Hard work, dedication, and focus are necessary for you to succeed at your goals. But it takes more than just grit; there are other important factors, and grit binds them together.

Drake raps about collecting $500,000 to perform after starting from the bottom. The step in the middle is working hard, and he tells his audience all about it.

I don’t care if Aubrey Drake Graham really started at the bottom. He feels he did, and compared to some, sure, I’d agree. He’s not the only one praising his own humble roots. Donald Trump also claims to have modest beginnings, making do with just a million dollar loan from his father.

When Drake and Trump look back on their success stories, they put a strong focus on the hard work, keeping some of their advantages in the shadows. These success stories — and they are “true” stories as much as any perception is true — are about their persistence and defiance against obstacles to build their skills.

Unfortunately, hard work does not always lead to success. There are no guarantees. You could follow every rule in the book and still not get what you want out of life. Anyone who says differently is selling you something.

All who do succeed, by their own definition of success, have put in hard work to get to that point — and they have this thing called grit. Grit is essential, but not the only determining factor, for success. Combine this grit with other factors, and you increase your chances of reaching your goal.

What is grit?

What happens when a challenge prevents you from succeeding as quickly as you’d like — or as quickly as people you’re being compared to — and authorities call you out?

Imagine you’re dyslexic and are having a difficult time reading, and a teacher calls you stupid. How would you react? Work harder to prove them wrong, or give up? Success comes to those who set out to show that they can succeed despite the challenges. Those who persist. Keep trying.

Grit is persistence and self-control. Being in control of yourself gives you the opportunity and freedom to choose a long-term goal and for you to pursue that goal without wavering. When there’s only one thing you want to do, only one way you can see yourself living your life, self-control allows you to stay focused. Self-control also allows you to put aside some quick successes in favor of working towards the larger goal in the end.

Persistence is the fight in you, and it’s driven by your passion. Don’t give up because people say you can’t achieve your goals. Society places obstacles in front of you, and your obstacles might be larger than those that other people have to face.

Life isn’t fair — especially if you’re part of a group that routinely has more obstacles than others. It’s a disadvantage, but there is always the possibility of pushing through, even if the odds are stacked against you.

By itself, grit isn’t perfect. You can keep trying, but if you aren’t learning from your mistakes and focusing on other important aspects of success, you’re just as likely to fail at reaching those long-term goals. Even though everyone who succeeds has been persistent and controlled, not everyone who is persistent and controlled will succeed.

I grew my first business from nothing, and I eventually grew it to the point where it could sustain a lifestyle well beyond the ability of a day job in a corporate office or in a school as a teacher. It was never that lifestyle I was interested in. I just wanted to create something, a community, and I focused on that long-term goal. A large part of the success was a result of the hard work and focus I put into it over a long period of time.

But I also had these other factors working for me.

Creativity and intelligence factor into success.

You Won't Reach Your Goals Withing This One Key Factor

Hard work, determination, focus, and self-control, or “grit,” is still the primary driver for success. Grit is so powerful it can make up for shortcoming in other areas, at least to a point.

Creativity lets you look at problems from a unique perspective. When you fail — and everyone who’s successful has experienced short-term failure at some point — creativity gives you a new way to approach the problem.

Intelligence helps you gather knowledge along the way, so you develop insight that helps you make better decisions. It helps you make connections between different concepts. Some of the most successful people use creativity and intelligence to come up with business ideas and strategies that are unique, and they do this by taking good ideas from one experience and applying them to another.

And they test. Testing concepts over and over, in different permutations. That’s grit interacting with creativity and intelligence.

Luck and opportunity help a great deal.

Although not as important as grit, luck and opportunity play a big role in being able to reach goals. Unfortunately, these two concepts are often downplayed by people who are successful. In general, we like to feel that a good outcome is a direct result of things we can control like how hard we work, and that a bad outcome is a direct result of things beyond our control like bad luck, the lack of opportunity, the weather, traffic, culture, or insert your favorite excuse here.

