How to Design Your Life from 18-50
Are you wondering what your life will look like in the future? We all wonder about what we could be and ponder how life would turn out.
Many people think that most of the things in their life happens because of luck or random chance. But if you are reading this article, I am hoping you are not one of them.
You want to take charge of your life and have a say in how your life turns out. You want to choose who you want to work with, where you want to live and what kind of work you would want to do on a daily basis. I am like that and I guess I am attracting a tribe around me who are like me.
Figuring out your career path also has tremendous benefits in other areas of your life such as just being happy. If you are happy, you also have a high chance of attracting the right life partner into your life.
The right spouse also helps you accelerate your career and stay happy. If you are happy, you can stay fit and have enough willpower every day to work out and move your body.
So everything comes down to your career and that's why having a plan and designing your career is very important.
In this article, let us take a deep dive into how you could design your career from 18-50. I am assuming that post 50, you would either want to retire or serve society back in one form or the other.
Please note that this outline is not very strict. I want you to take inspiration from this. Everyone's life is different and you might take a completely different path than me and what's outlined here in this article. In fact, my own path doesn't strictly adhere to the outline here.
Stage 1: Internship & Learning Phase (18-24)
Most of the students who complete 12th standard in India are around 17-18 years old. I wouldn't want to define how you should learn while you are in school.
We are talking about careers here, which means you should start earning. Only when you earn, do you learn, because what you earn is the feedback for the value that you are delivering.
While we are in school, we do not create any value for anyone. Your recognition is just based on your marks and they don't mean anything.
Schools encourage you to compare with others and schools make everyone play the same game while people are good at different things.
Around 18 years of age, you join a college to get a degree. I wouldn't recommend dropping out of college because it gives you a social circle and helps you understand how to interact with other people in the professional realm.
Most college students in advanced economies start earning part-time while they are in college. That is not very prevalent in India.
If you can find a part-time job while you are in college, well and good. However, if you cannot, then look for remote internships offered by companies.
In this day and age, most things are digital so you can work remotely. This will give you enough time to focus on other things such as spending time with your parents and siblings, playing sports, and earning something on the side while you are learning at college.
If you got started with your remote internship while you are at college, there is a high chance that you will be able to get a job right out of college. If you are doing a 3-year course, you will graduate around 20-21. If you are doing a 4 or 5-year course, you will be around 21-23 by the time you get out of college.
Even if you get a job right out of college, you will still be tagged as a "fresher". Your job will be like an internship where you are still in the learning phase.
Until you work for 3-5 years, you will not have enough exposure to learn about your own skills and passions. This is the time when you need some patience. There will be some extremities of personalities in your social circle, but do not get distracted by them.
Some people will achieve success at a very young age, and sometimes that's because of luck. Don't deviate from your career path and understand what you are good at and what you need to do to become better at something. Your only comparison should be with your previous self.
If you are less than 25 years of age, do not worry. You do not need anything to be "figured out" about your career. The 5-7 years that you get after your college is going to be a phase for experimentation, playing sports, falling in love, getting your heart broken, and so on.
Certain things in life that come to you before you are 25 don't come to you when you are 35. (Believe me, because I am 35 right now and I wish I was 25 again).
Do not get married before 25 (In fact, I would say 35, but that's a topic for another day). You wouldn't have discovered enough things about yourself to find the right life partner.
There would be an inclination to find "the" soul mate and get settled after seeing a lot of romantic movies but resist that temptation. You will be a completely different person when you are in your 30s compared to your 20s. In most cases, you will find a better life partner at 35 compared to what you can do at 25. (Especially for men, talking from my own experience).
If possible, move out of your home. Stay in a different city. If you are close to your parents, you might feel homesick a bit, but that's good. You need to prepare yourself to face the world without calling your Dad for help each time. You should learn to manage your emotions without having to cry on your Mom's shoulders every time you have some emotional disturbance.
Remember, you are becoming an adult. You are not a teenager anymore. Mental strength, fortitude, and stoicism are something you should start discovering at this phase and keep making stronger as you grow up.
Stage 2: Career Phase (25-30)
As you approach your 25, you would want to get into a good job. I worked for startups for 5 years (from 2012 to 2017) and it was a great learning experience. Some people figure out a business model or a way to earn before 25, but that doesn't mean you should skip working for a big company completely.
If you are hardworking, motivated, and did not screw up your early 20s, this is the phase where you will finally see some material abundance in your life. You can buy that bike, car, and phone that you always wanted. You will have some discretionary income apart from your living expenses and a decent amount of savings.
Working at companies helped me realize the world for the way it is. You will learn how to manage professional relationships and this is the period where you will form friendships with your co-workers. A completely new type of friendship will form which will be very different from your college friendships.
This is also the period where you will lose touch with some of your college friends because they just don't vibe with you. Certain people from your college will screw up their lives. They will fall in love with toxic people, get themselves into toxic habits and will have a bleak future. Do everything possible not to fall into that trap.
