It is a general belief that experience is the best teacher. As true as this may sound, learning via experience has a lot of disadvantages. It is expensive to learn from experience. I learn as much as possible from experience when life forced it on me, but I rather prefer to learn via evaluated experience by studying those who have gone ahead of me and learn from their successes and failures.
After taking a deep observation of the life of an average Nigerian, I discovered that majority of people are likely going to make the mistakes highlighted in this article and most of them have no choice but to live with the consequences when they reach age 30. These mistakes include:
1. Thinking you are too young to achieve great things:Most Nigerian who are in their 20s are still pursuing their tertiary education, some will not even graduate until they reach their late 20s. In your 20s there is this tendency to think you are too young to pursue your dream. You will often feel you don’t have experience and that people won’t take your seriously. This mindset will make you defer some of the things that would have speed up your success in life to a time you feel you will be competent to live your dream. The truth is that thinking you are too young to live your dream in your 20s is nothing but a limiting belief. Once you reach age 18, you are not too young to pursue any dream except where a higher age is required. People who made it big in their 30s started in their 20s. And if you are just waking up at 30, then you will be disappointed in yourself. You will regret wasting those precious years of your 20s by the time you reach age 30.
2. Focusing your life only on academics: In Nigeria formal education is overrated. The reason for this is because we have not been able to differentiate between education and academics. The object of education is to help you understand your environment, and learn how to adapt to it without constituting nuisance to others. Education also empowers you for success in every area of your life. Academics on the other hand focuses on certificates or degrees. A person may have a degree but yet not educated. However academics can help to enhance one’s education.
The average Nigerian believe so much in the power of certificate and all his hope is bent on securing a good job after graduation through this certificate. In order to achieve this end, he tend to put in all the possible efforts needed to get good grades. It is important to note that this formular of getting good grades to ensure a good job is no more valid in today’s world as we have graduates with first class who are not employed. In a situation where all your efforts was put into getting good grades without having a plan B for a situation where your certificate does not give you your dream job will only land you in regret, depression and frustration, which is the lot of so many Nigerian graduates today. TRUE EDUCATION PREPARES YOU TO SURVIVE WITHOUT YOUR CERTIFICATE.
To avoid this mistake, as you pursue your academic degrees, also find time to acquire some or at least one vocational skill. There are many of them out there that can fetch you real money the moment you become an expert. If you have graduated from the tertiary institution and you don’t have any vocational skill yet, it is not too late to acquire one.
3. Not working to earn an income: There is this tendency for you to rely solely on your parents for every dime you spend. All you are exposed to is how to spend money. This will put you in a position where you don’t know how difficult it is to make money. All you will have in mind is, as soon as you graduate, you will hit your dream job and you will be able to do what your parents or guardians are doing. This kind of thinking is not always true. By the time you graduate and your dream job doesn’t show up and have no option but to take care of yourself, then you will wish you understood earlier how difficult it is to make money. This period will be the first time in your life when you will have a genuine appreciation for all the money your parents spent on you. If you are currently relying on your parents for your up-keep and still in your 20s, then I say to you that you have not started living. LIFE BEGINS THE MOMENT YOU ASSUME TOTAL RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR ACTIONS AND FOR EVERY DIME YOU SPEND. You can’t afford to just be sitting at home eating, watching television, and hanging out with friends. Start doing something that can fetch you money. It may be a paid employment or personal business. This will expose you to how difficult it is to accumulate money. The moment you know this by experience, you will begin to appreciate money and become wiser in the way you use it.
4. Thinking there is still time: Thinking you still have all the time in the world is one of the illusions of the 20s. You tend to live your life carelessly and spend your time on frivolities. However by the time you hit 29, and moving towards your 30th birthday, you will begin to realize that you are no more a baby. You will realize you have been sleeping all this years if your achievement does not measure up with your age. It would be done on you for the first time that you no longer have time on your side. At this period you will wish you have done so many things in your 20s which you felt you were too young to accomplish.
5. Not equipping yourself with skills to survive in the real world: If you are not the discipline type, you will likely spend your 20s engaging in frivolous activities, which will prevent you from having a grasp of basic skills needed to survive in the real world. Some of them include, ability to save money for a project, empathy, understanding, ability to delay gratification, and so on.
Also Young Nigerians who are academics oriented may end up spending their 20s pursuing only degree without any practical vocational skill that can guaranteed them job after graduation. When the dream job doesn’t show up, these youths tend to end up being underemployed, doing job they hate out of no choice.
TRUE EDUCATION PREPARES YOU TO SURVIVE WITHOUT YOUR CERTIFICATE.
To avoid this mistake, as you pursue your academic degrees, also find time to acquire some or at least one vocational skill. There are many of them out there that can fetch you real money the moment you become an expert. If you have graduated from the tertiary institution and you don’t have any vocational skill yet, it is not too late to acquire one. If you look around you, you will notice that most of the people who are making real money are not necessary those who are working with their certificates, but those who have answers to the problems of people around them. Beside your certificate what problem can you solve for people and get paid for? If you don’t have an answer, it is high time you identify major problems of the people around you, and proceed to acquire vocational skill that can empower you to provide answer to such problem. The more problem you can solve, the more your capacity to make money. In zig ziglar’s word ‘’you will have all that you want if only you can help enough other people to get what they want.’’ ONLY PEOPLE WHO DON’T HAVE SOLUTION TO OTHER PEOPLE’S PROBLEMS DIE IN POVERTY.
6. Not reading enough books: It has been said that if you want to hide something from an African, hide it inside a book. This tells about how poor our reading culture as Africans is. One of the major problems the average Nigerian will make in his 20s is not reading enough books. We are all born into this world without a manual, all that we know and that we will know are all products of learning. The 20s is a time of preparation for the future ahead and reading good books will definitely assist you in your preparation. Reading good books will expose you to the life time investigation of those who have gone ahead of you. Learning from their experience is the best way to learn. Reading good books will enable you to begin from where previous generation left off. It is important to note that every form of success has its own governing principles. Books will expose you to the principles that govern the kind of success you desire. As an African most of the things you were indoctrinated to believe while growing are myths, only reading and critical thinking can help you flush those erroneous beliefs out of your mind. If you don’t read enough books in your 20s, then you are an accident waiting to happen. Every youths in his 20s is expected to have a full grasps of the principles that govern money , relationship and success generally. This can only be achieved by reading books that teach the principles governing them. There are millions of them out there. I want to suggest here that as a Nigerian in your 20s that if you have not read the books I am going to list below or the ones related to them, then you are probably not ready for life. The books include the following: Think and grow rich by Napoleon Hill, 7 strategies for wealth and Happiness by Jim Rohn, The richest man in Babylon by, Rich dad, Poor dad by Robert Kiyosaki, Why you act the way yo do by Tim Lahaye, 7 habit of highly successful people by Stephen covey, The science of getting rich by Wallace wattle, From poverty to power by James Allen, As a man thinketh by James Allen, Acres of diamond by Russell Conwell and many more. These suggested books contains timeless truth of how things work in this life and reading and acting on the content will help save you from so many mistakes you would have made in life if you have not read them.
Author: Taiwo Emayosanlomo, success coach and personal development expert.