“I built it” is the story we like to tell, because it’s more interesting, and makes us feel that we have had a direct impact on our ability to reach out goals.

But success is always a combination of things within our control and outside of our control.

Some people are in the right place at the right time. I started writing about finances a few years before the stock market crashed. When the economy fell apart, throughout the world, more people were looking to discuss saving money, earning more, and investing. Since I had already established my community, people found me. Advertisers found me.

Some people might say that I was particularly skilled at setting myself up for an opportunity that would be coming, but I didn’t know when the economy would crash. I didn’t know if I’d be ready to reach as many people as I did. Luck played a part. But I recognized the opportunity and jumped on it.

And I didn’t give up when the numbers of competitors increased. Instead, I looked for partners and worked harder and came up with creative solutions to drive my community and business forward.

A good combination of all of these factors absolutely makes your goals much easier to reach, whether these goals are related to business and financial success, fitness and athletics, creative fields like music, or even education. If you want to be able to put “Doctor” before your name, you can be sure you’ll need a mix of all the above. But grit binds everything together, and without that, long-term success will continue to evade you.

Grit: The Most Important Factor for Success

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Do you YOLO? Here’s how to party today and prepare for financial freedom tomorrow.

Many Millennials are putting off traditional life milestones like marriage, buying a home, and starting a family. Many Millennials have subscribed to the “you only live once” – YOLO.

Travel is a big deal for many young adults who want to experience life before responsibilities and age weigh them down. But do you risk running out of money later?

You don’t have to give up experiences now. Plan ahead, and take steps to be responsible with your finances, and you can YOLO now, and still achieve financial freedom later.

Be sure to listen to our suggestion for things you can do right now to set yourself up for success in the future, even while you YOLO today, like creating a life map and investing.

Concepts

  • Do you really need to hit the “traditional” life milestones in “proper” order to be an adult?
  • Why now is a good time to YOLO.
  • You don’t have to travel abroad to YOLO. There are plenty of ways to seize the day without leaving the country.
  • How to be smart with your money, even while you have a good time.
  • Tips for laying a solid foundation so that your YOLO adventures don’t lead to financial ruin.

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Resources

The AtlanticHow millennials are changing travel

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You know your relationship is on point if these 20 traits describe you. If not, at least you’ll know what to do.

I’ve had some of the best relationships, but I’ve also had a few where the best thing I could say is that they were learning experiences.

Here’s what I’ve learned. I’ve identified twenty healthy behaviors that show you are doing what it takes to give yourself the best chance of having a long-lasting, loving relationship with your person.

If the following describes you, you’re doing your part to make a thing go right. It takes two, however, to make it out of sight. Not only should you let these suggestions lead your approach to your relationship, but your s.o. should, too.

Hit it.

1. You bring to the table everything you want in a partner.

Whether it’s education, healthy living, or ambition, if there’s a trait you feel is important in your partner, be sure you’re your own great example. What are you doing to work on being the ideal partner for someone like you?

2. You argue about which one of you is the luckiest.

I am! No, I am! It’s more than just playing the humble lover. There’s some truth to that every relationship is made up of one settler and one reacher, but if you disagree and each honestly think you’re the reacher and the other is the settler, you are able to see the best in each other.

3. You always love the idea of sex.

That isn’t to say you are always in the mood to be physically intimate or that you will do what your partner wants at any time, but you always look forward to the next chance you have to hook up. And when you do, it’s a-ma-zing.

4. You talk excitedly about your goals and listen to your partner’s goals.

You have your own wishes and dreams, and you have desires together as a couple. You may not have identical goals, but they are compatible. You even give your partner the chance to change goals and paths. When you pay attention, you can support your partner as they move towards their goal and travel forward together.

5. You can handle time apart.

When you’re comfortable not being attached at the hip, when you know your partner can be away from you without making you nervous or jealous, you show that you are self-confident. Time apart is an essential piece of a healthy relationship, and if you can allow this to happen without the need to check up every five minutes, you’re in good shape.

