Career Advice Philosophy

Are the Roaring Twenties Still the Defining Decade

Most of us believe that there is a certain age by which a person needs to achieve life’s most important goals. This belief is rooted in the fact that it is the 20s that define whether you will succeed or not.

But is it true that if you fail to make it in your 20s, then you are doomed? Are the 20s still the defining decade?

The 20s is a crucial period which you must use to build skills that will benefit you for the rest of your life. During this period, most young people are free from the demands of education and the influence of others. Additionally, other demands like family are not yet present, giving one ample time to explore life and pursue personal goals.

Let’s explore both the sides of the coin...

A. Why It Is Not the 20s Anymore

Let's first dissect points in favor of the twenties.

1. We Have More Time

The number of people getting into old age is rising steadily. In the USA, estimates show that there are 35 million people over the age of 65 while in 1900, there were only 3.1 million. This figure is expected to rise to 70 million by 2030.

Proving that we indeed live longer, statistics show that being 65 in 2000, you were expected to live for another 18 years. In 1900, however, at that same age, you were only expected to live another 12 years.


This means we now have more time to pursue our life’s goals. If you don’t succeed in your 20s, you can in your 30s or 40s. And you will still have plenty of time to enjoy your achievements.

Gary Vaynerchuk explains it better in this video that getting old does not mean you are finished:

2. It's The Era Of Knowledge Workers

In the past, most jobs required to be done manually. However, technology has changed all this and machines do the hard work. Currently, most jobs require sitting behind a desk.

Furthermore, we now work much less, averaging at 34 hours per week. Before 1900, however, people in most industries were working for 60 - 70 hours per week.

So even if you spend your 20s without a job, you can be sure that your declining physical health will not be a factor in getting a job in your 30s or 40s. This is an era of knowledge workers, not manufacturing jobs.

3. Family Is Usually Not a Priority

We now delay having families. And there are lots of reasons for this. One has to do with the fact that we now stay in school longer than before.


Research shows that 70% of women born between 1957 and 1964 were mothers by age 30. And that 83% of them had two children by the time there were in their late 40s. But this is no longer the case. Young people are waiting longer to start having families.

4. Parental Support Extending for Longer

Most young people live with their parents after graduation as they look for work. And most parents are compelled to support their children soon after graduation.

A Pew Research Center analysis showed that for the first time in 130 years, most Millennials, nearly a third of them, are living with their parents. All this means postponing marriage and other life’s big milestones.

B. Claiming Your 20s

However, the argument above does not mean you should let your 20s slip by thinking you have another 10 years to waste. You will regret it after your 20s are over.

Karen Lamb Author

A year from now you may wish you had started today.

1. Face Life With a Purpose

Don’t get into a relationship because you want to pass the time, start looking for your soul mate now. Don’t wait until you are 30 to get your dream job, start looking for that job now. Don’t wait until you are old to start a business, start that business now.

This does not guarantee you will find that lover or job now. And it does not guarantee the business will be a success. What is guaranteed, however, is that you will build skills and learn important lessons.

You will know what to look for in a lover. You will know what to do to get a job. And you will discover the kind of work you enjoy. You will also know what to do to make a business a success. All this knowledge will benefit you in the long-term. They may not help you achieve your dream, but they will get you closer to that dream.

Psychologist Meg Jay says, in her book titled The Defining Decade: Why Your Twenties Matter, that 80% of life’s most defining moments happen before age 35. She says by age 35, most have settled on a job or career path. By that same age, most have found a partner who they want to spend their lives with. And by that same age, most are financially stable.

Research from Britain agrees with her. It shows that most people meet their soul mates at 27.


So if you say you will wait until you are 30 to get serious about your life, you are fooling yourself. You risk having most of the defining moments happen later in life or not at all.

2. Use Your Freedom While You Still Have It

As one gets old, demands start mounting. This reduces your options. As a result, you will be forced to settle for anything that comes your way. This means marrying anyone who happens to be there. Accepting any job because that’s the one that will put food on your table today.

If you had been productive in your 20s, you would have had the freedom to choose.

