by having things put into perspective for us by Mrs Obama. Here is a woman behind countless monumental positive changes in the US, but ultimately, those couldn't have been done without the baby steps. By putting good into the world every day, no matter on what scale, you're on the right track.
"The world will see you the way you see you, and treat you the way you treat yourself."
We could all use a bit of Beyoncé's magic confidence formula, but here she sums up the real secret behind its success. You want to be loved? Love yourself. You want to be respected? Respect yourself. Your self-esteem is built first and foremost by you, so do yourself a favour and stop telling yourself that your calves are too wide and that you'll never amount to anything. Would you catch Bey doing that?
“Success doesn’t come from what you do occasionally, it comes from what you do consistently.”
- Marie Forleo
Marie Forleo (and all her inspiring guests over on Marie TV) has fast become my go-to gal for motivation now that I'm too old to put all of my faith in Disney (don't worry, I still entrust a good 65% to Walt and the gang). When you start getting serious about being successful, it's not enough to take action once every few weeks when motivation strikes: the real difference in your life is going to come from the work you put in steadily, every. damn. day.
“Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die.”
- A wise man
So there's debate among enthusiasts over whether Buddha, Mandela or neither said this lil' nugget, but the takeaway is pretty much the same either way. Shit happens. People are nasty. Someone eats the last brownie. But holding onto your rage about whatever's going wrong in life isn't going to do YOU any favours. Take a breath, let it go, then get back to being your awesome self.
“Never accept no for an answer”
- Farrah Storr
Coming at things from a journalistic perspective, this nugget from the editor of Cosmopolitan is no less relevant to any career gal in her twenties. If you get the job you want on the first try, you're nothing short of a miracle child. Fact is, most of us are going to be up against our fair share of rejection. Creative types, times that by 100. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying to go booting down the doors of Random House if you don't qualify for work experience, more to not let the first set back make you change track. Actress Bryce Dallas set herself a benchmark of ONE HUNDRED auditions before she was going to consider giving up on acting. And hey, then Jurassic World happened. If you love what you're doing, keep at it.
“You better work b*tch”
- Britney Spears
What makes Britney such an inspiring role model (apart from her unparalleled acting skills in Crossroads?) Here is a woman who had it all: the body, the man, the career, the $$$, lost it all, then got it all back again. This lady knows what failure feels like, as well as worldwide success. So you better be taking her seriously when she says that to get the life of your dreams you need to put some effort in. I recommend playing this at the start of every morning/squat session. Just a thought.
“Done is better than good.”
- Elizabeth Gilbert
You may have already heard me raving about Elizabeth Gilbert's endless wisdom, but seriously, every other phrase that comes out this woman's mouth could be put on a t-shirt. I'd like to hypothesise here that perfectionism is actually the single worst thing that can happen to your goals and productivity. Perfectionism can be paralysing. So instead of agonising over minute changes that even you can't tell the difference between any more, turn in the assignment, hang up the picture, finish applying your eyeliner, and move onto the next thing. Your stress levels will thank you.
“There is an expiry date on blaming your parents for steering you in the wrong direction.”
- J. K. Rowling
J. K. Rowling is another inspiring lady who hasn't exactly led a cushy life. One of the most satisfying things you can do in your twenties is take over responsibility for your own life and choices. Okay, this may be scary and financially crippling to start off with, but it also gives you the freedom to steer your own life's course, and the maturity to take responsibility when you fuck it all up.
“Get comfortable with being uncomfortable.”
- Jillian Michaels
Pretty sure that Michaels is talking about the gym here, but frankly this advice can be applied to any sphere. I like to think of my comfort zone as a cosy duvet burrito - it's comforting as heck in there, but there's pretty much zero room for growth. And, if you stay in it your whole life, you're going to get pretty darn bored. The more you push yourself beyond what you know, the happier you'll be in those 'uncomfortable' situations. The burrito will still be there for you at the end of the day, promise.
"Let Isobel be Isobel."
- Sirena Bernal
I came across this nugget by Bernal when searching the web for life-affirming mantras (yes, I am that person) and it's really stuck with me over time. And, while it's important that you let me be myself, if you insert your own name into the structure, you'll start to see the value of this four word phrase. Because, ultimately, your twenties is about finding yourself, not fighting yourself. Let your true, authentic self shine through, and enjoy the ride my friend.