6. Your friends and family like you together.

The people outside of your relationship who know you the best have great insight into what kind of partner you need. As long as they’re not clouded by their own issues like jealousy, you can trust your friends and family, especially if their opinions ring true. But haters gonna hate, sometimes, so you always do what’s best for you.

7. You show patience and kindness with your s.o.

20 Traits That Prove Your Relationship Is On Point

You can’t control your partner’s behavior or emotions, so when a situation doesn’t go the way you’d like, you react with understanding and love. Mistakes happen, so patience and kindness allows your partner to be comfortable when communicating, and you don’t force them to be defensive.

8. You have matching sets of baggage.

It’s too much to expect that your partner doesn’t have a past. We all have baggage, issues that we have to deal with. Your partner’s baggage should go with yours, but that doesn’t mean you have to have identical history.

9. You’re not waiting for something that would improve the relationship.

The struggle is real. If you’re waiting until your partner gets a job with the hope that will fix all your problems, you could be putting too much faith in the future. If you’re making it work regardless of money, addiction, or bad behavior today, you’ll be that much stronger when things get better, but if you’re having difficulty now, things might not improve if the situation itself ever improves.

10. You don’t keep score or count relationship points.

You know your relationship isn’t a game you’re trying to win. Your partner doesn’t owe you favors when you do what you feel is a favor for them. You’re not trying to prove you love your partner more than they love you.

11. You don’t make your partner feel they’re not good enough.

Emotional manipulation is the quickest way to a toxic relationship. You don’t make yourself feel better by knocking your partner down.

12. You don’t try to change your partner.

You may feel you’d like your significant other to be just a little bit more understanding, more attentive, more ambitious. And you support your partner when they try, but you don’t try to force them into being something that you feel is the ideal lover.

13. You don’t get jealous when other people flirt with your partner.

You are self-confident, so you don’t need to compete for your lover’s attention when it’s important, and you don’t have to feel threatened. Be thankful others recognize your partner’s attractive qualities, but be satisfied they are choosing you every day.

14. You put away distractions when you’re with your partner.

20 Traits That Prove Your Relationship Is On Point

Not every minute you’re with your partner needs to be fully engaging. You can both sit on the bed reading independently; you can be in separate rooms working. But when you are engaged with each other, you give your partner 100 percent of your attention. Put down the smartphone.

15. You ask about your partner’s day and listen before talking about yours.

You can’t wait to tell your partner about your day. Sometimes you have something you need to share. It’s hard to conceal that excitement, and you don’t have to. But you should balance your enthusiasm for telling your own story with being excited about what your partner has to share.

16. You communicate at a higher level.

When you’re totally in sync, you communicate in ways others can’t even detect. Just a look indicates it’s time to leave the party and move to a more intimate setting. Mind reading is an illusion, but this is how it works.

17. You take your happiness into your own hands.

You’re not waiting for your partner to “make” you happy. Happiness in a relationship is a choice that you make. And if you’re not happy, you know you’re the only one to blame. No one else is responsible for your decision to be happy.

18. You treat your partner like your best friend.

You are supportive, reliable, and you look past your partner’s flaws. You forgive, because you know the relationship is worth maintaining.

19. You imagine life from your partner’s perspective.

Putting yourself in their shoes is the first path towards showing empathy for the person you love. You better understand your partner’s actions and feelings because you practice empathy, and because of this, you can better predict their future behavior. Empathy is a mind-reading superpower.

20. You don’t need to prove to others just how good your relationship is.

When you’re proud of your partner, it’s natural to want to brag and show off. I’m surprised that we don’t see more “my boyfriend is smart, hot, and successful” bumper stickers than we see “my kid is an honor student” stickers. But you don’t seek the approvals of “friends” on social media because you’re self-confident and couple-confident.

Don’t see many things on this list to apply to you? Start to think of this article as a road map — your GPS to a relationship that’s on point, or a daily reminder to bring a new relationship into your life, if it is that you seek.

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Ghosting is the ultimate passive-aggressive avoidance behavior. Here’s what to do when it happens to you.