Young people are encouraged to change jobs or careers until they find one they think suits them. If they make a mistake, switching to another job is not so difficult. Having time on their side means they can recover from any mistakes.


When you are 35, changing a job is not so easy. Thinking of how you will take care of your family while unemployed will scare you.

3. You Have Little Time to Make the Most of Your Body

If you wait until you are 30 to start looking for someone to marry, you are putting your chances of having a baby at risk.

Research shows that female fertility drops with age. And this starts sooner than most of us were made to believe. At 27, women are 10% less fertile than when they are 19-26. This study was done by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences in North Carolina and the University of Padua in Italy, involving some 872 healthy couples.

4. You Won’t Change Much After Your 20s

Research shows that personality change slows down as one is nearing his 30s. So if you spend the 20s indulging in reckless behaviors, you may be stuck with an adolescent personality in adulthood.

C. How Not to Pressure Yourself in Your 20s

Still, you may feel the pressure of wanting to achieve all you can while in your 20s. Unfortunately, this may keep you from developing lifelong skills and abilities that may help you later in life.

For example, you do not need to buy a house in your 20s if you can’t. That does not mean you are a failure as long as you spend the 20s figuring how to purchase a house in your 30s or 40s.

As research has shown, success can come at any time. Take these famous examples for instance:

● Martha Stewart worked as a model then as a stock blocker before she found her business at age 41.

● Samuel Jackson, despite appearing in several movies, found real success when he was 46.

● Sam Walton had several small stores before he opened Walmart in 1962, while he was 44.

● Harland David Sanders had several odd jobs before he opened Kentucky Fried Chicken when he was 62.

What matters most is that you keep trying to succeed.

You must forget the notion that we lose creativity or intelligence with age. Of course, this happens, but not as early as most of us think. Previous studies showed that reasoning and knowledge peak at 26, but this study proves that this happens much later. It shows that reasoning, verbal ability, and verbal memory do not peak until in the 50s.


Other studies show that doing basic math and a larger vocabulary also peak in the 50s.

So age is less of a driver to success. Experience, determination, and persistence are most important. Experience usually comes with age. If you don’t have it, you can find it by surrounding yourself with others who do.

Colin Powell Former US National Security Advisor

There are no secrets to success. It is the result of preparation, hard work, and learning from failure.

Further research shows that the average age of a successful startup with over $1MM in revenue is 39.

The problem these days is that the media promotes stories of a small percentage of successful young entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg and Steve Jobs.


Many twenty-somethings believe this decade is about fun, thinking one has to get serious when in their 30s. Unfortunately, this kind of thinking is dangerous – you risk losing the most productive decade in your life.

So try to use this period properly. Pursue the things that matter most to you and don’t sit around thinking a better time will come. If you succeed while still in this decade, then that is good for you. And if you fail, you should still be glad knowing you learned important lessons to help you for the rest of your life.

With that, I would like to hear from you. What do you think about the twenties? Do you believe that success can only happen in this decade?

Philosophy Self-Improvement

5 Things That Happen When You Practice Empathy

Empathy is the ability to understand someone’s emotions and feelings as your own.

You should be able to put yourself in their shoes and look at their situations and feelings from their state of mind to get a complete understanding. It is one of the most important qualities that a human can possess.

Many people often get confused between sympathy and empathy. ‘Sympathy’ means to feel concerned about someone’s issues and problems but not to be able to necessarily connect with their emotions and feel what they are going through. It’s not as deep as empathy.

‘Sympathy’ simply is a good trait, nonetheless, but it’s only through empathy that you can truly help someone.

Sometimes, a person who is suffering from a problem cannot figure out a solution because their mind gets hazy with all their troubles and sorrows.

If you lend an empathetic ear to someone, you help them by easing their burden. It is also very possible that by getting a new perspective towards their situation, you can suggest them a solution that they might not have thought of.

As an average human starts spending time with people, it’s natural for him to cultivate empathy for them. A reassuring touch and an empathic ear can go a long way in healing someone.

