Millennials are in a challenging phase of life: navigating professional challenges, long-term relationship choices and spiritual questions, all while trying to live up to the social expectations of what an adult should be.
But no matter where you are in your young adult life, it’s always helpful to hear wisdom from people who have been there before. That’s why we’ve compiled this list of 11 pieces of advice that every Millennial should hear.
No one ever “arrives,” so enjoy where you are right now
Don’t let ambition and contentment become mutually exclusive qualities. Sure, you may want to end up in a better job, a different city or a new relationship, but if you’re always looking forward to the next thing, you’ll never enjoy where you are right now.
No matter how successful you become, there will always be more goals you’ll want to accomplish. There’s nothing wrong with looking ahead to what’s next in your life, but don’t let plans about the future prevent you from living in the moment.
The Internet never forgets
Too many people have learned this lesson the hard way. Before you tweet that seemingly funny (but possibly inappropriate) joke, post pictures from a party you’d rather forget or engage in a political discussion that gets a little too heated, remember that even if you later try to remove what you’ve posted that can be nearly impossible in the Internet age. Think before you post—it could save you some serious stress down the road.
It’s never too late
“I feel like it’s just too late to launch my own business, go back to school, start a family, travel the world …” Fill in the blank. Julia Child didn’t attend cooking school until she was 36. Harrison Ford’s breakout role (Han Solo in Star Wars), didn’t happen until he was 35. Colonel Sanders launched the KFC franchise at age 65. Whether it’s a dream job, the degree you always wanted or an unmet life goal, it’s never too late to try and do the thing you’ve always wanted.
Always be able to (respectably) answer the question, “What book are you reading right now?”
This doesn’t mean you can’t spend time reading the latest paperback thriller, graphic novel or Onion collection. But, it’s always good to also be able to answer with something dignified that can also lead to engaging conversation. Need help finding your next thought-provoking Kindle purchase? Goodreads has lots of recommendations from a variety of topics and custom lists. And of course, you can always check out our weekly recommendations.
Regret is pointless
Just because it may sound cliché doesn’t mean it isn’t true: No one’s perfect. Too often we forget that there’s a difference between repentance and regret, and we don’t let ourselves move past mistakes. The only thing regret does is prevent you from moving forward. The difference between people who are successful and people who aren’t isn’t who made the least amount of mistakes—it’s who was able to learn from them and move on.
Turn off your phone
According to new research, modern smartphone users check their devices up to 150 times a day on average. Clearly, we have a problem. In his now famous rant against smartphones on a recent episode of Conan, Louis C.K. says it best: “You need to build the ability to just be yourself and not be doing something. That’s what the phones are taking away—is the ability to just sit there … That’s being a person, right?” Don’t lose the ability to observe stillness. Sometimes being alone is uncomfortable—and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
Be really careful with credit cards
Some experts say you shouldn’t use them at all. Others suggest that if you do, you need to exercise extreme caution. Credit cards can have their benefits—they help build credit, offer monetary rewards and give users some financial flexibility. But if used irresponsibly, they lead to a cycle of debt and bad credit that can haunt users for years. If you do decide to use credit cards, do so with extreme care. Don’t spend extravagantly. Always pay your bill on time. And make sure you know the dangers of getting into debt.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help
Values like pride and self-reliance have been ingrained in hardworking young adults for generations, but they can be a double-edged sword. It’s noble to try to overcome problems on your own, but at some point, we all need help from someone wiser than ourselves. If you’re fighting an addiction, going through a difficult time professionally, having relationship issues or just need to talk to someone, don’t be afraid to find a family member, pastor, mentor or counselor and ask for help. Too often, we think of asking for help as a weakness, when, it reality, it’s the ultimate sign of strength.
We’re all busy, so it’s easy to be distracted by other commitments, that email that just came into your phone or thinking about that next meeting. But no matter how much you have going on in your life, one of the keys to being successful and happy in everything that you do is to actually take the time to enjoy what you’re doing. Stay focus on the conversation you’re having. Work hard while you’re at work. And have fun when you’re out with your friends or family. Take some advice from someone really smart, “Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.”
Do not let the sun go down on your anger
Another piece of timeless wisdom from someone extremely wise, it’s especially applicable in the digital age where it’s easy to reach out and make amends with anyone. Anger and unforgiveness are no-win emotions. Take the advice of Scripture, and don’t live with hostility toward others—at the end of the day, you are the one who really suffers. (This is especially true if you are engaged in a fiery online debate—trust us, there’s just no winning some arguments.
Maybe you pray throughout the day. Maybe you hardly ever pray. But no matter how frequently you do pray, you can still never pray too much. Praying throughout the day isn’t just a good a way to remind yourself of God’s purpose in your day-to-day life; it’s also a way to seek divine guidance in even the smallest situations.
Jesse Carey is a mainstay on the weekly RELEVANT Podcast and member of RELEVANT's executive board. He lives in Virginia Beach with his wife and two kids.