Things have been going great: you’re texting daily, flirting over social media, maybe even Netflix and chilling every now and then.

At least, you were. Recently, the texts have slowed to infrequent, one word responses. Your DMs don’t seem to be going through. You caught up on Making a Murderer alone last weekend.

To the objective observer, it’s clear what is going on. He (or she) is just not that that into you and wishes you would take the hint. In other words, you’ve been ghosted.

But attraction turns even the most logical individual into an optimistic idiot. Maybe he’s just really, really busy. Perhaps she had a family emergency. You’ll hear back when everything gets straightened out -– but let’s send another text just in case the previous 15 somehow weren’t received.

While attempts to rationalize the situation after weeks of radio silence might be foolish, those feelings of hurt and betrayal are not. The act of ghosting is a growing phenomenon that can be confusing and painful for the person left wondering what happened.

But with growing reliance on digital means of communication, ghosting is becoming a popular strategy for ending a relationship while avoiding conflict. Here’s what to do if it happens to you.

1. Stop trying.

Sure, it’s possible there are exceptional circumstances preventing the person in question from getting back to you. And the more time that passes, the stronger your desire becomes to find out what’s wrong.

Just stop. If they really wanted to talk to you, they would find a way. A sudden, prolonged halt in communication is a strong sign they not only want to break things off, but don’t respect your feelings enough to tell you.

And real talk: they’ve probably moved on to someone else (who they will likely end up treating the exact same way).

In the long-run, you’ll come away with your dignity intact if you stop trying to make contact after one or two follow ups. They’re not worth your energy, so stop giving it to them.

And if it turns out they were trapped in an abandoned mineshaft for two weeks with no cell service, I’m sure you’ll get a call as soon as possible.

2. Understand it’s them, not you.

So You've Been Ghosted

“It is a form of avoidance,” said Lisa Bahar, a marriage and family therapist based in Newport Beach, CA. Bahar explained that ghosting is a behavior meant to communicate that the person doesn’t want any more contact for now – without actually having to communicate.

In other words, the act of ghosting is one of immaturity. A person who ghosts is overwhelmed by either a crippling fear of confrontation, or a shameful lack of empathy for others.

It’s important to understand that being ghosted is nothing personal; people who ghost simply lack those basic social skills that dictate we show consideration for others.

3. Focus on yourself.

So screw them. You are no less attractive, intelligent, or interesting because someone didn’t have the balls to speak to you directly and honestly. That’s their problem and it’s not your responsibility to fix it.

Bahar recommended processing your feelings with a therapist or trusted confidant, while giving the ghoster space.

“Avoid asking for explanations,” she said, and instead find healthy outlets for releasing your frustration and anger.

Then move on with your life. After all, what’s greater payback than not giving a shit?

Adult relationships are hard. They require candor, compromise, and the acceptance that sometimes it’s just not going to work out. But the hardest things in life also tend to be the most rewarding in the end.

Ghosting happens, but that doesn’t make it okay. Don’t give in to the temptation to go dark on someone just because you’re afraid to talk to them. Treating others with compassion — even if the actual passion is gone — is the easiest way to receive the same in return.

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Have you thought about what it means to live a purposeful life?

“Follow your bliss.”

“Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life.”

What does any of that mean?

Sure it would be nice to just hang out having fun and making money for doing whatever. The reality, though, is that most of us have to work for a living, and even if we love what we do, some days are just crappy.

As much as I enjoy writing, there are days I just don’t really “feel” it. But I do it anyway, because I like eating, and I think my son should wear clothing to school. Does the fact that some days aren’t bliss-filled and there are times I have to write shit I don’t care about mean I’m on the wrong path?

Of course not.

The real key is figuring out what my bliss happens to be and then incorporating that bliss in my life. That’s the journey I’m on right now. Rather than setting a bunch of quasi-meaningless goals for the new year, I’m making this a time of exploration for me. What do I want my purpose in life to be? How can I figure it out so I can follow my bliss?

Map it out: What does your bliss look like?

