’20 things 20-year-olds don’t get’

That’s the title of a very useful article in Forbes magazine.  I wish I’d had access to it when I began my business career – and if you have youngsters who are just starting out in life, particularly if they’ve been spoon-fed public school and college pablum about how ‘special’ they are, I think they should be made to memorize it!  Here are some excerpts.

You’re Talented, But Talent is Overrated – Congratulations, you may be the most capable, creative, knowledgeable & multi-tasking generation yet.  As my father says, “I’ll Give You a Sh-t Medal.”  Unrefined raw materials (no matter how valuable) are simply wasted potential.  There’s no prize for talent, just results.  Even the most seemingly gifted folks methodically and painfully worked their way to success.  (Tip: read “Talent is Overrated”.)

Pick Up the Phone – Stop hiding behind your computer. Business gets done on the phone and in person.  It should be your first instinct, not last, to talk to a real person and source business opportunities.  And when the Internet goes down… stop looking so befuddled and don’t ask to go home.  Don’t be a pansy, pick up the phone.

You Should Be Getting Your Butt Kicked – Meryl Streep in “The Devil Wears Prada” would be the most valuable boss you could possibly have.  This is the most impressionable, malleable and formative stage of your professional career.  Working for someone that demands excellence and pushes your limits every day will build the most solid foundation for your ongoing professional success.

There’s more at the link.  It’s good stuff.  Recommended reading.



  1. Yup. Nothing like competing with the big dogs to make you get off your butt and bring your best game in for a reality-check. I thought I was just about ready to ship my first book for the Kindle a month ago, and L. Neil Smith offered to review it for me when it was ready. WHAOH! SCREECH! Needs more editing, likely including professional help, paid to be right, not nice. It's better, but not quite ready yet. First section is available for a free read at http://www.thestarscameback.com.

  2. THANK YOU so very much for this.
    I wish I had paid attention to the many people in my formative 20's who espoused these exact same principles. Having said that, I was fortunate enough to actually listen to, and act on SOME information, hints, tips, and just plain "DO THIS" advice, not to have done so, for me, would've been a personal disaster from which I would not have been able to rise above to where I am now.
    I will make sure, that all my 6 Grandchildren, (bar one, all approaching, or just in, their teens)see this, NOT via computer screen, but via hand-carried/delivered copies by me.
    I just hope they see and apply the truth of what they hold in their hands, trust me, I will quietly but stubbornly work on it.

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