Career Guide Lifestyle

21 things I have learned after turning 21

Last week, I spent my 21st birthday with a group of friends in London. I was so grateful to have seen them, as it has been ages! You don’t get to see your friends often especially when you’re doing so much traveling. It turned out to be one of my best nights, and the venue I booked just turned out to be perfect. Not only did I get 3 free bottles of Prosecco and a birthday cake in the shape of a piano, but also the pianist sang A Thousand Miles by Vanessa Carlton to me *the famous song from White Chicks* and wished me happy birthday! But anyways back to the point. Since I turned 21, I wanted to share with you 21 things I’ve learned over the years which I thought might be useful to some of you guys. So here I am passing on my wisdom…

1. Confidence makes everything possible

If you believe in yourself, then you can do anything you set out to do. I’ve learned from my marketing internship that confidence is the key to carrying out any task. It instills trust in people because you sound like you know what you’re doing. This means that you’ll become better at what you do which will lead to greater responsibility, a pay rise or potentially a promotion.

2.  Say no

I know this might sound a tad selfish, but saying no means focusing on what’s truly important. This means that you waste less time and that you cut down on activities that don’t align with your values or make you unhappy, such as spending time with toxic people who just bring negativity to your life.

3.  ‘Following your passion’ is bad advice

Let me explain. I know tons of successful people have said this like Steve Jobs, but this is saying that we already have a pre-existing passion and the truth is that we don’t. Most of us don’t even know what our passion is. So instead of trying to follow our passion which will lead to happiness, we need to find what we feel passionate about. And what I’ve learned is that passion comes after working on a specific skill over time and giving your heart and soul into your work. Passion comes much later when you’ve narrowed your focus.

4. Rejection should be used as motivation

Whether it’s getting rejected by a company when applying for a job or internship, or facing rejection when you’ve asked someone on a date, then don’t worry! Use it as something that will motivate you to apply for other jobs, or see other people. Seriously, it’s how you respond to something that will dictate how successful you’ll be.

5. No one is perfect

Everyone makes mistakes, it’s part of being human. Expecting to always be perfect is setting up for failure.

6. Letting go of things that are out of your control

You can’t control the fact that your friend had cancer or that your boyfriend broke up with you, or if he or she cheated on you. You only wish you could’ve changed them, or yourself, but instead of focusing energy on what could’ve and should’ve been, it’s probably time to let go of the things you can’t control.

7. Comparison leads to misery

I’ve found absolutely no need to be comparing yourself to someone else because it will make you feel inadequate, and that everyone is unique in their own way, so instead of looking to be the same or to share similar qualities, focus on the things that make us special. We should be celebrating what makes us different, which leads to my next point.

8. Congratulate other people’s successes

Instead of being jealous of someone when they’re doing well, support them in whatever it is they’re doing. This will probably mean that when it’s your turn, they will support you in your successes and root for you along the way.

9. Take more risks

Getting out of your comfort zone and being in unfamiliar situations means that you’re more likely to learn more and grow. Plus wins points for any job interview.

10. Positivity attracts all kinds of people

I’ve realized that when I’m in a more cheerful mood, people are more responsive to me and it makes them want to open up. On the other hand when I’m feeling miserable, I’ve found that people would avoid any kind of conversation with me. Or maybe just a simple, ‘are you ok?’, but that rarely happens. So, whatever you do try and be positive, because you’ll see a real difference.

11. Locals do it better

When I travel to a new country, I’ve realized that the experience you’ll gain with the help of a local is always 100x better than discovering a new city on your own. Locals can show you where the best bars and restaurants are, and the bargains to look out for!

12. Life isn’t about pleasing other people

Some people spend their entire lives trying to impress others. If you’re too busy pleasing other people or doing what your parent expect of you like becoming a doctor, you’ll be awfully unhappy because you’ve forgotten what you enjoy doing the most and what you really want in life.

13. Some of the best moments in life are unplanned

It’s true, some of my best memories were made when my friends and I were being spontaneous and when I had no expectations. Like that moment when I decided after a night out to watch the sunrise at Montmartre. It was the best night ever!

14. Some friends are for seasons

This is kind of bittersweet. There will be some people in life who you were really close to at some point, and then realize that the friendship is a dead-end. I’ve accepted that some friendships don’t last forever.

15. Your health always comes first

This probably has the same ranking as family. I’ve realized the importance of being healthy, because it impacts other areas in life. If I’m not eating well or exercising, I will actually be in a worse mood, feel sluggish and my skin will breakout like crazy! Sleep is so important and is key to a productive day, so surviving on little sleep will make me feel groggy and won’t allow me to be as focused as I could be.

16. You don’t make good decisions when you’re angry

When your emotions seize you and take hold of you, it’s very hard to act sensibly and rationally. It’s highly likely that if you’re angry, you’ll probably do something you’ll regret for a very long time.

17. Be grateful

I cannot stress enough how important this is!! Be grateful for the little things in life, because we mostly take everything for granted. Even for food on the table, hot water or the roof over our heads, because without it we won’t be able to survive.

18. Live in the present

I know this might sound easy, but it’s actually really hard. Sometimes we’re too stuck on the past, or too worried about our future, but we need to remember that we should be focusing on the ‘now’.

19. It’s okay to fail

There’s no such thing as an overnight success. I’ve learned that people who are successful have fought many battles, and failed many times, but what makes them successful is that they’ve learned to get up again and accept failure, which ultimately won’t get in the way of an end goal.

20. Mindset is everything

Everything is about your mindset! If you believe in yourself, then it will be highly likely that you can accomplish whatever you want.

21. Clichés are more meaningful than you think

If you think you’re sick of hearing ‘you have to love yourself first before loving someone else’, think again because it’s actually true. Or when the bigger clichés like ‘believe in yourself’, don’t dismiss them but live by them.

And there you have it! 21 things I’ve learned from turning 21. I hope these will help you in your future career and for the new year.

Catch you later! (here are some photos below from my amazing night)


Chloe M.


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