If you want to follow your bliss, the first step is to think about what it looks like. And be honest: would you really be happy lying on a beach somewhere doing nothing all the time? I know I wouldn’t be. Inspired by Harlan’s life map, I created my own.

Miranda Life Map

I named my map “Living with Passion and Purpose” because I decided that my bliss involves things that allow me to follow some of my passions while also living with a sense of purpose.

Many of us like to feel as though we can make a difference. Chances are, when you think about how to follow your bliss, part of that is working in a capacity that allows you to help people, whether that means volunteering or cultivating career opportunities that allow you to feel as though you are contributing to something worthwhile.

One of the reasons that phrases like “follow your bliss” get so much play is due to the fact that, for most of us, money isn’t the driver that makes life interesting.

Here is what Rosabeth Moss Kanter at Harvard discovered about what makes work worth doing:

In research for my book Evolve!, I identified three primary sources of motivation in high-innovation companies: mastery, membership, and meaning. Another M, money, turned out to be a distant fourth. Money acted as a scorecard, but it did not get people up-and-at ‘em for the daily work, nor did it help people go home every day with a feeling of fulfillment.

Follow Your Bliss -- Or At Least Figure Out What It Looks Like

Money is on my map, but mostly as a subject I write and podcast about — as well as the Thing that allows me to follow all my other interests. Chances are that money isn’t your main motivator, either, even if you don’t have same passions I do or hope to impact the world around you in the same way. (I prefer small-scale, local efforts.)

You can figure out what your own bliss looks like by going through the exercise of creating a life map as well. Sit down and think about the kinds of things you would be doing for work and in your leisure time if you were able to follow your bliss.

Add bits of bliss to your life.

Once you know what your bliss looks like, you can start adding it to your life. It doesn’t mean that you have to drop everything you’re doing right now to follow bliss. You can start looking for meaning in what you do, even if it is a crappy job.

Find other ways to add purpose to your life. Start a side gig. Volunteer. Take music lessons. Play with your kids. Netflix and chill. Join a book club. Spend the night in a hotel. Look for a way to make a small change that adds to your quality of life.

A few years ago, when I felt trapped in my life, I made time to take guitar lessons. For half an hour each week, I met with a teacher. I practiced for 15 to 20 minutes each day. Is that enough to become a good guitar player? Nope. But it’s enough to find some enjoyment and passion in the day, learn something new, and get to the point where I can accompany other people. It wasn’t much, but it added something to my life — a spark of joy.

Little by little, reduce the amount of time you spend on things that don’t bring you happiness and shift toward what adds purpose and passion to your life. This might take some time to accomplish since it might include some gradual career changes along the way. You don’t have to upend your life to follow your bliss. And you don’t have to stop what you’re doing just because you have a bad day.

Look for the little ways to enjoy life, and you’ll be surprised at how it all adds up until eventually you really do get to live the life you (mostly) want.

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There’s pressure to always be on, to Work It, at 100% all the time. Introverts have a disadvantage, so here’s how we cope.

Society in the United States is set up to give more advantages to extroverts than introverts. Whether in school or at work, those setting the culture make it clear that socialization and cooperation in groups is much preferrable to a collection of isolated individuals.

Introversion, antisocial behavior, shyness, and social anxiety

For introverts including myself, spending a large portion of the day navigating interpersonal and group interactions can be physically and emotionally draining. But an introverted personality type is not the same thing as being antisocial. Introverts can excel at being social and might love the company of others; they just may need time to themselves to think alone, introspect, and recharge.

Being antisocial makes it hard to succeed in a traditional sense, but having an introverted tendency does not need to be a curse. To be antisocial generally means to be able to socialize with others but to do so in a way that is unexpected or differs from others.

Shyness is an additional potential trait among introverts, distinct from introversion. Shyness makes social interactions uncomfortable, especially with people and situations that are unfamiliar.

Social anxiety disorder can affect introverts and extroverts. It’s an intense fear of interaction that leads to avoidance of situations where someone might come into contact with other people. It could be a fear of being judged by others.

