How should a 22-year-old invest time?

1. Do not go looking for money
I repeat “Do not go looking for money”. Instead, look for work which empowers you with skills to help you learn and grow. Accepting a job solely due to the remuneration is is like pretending to water a plant by spraying water over its leaves. It looks shiny and attractive, but the plant eventually crumples and wilts since little attention was paid to nourishing its roots.

Money, in this case a fat pay packet, often warps perspective and leads people astray. It is especially hazardous when it’s tethered to a position considered prestigious in a milieu that respects convention and sneers at failure. The concept of owning boastful wealth is a treacherous mirage created by the society and people around us. Of course money is important, but I doubt if anyone goes to their grave lamenting that they couldn’t buy a Rolls Royce.
Cultures often lionize uber-rich celebrities and entrepreneurs but fail to throw light on the path they took to become successful. To lead truly fulfilling lives, it’s important to –

2. Do what you love
I’m sure you’ve heard this before. Yet only a few manage to wrap their head around this adage. Taking up work that you enjoy doing, and making a career out of it is probably the easiest way to lead truly rewarding lives. Imagine being given the opportunity to pursue a childhood hobby like origami or painting or any other activity through your entire life. If your heart is in the right place, you could grow up to be an world-class architect or an artist. The penthouse and a BMW will follow suit.

When you work on something you enjoy doing, you add immense value to this world and make yourself valuable in return. An artist adds value by regaling people through various forms of art. An entrepreneur adds value by solving large-scale problems and creating jobs. A sportsperson creates value by enthralling his/her fans and making nations proud.

Some people like Sachin Tendulkar find their passion at an early age while others like John Grisham take a while longer, which is totally alright. The important thing here is to keep looking and not settling for a life which seems insipid.
Like Jobs intoned ” You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle”

What makes your heart sing? If all jobs paid the same what would you be doing? Look at the man in the mirror and ask him these questions; and when the man has spoken, renounce everything to follow his calling.

3. Believe in yourself
Having full, unvioable faith in oneself is the best defense against a world saturated with naysayers. Remember that doubt has killed more dreams than failure ever will.

Believe that you are meant for the big stage, that you’re destined for greatness, that you can improve lives and make make the world a better place.

Never compare yourself with anyone. Every successful person was once an ordinary face in the crowd, grappling with the ladder to success. He too had the same doubts as you, and possessed very limited access to some resources that you take for granted; but he ploughed on; irrepressible faith in himself and and a healthy disregard for the doubting Thomas. It doesn’t matter if people did not take him or his idea seriously; the failure forged a smarter version of him.

Mistakes are good. Taking a wrong turn allows you to backtrack and sear the incorrect road into memory, never to be taken again. Sometimes the journey of a single step starts with a thousand miles in the opposite direction. Next time, our headstrong friend goes back to present an idea to someone, he will no longer be the callow bloke who was whisked away, but a hard-boiled egg which is tougher to crack than all those coming fresh out of the farm.

4. Invest in yourself
You are the best project you will ever work on. Try to learn something new everyday. Go to bed being smarter than when you woke up.
Work. Work while others play so that you can play while others work.

Believe in the power of preparation.There’s no glory in practice, but without practice there is no glory. Unyielding grit has the power to move mountains and change destinies. Renaissance artist Michelangelo said “If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful at all“

Read. It will help you like nothing ever has. A good book will give you sanctuary whenever you find yourself doused in drudgery. To reap the true joy of reading however, you would need to make time for reading – it should not be something you do in your free time, but something which has its place in your daily schedule.

Start a blog. Write. Put pen to paper. Vent your innermost thoughts. Bare your soul and write a journal or just shake the dust off the poet which had become dormant under the weight of textbooks. You don’t have to write the next best-seller but make sure you are the author of your own destiny.
“I start early, and I stay late, day after day, year after year, it took me 17 years and 114 days to become an overnight success” – Lionel Messi

19 Replies to “How should a 22-year-old invest time?”

    1. Read, read, read. That's the best thing you can do as a 22 years old adult, and at any age of your life. Pick the brain of the authors. You're literally time-travelling while you're reading, you're learning an idea or a lesson that probably took the author 20 years to figure out, in 20 minutes. Besides, today's education system is pushing everyone in the classroom the same thing in the same speed. Reading allows you to explore the topics of your own interests and progress at your own pace (regardless faster or slower).
    2. Figure out your strengths and your weaknesses. I won't say your passion and your true calling here because that's too abstract. If you never get started on something, how would you know what's your true calling? With that said, get started before you're ready. Then, collect internal and external feedback along the process. Most of the time, we don't just be good at something without a reason. We're good at something because we love doing it.
    3. Build relationship, not connection. Or in another word, build friends, family, and team members; not business contacts, contractors, and staff. There are differences in that two areas. The first requires you to provide values without thinking about a return, integrity, honesty, and real openness compared to the later. But, relationships last forever.
    4. Cultivate good habits. We're what we repeatedly do. It doesn't just apply in term of our actions, but our thoughts, beliefs, and decisions too. Figure out the routines you need to carry out daily to achieve what you want in life, get used to boredness, and practice concentration and consistency on everything you're doing. Never play a short game by hoping for unrealistic instant big wins, instead, master the power of habits and gain small wins by focusing on tiny actions. Opt for mastery, never dabble.
    5. Expand your comfort zone. You're not going to learn new things and gain better results in your comfort zone. Yes, you gain the certainty and security to stay at your comfort zone, there is no risk, no tears and blood in it. But all the opportunities of growth are beyond your comfort zone, you need to step out for that. Never let your fear hold you back in taking the risk, rather focus on the fear of losing, imagine the fear of not make changes and the loss of not taking actions. Now, be bold to enter your discomfort zone to crush it!
    6. Stay as a kid. 22 years old is the time when we think we should start being an adult, we should start to grow up, and we should start to prove that we're worthy. The truth – there is no such things as "grown up". "Grow up" in this society is basically wearing some masks to hide the real you and resist to feel any joy when life is supposed to be joyful. Instead, I suggest you stay as a kid, be real, and enjoy every moment of life.
    7. Invest in your health. Most people stop growing (in term of their body) at the age of 22. Your body is basically dying off slowly even if you are healthy. Don't speed up the process by smoking, drinking heavily, or ignoring your sleep. Spend time to hit the gym, prepare healthy meals, and do regularly check-up to buy a little more time in the worry-free and pain-free condition.
  1. Learn the art of life. Realize that the best things in life aren't things. That the happiness and peace of mind comes from within, depends solely on what you think. Learn to think.  Don't go by society's standards & the defined rights & wrongs. Think & find it out for yourself. Don't care what people would think. It's your life. Do what you love and do it often. Learn to live in the moment. Don't think about the past if it wasn't good, don't think about the future for it has yet to come. Always live in the present moment. Realize that we are on an organic spaceship that is revolving at a great speed in an universe which has no known start or end. Why worry about anything? Learn to be happy. And to find peace in your heart. Once you learn that, you will realize that everything else is just secondary. And that you can take whatever life throws at you.

    First do some uncommon things which many don't do and then decide what you wanna do with your life. Take the road less traveled. Read good books, watch good movies, listen to some good music. Be artistic. Create something. Have passion for something, For Life.
    Dream. Make those dream come true.

    Travel – no matter what the age, whether fit or unfit, if you can, always make time for travel. Go to new places, meet new people, learn about their life & culture. Every now & then, Spend a day (or week or month or year) or two in the wild, in the serenity of nature, away from all your daily life hassle.

    Try some adventures. Anything which you fear, which you think that you can't do or haven't done yet.

    Gaze at the starts in a wild night. It gives you a new perspective towards life and fills your heart with a sense of wonderfulness. You realize that there are more important things than what people do all day.

    Have a good life.

  2. If you are a 22 something years of age , you must have graduated from college , looking for job , or got a job or planning for higher studies. This is a peak time where you are starting on a career path and want to start of right.
    It doesn not have matter if you have missed on opportunities in the past or how well your peers are doing , what matters is how you look at the present and future keeping in mind the learnings from the past. Thats it ! There are so many wonderful things one can do and i shall list down few of them. Dont think you have to do it all at one go , select a few , stick to it , once you get it on your routine, keep adding to it 🙂 Alright great , so Lets get started !

    1) Read as many Books as possible !:

    Reading benefits an indivual in so many different ways. To name a few :
           a) Improves your vocabulary
           b) Broadens your knowledge
           c) Builds self confidence
           d) Has a positive impact on your perception

    Read more here :  10 Benefits of Reading: Why You Should Read Every Day

    2) Learn a new language :

      You are young , minds are fresh and willing to take in as much data as possible. Make the best out of it. Some of the benefits are :
         a) Learning a new language actually makes you smarter.
         b) Keeps you and your brain engaged in a positive manner.
         c) Improves your career prospects
         d) Helps widen your social circle to an international level 🙂

    Read more here : 12 Benefits of Learning a Foreign Language

    Some of the sites/apps best to learn new languages are :

    3) Learn to play a musical instrument : Any. But do.

         a)Simply put , They are too cool a skills.
         b)It actually increases your memory capacity 
         c)Sharpens your concentration
         d) Helps better express yourself

    Watch it here : How playing an instrument benefits your brain – Anita Collins

    There are so many professionals who have learned their choice of musical instrument through videos on youtube. Its that easy ! So go ahead , pick up your instrument and happy learning !! 🙂

    4) Play a sport regularly :

    You do not have to master it. Just playing a sport regularly keeps you mentally and physically fit.

    Read more here : Benefits of Sports & Health Information for Teens

    5) Volunteering is a must !: Like many suggested , volunteer. And before you do , understand what cause you believe in.

    Find the right NGO that works towards that cause and give your best. Trust me there is no beter feeling in the world than working with full dedication for a cause you strongly believe in.Thats a whole new level of satisfaction.

