5 Lies Every Twentysomething Needs to Stop Believing

Sarah had been told all her life she could do anything she wanted, that success was right around the corner. But now, stuck in a menial job at 25, with no big career in sight, she—like many twentysomethings—was feeling the pangs of disillusionment.

This sense of disillusionment often stems from the lies we’ve been told and have told ourselves. We’ve been lied to, and these lies are holding us back.

You are not alone in your struggle, questions, wondering what’s next?, now what? or do I have what it takes?

Too many twentysomethings are driving through the twists and turns of their twenties with windshields covered in mud, lies and half-truths. And then we wonder why so many of us have crashed?

We need to hose these lies off right now or spend our twenties stuck on the side of the road.

If we’re going to walk forward with the answers to the major questions we should be asking, successfully navigating our twenties, then we need to stop believing the following lies right now:

1. I’m the Only One Struggling

I would love to lock this lie away in a Siberian prison and give the key to a pack of Arctic wolves to defend. You are not alone in your struggle, questions, wondering what’s next?, now what? or do I have what it takes?

Our twenties are tough. That’s the truth. Too many twentysomethings are struggling through a quarter-life crisis all alone.

We all need help. We all need support. We all need nudges, prompts, advice and encouragement.

No one has it all figured out. The twentysomethings who think they do are in for the biggest shock of all.

2. I Should Be Successful by Now! Like Right Now!

I fully expected to walk straight into a crazy-successful twentysomething life with accolades, salaries, bonuses, a big-old-fat-book-deal, and a plethora of people who wanted to learn my secrets to success, all by 23 years old. Maybe 25 if I really hit some serious setbacks.

I didn’t realize that success takes time—loads of time.

Success is not an Egg McMuffin, delivered to us for a $3, three minute investment.

No, success is the Sistine Chapel—it takes years, pain, frustration, thousands of brushes, colors and crumpled up sketches before you have your masterpiece.

Countless famed figures we idolize—such as Abraham Lincoln—failed drastically in their twenties. Even Jesus, who never failed at anything, didn't begin his active, recorded ministry until he was in his thirties.

Success is not a sprint, it’s an Ironman marathon, and our twenties aren’t really about running the actual race. No, our twenties are simply about building our endurance so that we can run the race in the future.

If you take one step towards your dream today, you are a success. Success happens in the details.

3. Life is Not Turning Out Like it Was Supposed To

Well, kind of. Yes, life is not turning out like it was supposed to, but what the heck is supposed to? There is no supposed to. Supposed to is a lie. Supposed to is built on the perception of someone else’s perceived success.

Live your life right now exactly as it is and do your best to keep moving forward into where you want to go. That’s what you’re supposed to do.

4. I Don’t Have What it Takes

I 100 percent guarantee you have what it takes. I triple-stamp a double-stamp, 100 percent money-back guarantee you have what it takes. It’s just going to take some time to figure out what exactly “it” is.

Our twenties are a process, not a surprise party. You don’t just walk into the door and all of the sudden your calling jumps out from behind the couch. God has put all of us on a journey and as much as we might want to dash to the finish line, we're going to have to take our time to let Him teach us what exactly that finish line is.

Our twenties are a process, not a surprise party. You don’t just walk into the door and all of the sudden your calling jumps out from behind the couch.

You are extremely talented at something. We just need to start pulling off the layers to get a glimpse of what that something is.

5. I am a Failure

The only failure of our twenties would be if we never had any.

The only failure of our twenties is if we fail and then call ourselves failures.

Our twenties are going to be riddled with failure. Anyone that tells you otherwise is a liar. But you don't have to define yourself by your failures.

Failure is not a period, it’s a comma. And only if you stop trying will you really fail.

There’s only one way to be successful in our twenties—fail, tweak, then try again.