If you experience uncontrollable stress when you might be the center of attention, when you feel you might be criticized, or when you have to meet a very important person, you may be experiencing social anxiety disorder.

An introvert, if neither antisocial, shy, nor socially anxious, can be outgoing, friendly, and fully aware of social cues. It’s not uncommon for these introverts to be the bosses, the business leaders, the engaging teachers, and the prolific actors. You wouldn’t know who is an introvert because only those close to them would be aware of whether they thrive from their social efforts or they require recuperation from those efforts.

Introversion alone doesn’t justify the stigma. Why do people think introverts have a lower chance of being successful?

It’s because many introverts have the other traits that do make success difficult.

When You're an Introvert But You Have to Work It

Most introvert advice sucks.

Unfortunately, most of the advice available for introverts contains no insight. That’s because it tends to simply suggest that introverts be more like extroverts. In theory, copying extroverted behavior should be enough for an introvert to gain advantages of extroverts.

The typical advice of “just force yourself to be more outgoing” should suffice for pure introverts who can socialize for a fair amount of time in ways that culture deems appropriate. But because many of us introverts also have other traits mixed in, those suggestions fail.

What’s worse, is so much advice I’ve read encourages introverts to feel bad for being who they are, going so far as to use guilt to try to convince them to take on the attributes of extroverted, successful, outwardly confident people. Keep in mind that you can change aspects of your personality without sacrificing your identity, but you should only adjust the things you want to change.

Knowing that introverts can be just as successful as extroverts should allow you to be quite comfortable with your approach to life. But shyness, antisocial traits, and social anxiety can all be improved without changing your core personality.

You probably already fake being extroverted.

This is just the first step. Think, what would an extrovert do? Maybe it’s my theatrical background, but I like to suggest approaching social situations by playing the role of the extrovert. And I think that’s what many introverts feel they are doing when they do find themselves needing to participate in interaction.

This “faking it” approach doesn’t change the fact that introverts will need recovery time, but it might change your mindset and allow you to be more comfortable putting effort into socialization.

We are expected to “work it” in front of our friends and coworkers. Taking an extroverted approach helps in those situations, even if it doesn’t feel right at first.

If introversion isn’t your biggest social problem, other suggestions might help more.

When You're an Introvert But You Have to Work It

Build connections even when you’re antisocial.

If you’re antisocial, you feel like you don’t fit in with the culture around you. You might see all the people who seem extroverted, and it all looks fake to you. You want to stay genuine and authentic, and you don’t feel the need to fit in.

But sometimes we just have to fit in. Navigating social expectations is part of being an adult. You don’t have to change who you are; you should just be aware of the world around you and how other people behave and interact within it.

One of the most helpful ideas is to seek out your partner in crime. Even in the most conforming environments, there will be someone who’s ready to accept and enjoy your approach to friendship, camaraderie, or teamwork. Find the one person you’re comfortable with, and build on that relationship.

Shyness is generally a lack of confidence.

I’ve found that I behave differently in different groups. If I know my place in a group, and especially if I feel that I am already well-respected, my confidence builds and I can be the center of attention without being uncomfortable. I can introduce myself to new friends and colleagues, and I have an energy that infects others. In a good way, I think.

But when I’m unsure of my place in a group or I’m new myself, my shyness comes out. I’ll stay quiet and reserved, and I’ll wait for someone else with more confidence to be my social guide.

Building confidence is key. If you know a situation is coming up in which you might be shy or lack confidence, consider this approach. These will work for both social and business interactions, as well as combinations like the dreaded “networking.”

Plan for it. Take the introvert approach and preview the event. Find out who will be there and have some ideas about who you might want to talk to and what you might want to talk about.

Have a goal you can measure. Decide to have a target for the number of people you’d like to have conversations with.

Replace any negative thoughts with positive thoughts. Have a mantra for the event. Give yourself a mini pep talk. It sounds corny, but it works. Convince yourself that you are confident and you will meet your goals.

Get help for social anxiety.

