3 decisions in my 20s that are still paying dividends to date

The 20s are the foundation of your adulthood and the decisions you make in this decade will most likely shape the rest of your life. Earlier on, I shared the life lessons from my 20s and 30s. In this article, I want to discuss the top 3 decisions from my 20s that I’m still benefiting from today.

Circa 2012 our first trip to the US.

#1: Choosing passion and learning over money

The first decision was choosing passion over money. In the final year of university, I took a job as a junior software developer at an up-and-coming consultancy that was transitioning into creating software products. I had friends who had connections in big enterprise tech firms and would have happily helped me get jobs there but I declined. My wage was about 40% below the market rate but I did not care about the money. I wanted to work for a small business and be a lynchpin while understanding the intricacies of running a company. Through that job, I learned so much about small businesses and product development. I rose through the ranks quickly and within 4 years, my salary had not only caught up with my friends but my experience was miles ahead. Moral of the story: when starting, choose jobs where you’ll learn and grow over those that just give you money.

#2: Plating roots deep

The second decision was deciding to settle down and plant deep roots. When you are young you want to keep your options open. At the age of 25, I decided to not just commit to living in Adelaide, I took on a mortgage and bought my first house and in the same year started dating my girlfriend and now wife Ruth.

At the time, these big decisions were overwhelming but boy I’m glad I made them. See, decisions compound over time. I was scared about getting married in my 20s but I love the beautiful memories my wife and I have built over the last decade. My humble home has literally doubled in price with mortgage repayments are around 40% less than rental prices in my local area.

What if I listened to all the negative arguments about buying a house in your 20s?

Living in Adelaide for the last 18 years has helped me establish deep connections that keep giving.

Moral of the story: when you are young, you have an illusion of endless options and settling down seems overrated. To build real momentum in life requires commitment. Otherwise, your life is a series of starts and stops and you never got to see the long term results.

#3: Getting into business

The third decision was going into business.

In my early 20s, I was a freelance web designer while at university. My first attempt to dive into full-time business was in 2009 and it bombed hard because I had no game-plan. It was not until 2012 at 29 that I worked the courage to go into business full-time again.

While the business ended up failing 7 years later, I’m so grateful that I dared to go out of my comfort zone, follow my passion and back myself. The lesson I learned during my tenure as a full-time business owner were life-changing.

Moral of the story: follow your dreams and back yourself up. Even if you fail, you will learn a tonne.

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