    Read more here : Volunteering and its Surprising Benefits

    Keep looking for volunteering opportunities at various NGOs. And when you do , make sure to pull in your friends too because any work only gets better when you do it together with your friends !

    6) Yoga :  Meditate. It is probably the easiest and quickest way to stay healthy , both physically and mentally.

     In case you have a busy schedule , and dont find time for yoga postures , or dont seem to find the right spot for it , there still is a simple solution. Pranayama. This can be done anytime and anywhere. it simply is deep breath in and breath out.

    Read more here : Benefits of Pranayama

    7) Learn to code !

    Not many would be comfortable learning to code. Some just hate it and thats only because they dint find the right guide.

    Coding is an amazing skill. Its nothing less than a super power and you no less than a superhuman !  Today , you don't have to join classes to  learn it , you can stay home, chose a comfortable seat , and learn at your own sweet pace while mastering the not just the basics but all of it !!

    Please check these sites :

    8) Spend time with family : The environment at home greatly affects your external behavior.

    Having a healthy relationship with your sibling , spending time with family is huge plus for a healthy lifestyle. It keeps you happy even after a bad day as your the presence of your family ate home help you cope up with all the negativity to a good extent.

    Read more here : A Wise Investment: Benefits from Families Spending Time Together

    9) Plan your daily schedule :

    Each day before going to bed , Plan your schedule for tomorrow. Right from waking up time , jogging , yoga etc,  split each tasks by giving a specific time period and work by it. Of course there will be changes the next day and strictly adhering to the timeline might not always be possible, but try to go by it as much as possible.

    Planning your day has many benefits and to name a few :

          a) Since your day has mentally been organised , it keeps your mind attentive as the next task is scheduled soon.
          b) Brings discipline to life and that this change will be seen in your work too.
          c) Once you get used to planning out tasks , you tend to keep everything organised, which makes your life simple in the long run.
         d) You gain more clarity on how things are to be done.

    10) Jot down those 'Light-Bulb' ideas ! :

    We cant deny the fact that invariably all of us , get some mind blowing ideas every now and then , random times. But thanks to smartphones and our addiction to them , we always have it with in our palms. So always keep a "Take Notes" app in your phone , and write down whatever comes to your mind.

    It could be irrelevant what you currently do , it could be for the future , some business ides that might seem impossible or any such thing. DOESN'T MATTER ! Irrespective of the possibility of it happening , YOU HAVE TO NOTE IT DOWN.

    Just start off , even share it with your friends, talk about it , ask them their opinions , and just see the magic (your ideas ) Happen !

    Some of the apps that can help you take down your brilliant ides , plan them out and help better execute are :

    a) Google Keep
    b) Evernote
    c) Any Do
    d) Microsoft One Note

    11) Get a White board in your room ! :

    I love white boards. So easy to write on it that you feel like thinking more just to write something more on it !  So yes to me its a must to have one as its very presence will force to you write , draw or plan something out thereby putting points 9 and 10 into your routine.

    There are somethings smartphones , computers , projectors etc can never replace. For example , even though we have all the newspapers on net , there's nothing like reading a newspaper on a quiet morning sipping a hot cup of coffee, Right ? In the same way , white boards are thee best to plan out tasks , a tool for explaining concepts , and what not. Its simply a wonder . So please do have one in your room ! You will definitely see the change.

    12) Join the Toastmasters Club ! :

    Now this is one unique club. Scared of public speaking or want to enhance your leadership skills or you want to just have a great time , this is just the club for you. I realized the existence of this club pretty late , 22 is a prime time and its always best to start early on this.

    Some of the benefits of Toastmasters Club are :
              a) Public speaking ?  Ace it with ease !
              b) Extend your network of friends.
              c) Improve oratory skills
              d) Enhance your leadership skills

    Learn more here : Toastmasters International -Home

    13) Be a part of a committed NGO! :

    In case you have plans of higher studies like MBA , a full time NGO experience is a good value addition to your resume while giving you a satisfaction of serving the society.There are thousands of NGOs out there doing some amazing work in various fields around the world.Volunteering can be taken up as a full time career. So here am going to talk about few fellowships that people can take up as full time career for a year or two. Some of the prominent fellowships i have come across are as follows :

     a) Teach for All network :
    Teach For All is a global network of independent nonprofit organizations that apply the model pioneered by Teach For America and Teach First in the UK.
    Teach For all currently has 34 partner organizations around the world. Within this network, Teach For All is supporting over 11,000 teachers that are impacting nearly 800,000 students.

    Just as Teach For America and Teach First place top college graduates and professionals into low-income communities throughout America and the UK, Teach For All organizations place their nations' most promising future leaders as teachers in high-need classrooms around the world.

    b) Young India Fellowship :
    The Young India Fellowship (YIF) seeks to groom young women and men like you who will lead India through the 21st century.

    The YIF will bring together 200 emerging leaders from around India in a one- year residential post-graduate programme in our nation’s capital. We will launch you on your leadership journey by opening your mind to a rich and diverse set of subjects and perspectives, delivered by some of the finest teachers of our generation from around the world.

    Learn more here : http://www.youngindiafellowship….

    NOTE : The average cost of the programme per Fellow is INR 6 lakhs with an additional INR 75,000 as food cost. Each Fellow is sponsored fully or partially by a sponsor. Thanks Aishwarya Jain for pointing it out.This is a critical info you have given.
    For scholarship details , you may check : http://www.youngindiafellowship….

    c) American India Foundation :

    The American India Foundation is dedicated to catalyzing social and economic change in India and building a lasting bridge between the United States and India.

    Learn more here : Clinton Fellowship | American India Foundation

    d) Gandhi Fellowship-

    The Fellowship is an intensive 2-year rural residential program that helps talented young people develop the leadership skills necessary for positive change in society. The Fellowship challenges these young people to support primary school headmasters to transform their schools. In the process, Fellows discover what they want to do with their own lives and how to go about converting their ideas into reality.

    Learn more here : Gandhi Fellowship

    e) Azim Premji Foundation Fellowship Program-

    The Fellowship is an opportunity for you to explore various dimensions of education, and to discover if this is your calling. It is a 2-year full-time program, where a fellow will get to understand and experience the realities of rural Government schools. The fellowship involves-
    a) 5 weeks classroom module to strengthen conceptual understanding of education and development issues
    b) 22 months of intense field engagement at the grass roots level in the district institutes of the foundation.
    c) Working on a live project that has significant purpose of improving quality at practice level.

    Learn  more here : Fellowship | Azim Premji Foundation

    There are hundreds of other fellowship programs across the world. I am still learning. Please do suggest and let us know of any such NGO fellowship programmes which you think are doing some great work !

  3. A relevant answer would be: How can you live an interesting life?

    I will give you an unconventional answer. Before you enter the "usual work-family cycle", I would recommend you to experience unconventional areas of work/life (and hopefully find something you'd truly love to do). At 23 you probably have no dependents and will be the only time in your life where you can experiment with minimal risk.

    1. Save an emergency fund (say $10K) first and do not touch this money, unless you really really really need it.

    2. Allocate some money in paying off your debt (if you have any) on a monthly basis. Do not take on any more debt for at least 2 years: education/credit card/car/home etc.

    3. If you have some extra money after doing the above:

    –  Read as much as you can. Watch a lot of documentaries/videos/ lectures/interviews/stories (on say YouTube).Do your own research and form your own opinions. Buying an e-reader may not be a bad investment. Add your local library to your list and get books loaded on your e-reader.

    – Try to have a fun but frugal lifestyle. There will be enough time in your life to shop and spend.

    – Try to find/expand your interests and invest in them. Travel, attend seminars/ conferences, make new friends, do some certifications, take up some courses…

    Invest in a small business (could be run by a friend or relative). Take personal interest and try to help them with sales, hiring etc. It could be an art studio or a cycle workshop or even a flower shop. It is important to know the business and economics of things around you.

    This is part of my answer from How should a 23-year-old invest money?. I believe both questions are tied up. Time is money and money is time 🙂

  4. This is a great question as I wish I had given myself this advice when I was 22! I'm a dating and relationships coach now and have coached men and women whom have never truly reached or discovered  what they *certainly* wanted to do and how to become not only satisfied in themselves, but completely happy wherever they may stand in life.

    Let me give you the TOP 5 ADVICE I WOULD GIVE A 22 YEAR-OLD.

    #1 –  Recognize that you can become "successful" RIGHT NOW without attaining the *trappings-of-success*. What you'll need to attain are precisely 3 things: (1) Be pleased with yourself. (2) Feel that you've arrived at any one moment. And (3) BE happy. Let me explain….

    Self-confidence is what you KNOW you can do. Anything that you don't know you could do,  you can't truly be confident about BUT you can have a high self-estimation. SELF-ESTEEM is what you estimate of yourself. Keep in mind:

    *You cannot achieve anything without risking not being able to do it. In a more traditional sense, you cannot succeed at anything without risking failing at it.*

    When you've reached the point where your self-estimation and your Self-confidence are evenly matched, you'll reach SELF-SATISFACTION. Self-satisfaction is profoundly attractive as you'll radiate a positivity about you that trumps anybody else's "trying" to be confident. Remember, anything you're 'trying' to do will be off-putting… because trying is the actual opposite of 'being'.

    You can be tremendously pleased with yourself AT ANY MOMENT! You're valuable because the experiences you've had has made you the person you are. You are you and that's good enough to do and be anyone you'd like to be or any person you'd like to 'do' 😉

    The word SUCCESS has been perverted over time to mean a "positive outcome". The truth is the word success comes from the word "succession". It means to continue something (a 'successor' is someone continuing a lineage). Therefore as long as you continue a succession of  ATTEMPTS, you are indeed SUCCESS-FUL! And that's something you can do right now if you choose! It's powerfully enlightening and there it is!

