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3 Things Every TwentySomething Has to UNlearn

Real talk: Society teaches us a lot of things that are toxic to the mind, body, and soul. And it takes our conscious effort to unlearn those unhealthy mindsets and ways of life.

Here are 3 things society teaches us that we need to unlearn.

1. “Plan, plan, plan ahead!”

Society teaches us not to be efficient with our time but to be impatient with ourselves. When something doesn’t go according to our plans (or according to the society’s timetable), we become agitated. We feel as though time is literally chasing us down a whirlwind.

“I graduated from college two months ago but I’m still looking for a job.”

“I’m turning 30 in 30 days and I’m still single!”

“I’ve been working here for two years but I’m still not promoted.”

These things kill us inside.

And this constant worrying– of what might (or might not) happen in the future– makes us forget to live in the present. We become indifferent and cold to our present selves. We’re too focused on what’s NOT happening that we forget to be thankful for what IS happening. And this vicious cycle of complaining soon becomes a lifestyle.

What we need to do: 

Enjoy the now, embrace the uncertain, and expect the best.

Even if the present moment seems absolutely horrendous (and you just can’t wait to get out of it), know that it is still a precious and passing time that will never come again. So instead of trying to get out of the situation, see what you can get out of it– there are probably lessons to be learned and valuable takeaways that are worth more than gold.

2. Work, work, work your way up (to prove yourself)!”

Society teaches us to be prideful, rather than confident, about our talents. When we are told that we are what we achieve, life becomes a striving game. Suddenly it’s all about competing and comparing. Rather than appreciating the different talents, we synchronously (and superficially) strive for “success,” which in most people’s minds equates to “status.” And when we do get ahead of others, we become oh-so self-absorbed and self-important.

What we need to do: 

Relax, rest assured, and remind yourself that you are unique, but not unique above others.

Give yourself a break! Stop striving so much. Success is never an end result, nor is it about outdoing one another. It is about fully utilizing your talents to make a difference. Be confident and use your talents to progress yourself but don’t let confidence (good) turn into pride (bad). There is a thin line between confidence and conceit (and  people may not be able to tell) but YOU will definitely feel the difference– confidence feels good, while pride, ironically, causes anxiety because it feeds on your own insecurities.

3. “Fill, fill, fill that resume and show, show, show (only the good stuff)!”

Society tricks us into believing that treasure is what is displayed on the outside rather than what is kept on the inside.

Have you noticed how our resume culture normalizes showing off? It’s become a huge show and tell, where we strive to prove our worth and put a value to ourselves by externally displaying our achievements. We become obsessed with quantifying our experiences and putting a number to everything.

Even worse, social media fosters the culture of showing off. While the use of social media to share and celebrate one’s achievements or the “highlights” of one’s life isn’t bad, when abused or misused, it becomes very dangerous. When we find ourselves constantly polishing the outside while hiding our imperfections, worrying about what others will think of us, and seeking validation in our number of “likes,” it’s a clear sign that there is some unlearning to do.

What we need to do:

Chill, chill, chill with the externalizing and fill, fill, fill the void inside.

More important than your “skills” or “experiences” is your character. Are you someone who is likeable? Are you able to engage and connect with people who know absolutely nothing about you? How many people can you impress just by being you and not the best version of yourself?

After all, you’re not going to walk around wearing your resume or your social media accounts around your neck, are you?

So work on building your character rather than your professional and/or online persona.

Because what’s inside– that’s the real treasure.

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Yoora is the Creative Director at The University Network.