Yeah, experience is the best teacher no doubt, but the truth is that learning via experience has a lot of disadvantages. You can learn as much as possible through your life’s experience, but it would be better to learn via evaluated experience by studying those who have gone ahead of you and learn from their successes and failures.
After observing the life of an average Nigerian, you’ll discover that majority of them are likely going to, or are already making the mistakes highlighted in this post and they may just have to live with the consequences when they reach age 30.
These mistakes may seem like nothing but the consequences are great. Some of them include:
1. Thinking you are too young to achieve great things: Most Nigerians who are in their 20s are still pursuing their tertiary education, some will not even graduate until they reach their late 20s. So, in your 20s while still in school, there is this tendency to think you are too young to pursue your dream. You will often feel you don’t have experience and that people won’t take your seriously. This mindset will make you defer some of the things that would have spd up your success in life to a time you feel you will be competent to live your dream. The truth is that thinking you are too young to live your dream in your 20s is nothing but a limiting belief. Once you reach age 18, you are not too young to pursue any dream except where a higher age is required. People who made it big in their 30s started in their 20s. And if you are just waking up at 30, then you will be disappointed in yourself. You will regret wasting those precious years of your 20s when you reach age 30. Invest in yourself in your 20s and develop yourself to become something you’ll appreciate later on.
2. Focusing your life only on academics: The honest truth is that in Nigeria, formal education is overrated. The reason for this is because we have not been able to differentiate between education and academics.
The object of education is to help you understand your environment, and learn how to adapt to it without constituting nuisance to others. Education also empowers you for success in every area of your life. Academics, on the other hand focuses on certificates or degrees. A person may have a degree but yet he’s not educated. However academics can help to enhance one’s education.
The average Nigerian believe so much in the power of certificate and all his hope is bent on securing a good job after graduation through this certificate. In order to achieve this end, he tends to put in all the possible efforts needed to get good grades. However, it is important to note that this formular of getting good grades to ensure a good job is no more valid in today’s world as we have graduates with first class who are not employed. In a situation where all your efforts was put into getting good grades without having a plan B for a situation where your certificate does not give you your dream job will only land you in regret, depression and frustration, which is the lot of so many Nigerian graduates today. To avoid this mistake, as you pursue your academic degrees, also find time to acquire some or at least one vocational skill. There are many of them out there that can fetch you real money the moment you become an expert. If you have graduated from the tertiary institution and you don’t have any vocational skill yet, it is not too late to acquire one.
Remember, true education prepares you to survive without your certificate!
3. Not working to earn an income: There is this tendency for you to rely solely on your parents for every dime you spend. All you are exposed to is how to spend money. This will put you in a position where you don’t know how difficult it is to make money. All you will have in mind is, as soon as you graduate, you will hit your dream job and you will be able to do what your parents or guardians are doing. This kind of thinking is not always true. By the time you graduate and your dream job doesn’t show up, you will wish you understood earlier how difficult it is to make money. Then this period will be the first time in your life when you will have a genuine appreciation for all the money your parents spent on you. If you are currently relying on your parents for your up-keep and still in your 20s, then I say to you that you have not started living. Life should begin the moment you assume (total) responsibility for your actions and for every dime you spend. You can’t afford to just be sitting at home eating, watching television, and hanging out with friends. Start doing something that can fetch you money. It may be a paid employment or personal business. This will expose you to how difficult it is to accumulate money. The moment you know this by experience, you will begin to appreciate money and become wiser in the way you use it.
4. Thinking there is still time: Thinking you still have all the time in the world is one of the illusions of the 20s. You tend to live your life carelessly and spend your time on frivolities. However by the time you hit 29, and moving towards your 30th birthday, you will begin to realize that you are no more a baby. You will realize you have been sleeping all these years because your achievement does not measure up with your age. It would then dawn on you for the first time that you no longer have time on your side.
At this period you will wish you have done so many things in your 20s which you felt you were too young to accomplish. Don’t let that be the case for you!
5. Not equipping yourself with skills to survive in the real world: If you are not the disciplined type, you will likely spend your 20s engaging in frivolous activities, which will prevent you from having a grasp of basic skills needed to survive in the real world. Some of them include, ability to save money for a project, empathy, understanding, ability to delay gratification, and so on.
Also, young Nigerians who are academics oriented may end up spending their 20s pursuing only degree without any practical vocational skill that can guarantee them job after graduation. When the dream job doesn’t show up, these youths tend to end up being unemployed, underemployed or doing jobs they hate out of no choice. To avoid this mistake, as you pursue your academic degrees, also find time to acquire some or at least one vocational skill. There are many of them out there that can fetch you real money the moment you become an expert.
If you have graduated from the tertiary institution and you don’t have any vocational skill yet, it is not too late to acquire one. If you look around you, you will notice that most of the people who are making real money are not really those who are working with their certificates, but those who have answers to the problems of people around them. Aside your certificate, what problem can you solve for people and get paid for? If you don’t have an answer, it is time you identify major problems of the people around you, and proceed to acquire vocational skill that can empower you to provide answer to such problems. The more problems you can solve, the more your capacity to make money.
6. Not learning from people’s mistakes: A lot of Nigerian youths are just stuck in this small mindset of only taking corrections when they have experienced something bad. The truth is, if you wait to do things right after something wrong has happened to you, then you’ll clock 80 and still not be doing things right. The appropriate thing to do is to take correction once you see someone lamenting over an experience he had. Also listen to people when they tell you that some things are not right. Don’t wait till you experience it before you change your mind about it.
7. Not reading enough books: It has been said that if you want to hide something from an African, hide it inside a book. This shows just how poor our reading culture is as Africans. One of the major problems the average Nigerian will make in his 20s is not reading enough books. We are all born into this world without a manual, all that we know and that we will know are all products of learning. The 20s is a time of preparation for the future ahead and reading good books will definitely assist you in your preparation. Reading good books will expose you to the life time investigation of those who have gone ahead of you. Learning from their experience is the best way to learn. Reading good books will enable you to begin from where previous generation left off. It is important to note that every form of success has its own governing principles. Books will expose you to the principles that govern the kind of success you desire. Every youths in his 20s is expected to have a full grasp of the principles that govern money, relationship and success generally. This can only be achieved by reading books that teach the principles governing them. There are millions of them out there so you just have to look for those that contains timeless truth of how things work in this life and reading and acting on the content will help save you from so many mistakes you would have made in life if you have not read them. For a start, try 7 strategies for wealth and Happiness by Jim Rohn.
So, these are just a few mistakes Nigerian youths make in their 20s which would always come back to bite them later on. If you are still in your 20s, try to see how you can avoid making these mistakes. If you are past the age, stll look out to do something productive for yourself while you still can.