What Some Incredibly Successful People Were Spending Their Time Doing at Twenty Five
Being twenty-five is a weird age. No doubt. At twenty five I think you start to just feel like an adult but only just. It’s about now that you get into a routine, you manage to do enough loads of washing to have enough work clothes for the week, you have three square meals and learn not to consume too much coffee because it makes your leg shake. You also learn that if you drink enough water and get enough sleep you are more productive the following the day, however you proceed to forget about drinking said water. All this new found learning and new found adultness means one thing. That you start to question everything in life. And part of that will inevitably be
“Is this what I should be doing with my life?”.
I’m sure we all have times in our life where we question our career, what to do with our lives, whether this, me now, was really what five year old me would be proud of.
I thought I’d give some reassurance to the other mid-twenties somethings that might be feeling a little lost / panicky that they haven’t got it all figured out. It’s easy to feel that life is steaming ahead and that you are barely holding on. I spoke a little about this in my one of my other articles, in that not having a clue, at this point, is totally fine and actually I think an advantage. The purpose of this article is to hopefully make you feel a little more at ease that everything is totally fine and you are unknowingly on the path to exactly where you want to be.
So, with that in mind, I thought it would a good idea to take a look at some of the most successful people in the world and understand where they were at twenty-five.
He continues to battle Bill Gates as the richest person in the world, he is said to have a net worth of circa $129 billion and I think there is no argument that in the traditional sense of the word, he is very successful. But where was he when he was twenty-five? Well, he’d graduated Princeton at this point after studying engineering and had entered the world of world. He started in a company called Fitel which was a telecoms startup and he progressed quickly. He then moved into the world of banking, where he became a Product Manager and stayed at Bankers Trust from twenty-four to twenty-six. That’s right, mid-twenties, the richest man in the world was a Product manager, for a banking company. He didn’t start Amazon until he was thirty. Thirty. I remember being eighteen and thinking at thirty life was pretty much over. As it turns out, the richest man in the world didn’t start one of the biggest companies in the world, until he was thirty.
There is a famous photo of him in a tiny office with amazon spray-painted on the wall in blue spray paint, hardly the photo of success at that point. For most of us, having a tiny office with the company name spray painted on the wall is not the vision of success at thirty. But that is how the richest man in the world started.
Okay, maybe it’s just a coincidence that Jeff was low-key until he hit his twenties. A reasonable suggestion — so what about someone else super successful? Warren Buffet?
Buffet got rejected from Harvard Business School and went on to study Economics at Columbia University. From there he went into the world of work working Buffett-Falk & Co. as an investment salesman till he was twenty-three, he then moved to Graham-Newman Corp. till he was twenty-five working as a Securities Analyst. He then formed the Buffett Partnership Ltd. He became a millionaire at age thirty-one. So Buffett wasn’t ‘smashing it’ in his mid-twenties either.
Okay, what about some others?
Sandra Bullock started taking acting classes at twenty-two. At twenty-four she’d just played a part in Bionic Showdown: The Six Million Dollar Man and the Bionic Woman. It wasn’t until twenty-seven she played small parts in Love Potion №9 and The Thing Called Love. You know, those well known films? It’s hard to imagine that ten years later she’d be starring in blockbusters.
The stories continue, Gary Vaynerchuk was stacking shelves in his dad’s business, Oprah was co-anchoring on a local radio show, RK Rowling had just had the idea for the Harry Potter series and was working as a secretary.
The moral to all this isn’t to implore you to take the foot off the pedal and migrate to Australia for five years (unless you want to), it’s to give some context to how real success is grown. It’s to give some realism to life and career success, whilst some people do find real success early in their career, for the vast majority of people it takes time, patience, a lot of failing and a lot of searching. I think what I’m trying to say is if you are mid-twenties, early thirties or whatever, it’s all fine — don’t be too hard on yourself and enjoy it.
Originally published at https://www.careerhealth.info on March 8, 2020.