11 Life Tips for Avoiding Mediocrity
The Internet is filled with life tips that promise you a path to this or a path to that. The promises usually involve untold riches or finding the love of your life.
But riches and love will only take you so far. And they sort of define “success” by a set of standards that have nothing to do with what makes you uniquely you. In the following article, we’re going to give you the types of overarching life tips that give you the ability to determine your own success and fulfillment.
Call it a humanist approach, but we believe true happiness only comes from within and that everything else is just mediocrity. Adhere to this advice, and you’ll be able to keep your life from falling prey to it. Let’s begin!
1. Wait on Marriage
The success rate of marriages has been hovering under 50 percent since the 1970s. Some believe this is a sign that the family structure is crumbling, while others believe the only reason marriages stayed together beforehand was the social faux pas of divorce. In other words, those supposedly “strong” marriages only stayed together because one of the spouses — usually the woman — had no other option than to stay or be ostracized for being divorced.
With a move toward equality and independence, divorce was a natural and inevitable side effect. And it’s even more likely when you marry young. That’s because your values system and full-on identity are not yet established. You haven’t become You, yet you’re expected to successfully pick the person with whom you’ll spend the rest of your life!?
It sounds crazy, we know. And that’s why more young people today are delaying marriage. They understand the psychological and developmental disadvantages of making so deep of a commitment before one is ready. You’d be wise to do the same. Generally speaking, between 25 and 30 years of age is the best time to get married. By then, you both know who you are and share goals and expectations for what you want out of life.
2. Take Your Time Starting a Family
Getting married may seem like a big deal. And we guess that it is. To an extent. However, it pales in comparison to the decision of starting a family (i.e., having children). Children are an enormous responsibility. They require constant care and attention. That becomes less so the older they get, but it’s a gradual weaning process. And it’s something many young people realistically don’t have the time or maturity to accomplish.
It’s possible to get through early parenthood if you have a great support unit (i.e., willing extended family to help financially and with childcare). But it’s not ideal, and having a child too young will seriously alter your educational and professional plans. At best, it will make you have to work 10 times harder than you otherwise would in order to get ahead.
3. Get Physically Fit and Stay That Way
Getting fit is easy when your metabolism is that of an average high school student. It becomes much more difficult as you age and become less active. You can keep it going for a bit if you stay active but that becomes harder to do when you’re not taking part in a physical fitness program mandated on you by an educational program.
The freedom of being away from Mom and Dad during those early college years can also lead to getting a little carried away with oneself. You ruin your appetite. You eat more than what you otherwise would have thanks to the college cafeteria buffet. You start consuming more alcohol.
Be prepared for the temptations and do what you have to do to burn off those excess calories. Commit to at least four workout days per week. Make it a part of your to-do list, and don’t let a day go by without getting to cross it off.
4. Choose Your Major Wisely
You could change your major a bunch. It may help you find your way to your dream eventually. But it could also leave you owing four times as much as a normal undergraduate education would if you just went straight through. What’s the answer?
Well, you could stick out a major you hate, then try for something more interesting in graduate school. Or, you could put debt on hold and join the workforce for a while after high school. Give yourself some knocking-around time in order to find what it is you’re good at and what invokes your passions. Then, and only then, is it a good idea to enroll in college or a trade school of some kind.
While you may find yourself a few years behind your peers in the short term, you’ll come out ahead by taking your time and making better decisions. And that kind of discernment will prove useful in other aspects of your life as well.
5. Apply Yourself
Whatever you do, do it to the best of your ability. And yes, that even goes for the stuff that you hate. If you find yourself in a less-than-favorable situation, you can still control your attitude about it. A positive attitude can turn undesirable tasks into fulfilling ones. It also can open doors of opportunity of which you otherwise wouldn’t have considered.
So don’t ever let the temptation to “goof around” win out. You’ll have your good days and bad days at anything in life. But wanting and striving to put your best foot forward will get you noticed by the right people and help you create your own luck.
6. Do Not Do Things ‘Just Because’
If there is a smarter way of doing things, find it. It’s fine to take direction from people and to do things the way they’ve always done them until a better way jumps out at you. Once it does, use it to your advantage. If there’s a reason why your way won’t work, it’ll show itself soon enough. If there isn’t, then you’ve saved yourself and your future employer time and money.
Questioning the status quo is a quality so many famous inventors and business people have demonstrated throughout their careers. You may not always get it right by bucking the trends and marching to your own drummer. But when you do get it right, it’ll set you apart from the vast majority of the competition.
7. Look for Mentors
A well-taught and organized course can only take you so far. Book learning can only take you so far. Studying the examples of others and finding ways to apply them to your life can only take you so far. But finding a mentor in your field of expertise gives you the experience and the first-hand guidance to go as far as a career or field of study will allow. You just have to know how to pick them.
How do you do that? Look for people who are a) well-accomplished, b) experts in their field, and c) accessible to you. You’d be surprised how many experts are in your own back yard. Look for people who are already working in the field you’d like to be in. Ask them if you can job-shadow them for a day or two. Show genuine interest in them — interest that goes beyond a grade or class assignment — and they will definitely show an interest in you by freely offering their time, training, wisdom, and guidance.
8. Travel Young
Many people dream of all the traveling they will do once they’re retired. But the truth is this: as you get older, your views become more set in stone and your body becomes more tired and worn-down. The chances you’re going to feel like traveling as much as you hoped you would as a younger person are slim.
So don’t wait around. Take the opportunities you have to travel now, as they are presented. Do everything you can to seize on them and learn from them. You don’t want to look back at 70 years old, too tired to do anything about it, and say: “What if?”
9. Travel Light
Master the art of essentialism. You can still own nice things and take joy in a store-bought purchase. You just don’t need to assign your personal value and happiness to the possessions that you have. So travel as light as you can from the earliest age.
When you read a book, give it away. Rent movies or stream them on Netflix, don’t buy them. Keep your musical selections cloud-based. Thin out your closet. Learn to say goodbye to items that are no longer of use to you. If you can practice these skills, then you’ll never have to fill up a single suitcase in your life.
10. Always Keep Learning
Continuing education is how you create new opportunities for yourself. It’s how you excel at the work ahead of you. It’s how you stumble into new life-fulfilling hobbies, and it’s why people find you wonderful to talk to at parties.
When you absolve to be a life-long learner, you never have to worry about the world leaving you behind. And that kind of connectedness will always make you feel like a viable part of the world for as long as you should live.
11. Move Your Own Cheese
The longer you work at a certain location or within a specific industry, the more likely it is that it’ll change. And it’ll probably change when you’re not ready for it to. This concept led to the bestselling book Who Moved My Cheese?
In our opinion, you can’t afford to wait until someone else moves your cheese. You need to do it. That means finding ways to disrupt your current job responsibilities for a new way of doing things.
Perhaps it means you volunteer for a new project that’ll challenge you beyond your current limits. Perhaps it means sourcing a new piece of technology that will free up your time and allow you to focus on other things. Maybe it means you switch careers altogether or start your own business.
It’s your cheese. You decide where it should be. Otherwise, someone else will decide it for you. And they probably won’t have all your best interests in mind when they do.
These Life Tips Will Give You One Worth Living
If you take the advice of the life tips presented here, you’ll be destined for great things. But you have to embrace each one and do your best to make them a part of your lives. Now it’s your turn. What are some tips we should have included, and why? We want to hear from you. Sound off in the comments section below.
[Featured Image by Amazon]