MARILYN ANONA writes: You are the average of the five people you associate with most, so do not underestimate the effects of your pessimistic, unambitious, or disorganized friends. If someone isn’t making you stronger, they are making you weaker.


Good morning friends. Hope your weekend was peaceful? Mine was peaceful and I am indeed grateful to GOD for the gift of life. Today, I bring to you reasons why many youths especially we in our 20s do not know what we are doing or where we are headed. This lack of direction amongst youths is crippling the society. The reasons Why most of us don’t Know What we are Doing in our 20s are too numerous to count but I want to share a few of those reasons with u.
The first reason is that most of us didn’t take advantage of our university years. We chose a course of study because we were good at it in high school and found it ”interesting”or because our parents said we must study such courses or because we simply want to go to the university so as to be called graduates at the end of the day. Most of us, I am a typical example were studying subjects we weren’t passionate about but, we thought having a high GPA would equal success. It didn’t, and we are slowly becoming very angry now that we are doing a job we have no idea how you got into when you graduated. In college, most of us major in something we chose out of convenience or didn’t even choose ourselves, so we have no real idea what we are going to do with the education.
In graduate school because we got a B.Sc in something we don’t know what to do with.
In a job with our major in an industry we have no real passion for, and to make it worse we are surrounded by people who did the same thing. Maybe they have a decent salary and benefits, live in a nice apartment, and leased a new car, so they are very reluctant to leave. Confused people, bringing up confused people… How sad!
Another reason why most of us don’t know what we are doing in our 20s is because we live for the future neglecting the present which leads to the future. We are not enjoying the present moment. We expect that some event in the future will make us happy. Living for the future and thinking the future will be better after something is completed or once we have earned degree, gotten married or earned promotion at work. We are missing the opportunities around you in the present because we live for the future.
We spend our whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking how we will escape one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining that future keeps you going, but we never do it. We just use the future to escape the present.
Live fully in the present. Don’t live to be happy. Be happy while living. Don’t make happiness the end product of your achievements or goals ie get a perfect job/car/house/spouse=Happy life. Derive happiness from whatever you are doing at present. It is the journey that you must enjoy not the end result. Time is ticking and you will not get it back.
Live fully and embrace the present. We can walk our way through life thinking the future will be brighter but if we are not doing the things that matter or count today then we will never arrive. We have got to love the journey.
Another reason why most of us don’t know what we are doing in our 20s is our parents. Our parents control us. Parents have a major influence on the lives of children, and that’s fine after all at that level they take care of most of the bills. But what we have to understand is that our parents want what is safe and secure for us. They are less interested in whether or not that makes you truly happy. They want what brings prestige to them without bothering about what we truly want.
They don’t want you to take the risk and fail. They want you to be financially independent. They want to know that we can pay our own bills and provide for their future grandchildren. Sometimes the harder route is better for us, and we as adult individuals can see that, but our parents can’t see our lives in the same light.
For most parents, work is work. This is in part generational. Most parents have spent their entire lives doing things they didn’t like to provide for you. (You have to respect that.)
So, while we should respect the wishes and views of our parents, we don’t have to mindlessly go down the path they lay out for us. If we truly want to do something, we need to take control of our own life and do it. At the end of the day, it’s our life to live.
After all, freedom is not worth having if it does not include the freedom to make mistakes and some mistakes are worth it in the end.
So listen to them. Consider their advice. They have been around a lot longer than us, and they have got a lot of wisdom and good sense to share. But it’s nothing new for children to hold different values and goals than their parents, and at some point we have to learn to define our own code. This phenomenon is part of coming of age, and it’s a natural, healthy part of the human experience.
Another valid reason why we don’t know what we doing in our 20s is because our environment is holding us back. What we surround ourselves with affects us and what we do. How will you ever figure out what to do in your 20s if your friends spend their time playing Play stations, watching movies, jumping from one night club to the other , and doing things that provide instant gratification instead of working towards their goals, that’s what you are going to do, too. Yes, these things are fun. But everything in should be in moderation, right?
