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15 Things You Should Have Done Before You Turn 27

By the time you are 27, there is more pressure on you to ‘grow up’; pressure from the society and unconsciously pressure from yourself. I mean, you’ll be just 3 years away from three decades on God’s green earth. That’s a big deal.

You have the autonomy to choose how you want to live your life, but there are things you should have done at this age. And this is in your best interest. Here are 15 things you should have done before you turn 27. If you are new to this site, you are welcome. Consider subscribing to After School Africa to continue exploring opportunities.

1. Learn to listen to your intuition

You know that still voice that tells you to take that low paying job instead of the more sensible high paying one; that voice that tells you to not trust that acquaintance with a new investment opportunity. That’s your intuition speaking. Sometimes it speaks clearly, other times it’s not as distinct. Most successful people attribute their success to their ability to listen and follow their instinct even when it goes contrary to conventional wisdom. As you get older in a world that is constantly trying to tell you who you should be, your life will become simpler if you learn to listen to your inner voice.

2. Work for the experience not the money

Whether you plan to own a business someday or to build a professional career, you need the experience to get ahead. And sometimes the jobs that offer the best experience are not the best paying. If you can’t find a paid job, get an internship even if you have to work for free. Do this primarily for the experience. It may not seem like a great decision at the time, but you will look back someday and be glad you jumped on that opportunity.

3. Refine your dress sense

It is probably trendy to wear ripped jeans and sag your pants as a teenager. But as you get older, you should take how you look more seriously. Remember the common saying, “You are addressed by how you dress”. Once people identify you as an adult, you become responsible for all your actions. People expect you to know what is right, and acting otherwise will be considered irresponsible. This is why people are often judged by their first impression. You shouldn’t be walking up to your potential employer or investor dressed irresponsibly. Refine your dress sense to represent the person you are becoming.

4. Learn a difficult skill

My 35-year-old friend complained about how much work he had to put in to stay ahead in his field. He changed his career from a regular engineer to a career in information and communication technology. Now he had to put in twice as much effort and time as his much younger colleagues to keep up. You see, as you get older and start adding more responsibilities to your life, your level of focus begins to diminish. While you can still change careers and learn new skills, you’ll require more will power to push through.

That is why it is important that you have developed at least intermediate skill in a field that requires significant time commitment and patience to master. The reason is that easy skills like creating a blog, posting on social media or riding a bike has a low entry barrier. Because it’s easy to learn, you’ll have a lot of people to compete with. But more difficult skills like programming, copywriting, music instruments, and foreign language scare most people away. Such skills can serve you for a lifetime.

5. Go on Social Media-Fast at least for a week

Addictions can become detrimental to mental health. People with addiction have an intense focus on using a certain substance, such as alcohol, drugs or in recent times, social media, to the point that it takes over their life.

If you find yourself getting addicted to social media, you want to make the effort to disallow social media from taking over your life. From time to time, try staying away for at least a week. This will take self-discipline but you will definitely appreciate yourself for pulling it through. You may even realize it’s not as important as you imagined. Other than that, it’ll go to show that you are in control of your life.

6. Live in a different city, at least once

You should move out and stay in a different city, either for education, career purpose or just take a break. You don’t have to spend two decades and a half of your life in one corner of the world. Whether it’s for a few months or years, with a roommate or alone, you should make the effort to move and live away from family. When you have to worry about breakfast to dinner, paying bills, and keeping your room in others, you learn vital survival skills. Rest assured, this will make you a more organized and confident person. Above all, you’ll learn to make a life of your own.

7. Sell something to a stranger

Most people are afraid to talk to a stranger, let alone selling something to one. The ability to sell is one of the most important skills you can develop. Don’t wait until you are way into your professional life to start honing your ability to sell. Go out there, and sell something to someone face to face. You may get a lot of ‘Nos’, but one ‘Yes’, will make you more excited than you have ever been. And you’ll be on your way to developing a vital skill for life.

8. Vote in an election

In most countries, you are eligible to vote from the age of 17 or 18. So by the time you are 27, depending on where you live, you must have had at least two opportunities to vote in an election. You want to exercise your right to choose your leader, even if you believe your vote doesn’t count. There is an Africa adage that says, “We’ll keep making sacrifices, and let the blame be on the gods”. Exercising your voting right will give you a sense of importance and responsibility. Let the blame of malpractice be on the leaders.

9. Quit a habit that doesn’t serve you

If you are addicted to smoking, drinking, busy-bodying, hating or any of such indulgencies, you should make the effort to quit before you turn 27. You don’t want to move into adulthood with negative habits that don’t serve you.

10. Have a heart-to-heart conversation with someone beyond your age

There is a saying that “youth and aged will never agree”. While there are elements of truth in that, both the young and old can learn something from each other. The old can learn innovation from the young; the young can gain a wealth of experience and wisdom from the old. Having a conversation with someone well older than you are can be a rewarding experience if you talk to the right person. You can learn from the wealth of experience of a successful business person, parent, professional or just a well-travelled fellow.

11. Do something you have feared all your life

Are you afraid of speaking in public, talking to strangers, heights? Sieve an opportunity to confront your fear. A wise man once said, “when you do the things you fear to do, the death of your fear is certain”. What is that one thing you will always say no to; something that stretches you beyond your place of comfort like dancing in front of people. It won’t be a bad idea to put yourself to the test. You may just discover a part of you never thought of.

12. Volunteer for a cause you believe in

Volunteering is one of the quickest ways to learn new skills, develop valuable relationships and build your personality, all of this while contributing to impact lives. The experience you gain from the right volunteering jobs will go a long way in furthering your career. Volunteering also increases your chances of getting a scholarship if that is what you want. There are many volunteer opportunities in the church, non-profit organizations and civic societies. Just become a part of something bigger than you that benefit other people.

13. Develop your writing skill

You may not get to write a bestselling book, but if you want to maximize the opportunities of the 21st century, you’ll encounter a lot of incidences where your writing ability will be put to the test. Whether it’s sending that proposal, writing that email, drafting a business plan, submitting an application for that competition, building a social media presence or preparing an all-important speech or presentation; your writing skill can make or break your opportunity.

14. Give away something you don’t use for free

It’s no use keeping those clothes and shoes you don’t wear. Give it away to someone who needs it. It may not be much but you will feel good afterwards. You have fewer tendencies to fall into depression when you genuinely help out other people.

15. Finish a load of books for no academic reason

Reading is not just what you do to pass exams or to write a research paper. You read to learn. Before you turn 27, you should have read a collection of books on topics that interests and fascinates you from cover to cover. Books from diverse topics that have nothing to do with what you studied in school. You’ll not only be more knowledgeable than your peers, you’ll be smarter too. And you know what they say about self-education, “reading could make you a fortune”.

Now, what are you going to do? Share your thoughts in the comment section. If you are yet to subscribe to our post notification, now is good to do so and catch more amazing content. Until next time, YOUR SUCCESS MATTERS!

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