If you are so disabled by fear of social situations, you need to go beyond help from articles about introverts and see professional psychologists or other therapists. They chan provide you with one-on-one coping mechanisms as well as medication to help with this disorder.

You are probably overestimating the visibility of your anxiety. It feels strong to you, but others may not notice that you’re uncomfortable. So if that is in turn making your anxiety worse, you may be able to keep this in mind and do a better job coping with anxiety when you are forced into these stressful social situations.

At Adulting, we have an entire podcast episode about being calm, and that comes in handy with dealing with certain anxiety. One calming technique that has worked well for me is the 4-7-8 technique, which I explained in this video.

You can be an introvert and still be outgoing and confident. Some of the most successful people in the world are introverts, and they need their alone time to recharge. You can address shyness, social anxiety, and any antisocial traits while still being you.

You don’t have to sacrifice who you are to do a better job with dealing with people. Work it.

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If you follow just some of these suggestions from long-time and newbie adults, you’ll be better than most. Which is your favorite?

I asked some of my friends and colleagues for the most important things they’ve learned about being an adult. I certainly don’t have all the answers.

Many of them were excited to share their favorite ideas. Some of these suggestions come from newly-minted grown-ups, or some who are just starting to have the opportunity to find out what life is all about. Others have years of experience.

Pick out a few tips that speak to you. You’ll find something great. This could be the most influential article you read this year.

Stop trying to impress others or shove your opinions down other people’s throats. Instead, work at creating value. Jackie L. from Cheapsters.

Don’t take anything or anyone for granted. Tell and show the people you love how you feel about them because they could be taken from you at any moment. Forgive and let it go. Surround yourself with people who lift you up, not drag you down. Treat everyone with respect. Elaine M.

Make your satisfaction and happiness your first priority. Learn to say no. Christian V.

Take the long view when making big decisions. These kinds of decisions can be painful at times, but that is, sadly, part of being an adult. Holly J. from Club Thrifty.

Know yourself: your strengths and weaknesses, your morals and values, what you hope to achieve and what you want out of life. Deanna H.

Avoid avoidance. Not looking at your bank account doesn’t make the balance bigger. Not paying off your credit card doesn’t make the interest stop accruing. Not discussing difficult things with your significant other doesn’t make the issues disappear. Learn to face things head on, no matter how unpleasant. Rebecca C.

Found your new mantra yet? There’s more!

Start Adulting With These Awesome Instructions: Don't Stop Dreaming

Don’t stop dreaming. Many people around you will tell you to “grow up.” Adulting doesn’t mean one should abandon those big audacious adolescent goals. As an adult you now have more control in making your dream happen. Jason V. from Phroogal.

Do good, don’t suck. Brittany H.

Read The Tao of Pooh and The Te of Piglet. These books take the stories of Winnie the Pooh and show Pooh to be a master zen philosopher. When you begin to study this philosophy you are taking steps to becoming a more centered, focused adult. Scott B.

See things as others see them. Realize that not everybody who you feel has wronged you did so maliciously, and see that people are generally doing the best they can, just like you. Liz B.

Focus on what you can contribute (to a job, to your relationship, to your community, etc.). Give more than you take. Lindsay J.

Accept personal responsibility. When you recognize how much of a role your own decisions and reactions play in your life, it’s hugely empowering, but not easy. Accept your flaws. But recognizing both the good and the bad within yourself and understanding how much of a part you play in influencing how those strengths and weaknesses manifest in your life is the first step in creating a world which revolves around the former. Stefanie O.

Never forget how to play and blow off steam. Aaron S.

Love the adultier adults who helped you get older. With adulthood comes loss, but also the need for guidance, encouragement, and love remains. Love the ones who got you here and never be afraid to ask them for help. Magdalen S.

Be comfortable with winging it. There isn’t necessarily a single correct way to do something. Figure out what works best for you, and give other people a break. Barb D.

Show up on time. Save just a little bit of money each month. Doing these two simple things can cover a lot of sins in other areas. Julie R. from Working to Live Differently.

From money to family to your job to your overall life philosophy, these tips really make a difference.