    Finally, there is HAPPINESS. Contrary to popular belief, happiness is something YOU DECIDE TO DO. It ISN'T something given to you. People mistakenly believe happiness is something to be gotten from something or someone else because when we were babies, we only had two states :comfortable or uncomfortable. Happy or unhappy. When we were unhappy, we cried out and 'received' something to make us happy. So we grew up thinking happiness is something we *get* from somewhere else.

    The truth is, happiness is something you can have RIGHT NOW just by deciding to be happy. In fact, there's no such thing as "pretending" to be happy, there's merely experiencing it! Just in the same way that you know people who are miserable for absolutely no reason whatsoever, you can be happy for no reason at all! Just by deciding to!

    When you're self-happy, self-satisfied, and success-ful, you will radiate one of the most attractive states one could have. I consider this state more powerful than enlightenment once it's truly attained. Women and men will become attracted to you and even domestic animals!

    #2 – You're taught that LOVE is something which it actually isn't. Love, real, true, unconditonal love IS WANTING FOR YOUR BELOVED'S HAPPINESS INTRINSIC TO YOUR OWN HAPPINESS. Therefore anything that prevents that (like jealousy, possessiveness, ownership, etc) is a demonstration of your LACK of love for that person! Furthermore, love is *additive* not subtractive. There's no such thing as you can only love one person even sexually. The more you love, you'll discover that the more powerful you can love! Just like lighting another candle with the flame of the original candle doesn't take any fire from the original candle.

    #3 – Invest much of your time in *getting rid* of "self-deception". People constantly deceive themselves by knowing something to be true that isn't true at all. You MUST recognize something critically important :

    Most of what you know are TAUGHT to you. These are things that you think you know to be true but when you truly look into it, you'll discover it was false the whole time. Remember that for a very long time people thought that the world was flat and the earth was the "center" of the universe (in fact some people whom would rather be simple-minded still regard the Earth as the center of the universe – neglecting to realize that ANY point where you are, you are the center of, e.g., everything is a foot, a mile, 10 miles away from you).

    It took a very very long and countless of experiments and observation to discover the earth is actually round, and the Earth is merely a planet amongst a vast body of celestial objects.

    People still cling to old beliefs that which has no connection with reality but merely ideas created from a time immemorial when people haven't considered things were any other way than they're taught.

    You can get rid of this self-deception through reading books, being around good people, finding mentors that have the abilities you'd like to cultivate in yourself, looking into things, and more importantly, getting rid of anything that constitutes faith. Remember, belief is any idea that you have an emotional investment over. And faith, is any belief that DENIES any burdens-of-proof, evidence and reason. You must dispel ANYTHING that denies reason for self-deception is the root of all evil.


    Watch your communication. Your language (the *structure* of the words that you speak) is a mirror of your neurology and your neurology is mirrored in your language. With good intuition through training, you'll be able exactly how a person is just by listening to how they speak. As I do therapy, I immediately know how to guide someone out of an unwanted position in life or a phobia, just by listening to how they structure their language.

    I want you to increase your vocabulary. Think about it in this metaphor: if you are trying to show someone something, and that person has a small vocabulary, it is as if they're looking through a small hole through a wall, exclaiming, "I can't see whatever you're trying to show me." they can't see it because they don't have the representation in their mind nor the ability to communicate something which they don't have the syntax in their brain to be able to convey something.

    When it comes to any relationship you'll have in your life where it be your beloved, friends, colleagues, customers, or employers, communication will be your NUMBER ONE tool to be able to create your desired outcome whether it be to persuade, to exude, or to attract!

    BECOME PURPOSEFUL in your communication as well as your life.

    #5 – Invest 10-15% of your money from EVERY PAYCHECK into an investment portfolio. A portfolio is simply a collection of accounts wherein you divide your investments into (i.e. stocks, bonds, real estate, annuity, etc.). Keep in mind that you CANNOT beat the market unless it's something you do full-time. Therefore, if investing is not something you want to do full-time, create a portfolio that can withstand the rises and falls of the market. There are investments that go up when the market is down, and there are even investments that never do not go down below your initial investment even when the market is down.

    Once you've done this, just set it and forget it. With the power of compound interest, you'll see (a fiduciary can explain it to you) how a 10-15% allocation to your portfolio every paycheck can turn into a million dollars by the age of 45.

    For more assistance on what should be in your portfolio, see a fiduciary, NOT a financial advisor. The difference between the two is that a financial advisor gets commissions from the products they advice you to invest in. A fiduciary, on the other hand, gets no commissions from anything they recommend and therefore are solely there for your best interest.

    FINALLY, always remember these words. You will never be the same again. My voice will go with you.

    To get more introspection on one of the most important areas you MUST cultivate, which is relationships, get this badass book, that'll certainly reframe most of the things you hold true: RELATIONSHIPS 101: How To Have Happy, Harmonious, Sexual, & Loving Relationships at

  5. DO

    1. Reading books is one of the best investments.   Do not forget to read world classics.   They will strengthen you to face challenges and win the race.
    2. Have a passion for something.  It will be great if it is something that is helpful for others.  Take it as a hobby and enjoy it.
    3. This is the time you need to gain expertise in your career.  Master something you really like and keep ahead always.  Keep yourself updated all along.
    4. Be helpful to others, especially the needy.  There is nothing in the world that will give you more satisfaction and pleasure.

    DO NOT

    1. Do not 'try' to make friends.   Good friends will be happening without any efforts.  Some people even compromise on their moral standards to gain friends, but time will prove they were wrong. 
    2. Never say YES when you wanted to say NO.  Feel free to say NO when you mean it.
  6. I think the way you have framed the question itself answers the major to-do for a 22 year old: to invest his time, instead of 'consuming' it. While it is obviously easy to give advice, I will caveat my statements by clearly stating that I am myself 22 and just about learning the ways of life. But here's how I am approaching this –

    1. Professional Life: Try and explore new ideas, new things – it gets really tough once you are settled in a career. Try to get a jump start in life – joining a top-notch organisation is one clear way. I see a lot of answers here by 20 something entrepreneurs, and that's obviously one way to get experiences of learning. However, what I believe is if you are graduating from a top class institution or are working in a bulge bracket firm, you have a very very good safety net to fall back on. The way I look at it is: you have to maximise your return per unit of risk, so make sure you have solid educational background (Engg/professional degree/MBA from a top class school) and some great jobs on ur resume for the first couple of years (MBB/IB/PE et al). Its pretty painful at times to be working/studying in the 'prime' of your life, but the payoff lasts forever. (I am a CA, CS, CFA and a Business Analyst at McKinsey, so whatever I do later on – I know I will never really have to end up on the streets)

    2. Personal Life: I really dont see myself qualified to give a lot of advice on the personal life side of things, but I am very aware of the limited time we have on Earth. Since I am blessed with grandparents on both sides, I try and spend some good time with them each week. Regularly going out with family and friends helps you keep your perspective 🙂 I also see a lot of people get judgemental and uptight, and while everyone is entitled to their own opinion, I have found that being more open-minded helps make you feel a tad bit happier 🙂

    3. Learning: Apart from studying/learning for professional reasons, try and spend a lot of time reading and getting perspective from various sources. We live in an age where a lot of resources are available freely – there are some great lectures on iTunesU. At the same time, newspapers, magazines such as Forbes and Fortune and even following the right people on Twitter will 'smarten' you up on a bunch of things. I try and read as much as I can in my spare time – and its a hobby worth developing. I would strongly suggest biographies of the people you admire – many talk rather frankly about obstacles and dilemmas of their own lives.

    4. Hobbies/Sports: In a fast paced world, it is easy to forget to develop a hobby or take care of your self. Make sure you get sometime to yourself – some of my best thinking has happened, of all the places, in the steam room at my gym. Developing a hobby/sports such as swimming, tennis, squash etc keeps your body tuned and your mind fresh, and makes you feel young 🙂

    5. Giving Back: The very fact that you are reading this answer means you have been blessed with a computer or a smartphone, the basic luxuries that to the millions among us stands denied. Spend some time doing something for other people: teach at your school, mentor a junior, help underprivileged children with their English, spend time with the elderly, consult with a social enterprise. It will help shape your life and keep you humble, but most importantly, speaking from my own experience, will help you decide what's truly important and spark a debate on how you should measure your life achievements. I can personally say that my goals have evolved from wanting to become a partner in a PE firm to asking myself, how can I make a large-scale impact on the unfortunate situations in my community, country and humanity.

    Hope this helps 🙂

  7. Here is the answer, You need to invest time into figuring out your true PASSION! 

    Why passion, you ask.  Passion is what will make you stay up late and wake up early.  Passion is when you work you body so hard it will feel like you are on vacation.  Passion takes time to discover.  Your 22 years young.  It took me 26 years to just realize that I needed to find my passion. Then it took another two years of finding it.
    On December 15, 2010, at 8:23 A.M. On that morning, I turned twenty-six years old. (yes I remember the exact time) I woke up in bed lying alone, just thinking to myself. When I thought of my future, I was sick to my stomach. The sickness I had was not from my job, relationships, or money.  The pain was caused by knowing that I had greatness within. I was choosing not to be who I was born to become. 
    On that day I told myself I had to take the journey I was meant to take. It took two years of exploring to find my passion in life.   I read books, traveled, went to business startups, invented products, tried new activities, changed the way I ate, meditated, and talked to anyone who was more successful than I was; and then it hit me. 
    I realized that I wanted to become a person that others could look towards for guidance, motivation, and inspiration.  I felt amazing once I realized that.  I took the necessary step to make a website, blog, and a podcast to fulfill my passion.  I just launched my podcast three days ago and it feels awesome.  I have a day job but I stay up till 2-3 am every single day working on this passion of mine.  I am I tired, worn down, and drained every single day I go to my job?  YES, but ask me how I feel when I work on my passion.  I am energetic, motivated, and am so dam happy it pisses my wife off. 
    This is article is not about me its about how you should invest your time. You need to find your passion. How do you do that?  You need to put yourself out there. Start with looking at Find Meetup groups near you if there is something you are interested in go to it.  When you are their meet 10 new people.  From the 10 you will meet 5 people you will want to get to know.  From those 5 ask them to meet up for coffee, lunch, or just email.  Pick their brains.  I mean really ask the crazy questions about life, job, hobbies, and connections.  If all of those 5 people don’t help you in the direction towards your passion. Then go to another meet up. Keep talking and meeting new people.  You are 22 years old you don’t know nothing about nothing.  So ask them the questions that you want the answers too. 
    You better not say I am not good at meeting new people.  Wow shocker did you know that 99% of the American population does not feel comfortable meeting new people out of the blue. Do you know who the other 1% are? The 1% do feel comfortable meeting others and picking their brains. The 1% are all the people that own more money than the other 99% combined.  The 1% meet people, they talk face to face, they grab lunch, and pick each other’s brains. 
    You need to invest time into talking to other people.  Successful or not everyone can give you little pieces of advice.  Combine all of those tips and figure out your true path in life.  You will find your passion if you do this.  If you put yourself out there your passion will come to you.  It might not be obvious, you might have to search a little, or it could hit you in the face. Either way you are 22 years old you have a long life to live but its only short when you don’t live your true passion filled life. 
    Check out my passion aka my podcast: Operation Self Reset on iTunes

