6 Universal Truths I Am Using to Navigate My Twenties
I’m 25 and I’ve seen many successes:
I speak 7 languages
Notion consulted for a company with over 500+ employees
Organised a Youth Mind Summit involving several embassies
Published articles in culture magazines, such as The Restless Magazine, CotoJapan and others
Taught Spanish & Productivity in low-income area schools in Jamaica
Taught English to hundreds of students of all ages in Korea, Japan and online
Been on Japanese TV on two occasions
Played an extra in a Hollywood film
… and I could list more.
I’m an intersectional mess of experiences. I moved 12 times before I was 10, I have an incurable chronic illness that I conjured up from stress when I was 15, I grew up with a family plagued with all sorts of mental illnesses. I have ADHD and was late-diagnosed only after I paused university in a cry for help, citing depression and crippling anxiety. I’m a mixed-Asian heritage, Jamaican who is currently trying to get a job in Sweden. Let’s just say, things have been complex for me my whole life.
As difficult as things may have been, there is also so much to be grateful for. It is exactly my intersectional mess of experiences and intense emotional struggles throughout my youth that has allowed me to feel as lifted, learn-ed and light as I do today. I’ve collected a lot of wins throughout the years, too. In all my adventures, these are the lessons that have stood out to me and allowed me to become the person I am today.
Your personality, identity & purpose are a lot more than the things you do or the jobs you command.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the idea that our ‘purpose’ is a job title. That our personalities are set in stone from birth, and that our identities are something we can’t really choose. As someone who never quite fits into the common boxes, I wasted a lot of time trying to tell others (and myself) who I am. Everything got better when I realised there was no way that this life, as magical as it is, could just be about whether or not I’m a teacher or an engineer. When I was a teenager, I consistently refused to explore new areas or consider better behaviour patterns because ‘I am X person’ was how I communicated my position. Later in life I realised that every version of ourselves is shaped by the now. What you choose now is as valid as what you chose yesterday.
Life works in seasons.
I ran myself tired trying to be everything all at once. So much so, that there was a period when I felt like nothing none at all. I’m known by many as an extrovert and often considered myself so as well because when you put me together with someone else — the gab never gives. I love being around people. But then there came a period of time when I didn’t want to leave the house, and I didn’t really care to see people. It was severe, and I didn’t even want to answer the phone or share updates. For a while, I let it get to me and it made it worse. I felt like something must be terribly wrong with me and that depression has changed me for the worse. Nowadays, I regularly go through weeks where I just don’t feel like talking to anyone. But now, I don’t send myself into a spiral because of it. What’s bad about needing alone time? Just because I have periods of extroversion doesn’t mean my introverted days can’t be valid or healthy.
Life comes in seasons. Let yourself enjoy who you become in different lighting and environments.
You can learn about life from a grain of sand.
Have you ever wondered how so many religions came to have so many similar principles, despite being from completely different and separate origins? I’ve pondered this a lot, and in becoming a wiser young woman, I’ve figured something:
→ There are universal truths, and you can learn them from anything.
In The Alchemist by Paulo Cohelo, his main character explains how the language of the universe, the universal truths, can be learned from anything. He could see it in his flock of sheep, in the Hills of Andalusia, to the deserts of Egypt. Things so different often told the same story. This is because everything in our world mirrors the truth of the Omega. If you want to know if something you think is ‘right’ or ‘okay’, take an example out of life and try to strip it down to its qualities, the bones of its story. You may find your answers there.
Keep your plans rooted in the present.
I’m the kind of person who is always concerned with the future. I’ve always been that person, at least. It’s this year that I’ve really started to shift my focus away from the future and into the present. “No amount of regretting can change the past, and no amount of worrying can change the future.” ― Roy T. Bennett, The Light in the Heart You can still plan without giving into anxiety, but instead of planning with only your future in mind, plan with your present in mind. Plan — thinking about yourself now and what you want to do. Think about how you want to set up your life now to create what it is you want in the future. Then if you feel differently now about what you thought about yesterday, shift in favour of now. Figure out ways you can become your future self today instead of what would be great in the future for a future you with different circumstances and habits. Get intimate with the you of today, and use them to help out the you of tomorrow.
In order to see success, you first have to believe you’re the kind of person who succeeds.
In James Clear’s Atomic Habits, we learn a lot about shifting your concept of a habit from ‘a task’ to be regularly accomplished, into an identity you’re now embracing. It’s the same principle for anything else in life: Habits, success, skills, behaviours, and material things cannot be manifested without first becoming a part of who you think you are. If you don’t see yourself as someone who succeeds, even the simplest of first steps will feel impossible and perhaps even painful. If you want to change, start by focusing on who you are, starting now.
The most important quality for success is audacity.
I know you’ve seen a lot of successful people who you don’t think deserve to be. The reason is so simple:
Success isn’t about how much you care, how good you are, or how noble your mission is. I wish it was, but it really isn’t. Success is all about being able to do what other people don’t dare to do, and about having the audacity to chase something even when there are a lot of neigh-sayers. That means bold people: the good and the bad, rise to be successful. This is good news for you, because it means no matter how small you feel, no matter how riddled with imposter syndrome you are, if you can grow and cultivate your audacity, you can and will be successful.
In the 4-hour work week by Tim Ferris, Tim talks about this huge fallacy we create as beginners. We always assume that we must walk through many hoops, and pass many checkpoints before approaching ‘the big league’ or what it is we truly want. But the truth is, it’s not so hard to get into the big league because everyone is so occupied competing in the small league. Don’t limit yourself.
These 6 things are how I’m guiding myself through life now, and how I plan to navigate through year 25 of my life, the beginning of a beautiful quarter-life crisis.
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