What's The Biggest Lesson You've Learned In Your Twenties? : Under30CEO What's The Biggest Lesson You've Learned In Your Twenties? : Under30CEO
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What’s The Biggest Lesson You’ve Learned In Your Twenties?

| May 26, 2014 | 11 Comments

Well, I turn 26 on Sunday.

I’m excited. I’m really, truly, excited.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about where I am, how far I’ve come, and where I still want to go.

I’ve also been thinking about the lessons I’ve learned along the way — and I wanted to share with you what I consider to be the biggest insight of my 20′s.

You ready?

No more “Zero Days”.

A “Zero Day” is a day where you do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING towards your goal.

It could be for a bunch of reasons. Some of them might be excuses that you TELL yourself are “legitimate”:

I had to work late.

I haven’t decided on _____ or _____ yet.

I’m really tired today. I’ll start tomorrow.

Sometimes the self-sabotage is more blatantly egregious — like spending all day binging on Netflix, or laying in bed all weekend “re-charging” from work.

The problem is, a combination of “legitimate” and bogus reasons can add up to weeks at a time of us not working on our craft, or starting our business, or learning that new language.

Weeks at a time that gradually make us less and less motivated — and when we try to start the pursuit again, we’re discouraged because we haven’t progressed.

Stop that. It ends today.

Over the last 5 years especially, the biggest thing I’ve learned is that just doing SOMETHING…ANYTHING….is the real key to success.

Do it half-ass if you have to when you’re getting started.

Then, do it in tiny bits every single day. And keep track of it!

Want to start a blog? You don’t need to write a new post every day.

Start with a sentence every single day.

Want to learn a new language? Don’t try to force-feed yourself a vocabulary book for 4 hours one day to make up for not studying as some weird quasi-masochistic punishment.

Learn two new words a day.

Shit, learn one. And say it out loud to someone.




The beauty about little steps is that you typically can’t just take one step. It goes against your own psychology. You’ll end up doing MORE by accident.


Ever read the book “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie”?

God, such a good book. Read it to your future kids. Err…present kids, some of ya’s!

The plot is simple: If you give a mouse a cookie, as soon as he gets just ONE taste, he’s going to want everything to go with it.

(BTW: The results are the same if you give a moose a muffin, or give a pig a pancake.)

And the same is true for YOU.

If you take little “bites” at your goal, it will be IMPOSSIBLE for you to stop.

You can’t JUST play guitar for 5 minutes.

You can’t JUST learn one vocabulary word.

Writing JUST one sentence feels ridiculous.

(Trust me, I know. This post is the result of my attempt to write just ONE.)

When you start yourself down the path, even with a TINY action, you will build momentum.

But you have to do something every…single…day.

No more “Zero Days”.

That’s my biggest takeaway at 26.

What’s The Biggest Lesson You’ve Learned In Your 20′s?

I want to know!

What has surprised you about getting older?

What are you still hoping to learn?

Leave a comment and tell me your best “a ha” moment.

I’ll read and respond to all!


PS - this is such a great post on the idea of “No More Zero Days”


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About the Author: Daniel DiPiazza

Daniel DiPiazza teaches young people how to stop doing shit that they hate and break free of 9 to 5 boredom by starting their own businesses at his blog Rich20Something.com.

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Category: Entrepreneurship

  • nickolle_ta

    I am happy at the age of 24 years for my studies, career, desire to influence the society they live well, the desire to create a business on what I want to change something for the better of me giving to others during the time the family and everything that makes me happy to wake me up in the morning with a smile.

  • J

    Live like you already have the things you want, you will make it happen by finding a way to keep them and grow to more!

  • http://www.it-sales-leads.com/ Barbara Mckinney

    Well, you don’t really have to push yourself to work every single day, 24/7. Our body needs to take a rest in order to recharge but this doesn’t mean you stop doing what you need to do to achieve your goals. Do things one step at a time and easy but surely and you will amazed by how far you’ve become.

  • Egide Ngoga

    Most of the time people do not want but they are obliged!!
    When not yet self reliant,…still dependent, it often happen to work the way you mention!

  • Egide Ngoga

    But generally you are right!

  • http://www.radiumcrm.com/ Ryan @ RadiumCRM

    No more “Zero days” is actually really good. I’ve had Netflix binges, vacations, etc but I haven’t had a day with zero responsibilities since I was 19. There’s always work waiting for me when I get back. No more summer breaks.

  • http://www.it-sales-leads.com/ Barbara Mckinney

    Thanks Egide :)

  • Ahmet

    Motivated, Thank you :)

  • http://www.callboxinc.com/ Belinda Summers

    It’s one step at a time. In my 20s, I always think of progress that a day without learning anything really bothers me. Then I get drowned with so much adrenaline rush in my head. I would woke up tired for a few days. I realized that we shouldn’t push too much of ourselves else we’ll get drain and lose all the creativity juices. That’s more to lose. :)

  • Annie

    Don’t be afraid to try out lots of career paths. If I hadn’t switched jobs 5 times, I wouldn’t have the freelance lifestyle that I love today at age 30!

  • Brittany

    I’m turning 26 this year, too, and one thing I’ve gotten really good at the last couple of years is DGAFing (not giving a f***). It feels really good to know you don’t have to please everyone. If you are 100% yourself the right kinds of people are attracted to you and your product/business. You don’t have to be everything to everyone. You build a very strong following when you are true to yourself and are doing what you love. You can only fake it for so long if you are trying to come off a certain way. Very freeing and makes me love what I am doing even more!