  8. I have a 22-year old son, and my advice to him is the same.
    Between 16 and about 30, life gives us incredible energy. After that, we have less energy and less time. As Franklin said, "Do ye love life? Then do not waste time, for that is the stuff life is made of." A great lesson of Western Civ is to delay gratification in hopes of a better reward down the road. Hence, the many compelling time-wasters of our day (mindless internet surfing, video games, texting, reality TV, endless social media use, porn, bad relationships etc.,) –these are all a slow drip of poison for the life you hope to have. You can never get back those many hours wasted.

    What should one do instead? Read, study and build skills. Listen to old people. Hone your ability to concentrate. You are now in the 'habit-forming' time of your life, that will carry forward for many years. Guard your integrity: your word, the quality of your friendships, the interests you allow yourself. Be fully in the moment; life is more interesting that way.

    My son is a student and a cook. If I was between jobs, I told him, or if I had some days available, I'd ask to work for a week at a few different restaurants as an unpaid intern. Sign a liability waiver, smile, and tell them you want to learn from experts like them, and all you want at the end of the week is a great reference or referral. They may feel complimented, and give you a chance. They may keep you on, as a paid employee. You'll learn to cook other things, and add a new cuisine to your experiences. Think about your young life this way, as an opportunity to pack away experiences. It's hard to find the time to learn them, later.

    For those NOT on scholarship and WITHOUT deep parental financial support: A young person should first seriously consider learning a trade, at a tech or occupational school, before their college career. A trade: working with your hands with a bona fide skill connects you to the real world in a way classroom knowledge cannot. Your work at that trade will pay you much more per hour. Paying for college by working full time at a low-wage entry level job is mind-numbingly hard. Besides, this will make you more interesting. "Hmm, an accountant who can weld? I'd better read this resume…" Personally, I use all kinds of skills I picked up while young, which come in handy now.

    Ah… but be careful: Peer pressure will urge you toward making that trade into your life. That extra money will be a big temptation. Do you want to stop there? Or continue on to a better place, and a 4-year degree? HAVE A PLAN – don't just putter along. Use a trade as a tool to better yourself, as part of a broader goal, with timelines, a series of objectives and self-discipline. Such discipline is hard, at first, especially if your friends aren't supportive. And why is that?..
    Because vampires are real: Understand that some of your friends may be time-vampires, or for that matter, emotion-, or energy-vampires. All relationships are a give-and-take, but if your friends chronically derail you from your goals, dreams or better judgment, get new friends.
    One last item on this point: While some relationships are unhealthy, and should be allowed to fade, at the same time, don't hold a grudge about it. — Don't hold on to grudges about other people in general: The trap of blaming others for one's failings is a chronic problem in society today, and an internal sap for one's energy, attitude and discipline. It becomes an excuse that permits us to sit on the couch and say "I might as well not even try." We are so much better off if we can let minor irritations go, and forgive ourselves and others from human frailties. Related to this, playing the victim card and complaining that others are racist, or sexist, or classist, or phobic or whatever, may get us a pat on the head from our 'friends', but it doesn't really get us anywhere in life. Better to hit the next day with a good attitude, ready to work hard, with an open mind. Trust me on this.

    Turning to something more pragmatic, one should avoid student loans if at all possible. In the US, we're probably looking at the bubble of higher education bursting soon, because the cost of education has risen so much faster than inflation, and because the quality of education is declining. Admissions officers lie. "Oh yes, Modern Dance is a fine major. I'm sure you'll find many rewarding opportunities with this degree, as do all our grads. Just sign here…" And on this subject, look at what starting income is for your proposed field of study. Don't waste your financial aid. If you are going into debt with student loans, know that a new grad will almost certainly be paying huge bills in comparison to their salary – and for decades – if they've chosen a sociology degree, architecture, or fine arts, or womens' studies, or basically anything in the soft sciences, with the salaries those degrees command. Even if they can find a job! Sorry. Hard sciences, business or pre-professional curriculums are a much better bet. [For more, see this link for a study of Return on Investment (ROI) for US colleges, and my response to Dan Dorpsworthy, below.]

    I want to be clear: I like (good) architecture, and women (as a rule), and (good) art. But these degrees don't pay well, or there aren't many opportunities with those degrees compared to the number of grads.

    Quick story: my car dealer had a 22 year old come in to buy a new car. He'd just graduated from a state school with a degree in… Geneaology. He had $140k in student loans, and was looking for work, having a tough time of it. My dealer told him he was nuts to take on more debt, that he would be lucky to get even a $40k/yr job. It absolutely shocked the kid, and when he recovered, he stormed out; it was probably the first time someone told him the truth about his prospects. But it was the truth, nevertheless.

    Ah, but I digress. Let't talk about you.
    Brain-building – If you can't concentrate and read a book for a few hours, work on it anyway. Until at least the age of 25, the brain is still developing its habits. Starve its craving for the video games you play, and feed its ability to focus on books or a study topic. This gets much easier with practice. To test this, mark the hardest chapter of your hardest book, and go back to it in six months to see how much easier it is to comprehend.

    This is very important – please read the next two lines very carefully: Your choices in life don't just define you, they become you. YOU ARE YOUR CHOICES… That simple fact is the greatest piece of wisdom anyone ever gave me. Our brains grow to meet the experiences we give ourselves. If you spent hundreds or thousands of hours on video games, your brain will be wired to seek pleasure through them, and it will be a serious battle of withdrawal to break away from that endorphin source. The same is true with all habits we nurture. When YOU control your brain's input, instead of passively seeking whatever is pleasurable, you can begin to change your habits and your very self. Example: More study make studying easier. Or, regular writing helps you communicate better over time. Talking, versus texting, helps you develop interpersonal skills that will make you more valuable as an employee and a better friend. Practicing a musical instrument eventually makes your brain comprehend the nuances of any music you listen to much more deeply. As you sleep you'll create new clusters of brain synapses to support an ability or skill where they didn't exist before. But the reverse it true, too, for bad habits…

    Porn is destructive. If you have to watch porn to get turned on, you are harming your ability to find natural pleasure with your partner. Eventually, that porn habit will destroy your relationships. It fairly quickly leads to other bad things, like dysfunction, secrecy, cheating, hurtful behavior, unrealistic perceptions of yourself and others, self-hatred, disease and destruction of trust. It. Will. Consume. You. And dramatically change how you would normally relate with your world. Ban it from your mind. Be your own censor. You are worth more than to let yourself descend into that hell. (Not convinced? Watch the video I've appended to the end of this post.)
    Anything you do repetitively helps you become an expert at it. So ask yourself, "Do I really want to commit thousands of hours toward being an expert at video games, or at writing Reddit memes, or at an internet porn obsession?" Ugh. At the end of your life, will you wish you had spent more time doing those things? Do they offer any redeeming, long-term value to you? Of course not. Some day, young one, you will understand what I am writing here. I'd rather you understand it now, than as a broken 70-year old, alone and muttering about the unfairness of life, and all your missed chances.
    Be discerning – don't just consume whatever mindless pleasure comes your way, like an unthinking organism. Guard your gates.
    You will appreciate a decision to make a regular workout into a habit that you do several times a week. When I was younger, I could go to class and study all morning and afternoon, then work at a job and maintain concentration and energy late, late into the evening. I didn't set aside time to exercise as much as I should have when younger, and I regret that now. Today, when I have trouble focusing on work after 8 or 9PM, it is because I am fighting against my body's slowdown, and is an indicator that I should get to the gym more often. But climbing that mountain (becoming fit) is harder than staying there once you arrive.

    Be Fully in the Moment – Do you find yourself texting in class, or at a dinner with friends? When you do that, those around you often feel uncomfortable, as if you are saying they are less important. Put it away, and open up your awareness to all you are missing. There are people you may see today whom you will never see again, old folks who will die, and younger people who may move away. Let them have a great last memory of you.
    Are you ready for the five or six incredible chances that each of us get in our lifetime? A co-worker once told me, "Tom, every day is an interview." Every day we get evaluated… If you can get your head around that, and train yourself to be "on" at a moment's notice, or when you need to be brilliant, then you will become the person who gets noticed, who gets hired, and gets promoted. The truth is, we often create our own luck. Even the Ancients noticed it: In the words of Euclid, "Fortuna eruditis favet" means Fortune favors the prepared mind. -A variant on the Roman saying, Fortune favors the bold; both maxims are true.

    Mentors: You may have a mom or dad who can give you practical advice. Or a grandparent. Seek them out, or an older person who is 'disinterested,' meaning they don't just think the world revolves around you. Give your mentors the freedom to tell you the truth, even to hurt your feelings. Listen to how they perceive you, and your talents and weaknesses. Eventually, you will use your talents to address and fix your weaknesses, but not if you're stuck blaming others for them. Even if it was your parent's damn fault.

