I recently had a conversation with a young man who said, in reference to getting started in life, “No one is showing us how.” That is true to some degree. When people leave high school and home, many do not have a clearly defined objective. That is not a bad thing. It often takes time to figure out what one wants to do with his or her life. However, getting started right includes much more than an occupation. Success is not defined only in terms of money and wealth. Here are ten principles that are designed to help young adults experience success in every area, but they can apply to any age. They will help a person get life right the first time so they do not have to do it over again at 30, 40, or 50 years of age. Take it from me, a senior citizen, who learned the hard way.
1. Assess what you enjoy and are good at, and put it to use.
2. Take an honest look at your past and evaluate areas of your life. Deal with hurts and adversities. Get past your past, and don’t let it determine your future. Evaluate your life in the physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual areas
Physical: How is your health in general? Are your basic needs being met? Do you have a steady source of sufficient income?
Emotional: Are you an emotionally stable person? What are specific areas of concern: anger, self-esteem, depression, etc.? Are there any addictions you need to break?
Relational: Are you involved in any abusive relationships? Are you living with an irresponsible person? Are you already divorced at a young age?
Spiritual: Do you attend church? If not, why not? Are you involved in any type of corporate worship, Bible studies, or prayer groups? Are you living a disciplined life of obedience to God’s word? How is your walk with the Lord?
In any of these areas that need attention, identify the factors that are causing them to not go well. Start taking steps to correct them.
3. Think in terms of a career, not just a job.
4. Don’t choose an occupation based solely on how much money you will make. Ask the question, “Will I look forward to going to work every day, and to what degree will it allow me to use my talents?”
5. Develop a mindset for saving money. Don’t get into the spend-debt cycle. Build and maintain good credit.
6. Realize that college does not guarantee success, because success is an attitude. It is not a destination but a journey to become all you can be and putting your life to the best use.
7. Don’t be in a hurry to get married. Take time to learn about unconditional love so your marriage won’t be based just on feelings. Know some principles of a successful marriage.
8. Experience some adversity. Don’t expect life to always go the way you want it to, or to always have everything you want.
9. Have professional, financial, spiritual, and self-improvement long and short term goals.
10. Acknowledge God’s leading in your life. God loves you and wants to see you live a fulfilling and purposeful life to his glory. He knows how to put your life to the best use. Proverbs 3:5-6 says “Trust in the Lord with all of your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”
Which of these 10 guidelines do you find the most beneficial? Is there some area of your life that is not going well? What corrections do you need to make?