We all know the rate at which we mature and learn varies from individual to individual. And we can certainly agree that men and women mature a varying rates. But once you get to a certain age, I believe that we should all know certain things about ourselves. Things that set us up and prepare us so that we're able to deal with adult decisions and consequences.
I know most of us believe that our 20s were for "learning" things in preparation of being an adult, and some of us may agree that we did learn some things, but I challenge you to consider how much time you really spend learning in our 20s? Because most of us spent our time responding or considering.
When I say responding I mean simply acting without thinking. And when I say considering, I mean thinking before acting. Neither of these suggest that we learned anything, but only how we chose to make a decision. Either we acted without thought or thought before acting.
However, learning suggests that after either, considering or responding, we took a lesson from our experience and applied it as a baseline for future choices. And while this is how decision making should be, that is not always what happens when in our 20s.
For some reason while in our 20s we felt almost immune to consequences, so much so that we would act as if nothing was ever that bad. So when the worst happened, we called it "life", without actually considering that we should have learned something from that experience.
Now, really consider if you spent most of your time "responding" versus "considering" in your 20s? And also consider what you actually learned in your 20s...
Many us (well just about all of us) spent the bulk of our time responding. Therefore, the 20s were a time of trial and error. And that's what we did, we responded to situations without consideration to the outcomes, and then we continued to respond in new ways before actually learning from those failed outcomes and poor decisions.
But our late 20s and early 30s, should have been, and should be (for those not yet 30) a time for rational thinking. Where we consider all outcomes, and use those experiences in our early 20s as the baseline for making decisions. We should know the desires of our heart. We should recognize and accept our purpose. And we should be strategically planning our decisions to align with the path of our purpose and desires.
So, here are 5 things men and women should know about themselves at 30!
1. YOUR PURPOSE!
In your 20s most of you asked yourselves several times "what's my purpose for being". And when you began to think through scenarios, most of you turned to faith for the answers and others to their hearts. But no matter where you looked for the answer, knowing your purpose helped you understand what you were put on this earth to do. It outlines the reason we exist. And knowing your purpose helps identify what motivates you and what you live for every day.
I'm sure we can all agree that when you're not certain of your purpose, you don't understand the value of your life. So when you get to your 30s, you should be able to easily articulate your purpose. You should be making decisions and choices that take you closer to fulfilling that purpose. And every goal you set, should take you that much closer to walking in your purpose.
EXAMPLE: My purpose is to spread love and encourage conscious thought.
2. YOUR PASSION
Passion and Purpose go hand in hand. And fundamentally, your passion should be to fulfill your purpose. And not to sound harsh or anything, but you definitely should know what you're passionate about by the age of 30.
How you come to know your passion?
When I was in college I knew that I had a knack for writing and arts. I loved computers as well, but while in college I learned very quickly that I was way to social to be a computer programmer, so I changed my major to dance. While pursuing dance, there were a number of factors that kept me from following a dream of being a ballerina, but one was that I was forced to admit that I did not have the performance quality required to captivate an audience. Did that mean that I didn't have the technical skills? ABSOLUTELY NOT. But that meant was that I didn't have the heart. And I recognized that while I loved dance, I wasn't capable of being GREAT at it, and that I obviously wasn't as passionate as I needed to be about it, because I gave it up so quickly...
When you know your passion you're able to articulate what motivates you and what you live for. Knowing what drives you is in direct relationship with purpose because it answers not only your reason for being, but why you do it.
Falling out of love with being a ballerina didn't mean I didn't love dance, I just realized I didn't love it enough.
So for those of you struggling to determine your passion, know this, understanding your passion is about understanding you. Everyone has something they love and enjoy doing. It's not rocket science, it's a matter of knowing yourself well enough to be able to identify what you're passionate about, and accepting it. Then all you have to do is make sure to walk a path and make decisions that align passion with your purpose.
EXAMPLE: My passion is writing, art and people.
3. YOUR CAPABILITIES!
It's important that you know what you're capable of. There are too many people in this world who do not know, acknowledge or recognize the extent of their capabilities. But in order to truly know what you're capable of, you have to push yourself.
As I mentioned before, me giving up on dance after graduation was me accepting that I was not capable of being the performer I needed to be in order to excel. I was ok with that, because it forced me to focus more on writing.
I remember when I decided to write a book, before that point I had only written poetry, journal entries, articles, papers and blog posts. I didn't know if I could do it, only that I wanted to do it. But when I did it, I recognized that I was capable of doing much more (with regard to writing). So during that time, I not only realized I could write books as well, but that I really enjoyed it. I was way more passionate about it than I knew (or had realized). After that I began to explore the extent of my capabilities. And because writing is obviously my passion, I didn't limit myself to just writing one way.
4. YOUR TRIGGERS!
Number four is very important because triggers are the very things that make you or break you. But by the age of 30 you should be able to identify all things that trigger extreme anger/rage, depression, anxiety, etc. Triggers are all things that you need to know to avoid or how to address, in order to be your best self!
And again understanding your triggers is about understanding you.
I will admit that I had a very bad anger problem. But in order for me to address it, I had to recognize the things that triggered it, in order to control it.
So, I spent some time in my 20s soul searching for those reasons. And when I identified them, I made sure to keep myself (or actively try to keep myself) from situations and people that trigged me to lash out and respond negatively.
And in the words of the late and great Maya Angelo, "I did then what I knew how to do. Now that I know better, I do better."
EXAMPLE: Some of my other triggers are not keeping your work and complacency.
5. YOUR BEST INTEREST!
Sad to say but most of us don't know or can't recognize what's in our best interest. I know this to be true because I see people everyday who surround themselves with people who don't have any regard for their best interest.
And in the absence of surrounding ourselves with people who have no regard for our best interest, we tend to make decisions without consideration to our own best interest.
But being able to recognize your best interest can be a bit of a challenge if you do not know your worth. Knowing your worth suggests that you understand what you do and do not deserve, which makes identifying your best interest that much easier.
So number five is two fold, so challenge yourself to identify the following:
a. What you're worth?
b. What you're capable of?
If you do not know your capabilities, you could believe that things that are NOT for you, are in your best interest.
It's important that you take time to ask yourself the above questions and get a clear understanding, so that you can learn to identify with things and choices that are the best (at the time) for you!
Notice that none of the aforementioned suggested that we should have a plan. And that is because I do not believe that the plan or route is up to us. God is the designer of the plan, he orders our steps when our desires and purpose align. Our only job is to make sure that we have identified our passion and purpose, and make decisions with consideration to those things. Planing would mean that you are trying to make opportunities for yourself. But when an opportunity is for you, it will always present itself to you.
So I challenge you to think less about what you think you want to do, and more about how you are going to use your talents to be the best in situations God has chosen for you!