Empathy is required to form any basic human bond. All of us want someone who is not only non-judgemental but carries a great deal of empathy inside them. It is what separates an acquaintance from a stranger; a friend from a foe.

Empathy is categorised into 3 types:

1. Cognitive Empathy

Cognitive Empathy deals with understanding someone’s problems and issues. It involves being able to get a clear perspective regarding what the person is going through, and listening to them with a non-judgemental mind.

2. Emotional Empathy

Emotional Empathy deals with not only understanding someone’s problems but also being able to feel their emotions as your own. Emotionally empathetic people are quite sensitive, and they have a better understanding of human emotions than others.

3. Compassionate Empathy

Compassionate Empathy deals with not only understanding someone’s problems and feeling their emotions but also helping the person to take the necessary steps to get better.

Empathy is a miracle given to humanity. As one goes through the monotony of life, they often forget the power they hold to change the world. Considering themselves ordinary, they keep all their abilities suppressed. So, it is important to become aware of how empathetic you can be, and start putting your trait to the best use.

Here are the five incredible things that happen when you practice empathy.

1. Popularity comes knocking at your door.

As you start practicing empathy, you become famous among your friends. Due to your compassionate listening skills, they start visiting you often to feel better. An empathetic person loves helping people out, so you may enjoy being the center of attention among your friends.

The best way to approach someone is by finding similarities and accepting differences. Moreover, an open mind should be kept while interacting with someone, as it will help you to understand someone’s life without having pre-conceived notions and ideas. A good human interaction shouldn’t be tainted with the intervention of a judgemental mind.

99% of Americans feel at least some level of empathy.

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Empathy helps to get rid of selfishness and encourages us to immerse our time in getting to know another person. It involves going beyond the human barriers and forming a strong bond with another person. Empathy plays an important role in not only helping another person feel better, but it can be a natural therapy for an empathetic person as well.

Leo Buscaglia


Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.

Do you know that empathy plays a big role in forming better business leaders?

An empathetic and compassionate leader learns to let go of their ego and approach the employees from a place of humility. It ultimately leads the employees to give their 100% to their job and working with higher motivation and dedication.

It makes an empathetic leader more successful than the rest. A positive and work-oriented atmosphere is created in the workplace impacting the workers psychologically.

Such a positive atmosphere will increase the number of healthy workers. In fact, empathy is one of the top 8 traits required for being a good leader.

2. You will be sought to resolve conflicts.

If a fight breaks out, people expect someone wise to interfere and stop the conflict.

An empathetic person is considered wise because of his grasp over his emotions as well as a clear understanding of another human’s feelings. So, he will be expected to take up the role of an elder in such troublesome situations.

Daniel H. Pink Author

Empathy is about standing in someone else's shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes. Not only is empathy hard to outsource and automate, but it makes the world a better place.

There is an increase in the number of conflicts in countries where basic empathy is lacking among people. As ego and apathy are two determining factors of human behaviour, no one tries to stop the conflicts that erupt.

Such an attitude can be extremely cataclysmic for the country and its growth.

It’s the reason that most third-world countries suffer from conflict manufactured in their very own country.

Ecuador is the most empathetic country.

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3. You get to know more about people.

Due to your non-judgemental and empathetic attitude, people will prefer opening up to you more. ‘Trust’ is earned, and an empathetic person is certainly a trustworthy person.

By the end of a heart-to-heart session, you might be aware of a person’s past, present as well as future. You may even start understanding a person better than they know themselves.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer Pastor

We must learn to regard people less in the light of what they do or omit to do, and more in the light of what they suffer.

Some people are in their shell, and it takes work to bring them out. As you put your empathy to use, they realize that you are a kind human with whom they can open up and share their deepest hopes and despairs.

A study revealed that a person with good empathy skills has a female brain!

They are considered to be empathizers and are gentler towards other people. As we know, females bond by sharing their stories and supporting each other, whereas this kind of behavior is not seen among males (generally).

Mostly, women are the ones who are empathizers, as men are more inclined in their life to cars, machinery, and similar objects.