    Ladies, be hard to get. Or at least, don't be easy. It messes with your head, and makes you think you have less value. No meaningful relationship starts at 1AM. At some level, men, more than women, are wired for the chase, for the conquest. Yes, it's disturbing to see how they can walk away from a brief fling with a partner. Yet, they often do walk away, unless you build a friendship first that shows him you have many attributes of value, not just sex. This link describes the hormonal and psychological basis for this. See, men and women ARE different, contrary to Western educational fads that would deny it, and if you come to realize this, you will likely be happier, as is explained here. My dear, you are worth more than being a booty call. If, for him, you are just 'scratching an itch', it is unlikely to turn into something more when the other parts of his brain kick in and he associates YOU as BEING EASY. And, at 1AM, are you really in your best frame of mind to determine if he is worth your time? Focus on your goals, on real people and not players, and stay healthy and childless until you find a real partner – a man, not a boy. If you don't know, watch how he acts when under stress, or how he treats strangers. Don't make excuses for him: either he is ready for real life, or he's still in the nest. Maybe what he really needs is for you to walk away.

    Especially for young men, a "coming of age" experience is crucial to our psychological development. I hitchhiked across Canada. Leaving the safety net and going it on one's own is an important step for how a boy becomes a man because it gives us a foundation for our own self-reliance. A man will remember it when he needs a boost of courage. Where others have suggested 'travel' here, that's fine, but just another spring break trip to a beach hotel is almost certainly a waste.

    There is a psychological basis for this, and by pointing out what young men need in their development, I'm not saying anything derogatory about women. Generally, women are progressing better in western society than men, these days. I'm personally very worried about how we teach young boys, and the lack of ambition seen in many teenage males. It's led to a vast lost generation of aimless men in their 20s and 30s, and it is the reason why there are far more undergrad women in college now, than men. This is a topic for a different post, but if interested, read "Boys Adrift" by Leonard Sax MD PhD. The summary: Boys and girls develop at different rates. At kindergarten, some kids are 'ready to learn,' while others need another year of playtime. This is normal. But we harm those who aren't ready – as it turns out, this is mostly boys – by forcing them to sit at attention in school when their brains still have minimal (~toddler) attention spans. (They'll catch up, sometimes surpassing girls, sometimes falling behind in all areas of development, but the error comes in thinking both sexes are the same.) Boys at the age of five need more physical activity or playtime as they transition into schoolkids. Without it, school becomes a chore, and an unhappy one, where they turn off to learning, and turn away from achievement and ambition, for life. This isn't a reflection of natural 'smarts' or 'stupidity.' Many smart boys can quickly make a habit of turning off when it comes time to learn, when if they'd waited just a year to start school, their lives would be completely different. Sax's book also outlines several other disastrous errors in how we teach boys compared to girls. The concept I raised earlier about changing the mind's habits can be seen in effect from these early experiences. New parents, this is a very good book for you to read. Here’s a terrific short video on this subject, the “War on Boys”.
    If I've described YOU, hear me: it's not too late. I promise: knowing all this, you can change the way you think, but it's hard. It will be some months before you begin to see the rewards of denying bad habits with disciplined attention to productive pursuits. Don't focus on the time you lost, but on the future you can still gain.

    Have you hurt someone recently? Yes you have. Face it. Find a way to make amends, and explore and exhibit genuineness, kindness and empathy. Let the other person's emotions wash over you, and get a sense of their perspective. Breathe it in, and let yourself feel bad. It's human. Self-focused narcissism that would discount the feelings and needs of others is an utter epidemic right now; a little reasonable guilt, then forgiveness, is a healthy thing. And learn to be courteous to everyone. You would be astounded to realize just how many people you pass every day who are suffering.

    Finally, a habit of clear-eyed self-talk is incredibly valuable, and incredibly hard. If you can learn to put your B.S. excuses aside, and make agreements with yourself that you live up to, you will set yourself up for a far better life than you would have, giving in to every temptation that comes your way. When you realize that YOU OWN your life, and it is yours to create or destroy, that is the beginning of adulthood.

    UPDATE: I'm gratified at all the kind comments about this post, and sincerely hope it helps many of you. The dialog continued a bit, with my back-and-forth with Dan Dorpsworthy, below. It's difficult knowing where to stop giving advice in this kind of post, as while writing I am tempted to put in "just one more paragraph." Maybe it would be better to do a series on my blog. Best wishes, -Tom

    UPDATE 2: I wrote this original answer 29 Jan, 2013, with some occasional edits afterward. It is entirely my work, except where noted and quoted. Strangely, about 20 March, 2017 it was collapsed under a claim of “lack of attribution or plagiarism.” I vigorously deny such, as a fraudulent claim, and have appealed. Further, I assert that this essay may not be copied or used without attribution of my authorship, and valid notification to me of the same. If attributed to me, readers may freely quote the piece, or link to it. -Tom Jackson

    UPDATE 3: I’m delighted that the Huffington Post has picked up this piece for wider distribution, published there 24 March 2017. I hope it helps many people. We are all connected.

    UPDATE 4: I’m further delighted that Quora moderators have un-collapsed my answer today, 3 April 2017, noting that it had been done in error. Thank you to those who wrote in to complain about this injustice.
    Last, on the porn issue. One of the comment writers here, Gonçalo Henrique, sent a terrific TEDx presentation on this subject, and how internet porn addiction – and other addictions – can screw up your life. It's worth watching:

  9. I was 22 last year. And this is what I did:

    I was working for a startup. There is a big difference between working for a big company and a startup.

    It paid me quite well. With which I was able to buy a lot of things that I once thought "Dam, that one is too costly. Who will ever buy that?"

    I am a tech guy, before I entered the startup I always thought I will be a tech guy. But inside it I realised that I am more better at Sales & Marketing

    So I started to buy books to read about Sales, Marketing & Psychology.

    The book "Influence" by Robert Cialdini, totally changed my view about lot of things. Now my thirst for knowledge grew. I started buying and reading books on various fields.

    Books on Startups, Business Models, Sales, Marketing, Psychology, Economics,  Neuroscience, History, Anthropology,  Criminology, Christianity, Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism fascinated me and gave me a new perspective on a lot of things.

    Then I quit my job. Spent more time on reading all those books I purchased. Spent sometime in freelancing, was able to call people and get projects. Spent some time in creating some Web Products and marketed them. Was making some money. When you create something of your own and you sell it someone by your own effort and plans, you get some kind of joy which I am not able to explain. A salesman or an Entrepreneur who made their first sale, will understand what I am saying.

    Now I have a confidence that I can somehow make money. This is a really important skill if you ask me. If you dont get a job, or you lose a job. It won't freak you out!

    During the beginning of this year, that is some 2 weeks back I decided to move to a new city. Planning to network over there. Never lived in a new city, so its going to be a great experience for me. Will learn and discover new opportunities and relationships!

    Robert Kiyosaki's first 3 books on Money & Investing had a huge impact on me. So in 22 I was learning & experimenting and now I am 23, planning to create some wealth building assets and try to achieve financial freedom by 2014. Maybe next year I will move and live in a new country. U.S.A or Singapore.

    So my advice is. In your 22, get the confidence that you can somehow make money.

    Invest your time on reading about a lot of things and figure out how our human world works. For starters I am recommending this comic based book  called "Economix". It explains our economy via pictures with a historical perspective. You will be amazed how money is created and distributed. Read the first 3 books of Robert Kiyosaki. And also read Robert Greene's "Mastery", this book gives you a blueprint on how you and your brain can master something and get creative in your field.

  10. Hey! I'm 22. I think this is one of the most exciting junctures of one's life. We're old enough to make our own life decisions, but also have enough time to make up for any mistakes we make. I don't think you get such freedom and flexibility at times other than your early 20s.

    I'm as excited and confused about life as anyone else at this age. And while everyone's situations and sources of confusion will be starkly different, I believe there are a few commonalities binding together people at this age. Following are some things I personally feel are crucial for anyone in such a position:

    1. Dream. All the time. Honestly, nothing makes you come alive as much as the burning desire to make your dreams a reality. This can be absolutely anything, from getting a top-notch job to starting your own rock band. At 22, you can afford to dream of the stars and fly towards them. Even if you drift on the way, you'll reach somewhere better than you will without it!
    2. Travel. Take out time, and visit new places. It's human tendency to defer travel and leisure to the future, but honestly, this is the perfect time to do it! It doesn't just act as a break in monotony, but often gives you valuable time for introspection and exploring your own self (I've decided to spend three months in Europe as an exchange student. Hoping for the experience to be all of this and more!)
    3. Stop being dependent on others. This is a time when your life will change a lot, and quick. As people start drifting apart due to differences in life situations, you will start losing touch with people you used to spend your entire days with. At this point, it is extremely important to make sure that you start depending less on others and more on yourself. You shouldn't constantly need the support of others to keep moving. At the same time, this doesn't mean that you let go of people – more on this in the next point.
    4. NEVER ignore your family and friends (I usually don't capitalize words as I've done here. Yes, it is that important). As I mentioned, you'll lose touch with many of your closest people. Please try your best to make sure the connection doesn't completely break off. Invest time in your friends. Plan occasional trips with them. Look at old memories and remember the great times you've had with them. Genuine friends are hard to come by after this age – make every attempt to hold on to the ones you have, no matter how difficult! (Note that this point doesn't have to conflict with the previous one. Give your best to these relationships, but never depend on anyone else.)
    5. The clichéd: Do what you love! We've all heard this all too often in our lives. But honestly, very few of us genuinely follow this advice. There's simply no better use of this age than investing it in doing what actually love – even if it isn't the most popular path out there. You will feel the difference yourself, and will soon realise that this advice is clichéd for a reason!
    6. Last, but definitely not the least, stop comparing yourself with others. Grass is always greener on the other side. The day you stop comparing your life with others', and the day you realise that everyone else has his/her own share of weaknesses, you'll start making the most of this crucial age.