Excessive indulgence (whether it’s drinking, partying, face booking, drug use, sex, junk eating, or whatever) can prevent you from focusing on self-discovery and improvement, and it can even become your worst enemy. Being social is good, and involving yourself in the right relationships can encourage and empower you.
However, filling your nights with temporary pleasures is just that temporary. It’s fleeting. And yes, it will get old. The problem for most people is that when it gets old, they are also older, and in the meantime they haven’t gotten themselves to the place in life that they want to be.
You are the average of the five people you associate with most, so do not underestimate the effects of your pessimistic, unambitious, or disorganized friends. If someone isn’t making you stronger, they are making you weaker.
Instead, surround yourself with people who have qualities you admire, who are smarter and more driven than you. Let their success rub off. Soak up their energy, and let their drive help push you to be better too. Outside of school, this is harder. And don’t be one-sided about it either. Remember that you can positively influence others by encouraging others to be their best selves.
If you want to get somewhere, then hang out with the people who are already there or who also want to get there. Change your environment, change your friends, and you change everything.
Another good reason why most of us don’t know what we are doing in our 20s is we have taken the wrong path. Most young people suffer from being totally short-sighted. We think we will have plenty of time to get what we want, so we don’t take the appropriate steps now, and suddenly life passes us by. I was expressing my fears and concerns to an older person last week. His response was “Haba! Marilyn, relax now you are still young” that got me more disturbed. I asked him, how old he was 10 years ago… I told him no one remains young forever. Too many of us are all about short term gains and happiness.
We want to be happy now, and we won’t sacrifice any part of that in return for future gains. So, we get stuck in the endless cycle of day to day motions, because we are content with that cycle. School, work, gym, go out. That’s not necessarily bad, but it’s not going to lead you to anything greater down the line.
We could be spending most of your time climbing a ladder leaned up against the wrong wall (most people do). Just because there is a ladder in front of you doesn’t mean you need to climb it. Sometimes we need to find the right ladder. Find the ladder destined for you. Find your mission.
Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
There is this surface level motto that has been adopted and twisted to encourage stupid behaviour, YOLO. You Only Live Once? Exactly. You only live once, so why waste your time doing something you don’t even care about? Nobody’s going to tell you what to do, and nobody’s going to hold your hand and lead you down the path that will lead you to long lasting future fulfillment.
Most people don’t care who you are or what you do. It’s up to you to decide what you really want to do, then start taking steps to make it happen.
Most of us do not know what we are doing in our 20s because we have stopped learning. Our education begins after graduation, not ends. School isn’t the only outlet for learning. Think about learning from experience and results. What have you done? What skills do you possess? Learning is an ongoing process, not something you actively choose to do. Most times when I speak in a gathering or when someone reads my article, they don’t believe it when I tell them I studied pure sciences in school. I learn daily, I have a curious mind and love to know so I do a lot of extensive reading. And because of that, I know a lot of things more than people in my age bracket. A lifelong education can also be your greatest tool and one that’s an absolute necessity for greatness.
Read books, don’t allow schooling interfere with education. This is the wisest investment you can make. Make constant learning a habit. Knowledge cannot be stolen or broken like material things. That’s why millionaires are broke one year and richer the next year. It’s not the money that got them rich it’s the knowledge. The bank can’t repossess your mind. Invest in your mind, and you will be able to put it to work until you are dead.