Michael Kenney


Michael Kenney commented…

At 52, I hate to burst everyone's little bubble but let me share with you the fact that these exact same questions/thoughts/lies will come back to haunt you just as easily at 50 as they do in your 20's. What do you think spurs the infamous mid-life crisis? I know it's tough to come to grips with but who you are is not tied to any of these lies, it's who you are in Christ that matters and until you realize that these lies will pursue you no matter what age you are or how successful you think you've become.



Garrett commented…

I hate to be the bearer of bad news for most of the people reading this but here it is. 1. Just because others are struggling does NOT mean that it's okay for you to be struggling too. Single mothers with kids make it happen on a daily basis. If you're 20-something you don't have an excuse. 2. You should be successful by now. If you're in your 20s and have not made an attempt to live out at least one dream, you're doing something wrong. Success doesn't mean rich in terms of money. Success is taking on a challenge and completing it to your own standards. 3. Life is turning out exactly how it's supposed to. You're at the helm and always have been. You have no one to blame for life not working out but yourself. Don't say God is challenging you either. That's another cop out. 4. If you whole heartedly don't believe you have what it takes, then you probably don't. Doubting yourself is natural but at the point of believing you don't have what it takes, mean you should probably reassess your situation and self-identify your strengths and weaknesses to set yourself up to SUCCEED (see above). 5. Failing only comes if you've failed to see that everything in the article is ridiculous and does not apply to real life. You have a huge impact on everything that happens in your life. That can be a positive or negative thing but at the end of the day, accepting struggle, waiting to be successful, accepting what life "is", and not believing in yourself are 4 surefire ways to ensure that by the time you're 50 you will still be in the same place you were when you were 20.

Brenda Charles


Brenda Charles replied to Garrett's comment

Hey! I'm sorry but who are you to be telling people how they should be at a certain age and what they should of had accomplished? You don't know anything about struggle, if you think of it as something to compare. Sure, some people managed to have 'success' despite their tough situations, but one thing you should know is A) People don't react the same/ Are not affected by the same things & B) Everyone is living life at their pace. This is not a freaking race?! You don't get a medal because you've 'figure' it out at 25-30? There's nothing wrong with failing and taking your time. Btw, failing has such a negative tone but really, for me it just means that you are still trying. And you don't know how hard it is for some people to just try once more. To chase their dreams and to just live their lives as they wish. This article is not about accepting life and not doing anything. It is about taking time to know what you want, what are your abilities and not be scared if things don't work out the way, you've thought they would. YOU still have time to change your life around.

Paul Angone


Paul Angone replied to Brenda Charles's comment

Great thoughts Brenda! Thanks

Angie Toll


Angie Toll replied to Paul Angone's comment

Garrett, oh won't you please tell us how you have become so successful? Besides, of course, your success in reaching your hopes and dreams of being the "bearer of bad news" and having the time of day to even try and debate a positive point that the writer of this article has succeeded in sharing.



Raoulovic commented…

I just would like to comment on the writer's ignorance and ask for a correction regarding a misconception in this article, regarding the fact that Mr Angone, as mixed Serbia with Siberia! Serbia is a country in the Balkans next to the Mediterranean sea and Siberia is a rough region of Russia were the gulags use to be, which what i think that the writer is referring to, taking into account that there is a comment about Arctic wolves...therefore something that you could find in Siberia...



Raoulovic replied to Raoulovic's comment

Thanks for the correction ;)

Casey Helmick


Casey Helmick commented…

Best article I have read on Relevant.

"The only failure of our twenties would be if we never had any."

This article was truly relevant to my life and I am absolutely sure to many other's lives. Continue to pursue this thought process, writers. The twentysomethings NEED to be encouraged and challenged!!

Paul Angone


Paul Angone replied to Casey Helmick's comment

Thanks Casey for the kind words and encouragement!

Definitely check out my book "101 Secrets for your Twenties" for more of the same. http://bit.ly/101-Secrets

London Smith


London Smith commented…

Great writing! I completely agree with this post especially as a recent college graduate. I blog about the struggles of a college graduate and all the things college did not prepare you for. My latest post College does not Prepare you for Real Life mirrors this article. It can be found at the link below for those who want to know more. :)


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