    While there would be several more DOs and DON'Ts for this age, the above list covers the most important parts for me. Always spend time in understanding yourself better – you will automatically figure out everything else!

  11. The best aspect about this question is that it used the correct word ~ “How should a 22-year-old ‘invest’ time?” and did not ask “how should a 22-year-old ‘spend’ time?”

    There is a big difference between spending and investing. When you are investing your time, you are expecting a future return which made this question very compelling!

    I would tell you how I invested my time at the age of 22, and it was quite exciting! My way is not the perfect way, but if I was to go back in time, I don’t think I would have done things differently given the circumstances I was in, and the resources available to me. In addition, it is not that by doing something differently I could have been more or less successful. I would be equally successful today. There are certainly a few things I would want to do differently if I was 22 years old today.

    At about 21, I was a fresh kid out of college, and was in the process of job search. From my campus recruiting event, I landed up a good job in corporate world, specifically in a pharmaceutical industry. I was too curious about everything. I had a lot of confidence, some of it because of my good college credentials and some of it due to the fact that I used to work very hard all the time.

    Here are some of my suggestions to young people. You do not have to agree to any of them or believe in them. Many of you would do far better than I with your original thinking, inspiration and skills. I only want to inspire you as much as I can with whatever I did, and I would do now if I was 22.

    • Be prepared to get your motivation beaten to death by all angles. I don’t want to sound discouraging, but a lot of people right after college will find out the real-job world to be a beast, ruthless, hard, yet pointless. You would meet up with your first boss and that may or may not be the best experience. You would meet up with your first set of colleagues, and you may or may not like their ways. You might begin disliking a lot of things in a very short amount of time, so much so that your motivation will be dead. But be positive. Soon enough you would be able to recover from this. This happens to all of us. We all come out of it. Be patient and move on to the next step. Just tell yourself, you are not the first one going through this.

    • Dive into the real world. This does not mean you cannot be an entrepreneur, but you should get a real world feel of a job. You can probably quit this job after an year, and join a university for higher education, or simply start your own business or start-up. As soon as you begin your first job, you would find out very quickly that you are now working with people of varying ages, skills, knowledge, enthusiasm, energy, training, experience, ethics, and temperament. All these traits one needs for the jobs have a very wide spectrum in the industry. You would find people much older than you, but far less skilled. You would find people much less energetic than you, but who are far better thinkers. You would find people with skills far better than yours, and you would find people whose temperament would be better or worse than you. Basically, when you are in a university, around you, you have all the people that are about the same age as yours with about the same energy level, and about the same enthusiasm. Sure, there is a spectrum, but in the real world, this spectrum will be much wider, and there will be far too many dimensions. Learn all these things in the job world. Get your hands dirty. Now is the time.

    • Ask hard questions to a lot of people. You must strive to learn just about everything that comes your way. Leave no stone un-turned for this. Find your answers from all possible sources. Posing your questions to experienced people would work the best. Please remember that some people would give you answers, but some would not. Some would want you to work hard towards getting those answers yourself, and some would simply give you thumb rules. You would find in the real world, that people often use the so called thumb rules that basically defeat all the theory you may have learned in the school or college. Don’t be surprised by those thumb rules. Just ask questions about them, and understand them. The point is to not take anything for granted.

    • Read a lot of books on a weekly basis. If you were a student and not a regular reader of books, this is the time you should start reading as many books as you can. Books carry an enormous amount of knowledge, and you should gain this knowledge exponentially. Schools and colleges have taught you scientific stuff, but now is the time you should be able to learn a diverse number of things from a variety of books. In addition, you should also read Harvard business review and the likes. Get subscription to a variety of scientific journals, and newspapers. This is the only way you can get smarter than your own self in the real world.

    • Find out what skills you lack, and start working on them. When I graduated from undergrad college, I knew I did not know enough programming, but I started learning quickly enough. I did not have much knowledge about business, but I started reading business books every now and then.

    • Listen to elder people. Elder people tend to give you good suggestions, but take only those suggestions, that give you some real learning. Many times elder people would want to set you up on a path which has no risks. But always remember that without risks, there are no returns. Often elder people will only say – take up this job, or take up that job. But if your gut feeling does not incline you for a job, then you do not have to take up one. There are many people in the world, who just start their own business as their first job. And they learn everything eventually. Although whether you like it or not, you would still need the experience, therefore if you take up a job, you are getting that experience on someone else’s expenditure. Experience in no form will be wasteful, therefore when you think you have gotten the needed experience, move on and do something better.

    • Get four to five mentors ~ 5 years, 10 years, 15 years, 20 years ahead of you. People with different levels of experience will give you far better suggestions and you would get diverse suggestions. Some of those suggestions will help you make sound decisions on investments. Some of those suggestions, will help you learn better technology and skills. Some of those will be inspirational, and some of those will be tactics to grow in the organizational world. This knowledge would be transferable in future and would help you in later years of your life.

    • Take everything with a grain of salt. You are too naive for a lot of things, and too young to understand many of them. A lot of people would give you advice that would be wrong advice. Just because they might have gotten their success or not, you do not have to believe in all the advice. You are far better off reading books, and making your own conclusions, fail and learn to take someone else’s bad advice for granted.

    • Make friends that make you grow. When I was 22 I had some really amazing friends around me. Many of them were great thinkers. Most of them made it to some or the other Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs), many of them made it to different universities in the United States of America, and many of them started their own businesses. I am still in touch with many of them, and this way we are able to catch up on the latest and greatest technologies, and learning acquired over last many years.

    • Start exercising regularly. Many times you may or may not get this suggestion. I did not, and I regret I did not. It was after only I joined a graduate school in USA, I saw so many people working out around me, and I got inspired to workout as well. Today I am able to keep fit because of inspiration from so many people around me.

    • Save a little money. Your earning may not be very high when you would start your first job at the age of 22, but the habit of saving can certainly begin at this age. By saving I do not mean to say, you should focus only on your saving, and throttle your whole life to save every penny. What I want to inspire you about is keeping a good financial tracking of what you spend on. Identify for yourself what is a wise investment vs a wasteful expenditure is, and continue to learn this as you grow. You would need this the most when you have a family.

    • Actively seek opinions on what you can improve upon. A few months back I saw a resume of a young man, that said – my objective is to always get one step ahead of where I am. Although he stated this in very simple words, but when he was actually working with us, he came out as the smartest of all. He started his job as a technician, and eventually made it to engineering position. He is growing bit by bit each year and also attending a local school for masters degree. He incurs very little in debt, and I am very sure he would be a successful man very soon. He used to ask my suggestions on what to learn, and every time I saw his enthusiasm, I used to give him a few tips to work on. He would begin his work on those tips immediately, and would always surprise me within two to three weeks as he would have already finished all the work I would have suggested.

    • Join activity clubs. Join multiple activity clubs such as painting, music, dance, theaters, public speaking, computer programming, hiking, biking, running. There is just no limit to what you cannot find. You name it, there! somewhere in your locality, you have it.

    • If you really believe there is something you do not know and would like to learn, begin now. I can tell you from my own experience that there have been several things in my life that I realized I didn’t know at various time points in my life, but I just started working on them. On many of them I acquired enough skill. If learning guitars needs 6 years, it needs 6 years. If you begin at the age of 22 and be consistent by the time you are 28 you would already be very good! At least far beyond average.

    Enjoy your life a little! You do not have to invest all the time in work, and making yourself better. Enjoy a little with friends, travel to a few cities across the world, and get some experience. Spend some time towards enjoyment. Your life will stay positive for much longer.

    Stay blessed, and stay inspired!

  12. In your personal life, cultivate your friendships and make use of the freedom and energy you still have to experience new things. Go places you haven't been before. Try new new things. And don't force romantic relationships one way or the other. If you fall in love, go with it. If you don't, no need to force things.

    In your professional and intellectual life, keep learning. If you’ve just started your career, right now is the easiest it will ever be to completely change direction professionally. Obligations like marriage, kids, mortgage payments and the other trappings of adulthood are likely still a little ways off. Just as important, you don’t yet have many sunk costs behind you to cloud your judgment about what to do next. You can and should explore radically new opportunities to find a career path that is challenging and meaningful to you. But know that eventually, you have to specialize to advance your career, and that requires tough tradeoffs. If you’re like me and get stressed out by parting with your savings to make big purchases, making big career bets creates a similar, if more profound anxiety. You must effectively “spend” your freedom to develop enough expertise in one area to fulfill your ambitions.

    The great paradox of learning is something I explore on my site ( that diverse expertise gives you freedom to try more new things, but gaining expertise in one area always means ignoring others, reducing your freedom. Developing expertise in anything worthwhile takes time, and your time is limited. And while it’s not every day that you embark on a new career path, you will regularly make choices about where to develop skills. Whenever you engage in additional training, take a class, jump into a new project, or even choose a book to read, you build knowledge in some areas rather than others. All of that training and experience constitutes the skill set you can market to employers. If you don’t pay attention to where you accumulate skills, you can make important career decisions completely by accident. We do the things for a living that we know how to do well. You are what you learn.

    Some other thoughts on how to approach your early 20s professionally:

    • Considering Grad School? Here's What You Need to Figure Out First
    • How You Can Learn to Stop Worrying and Love Networking
    • We Need to Talk about Mentors…
  13. There is a certain process I believe everyone should follow, regardless of age. That being said, the younger you are the more important this process becomes. Being 22-years-old means this is immensely important to do as soon as possible!

    Here is the process and best way a 22-year-old can invest their time:

    1. Finding out what you want out of life. Almost no one actually thinks about what it is they want out of life. Most of us just go through life according to what we think is safest and best, with no idea if it will lead us to the life we want. Because we do not even know what that would look like!