Women spend their childhood playing with dolls and engaging in more ‘conversational’ games like playing teacher or acting like a housewife.

No matter how grossly stereotyped it might seem, but that’s what the study has revealed. Moreover, parents are rougher with their sons, as they are expected to be tough.

On the other hand, they treat their daughters gently because they are considered fragile and sensitive. So, much of our empathy-related skills are also influenced by how we’ve been brought up.

The difference between a boy and a girl’s empathizing skills is shown in the following chart.

But it’s not impossible for a guy to feel empathy. As he engages with more people and makes deliberate efforts to not only understand others but to understand his emotions as well, he can be as empathetic as any female.

Empathy is a gender-neutral trait; it is not to be governed by your sex. However, it is labeled as something that girls can practice and understand better than boys.

4. You get the superpower of predicting someone’s thoughts and behaviors.

By spending time with people and observing them closely, you become acquainted with their emotions and feelings. It helps you to predict their thoughts and behaviors, as you become peculiarly aware of how they deal with various situations, and what exactly they need to feel better. It will help you to deal with the people in a better way, as you will be able to envision their reactions beforehand.

Richard Eyre Film Director

Change begins with understanding and understanding begins by identifying oneself with another person: in a word, empathy. The arts enable us to put ourselves in the minds, eyes, ears and hearts of other human beings.

There are various ways through which you can develop empathy. It’s been proved that meditation makes you more empathetic.

Meditation is a cure offered by the cosmos to humanity. It’s wonderful to heal all our inner wounds and giving birth to new traits inside us as well. As you bring your focus inside yourself, you develop greater understanding towards human emotions. Meditation encourages bringing all your attention inwards.

An empathic person spends a great deal of time in introspection. Spending time with oneself is different from being self-centred.

Self-orientation involves understanding your emotions and behaviour - it teaches us how to understand someone else’s feelings as well.

Empathetic people have more functioning in their right parietal lobe which is also responsible for increasing self-focus.

Some people have an 'empathy switch' which they can turn on and off at will.

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In fact, literature has proved useful for enhancing empathy inside a human. When you read well-written characters, they help you to understand humans and how they work. You get to penetrate inside the mind of a particular character and to see the world through his eyes.

By trying to understand someone else’s point of view, you develop patience and the will to understand something new.

This trait extends to the real world as well where you meet plenty of people—some good, some bad — and they enable you to try and see the world from their perspective as well.

5. You become a good team player.

Besides dedication, hard work, and good skills, there is another thing which is required for being a good team player. It’s empathy.

There should be no competition among the people belonging to the same team, and they should be there for each other during the good and the bad times. A good team is like a family in which people stick together and understand each other.

Richard Yates Fiction Writer

It’s a disease. Nobody thinks or feels or cares anymore; nobody gets excited or believes in anything except their own comfortable little God damn mediocrity.

The difference between a good and a bad team is the level of empathy the members carry. Instead of criticizing each other and letting ego rule you, you should be able to help out your fellow members by getting a deeper insight into their minds.

Not only will it help you to see the wide range of human emotions, but you will also be able to create strategies for your work through it.

Providing the right task to the right person, while considering their strengths and limitations is the sign of a good team player and a good leader.

The 'identifiable victim effect" is the key to engaging empathy.

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We can become a wholly developed human being only when we can cultivate various good traits inside us.

It’s of no use to buy gifts for your friends when you do not spend two minutes of your life talking to them.

No matter how much charity you do, it’s hollow until you feel the pain and despondency of the sufferers. You can spend your entire life earnings over your family, but it’s nothing compared to understanding their needs and emotions correctly.

You can spend your entire life earnings over your family, but it’s nothing compared to understanding their needs and emotions correctly.

Empathy is not all about giving. It also involves receiving. You receive the trust of people. You gain knowledge about people as you observe them. You can even use your empathy to become a successful life coach, psychologist, writer, and the like.

In a world surrounded by chaos and conceitedness, you can become a ray of hope and reduce the pain inflicted by the apathy of incalculable people.

So, are you ready to wear your invisible cape and acquire such a big role?