It’s graduation season, which means many parents will observe a sacred rite of passage: giving terrible life advice to their children.
Mom and Dad mean well. But the Class of 2023 will enter the workforce during one of the worst periods of uncertainty since the 2008 financial crisis.
I endured similar crises, growing up in poverty, dropping out of high school to care for my disabled mother, working two jobs while earning my college and law degrees.
Throughout my trials and my journey to becoming a self-made millionaire, bestselling authorCEO and investor, the only key to prosperity was not to play it safe.
Here are the worst and most outdated advice young people should ignore, and what to do instead:
1. “You need a fallback plan.”
A Wharton study found that simply thinking about a backup plan can significantly reduce the likelihood of Plan A occurring, as well as the motivation to even try.
There are only a handful of things you can break in your 20s and can’t fix in your 30s. The only way to stand a chance of being the next Taylor Swift is to believe that you will be be, and not worry about what happens if you fail.
Trust your ability and your agency to figure things out if plan A doesn’t work.
2. “Reduce your screen time.”
Screens are the future of work. Playing video games for 10 hours straight might not help, but you can learn all sorts of lucrative stuff new online skills.
If you want to start a side hustle, write a business plan, launch a website, or market a product or service, the right resources are out there, and often at little or no cost.
3. “Don’t sweat the small stuff.”
Partially wrong. While crippling anxiety needs to be treated, not all anxieties are problematic. Actually, studies show that the most successful entrepreneurs harness anxiety and make it work for them.
They maintain what’s called a state of “optimal anxiety”: the balance between having enough anxiety to catalyze focus and improve performance, but not so much as to inhibit excellence.
4. “Go work at a big, stable company.”
It used to be wise advice to start your career with giants like Facebook, Google, Lyft, Netflix and Disney. But even companies that once promised 30-year careers are now facing mass layoffs.
Instead of going with a big name, go for the right role. Make sure your interests and skills match the position you want, even if it’s a small start-up or a medium-sized company.
Better yet, use your skills and passion to start a business. It might sound crazy, but with a week of intense focus, you can use the AI to kick off a company earning $10,000 per month. And then you won’t have to worry about layoffs.
5. “Buy a house and settle down.”
Finally, the most important tip every young person should know: money is king.
Save money and preserve as much cash as possible. If that means renting or living at home, that’s fine. The housing market is expected to experience a major correction that could take years to unwind.
And in a highly inflationary environment, saving money is more important than going into debt. Credit card debt among people aged 18-25 is also at the highest rate compared to any other age group, so be more careful with overspending.
Matt Higgin is an investor and CEO of CSR companies. He began his career as the youngest press secretary in New York history, where he helped manage the global press response to 9/11. Matt’s book “Burn the Boats: Throw Plan B Overboard and Unleash Your Full Potential” is out now. Follow him on Twitter And instagram.
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