    Do you know right now what you want? Do you want a big house? Where do you want that house to be? What will you do to get that kind of money? What about your partner? What should they be like? Have you thought about it more so you can say other things than “nice”, “kind”, “caring”, “smart”, “fit” and general adjectives?

    This is your life! Why have you not taken the time to think about what you want?!?

    Without knowing what you want in life there is no use thinking about how you should invest your time. Because, no matter in what kind of amazing things you invest your time, if it is not what you truly want, you will not find happiness there.

    This is the most common mistake people make. We think way too much about all the things we do not want that we forget about what it is we want to do.

    Take an hour today to figure it out. Write down everything you want out of life. From the cool T-shirt over to the kind of work you want to do up to the private jet and yacht. Whatever it is you want. Write it all down.

    If you need any help try focusing on these 7 categories:

    • Time. How do you want to spend your time every day?
    • Finances. How do you want your bank account to look like?
    • Relationships. How many? How important? And, what are the characteristics of these relationships? Family, friends and partners included.
    • Emotion. How do you want to feel every day?
    • Physical Fitness. How fit do you want to be? What do you want your body to look like?
    • Spirituality. How connected do you want to be to god, the universe or whatever you believe in? How grateful do you want to be?
    • Work/Career. What do you want to do? What do you want to accomplish?

    2. Investing as much time into it as you can. Step 2 is to invest more of your time into working towards all of these goals. You have a lot that you want out of life and a lot that you want to achieve. Get started right away.

    Think about what is most important for you right now and spend as much time every day on it as you can. That means, if you want to become an actor/actress, start spending time on learning how to act. Read books, practice it, go to the local theater and apply for roles, do everything you can!

    This goes for every other thing as well. Want to find a partner? Invest more time learning how to talk to people, speaking to the people at the bar, finding books on relationships and spend more time looking for tips and tricks.

    Want to become a professional athlete? Look up videos of other professionals, find their training regiments, read books on the subject, and spend time practicing everything you can.

    Surround yourself with as much of that particular activity as you can. Post pictures on your wall, favorite videos that you watch every day, talk to people about it, even if they are not interested and surround yourself with others that love that activity as well.

    3. Focus your time on improving on what you love to do. With the time you spend on these things, your main focus should be on improving. It will take a lot of time to get great at what you do. That’s okay.

    If you start improving every day starting today, you will eventually be able to make money doing what you love. To give you a rule of thumb: It will take anywhere from 1–3 years before you start seeing that you have an opportunity to make a living doing it.

    Now, think about that. How much is 1–3 years? Most people think it is not that long, but in fact, it does take quite the amount of effort to keep improving every single day for a couple of years. Do not think this will be easy, it won’t. Instead, focus on what it means to really achieve it.

    As long as the goal is more exciting than the work is hard, you will find the motivation to do it. So bump up that excitement!

    You are not going to be good right away. In fact, you will suck when you start. But you must allow yourself the time to grow and improve. That is why you should start spending as much time on it as you can and focus on improving.

    When you are trying to talk to people for the first time, do not focus on getting their number or having them like you. Instead focus on holding a conversation and becoming interested in them.

    When you are practicing a sport, do not focus on the people around you. Instead, focus on learning from them, improving what you are bad at, and always challenging yourself to do more than they do.

    In the end, what wins is not how talented you are or how good you are, but how consistently you keep it up and practice! Every Professional Athlete and almost every great actor and actress has had years of working, practicing and doing smaller events before they made it big.

    Do not focus on the immediate reward, but on the life you will obtain in the future!

    “Every Mountain Top is within reach… if you just keep climbing.” – Barry Finlay

    Below I have listed a couple of my favorite tips that are especially useful early on in life as they will have a more compounding impact!

    Important Tips:

    • Try to Fail. Most of us are so scared of failure, trying to avoid it, that we do not realize that we learn the most from our failures. You will fail sooner or later at everything at least once anyway. Instead of making a big deal out of it get comfortable with failing. In the end, no matter how often you fail, you only need to succeed once to make it big!
    • Challenge yourself. We believe so overbearingly in the fact that we have limitations that we never even dare challenge them. But… how do you know if you never tried? Seriously? Who told you that you can’t do it? Who put that idea in your head that you are limited like that?! Do not believe other people. Do not even believe yourself. Go and try it out, and if it is a limit, then try again tomorrow until you break it and come out better than before!
    • Go out of your comfort zone. Your current life is a direct representation of your comfort zone. Whatever you have in life is because of the things you do, which are all things you are comfortable doing. And all the things you do not have are things that are outside this comfort zone. Challenge yourself to step outside this circle and get uncomfortable.
    • Go for what you love… unconditionally. Never surrender on the things you truly want. Never settle on any of your dreams. One of the biggest differences between successful people and unsuccessful people is that successful people will go for what they want. Period. No questions asked. Where as unsuccessful people will give up on the first sign of hard work, saying that they “didn’t want it anyway” to justify why they will not work for it. Do not be one of the many people that do this and live a life of regret. Push through all the bs instead and work to be your best self, work to get your dreams, do something for them every single day, and you will get there.

    Have a FREE 1-1 Personal Development Consultation Call with me and start the journey to unlock your true potential! Click the link and request a time that works for you! Sign up Today to get your FREE Consultation Call – Lukas Schwekendiek

  14. 22 is one of the most crucial age in the lifetime of any individual. It is the time. You are basically standing at a point from where two roads diverge and you have to settle your priorities. Here are a few ways how you can invest time in an age of 22:

    1) Discover self

    More than half of the youngsters are not acquainted with their own self. Your early twenties is a time where you must concentrate on knowing yourself. If nothing else, you will be known to your potential.

    2) Start saving

    Many may find it still a young age. But hey! You think to have an upper hand over the others. For this, you need to start to save. Do not mistake it with just the money. Of course saving money is one message but saving time is prime. How?

                     i) Health

                              Eat healthily and exercise regularly. This way, you will be making an investment on yourself for a better future. If you exercise now, you save many long years waiting for you ahead in your life.

                   ii) Limit online activities

                       If you aspire to be different, make sure you are not a part of a group which follows the latest 'jazz' online. Have you ever seen BMW, Porsche, Mercedes-Benz and many other companies advertisements? No, right? Why? Because the people who buy them never waste time viewing the ads rather they work in real.

    3) Explore the world

    No one can argue to wisdom one gather stepping out of the books! Visiting different places and learning their cultures will certainly help you in a long term. You never know at what place do you find the motivation enough that can change your whole life!

    4) Join an NGO to work and not just the credits

    If you are to inherit humble nature, visit people who are lower than your social status. Listening to their stories and working for them will help you cherish what you have.

    5) Experiment

        Experimenting never goes out of fashion (only when you are young)

    Once you are a little old and have to bear the responsibilities of the world, you can never even think of experimenting! This is the time, take your call and make the most of it. Experiments will help you grow to be responsible citizen.

    In anything you do, make sure you love yourself more than anything. You are just 22 and never let anyone to be your 'everything' because it is your own battle. And you never fight battles on the shoulders of hired people.

    (I hope you know what I mean *wink*)

  15. I wrote an answer 3 years ago. I still get notifications from this thread and decided to come back to my answer, now that I'll be 30 in a few days. I think I have a much better insight now, compared to then, into how a 22 year old, or anyone for that matter, should invest their time.

    1. Start practicing mindfulness meditation. This was something I'd wanted to do for many years. Now I've started it, I wished I did so earlier.

    2. Exercise. Don't do the minimum, push your limits, lift weights, do interval training, do yoga. I workout daily and this ritual has gotten me through so many hard times, bad breakups, stressful periods at work, toxic bosses, it has always taken the edge off. Exercise to preserve your sanity and ensure you maintain your energy levels as you get older.

    3.  Challenge yourself intellectually and artistically. Are you an artist? Spend a few minutes a day practicing or reading about math or science. Are you a programmer? Invest time in doing something creative, play the piano, take up photography. I'm an artist; I started programming and working on math problems, it has changed the way I solve all sorts of problems at work and in life. A partner who is a physicist started playing the piano and its helped her work through nights when she's stuck on a problem. These are skills you will build now that will only grow as you get older and stay with you forever. When you want to change careers (as you inevitably will), you will have so many doors open.

    4. Wake up because you want to, not because you have to. There's lots of advice out there about how you should wake up early if you want to succeed at anything, I never really understood this until I started doing it myself. Most of us get up to go to a job, which we may like or not like, but that's not the point – the point is we get up for someone else. Getting up at a time of your choosing to do something for yourself is an extremely powerful thing. I noticed this difference between colleagues at work. The ones who got up for themselves were happier and more productive. That's because the first thing you do (get up) is YOUR decision.

    5. Start building habits. This article is a great place to start: How I Became A Morning Person, Read More Books, And Learned A Language In A Year. Is there anything you've always wanted to do, but never could find the time? Start making time now, a little bit a day.

    6. Become a better learner and practice effectively. The course, "Learning how to Learn" and the book "The Power of Full Engagement" changed the way I approached how I worked. Essentially, they reiterated the importance of rest between periods of hard work and the importance of practice and repetition. Basically, the your intellectual and emotional capacity can be thought of as a muscle, the more time you put into developing them, the stronger and more effective they will become.

    7. Set aside time for reflection everyday, every week, every month and every year. This is so incredibly important, and can save your hours, days, months and maybe even years of wasted time and effort pursuing something only to realise it's not part of your true purpose and calling in life.

    8. Be conscientious about your finances and keep a budget. Do a personal finance course. I wish I started sooner. When I last wrote this post, I had only managed to save about 10k in two years working a pretty lucrative job. Since then, in the same amount of time, just by keeping a budget and being conscientious about where my money went, I've managed over 30k. This is three times as much as I managed before. I paid part of my mortgage with it, allowing me to save even more. The more money you have, the easier it is to make more. Don't kid around. You're not going to get any younger and your responsibilities are only going to grow. Start saving now.

