Discover more from America 2.0 (by Gary Sheng)
The Most Valuable Thing I Learned In My 20s
I just turned 30. Here’s my greatest takeaway for everyone in their 20s (and really, EVERYONE).
One of my favorite quotes is by investor and philosopher Ray Dalio:
Pain + Reflection = Progress
This simple equation resonates so much with me.
Life is full of pain.
You will encounter so many pain-creating obstacles on your journey:
Crippling self doubt.
An economic system that has long felt “upside down” to me; a system that seems to put the worst people on a pedestal.
The list goes on…
I’ve learned so much from the pain of my 20s, because I have been religious about reflecting on it.
On the note of reflection, this week, as I turned 30, I spent a bit of time reflecting on what principles I want to carry forth to my fourth decade on Earth.
Some of these principles are pretty standard, like “don’t invest in something you don’t understand.” I’ve made that mistake WAY too many times in my 20s.
But the most important principle I’m taking into my 30s is this:
SPEND TIME WITH PEOPLE WHO MAKE YOU FEEL ALIVE.
When you surround yourself with real cheerleaders and supporters, your entire life experience shoots through the roof.
Almost all of the people I have the privilege of hanging out and working with today make me feel seen and appreciated, and that has led to major improvements in my day-to-day mental health, productivity, and overall life satisfaction.
Every major conference I attend with these people feels like a big, healthy family reunion.
For these friends and colleagues, I strive to be to them what they are to me: an anchor, a cheerleader, a lightmaker.
When you and the people you care about are energy generators for each other, anything feels possible.
You probably aren’t fully there yet, and I'm not quite there yet either. But I want to be, and I'm getting there.
There is something magical that will happen if you find a way to spend the vast majority of your time with people who…
Appreciate what makes you unique and quirky
Love what you bring to the table—whether a hangout or a project
Are excited about helping you realize your dreams
Love what makes you YOU
When I turn 40, I want to look back at my 30s and be able to say, “Wow, the people I spent every day with were such lightmakers in my life. And working with them allowed me to step into my unique genius and create amazing projects and communities that have made a big difference in the world.”
It is a core human need to feel loved, respected, seen, and understood.
So find the people who really get you. Your experience of life will be completely different.
America 2.0 (by Gary Sheng) is a reader-supported publication. To receive new posts and support my work, consider becoming a free or paid subscriber.