There are many ways success can be defined, but why is it that some people go on to achieve extraordinary things before they've even turned 30 while others float through their 20s with nothing but blissful ignorance?
Well, the answers are relatively straightforward. Here, we'll go through ten things nearly every successful person does before turning 30.
1. They say no
Having the power to say no to people is usually admired, even if you feel like you're letting others down. Remember, the critical ingredient to greatness is sacrifice. If you aren't willing to defer your gratification, then you'll probably find yourself spending your whole 20s in bars and clubs with little to show for it other than a succession of severe migraines and glazed eyes.
However, those who realise the importance of their future aren't afraid to miss out on the odd party. Sure, working hard and playing hard is an important mantra- if not a cliched- to live by, but you'll find that the more time you devote to yourself as opposed to others will lead not only to higher levels of productivity but also a higher degree of self-satisfaction.
2. They've learned how to channel their ambition effectively
Sometimes, ambition can turn a human being mad. It can make you lose sight of the bigger picture and the things that make life worth living. Success isn't only about wealth.
As with getting stuff done, that's a whole other matter. Most struggle with the concept of doing as opposed to solely talking about doing it. More often than not, 30-year-olds who have a proven record of completing what they envisioned are usually those who go furthest. They've discovered what settings help them work best. Perhaps it's in a coffee shop. Or a library. Whatever it is that helps them fuel their ambition; they know what works and what doesn't.
3. They've always stuck to a routine
Having a good routine is important, and various studies over the years have backed that up. Consistency is key to most things in life, and whether you're writing a novel, working on a painting or attempting to write a groundbreaking piece of code, the importance of getting it done is paramount- not only for your product but also for your confidence. Think about it. How many people do you know that have started something but have given up shortly after? A lot, right? And they probably feel depressed and down because they lost all motivation.
But take Mark Zuckerberg as inspiration. He knew he was onto something when he discovered there was a gap in the market for a student social network. But not only did he spend the next few days writing a possible code, he also made it his goal to get a site up and running before someone else thought of something similar- no matter how long it took him.
4. They've learned how to control their finances
Prudence may be synonymous with the mundanity of adult life, but it's essential you realise the value of investments before it's too late.
You don't have to become a stock market guru, but it helps to know what a savings account is and how best you can get a return on money as opposed to what products and services you can consume.
5. They've realised the importance of failure
One of the NBA's most famous players, Micahel Jordan, famously looked back on his career and said, "I've failed over and over and over again in my career. And that is why I have succeeded."
Jordan's analysis is one of the greatest on success and gives millions of others inspiration. Like most things in life, chasing a goal is a gamble, and the more you try, the more likely you are to succeed as well as fail. Most significantly, failure isn't a bad thing. It aids our improvement.
6. They never gave up
Persistence- or a lack of it- is the biggest barrier to success. You need to train your mind to the future. Imagine your dream coming true.
It can come true; so you should believe it will. And it will. But not if you aren't prepared to keep crawling through mud.
7. They took criticism on board
If you want to improve, you have to know your weaknesses. Everyone has them, even genius coders and PhD academics. But more often than not, they'll want to know what said weaknesses are so they can improve. They embrace mistakes as opposed to ridiculing themselves for months after.
Like anything in life, we are growing each day. Once you believe you no longer have to improve, chances are you'll never reach your potential.
8. They always wanted to improve
When you reach 30, you probably have some idea of what your strengths are. But few have any want to get better and become masters as opposed to managers.
Ultimately, those who embrace who they are and also practice will see the greater outcome than those who remain content in their abilities.
9.They know when it's time to switch things up
Sometimes the desire for success is far stronger than the reality. We think we want something but have little knowledge or know-how on how best to get there. Is it a passion or merely a desire to want something? Those who have found success by 30 finally realised what it was that got their blood sugars going. They focused on what they were good at as opposed to practising what they thought would make them happy.
So if you do find yourself at a crossroads over what is you should be doing, don't be afraid to drop one thing and start something else. Always trust your instincts and act on them immediately. Pondering over scenarios longer than needed is a waste of time. Mark Zuckerberg lives by this mantra every day and even applies it to his wardrobe by wearing the same T-shirt every day to avoid wasting time on mundane clothing decisions!
10. They've been in dark places
Reaching rock bottom is somewhere no one wants to be. It can lead to nightmarish outcomes that can- for some- be fatal. But those who have gone through turmoil realise things can't get any worse. They've experienced things that others who are more content with a comfortable life might not ever know. But that's okay.
Knowing how dark a place can be can spur you on, no matter how far you go in life, to never take your foot off the pedal. There's a substantial likelihood, such is the precarious nature of life, that you might find yourself there too one day. But if you learn from it, and adapt, you soon realise you can do anything; no matter what comes your way.