    9. Spend time cultivating relationships that will last you the rest of your life. Human beings need four things in life, food, warmth, friendship and intellectual challenge. Giving is a very powerful idea, otherwise it wouldn't have had such success in all major world religions. The more you give, the more you'll get.

    I'm going to leave my old post here, if anyone is interested in seeing how my views have changed. Many things remain the same, their just more fleshed out and clearer.

    I'm 27. Here are some things I wished I knew a little earlier.

    1. Practicing effectively. I read 'Talent is Overrated' recently and realized I was wasting hours everyday because my work habits were not optimized.

    2. Don't spend so much time in nightclubs. Getting wasted is fine, I just wished I hadn't done it every weekend. I'm glad I only do it very occasionally now.

    3. Blog regularly. It helps you reflect on your life and put all your trials and tribulations in perspective. You'll be surprised how many people you will reach out to, and what you can learn from them.

    4. Diversify your skill set. Acquire a technical skill, and become an eloquent verbal and visual communicator. We get a lot of interns where I work. The ones that get hired the quickest are the ones that are the most diversified – not the ones with the best degree.

    5. Freelance. You'll learn that no matter what, even with out a job, you can make it on your own. Also, if you can find a job, you're giving yourself one.

  16. Become a programmer. Everything else everyone else mentioned here will come easier afterwards.

    I'm going to borrow Heidi McDonald's answer to How should a 22-year-old invest time? and change it up a little 🙂

    • Travel Programming is a very freelance-able skill. I've met programmers who travel the world, live in hostels, and freelance by spending 3hrs a day coding and submitting their projects to clients halfway around the globe.
    • Get involved in causes that matter to you Knowledge can change the world. Knowledge causes people to become convinced, donate money to cause, vote for a certain president, buy something they think they need, open accounts, etc. The quickest/cheapest way to spread knowledge and reach a massive amount of people is probably through the internet. And the internet is made with software. And software is made by programmers. (OK fine, the internet also needs hardware. But hardware also has firmware, which is also made by programmers)
    • Make a habit of following current events Twitter is a software company, so is Google News.
    • Expose yourself to many kinds of art This one might be far fetched, but many people would say programming is an art. There's a thick book that I've never read called The Art of Computer Programming that has 5 solid stars on Amazon (lol, it's not even 4.5 stars, it's 5). Also, if you do UX design, I'd say there's a mise-en-scene aspect to it in terms of angles, movement, lighting… etc. The website/gui becomes your show/stage to enthrall your user, the audience.
    • Surround yourself well Programmers are the cream of the crop and the wave of the future. They are in ridiculously high demand.
    • Create. The amount of capital required to be creative with hardware is enormous compared to that of software. You don't need a drill, hammer, 5-axis mill, and two dozen pounds of raw Ti-6Al-4V to be creative with software. You probably do with hardware.
    • Maintain family connections Skype from across the world

    (Ok, I'm sort of joking, but not really)

    Oh, and one last thing. As already mentioned in several other answers: stay away from pornography. It's probably the hardest challenge I've faced in my life. Harder than rocket science.

  17. I am 27 as I write this. The past five years have been a successful ride, and I believe it is due to the following things I did when I was 22.

    Improve Productivity. Read as much as possible about personal productivity as you can. Start with David Allen's "Getting  Things Done" and improve your personal organisation. Nurtute habits of discipline and make your bed in the morning. Invest in staying healthy through exercise and nutrition. Set up routines of learning and working. Listen to podcasts and books. Make sure you are improving some skill every single day. Write a journal.

    Plan finances. Think about your retirement early. Figure out what you would need to live a good lifestyle in your 60s and start saving every penny to build for that. Look into investing in indexed funds and open a retirement account. Automate your finances and start earning interest.

    Travel. You won't get another chance to be as healthy with as much free time as you are and have now. Travel the world as much as you can and experience different cultures. Eat different foods. Learn languages.

  18. I am a fellow 22 year old.

    I don't think I am qualified enough to give you any advice on this topic, I can only share my experience so far here, and what I have learned from those experience.

    Be really good in something, be the person everyone will talk about, make a lot of friends, get a boyfriend/girlfriend, be famous in your community, no matter how small or how big that community is. After doing all the above, fail. Yes you heard me right, fail. Fail so hard in that something that everyone comes to know about this failure of yours.

    And then watch the same friends going away from you. That same girlfriend/boyfriend breaking up with you and finding someone more famous than you.That same community talking shit about you, without even finding out the reality behind things.

    You will learn a very important lesson while failing at something, you will learn that all these so called friends that you have, they are not really your friends.

    After learning the above lesson find your true friends. I had these experiences when I was 17 years old, and after 5 years, I can now say I have two real friends in my life. Remember, these friends will stick with you throughout your life, no matter what.

    After coming to this point you will come to know that everything else you were doing until now really didn't make any sense. You used to do things maybe because others liked you to do that. Or maybe you wanted to make them happy. You never really heard that inner voice inside you, what you really want to do, what you really want to become in your life. So here's it, find what exactly you are going to do with your life. Everyone is born and is destined to die one day. Only a handful of them leave their mark before dying. Find your purpose in life.

    The next thing that I would like believe in is, "Knowledge".
    I believe this is something that defines you, and others truly respect you only if you posses some kind of real knowledge about something. Note that I have emphasized respect in the previous line, it is important to be able to differentiate between true respect and fake respect.

    So I suggest you spend time in improving your knowledge in whatever you believe you are going to spend the rest of your life on. Again, I am a programmer, a very amateur programmer I would say, but I have decided that if I am going to be a computer programmer, heck yes I would be one hell of a computer programmer. This gives a purpose to my life, a reason to get up the next day and be a better programmer that I was yesterday.

    So, if you haven't already,  find whatever you are going to spend the rest of your life doing, and gain as much knowledge as you can on that particular subject. Be better at it everyday. According to studies, they say it takes 10 years or 10000 hours to master any skill, be it cooking, dancing, programming, sports anything. This is a very interesting sentence. It gives us hope, that everything is not lost, we can still be better at something. Even if you are 22, and you say that you are not good at Maths, or not a good cook, or maybe not a good badminton player, you can always say you can be better at that.

    Read. Read as many books as you can, be it fiction, non-fiction. I read all sort of biographies, autobiographies, productivity books, fictional books. There is so much to learn from books. Whoever have said it was absolutely right when he said, books are your true friend. You will have a better way to reason, you will have the experience of the greats to ponder upon, you will have a better vocabulary. All because of books. You want to be a better badminton player, read some autobiographies of great badminton players like Peter Gade and Taufik Hidayat. Or you want to be an entrepreneur, read some biopics of great personalities like Steve Jobs, or books written on  Richard Branson etc. Just spend the last 20-30 minutes of your day reading. You will go a long way.

    And last of all, start exercising. I cannot overemphasise more on this. It doesn't mean that you should go to a gym, hire yourself a profession trainer, go on a extraneous regime, start purchasing whey protein, NO. Just start with a simple jog, simple stretching, some push-ups when you get up in the morning, etc. This is the most important part. You start exercise 20 minutes daily today, and you will reap it's benefits after 5 years. You don't want to be someone plagued with countless diseases and health problems later on when you have finally mastered something. You want yourself in the best shape possible, able to focus on something for a long time, and be able to deliver when it matters the most. You cannot do that if you are overweight and have health problems. I see my mother suffering from so many diseases like thyroid, cholesterol and what not, yet she continues doing her job government everyday giving it the utmost priority. I have decided I won't be like her when I grow old. If I will be anyone, I will be a healthy and fit anyone, be it a healthy-programmer, a fit-husband, or an energized-father. Start exercising today and you will thank yourself after 5 years. Trust me on this.

    I wonder how many of you will reach till this sentence, cause I believe I have written a very long, boring, and bull-shitting paragraphs on some knack headed philosophy here, but I if you are one of the handful who are here, you must be thinking that it is very easy to say all the above, but it is very difficult to do all this every day. So in the next paragraph I will go on and answer how am I able to do all the above everyday.

    I follow a simple bodyweight workout program. I workout 30-35 minutes every day 4 days a week. Sometimes I do feel I should take a break, or it is just not worth doing it. But then I remember what would have happened if I have started doing this when I was 17, what I would have become today, and what I am today.

    I go to office after a workout, and I come home in the evening. In the office or at my home, I keep on learning more and more about some programming language. I spend more time on open source code, keep reading them, contributing to them, making something of my own.

    And when I go to sleep, I take my tablet or mobile, both have the play books app (android) and I have uploaded some pdf or epub books there, I read as long as I am sleepy.

    That's it. Exercise, code, read, sleep. Do this everyday, every week, and every month. You will be better than what you were yesterday. I have experienced it. That's all you need to do it.

    Here's is a quote by Will Smith

    You don't set out to build a wall. You don't say 'I'm going to build the  biggest, baddest, greatest wall that's ever been built.' You don't  start there. You say, 'I'm going to lay this brick as perfectly as a  brick can be laid. You do that every single day. And soon you have a  wall

    disclaimer: like I said, I am only 22 now, but this is what I do. I may be right, I may be wrong. Many people have already written some beautiful answers here, and I thought most of the answers here collided with my thinking, so I thought of writing what I thought about how a 22 year should spend his time. Many of my friends think I am a boring, fun-hating guy. Most of my peers at my office think I am just another fresher with foolish ideas, who hasn't seen the reality of life. I don't what the other quorians here think about this, would be nice to hear your thoughts on my answer. All these days I used to write about programming here on quora, this is the first time I have attempted to right something this big.

    To the fellow 22 year old, I may be wrong, as all the above is my thinking, do what you think is right, at the end of the day we all are different.

    Edit: Thanks a lot for the kind comments and upvotes. It gives me a lot of confidence that yes whatever I have written above is not completely absurd, and hence I have decided to cancel my anonymity .

    I forgot to add one thing though, I used to tell this to my friends who always used to think that it's too late to do anything:

    No one is born knowing everything, you go on learning.

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