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21 January 2016 | Opinion/Feature

5 Life Lessons I Learned At Age 20

Kwabena Brako-Powers (Author, Blogger, Life Enthusiast, Traveler)

Life assumed the role of a usual guest to me – I guessed. It didn’t attract any special attention from me. All that I ever cared for were; school days, meal time, my friends, church time, and play time. I was not so much interested in how my day begins. All I cared for, was how fun my day ends. I was smart – my parent tells me – indifferent, annoying, and arrogant. I was good in art work, however, I dropped out of Art apprenticeship class marking an end to that aspect of my talent.

Some few months from now, I will be turning 30 years and I’m glad to announce that I have been able to alter that aspect of my life. I’m far more responsible in what I do, and for how my day turns out. I guessed a lot has been changed within the ten years. I have managed to create a writing career – something I never thought would be possible because it was the least of my thoughts. I am building businesses which will take on other unemployed graduates in the world. These changes did not come about by way of a flash of light in my consciousness, but rather by conscious effort to be more.

When we attain social awareness of our surroundings, and stop in our track to reflect the path we have taken, all the things responsible for our misfortune will rush to us. Life change starts with self-search. Here are some of the things I learned:

#1: Life is not a sofa, it’s a horse: to ride on its back demands conscious efforts

When you are young, you feel you control the world, and yes the time. You believe you can get whatever you want with the snap of the finger – and yes you can, but not in the way you imagined it. Your parents administer to your wants and needs. They cloth, and shelter you. The only tinge of responsibility hanging about your neck is for you to attend school. You dodge responsibilities thinking you are too small to bear them. You allow these little luxuries to cloud your judgment of what life really is, and what it expects from all mankind. So when you awake from your childish trance, you begin to feel the weight of life’s pressure on your shoulder. You want to get your lost days back, but they are gone. Take responsibility for whatever happens to you – that’s a sign of maturity. Be conscious of living, and this means that being careful of the choice you make. Whatever choice you make today, has consequences for you tomorrow. Let your goals reflect in the activities you do, and live each day as though it were your last day on earth. This level of thought has been the miracle behind many success stories today. Make it right.

#2: Failing is never an end in itself

It’s never a given that you will get everything right at the first try. There are few persons who can boast of this, however, it’s not a right. What’s your right is arrogating the power to try again. Life has many ways of building our back – to be able to carry more goods perhaps. Failure cannot be the end of the road for you. It’s the beginning of a lousy, successful journey for you. Many of the great people, celebrated today in our world, have all had their bad moments – and some continue to have. They have had times when the penny had dropped on them, when friends had betrayed them for expediency. Take a coin and study the twice sides. Now fling it into the air, and see if you will not see only side at a time. The side you saw represents failure, and the buried side is success. This doesn’t mean you will not get that side of success the next time you toss it properly into the air. Failure isn’t a special packaged delivered to some segregated segment of the society. It plays not favorite. It’s impersonal. It shows up when there are signs of; dearth of preparation, procrastination, laziness, weak thinking, and inertia. You don’t have to be scared of failing. When you fall, just be ready to stand up. The ground is already taken. Your place is with those persons up there. Just do what you’ve got to do, but get there.

#3: Not everyone who reads is successful

I was not a fan of reading, perhaps because I was too serious with the fun aspects of my life. I’d spend money buying liabilities, only to end up taking more money from me. You need to learn how to invest, what to invest in, and why you have to build the investment sector of your life. We’re all investing in something. The million dollar worth question is: what are you investing in? Reading is one type of investment proven as a key ingredient in determining one’s competitive edge. It takes a person of discipline to dish out his money to buy books, while there are other appealing items competing for his attention. What I know is this: you don’t need to be convinced of the relevance of reading before you kick start that habit – you need to do it. It is true, though, that not everyone who reads is successful, but most of the successful people are good readers. These persons have gone ahead to build empires which are controlling some major sectors of our world today. What one thing do you want to be remembered for?

#4: You will always be catered for

It’s infantile to be deluded to think that you will always be catered for by your parents. This may be true to some people, but largely it’s not true. You cannot always be at the receiving end. You will need to go fishing too. This is one aspect of our upbringing many people experience rude awakening – when they realize there’s actually nobody to fend for them. It feels as though iced water has been poured all over them in their sleep. You have to be careful of how you drive your consumption at this stage of your life. You don’t need to outspend your budget for the month, and/or your income. Learn to keep part of your income in an investment portfolio for tomorrow. Today will disadvantage the unprepared, but tomorrow will favor the prepared. Where do you fall in this prism? Prioritize your investment. Remember: the only time you should ever agree on a compromise for these two (reading and savings) should be when you have finished doing them. In other words, don’t compromise. Keep doing them. Just don’t stop.

Please share your comments with me focusing especially on what you consider lessons for persons now getting to their 30s. I will be glad to learn from you as much as you learn from me.