Again, we have this mentality that a good grade in school guarantees success and that the society owes us as a result. Please let’s wake up. Having a 1st class honours doesn’t guarantee success in life. This mentality has affected majority of us including me. We just sit and complain of how much the society is messed up. We may be very intelligent academically, but we also have to be street smart. What you are able to do outside the class room is what counts most. In a society where you have so many people scrambling for few jobs, no one will hand you a job. So its time for us to wake up. You think you are favoured after listening to your pastor preach in church. Now, calculate the number of people that heard that sermon with you in your parish alone, multiply it by the number of parishes in your church alone… For example, Winners’ chapel Gwarinpa then all the winners’ chapel in Abuja multiplied by all the winners’ chapel in different villages, cities in Nigeria multiplied by 36 states in the country “laughs out loud”. This is just living faith o. We count catholic, Anglican, Dunamis etc… Everyone who goes to church calls on GOD and believes he or she is favoured. So we all are favoured. You don’t just sit down, fold your arms and say “I am a favoured child” therefore I must be successful! Even the Bible said the faith without work is dead. Let’s wake up. Again, we don’t know what we are doing because we spend our 20s doing the same thing and expecting different results. If you want different results tomorrow, do different things today. It will never be easier to take big risks and try new things than when you are still young,you are likely to have fewer commitments and obligations to hold you down. If your environment is holding you back, change your environment.
Form the habits that will define your adult life. Eliminate the negative, embrace the positive, and form habits that breed success.
Eventually, everyone realizes they are temporary. It sinks in, little by little, that you won’t be here forever. Understand this while you are in your 20s vs in your 50s when you finally realize that your youth has passed you by. The fact that your life can and will end, something you are desensitized to as a young person (because we assume our time is still long, and it seems endless), becomes reality.
For most people, that change comes too late in life. Allow yourself to feel it. Accept it. Meditate on it. Your time is going to fly by. Start making it count today. Live with purpose. Live with passion.
Most youths in their 20s don’t know what they are doing, they now use the post graduate schools as a means to pass time. They escape to post graduate schools and the confusion continues. You should go to post graduate school if you want to pursue a career that requires it. Don’t go just for the fun of it, or to put off entering the job market, or to improve your resume by adding an additional line to it. Show employers results, not degrees.
Too many people go to post graduate school as a means of hiding out, because they are afraid of the world beyond academia. It’s all they know. Go to the post graduate school because the Job you are doing requires it. Its not a decoration and should not be a title either. Having an Masters degree without any job experience doesn’t make you a professional. That is why most Nigerian youths work as graduate trainees with MSc. Its quite a lengthy piece but I know that those who took the time to read it really enjoyed themselves. Let us all, become conscious of the things we do especially we in our 20s. There is no time and before we know it, we are 30 and regrets set in. Time waits for no man… Time can never halt because of you… Be Enlightened! Be Inspired!! Be Motivated!!!



  1. “Having an Masters degree without any job experience doesn’t make you a professional. ” deep. nice piece really makes sense. it easier to train a child than to repair a man we must pay attention to ‘child’ in us. what we don’t influence will influence use, we must take charge of the atmosphere we permit around us. we teach people by what we permit and what we don’t permit. “Sometimes, if you want to change a man’s mind, you have to change the mind of the man next to him first.”

  2. True talk …….environment is one major factor that has made us ignorant and so be controlled by the fun of today and we just forget about pursueing our goals for 2moro betterment of our self and the society @large

  3. As for d part of happiness, there exist a contradiction in it. Happiness should be ones goal. Happiness should not be a mean to any end. It shld be a man’s end.
    And d contradiction comes wen u mention that youth shld not spent dir time partyin, playin games and d likes.
    D problem comes wen youth live within d range of d moment and not think of d future. Youth who do not know wia dey лε goin лε those who don’t think of d future. Is dat not d purpose of this write up. Yet u mentiond dat one shldn’t live 4 d future but to enjoy every moment.
    My advice is dat while enjoyin evry moment think of d future. Do not sacrifice ur future 4 d moment. If fun of d moment ll affect ur future den don’t do it. If goin to club 2day ll affect ur performance in 2mao’s activities, don’t do it.
    U correctd dat towards d end of dz paper but dat paragraph of happiness really cost it a lot.
    I’m Mary Adufe Cole, if u wish 2 know more abt me contact me on facebook through d above name and we shall talk more.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s