During this phase, you can install habits that will last for the rest of your life. Work out regularly, play sports sparingly, and focus on becoming a better person every day.
You will realize that your job and career performance will largely depend on your mental health and productivity than your skills. This is the period where you will be refining your skills and finding out what kind of person you are.
To get a good job, you need to know how to sell yourself. You should come out of your comfort zone, talk to people, attend industry meetups and learn how to persuade people. This is a period for life skills more than just career skills. Respect people who have more experience than you and find a mentor for yourself who will be a guide for your career and life.
This is also the phase where you should absolutely move out of the home that you grew up in, with no exceptions. While you are in the learning phase it is optional, but during the career phase, it is mandatory. Else you won't be able to grow in your career. Only when you live alone, you will have the fear of survival (which is largely not there when living with your parents).
Only when you have the fear of survival, you will be able to direct all your energy into career growth. Many of my friends who still live with their parents have practically become useless to the world around them. Remember, true happiness will only come from work well done, not from leisure activities.
Stage 3: Mastery Phase (30-35)
A lot of people fail to get into the "mastery" phase. They are just stuck with a career and unable to move.
People make wrong choices in life (such as getting married, having kids too early and with the wrong spouse) and because of their personal obligations, they can't quit their job even if they hate it. They are bound by their responsibilities and that becomes a burden.
By the time you are 30, you should learn what kind of person you are. What are you really good at? How can you add value to the world with your skills?
I recommend taking personality tests such as the Myers Briggs personality test (16personalities.com) and other similar tests.
Find out what kind of person you are. Are you extroverted or introverted? Are you a deep thinker and an architect or are you good with people? My personality type is INTJ. Introverted-architect.
There are multiple versions of this but one of the tests that really resonated with me is the strategic leadership test that I was able to take when I attended the Strategic Leadership Workshop a few years back.
This is the phase where you will understand that you have to master one skill and be really good at it. By this time, you will also learn to work with other people and help them leverage their skills. Most of the amazing things in the world have been built by teams. This is high time to become a top-notch team player.
This is the period of my life where I gained some serious skills in digital marketing and put that into use, which resulted in my career success as a digital mentor.
Attend a lot of workshops, and offline events and meet more new people than you have ever done. This is also the time when you will meet a lot of people of the opposite sex. A good period to evaluate what kind of life partner you want and settle down on something.
Make book reading a regular habit. Read Mastery by Robert Greene. Mastery is the ultimate form of power. This is also the time when you can slowly start your spiritual (not religious) exploration. This is an important time to start your spiritual growth because as you grow in your career and identity, your identity will get stuck to you. And your ego might prevent you from growing further.
If you want to keep growing, you have to learn that you are not what you think you are. If you have the time and patience, read books by Osho. His thoughts are way ahead of his time.
I would recommend 2-3 hours of learning every day because that's what will make you a master. You should also invest 10% of your income back into learning and training yourself. Spend money on masterminds, workshops, books, and online courses and seek out higher-level mentors.
Stage 4: Alpha Phase (35-50)
I would like to remind you again that the age brackets that I am giving you is very arbitrary. It can be different for you. I am talking from my own life experience and from the observation of most of the students that I mentor. You could reach this stage by the time you are 30, or even 25.
The 4th stage is the Alpha phase. Many people do not reach this phase. This is the phase where your self-confidence in your own skills is at an all-time high.
Your knowledge, mastery, and skills are not just for your own well-being. It can be beyond that. To create an impact in the world and inspire others.
The kind of thing you do to create value beyond serving yourself is a decision that you have to make. My channel is digital marketing and online education. I have reached a point where I can sustain the current level of lifestyle without having to work so hard, but I would get bored if I don't do anything.
What motivates me to work is not to serve myself but to build the big dream. I would like to create an impact in the way communication is done online and also be a conscious capitalist, compounding my growth and others along the way. That's what drives me and makes me wake up every day with enthusiasm.
Being an Alpha is not just about making money. It is about relentlessly working towards making yourself a better man (or woman) so that you can become a man of value. You have your life sorted and are not entangled in any personal or professional mess. If you were, I assume that you would find your way out of it in a way that you don't end up hurting yourself.
Stoicism is something that you will start discovering at this phase. You will not be too excited if something goes right and you won't be too disappointed if something doesn't work your way. (For men, these are also the characteristics that make them extremely attractive to women. That's why I emphasize that do not get married until 35, especially men).
When in your personal life or in business, you reach a stage where other people need you more than you need them. That's what it means to be an Alpha.
You can either continue this phase beyond 50 or choose to retire, at least from your professional work. By 50, I assume that if you are a true Alpha, you will have a multi-million dollar net worth that you have built for yourself and your family. If you don't continue working until you do.
If you do not have your future mapped out clearly yet, I believe this post has helped you with some direction on how to go about it.