Sue Lynham had been around a time or two, and as a former divorce lawyer for over 30 years, she shares life lessons that are a bit hard to pass up.
Appearing on Quora, she gives 20 lessons on life, experiences, and business that we all could apply sometime in our lives.
In Lynham's own words:
"I am 60…therefore, I think I have been around the block once or twice and can provide some feedback on this question [What are some of the lessons one should definitely learn at their 20s?] (note: many of these are things I never listened to in my 20s that I now regret)…I was a divorce lawyer for over 30 years, so some of this advice, may be more relevant for those with office jobs than it is for those in the trades, sales, post-graduate schooling…..I know that some of my examples will be shaped by my own experiences while others apply to everyone in their 20s."
1. Family is everything. Support yours in any way you can throughout your life and they will be there for you when the need arises.
2. Educate yourself as much as you can (and do throughout your life). This means schooling, but also learn from those around you (friends, family, co-workers, anyone) as everyone has something they can teach you.
3. You only have one reputation so don’t sully it, in any way, as people have long memories, especially for nasty gossip. Be honest, fair and ethical in everything you do. Don’t lie as it is far easier to remember the truth, even if it isn’t pretty. Never, ever take advantage of someone else, even if the opportunity of getting caught doesn’t exist. Stuff like that always bubbles to the surface.
4. Use moderation in everything in your life-food, booze, work, play, mood modifiers, spending, exercise, saving, adding to the stuff you own, collecting, hobbies, just plain everything.
5. Learn to love your own company as chances are, you will spend a lot of time by yourself throughout your life and you should always carve out time alone from your busy schedule, as it is a re-energiser; a way to beat stress; an opportunity to pause and reflect on your life as it stands; an opportunity to think about your future goals, hopes, actions and how you will make them happen and most importantly, these days, a chance to unplug from the rest of the often too fast-paced world.
6. When you talk to other people, always listen closely…this is not a time to be thinking about what you plan to say next but an opportunity to learn something about what the people around you think which may lead you to have different positions on issues of the day, your life path, what sort of food you might want to eat or you might only find out what little Janie is doing in dance class.
7. Remember that, no matter what your education and experience, you are at the bottom of the totem pole in any job you take. Do not expect to be paid big money as you simply are not yet worth more than the lowest salary or wage for the position you are in.
8. Eliminate arrogance from your personality completely. At this point in your life, you have no basis for arrogance as you haven’t mastered much (unless you are a professional athlete). Don’t use arrogance to mask your lack of knowledge or to make yourself appear better than anyone else.
No one finds this trait attractive, ever.
Humility is much under-rated and a certain amount, throughout your life, is a trait of which people think highly ….this is not to say that you should never show that you are self-confident, have a good degree of self-esteem or that you aren’t proud of your personal achievements.
9. Manners are important!!! Learn what utensils should be used when eating a meal and where you will find them in your place setting. When you have been invited for dinner or a weekend at someone’s summer home (or any similar invite), remember to not only bring a host/hostess gift … but also to thank the hostess again the next day through a phone call, email, text message or even (god forbid) a handwritten note sent by snail mail.
10. Start saving from the day you get your first paycheck]. Set up with your bank a transfer of 10% of every paycheck] into a savings account. Your first saving goal should be to have a reserve equal to 6 months of your net income as you never know when you might lose your job or be unable to work.
Set up an RRSP, 401(k) or whatever is the equivalent of these programs as soon as you have met your first savings goal.
11. Never pay the full price for anything. Shop sales, yard sales, thrift shops. Use Kijiji or Craigslist to find used furniture, cars, appliances etc. Shop online when discounts are available. Get a discount for cash, even if it is only 5%. Bargain whenever you can and bargain hard.
12. “Buy land because they don’t make it anymore.” This was my late uncle’s mantra and it made him a millionaire even though he was a one income household and his income was modest.
13. Find a good accountant, if you are self-employed, rent out property or have investments outside a retirement savings account as he will know how to minimize the personal tax you have to pay.
14. Find a job you love so going to work is not a horror show. Be creative in using the skills you have to find that perfect job. Working for yourself is very satisfying and you never have to have idiots above you telling you what to do. I
15. Set goals. Look forward. Where do you want to be in 5, 10, 15, 20 years? Setting goals puts discipline in your life and there is nothing more satisfying than meeting your goals ahead of time.
16. Choose your life partner wisely. You should have interests, friends, financial outlook and values in common but each of you should have some interests of your own and some friends of your own.
17. Find an exercise routine you like and stick with it, even if it is just walking the dog twice a day
18. Eat well and take care of your health. Make sure that you see the dentist often, at least once a year, but twice is better. Get enough sleep every night.
19. Doing new things and making memories, travelling to different countries and not staying in a resort, RVing across the country, camping in wild places, new and exciting experiences will always outweigh the value in your life of stuff like furniture, cars, trucks. Spend your spare money on doing, not acquiring. Don’t forget to take pictures!
20. Never lend money to anyone, under any circumstances. Nothing good comes out of these transactions. The money may be lost, the relationship you had with the borrower will be gone.