Spanish Battery in sunset time, Tynemouth, England (Kate Pham)

How to invest your time as a youth?

3 questions that will give you the power to drive your future.

Have you ever been regretted? Or once mumble something like “ I wish I’d have not said that” “I shouldn’t have thrown all those parties” “I shouldn’t have dated him?” “I should have chosen the other major.” or “I shouldn’t have been angry with my parents”. You are being pulled in an irreversible direction of time. That’s why something called regret exists. Truth be told, there are a bunch of things we were regretful eventually. We often mistakenly refer to our so-called youth as a disposal and invincible stage of life.

The thing is that you can possibly advocate your wild and reckless moments to your younger self. But in fact, you’re just facilitating your future in striking an impending adversity. There’s a sort of reverse causality that we can’t resist.

At least, you did regret. And the good news is you have time to fix that!

As a twenty-something, we are still like passengers sitting on a flying plane heading to nowhere. We’re allowed to stumble and fall as long as we can learn from the mistakes. Instead of having landed a 60-year-old plane with regret, we can immediately pilot our planes back to a better direction.

We won’t be young forever, so please, spend your youth wisely. Here are 3 simple questions but not easy for everyone to answer honestly:

What should you spend time on?
Who should you spend time with?
How much time should you spend?

Your time should be spent on the RIGHT THING, the RIGHT PERSON with the RIGHT AMOUNT.

What should you spend time on?

Experience, Reflect, Learn, Leverage and Repeat.
  • Reading, traveling, dancing, cooking, working or even meeting new people, whatever it takes. Experience what intrigues your mind and gives you the power to shape your future.
  • Set aside time for self-reflection about the past, present, and future. Earn yourself an introspective moment to understand yourself better.
  • Learn from mistakes/ successes and potential tools that reinforce you.
  • Leverage through the decision-making process. Get rid of all the anchors dragging you down. Refocus and accelerate what profoundly grows you.
  • Repeat.

Who should you spend time with?

People who want you to be better and people who are better than you.

The ridiculous thing is that we fritter time, money, effort and sentiment on the wrong people, instead of people that count. We prefer a night out with a bunch of shallow friends to a family dinner at home. We enjoy chatting for 1–2 hours with our boy/girlfriend instead of making a 5-minute phone call to home. We treat the wrong people right but treat the right people wrong. What a tragic paradox.

It’s simply a part of our natural instinct to be with someone who brings us FUN, and this state of mind instigates a delusion of happiness. All of us want to have fun. But again, time won’t allowed us to have fun with everyone and everything.

Robin Dunbar, a British anthropologist, and psychologist, hypotheses that 150 is a cognitive limit to the number of individuals with whom any one person can maintain stable relationships at once (a.k.a Dunbar’s number). “The Circles of Acquaintanceship are also devised:

  1. Support Clique: The most intimate Dunbar number, 5, is your innermost support group. These are the closest people you’d turn to for help from in a crisis.
  2. Sympathy Group of 15 friends that you can seek for sympathy when you need it. The ones whose death you’d find devastating.
  3. Active/Close Network: 50 is the number of people we call the active friend who you’d gladly invite to a party. You see them often, but not frequently enough to consider them as your true intimates.
The Circles of Acquaintanceship

Dunbar number supports the fact as human being we can only handle a limited number of relationships at once. Once we excess a certain boundary, we become confused and overwhelmed, which might result in some emotional and behavioral problems. It’s impossible for any person to simultaneously stably maintain every relationships. Instead of some temporary relationship, We should concentrate 0n our list of 5, 15, 50 interpersonal connections and rid yourself of poisonous people.

Not everyone is meant to stay with us forever. But those who choose to stay and have lasting positive impacts are always deserved to be treated kindly. They are:

  • People who want you to be better: They worry about you, tell the truth about you, sympathize with you and appreciate you. No matter how messy you are, they will be there for you. You’re just simply who you really are when they’re around. Please, be thankful, sincere and devotional.
  • People who are better than you. Make yourself surrounded and inspired by successful and holistic people, you’d probably generate motivation and knowledge to step up your game. Be proactive and appreciated.

How much time should you spend?

“Not only what you do matter, but how you do it”. It's always been the matter of setting priority. In different dilemmas, you might find it really hard to make these decisions. You need to prioritize what is more important to be done and who is more important to be with. So now, those who know the answers of those three questions would get their best bike and companions for the life journey. Be ready to move onto the next part of you life: Balance.

In the end, please don’t forget to make time for the special ones who are always there patiently and sympathize with you when you are busy growing up.

Thanks for reading! Any thoughts? Let me know!