Start Adulting With These Awesome Instructions: Be Honest With Yourself

Be honest with yourself. Self-deception can be hard to notice and it takes work to root it out. Honesty’s twin need is gentleness. It is easier to be more real with yourself when you are gentle. Alan S. from Real Money.

Pay attention. Being an ostrich isn’t going to help you now or in the future. If you’ve made mistakes, don’t beat yourself up. Acknowledge them, learn from them, and don’t repeat them. Also, read as much as you can. Jana L. from Jana Says.

Realize things are not black and white. True understanding often involves much more complexity than a 21 year old is ready to contemplate. Dig deep and have empathy and realize that sometimes we contradict even ourselves in the same breath. Gina B.

Wean yourself off of the comforts of childhood before jumping right into adult mode. Paul Z.

Remember that the grass is greener where you water it, and comparing yourself to others isn’t an effective measurement as an adult. Melissa Van F.

Learn something from everyone, no matter how much education they have, how old they are, or where they come from. Clayton F.

The world owes you nothing. Just because people fawned over you in high school or college doesn’t mean it’s going to continue in the real world. It takes a lot of hard work to make your mark on the world. Jessica G. from Every Single Dollar.

Change from self-centeredness and growth to selflessness and helping others grow. Make the world around you better through the positive energy you contribute through empathy and caring. Virginia M.

Communicate honestly with your loved ones. Tell the truth about who you are, and what you’re feeling, and listen to them do the same without judgement or fear. Make the world a better place by making your home a better place with clear, honest, loving communication. Casey F.

Just sign up for the 401(k), all right? Worry about getting your money out later. Do your job the best you can, learn about what’s happening around you, and make someone else’s job a little easier. Doug N. from The Military Guide.

Find an idea that makes a difference to you, and write it down. Put the message on your fridge or door or mirror so you see it each day.

Start Adulting With These Awesome Instructions: Save At Least 10% of Your Income

Save at least 10% of your income for retirement, starting now, and don’t spend it before then. Also, don’t make excuses. Make changes instead. Empower yourself by accepting responsibility for your current and future situation. Jackie B. from The Debt Myth.

Do what you love, not what is expected of you. Melissa T.

Be patient. It could take 20 years or more to get the life you want. Also, Rediscover the art of discovery. Don’t lose sight of that childlike sense of exploration. Take spontaneous trips, get excited about your birthday, and commit continuously learn. Whitney H.

Get on a budget and stick to it. Also, do the hard thing. Don’t follow the path of least resistance. Jacob W. from iHeartBudgets.

Prepare for the future financially as much as you are living today. Figure out your long-term dreams and create a plan. You will have to do things that are less than desirable to reach the huge milestones. Don’t let those undesirable and painful periods last any longer than they need to be. Elizabeth C. from The Reluctant Landlord.

Learn to be still. You’ll be surprised how good the quiet feels after constant clamor in the outside world. Also, track your expenses and then interrogate them. Was that pizza and beer (plus taxes and tip) with friends really worth two hours’ work at your entry-level position? Donna F. from Surviving and Thriving.

Say no to things that aren’t good for you. Budget, eat healthy, go to bed at a decent time. Take criticism. Work at a job you don’t like because it pays your bills. Take care of yourself, all by yourself. Mindy J. from Bigger Pockets.

Save money, because nobody else will do it for you. Be responsible for yourself. Show up on time, listen, follow directions. Sounds simple, but not doing them will get you fired, will cause you to waste money, will get you in trouble with the government/organization, etc. Robert F. from The College Investor.

Travel far and wide. Nothing makes you appreciate what you have more than interacting with people who don’t. Travel also allows you to find things that you’re passionate about, and really think about ways to make your hustles works. Fahima A.

Take personal responsibility and realize the world isn’t out to get you. You have a part in everything that happens. Also, get life insurance. Glen C. from Free From Broke.

Go forth and adult. You might just conquer the world. Or you might find inner happiness.

Which was your favorite tip? Want to add your own? Comment below.

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