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7 Simple Lessons From My 20s Living In Japan I Learned the Hard Way

Today I will be sharing with you 7 lessons from my 20s living in Japan I learned the hard way.

That’s right. You’ll walk out of this article with the wisdom from all the mistakes, mishaps, and hard lessons that took me years to learn and internalize, so you don’t have to. And that way, you can do better. 

You can thank me later.

1. Show Up Daily

The first piece of advice I have for you is to show up daily, even when you feel it’s pointless. And what I mean by showing up is to make sure to give yourself the chance to do your best. This could be something as simple as going to the gym even when you believe you will not do anything, going to an interview even if you believe you have no chance, and going on a date even if you believe you’re going to bomb.

Show Up Daily
Photo by Zac Ong on Unsplash

Sometimes just showing up, getting in front of the start line, and taking a chance on yourself is enough to motivate yourself, reframe your assumptions, and change everything.

You will be surprised by how often you can go out and change what you thought you couldn’t change. 

So show up to the race, and then you can decide whether you’re ready to run or not. 

2. Spend Less That What You Earn

The second piece of advice is to spend less than what you earn and live within your means.

I know many of you are young, and you want to go out and live your lives, enjoy the world, and travel. But if your lifestyle is always chasing your income, you’ll always feel like you never have enough money, and in fact, you won’t. 

Debt is a challenging position to be in because it hinders your ability to handle unforeseen expenses and any form of disruption. As a result, you become unable to prepare for the inevitable things that happen in life.

3. Build A Runway

The third piece of advice is to build a runway. And if you don’t know what a runway is, it’s an amount of money you have saved to take care of your most essential expenses in case you lose your job or have any other emergencies.

For the most part, a runway of three months accounting for your rent, groceries, and some gas money should be enough to give you peace of mind. But I recommend having at least six months so you can always make life decisions based on what’s best for you and not whether you can pay rent this month.

The great thing about a runway is that it gives you the liberty to think and organize your life without fearing financial uncertainty. It allows you to calm down, make rational decisions, and focus on what’s important to you and your family. 

So if your boss is exploiting you, or you feel like your career is going nowhere and you need some time to find something better, leaving the job is a much more feasible option. 

Now, if you’re wondering, “Where can I find the money to build a runway when I have so many expenses and debt”? 

Well, wouldn’t you know it? I just wrote an article just for you.

4. Become Notorious

The fourth piece of advice is to learn how to network. And this is particularly important if you want to have a successful career. 

One of the most significant factors in your success is your ability to socialize and build connections with other professionals. 

Have you ever heard someone say, “So and so got a promotion? They probably got it because they are good friends with the boss.” 

Well, it’s probably true. 

Lean into fear
Photo by Akson on Unsplash

One of the most important things I learned in my 20s was how to market myself

Marketing yourself it’s not about letting your work speak for you but selling yourself as a professional, selling the image of yourself as the right choice. It’s about convincing people that you’re the right person for the job. 

When I started my career, I didn’t feel comfortable talking with others, attending events, and interacting in the community. However, befriending other developers, collaborating, and serving are crucial to finding opportunities and growing.

Become notorious, and success will find you.

5. Lean Into Fear

The fifth piece of advice is this. 

“If something makes you feel nervous, then you should probably do it.”

What I mean by this is that in life, there are going to be a lot of moments where you’re going to have the opportunity to do something big, something that can change everything, and it’s going to feel scary. 

Many of us shy away from these opportunities because we think that fear is telling us that we are going in the wrong direction or we just don’t want to get out of our comfort zone. And sadly, we miss a lot of growth opportunities this way. 

One of the most terrifying things I ever did was pack everything I had in life in one bag and move to Japan. 

I didn’t have anyone waiting for me or any connections. The uncertainty was frightening. But I knew I was doing the right thing for my career and life because it felt exciting and scary. I knew it was an excellent growth opportunity, so I had to take it.

The thing about doing scary things is that beyond fear lies the most rewarding experiences in life. I know it can feel terrifying at the moment, that fear feels paralyzing, and you feel like you are not capable of pushing through. But you will be surprised by what you can do if you give yourself a chance. You would be surprised by who you really are. 

Those opportunities to show yourself what you’re made of and show everybody else who you are, are precious. So take them. 

Now I want to emphasize that you should always exercise caution and only consider reasonable things. I don’t want you to be entertaining the idea of jumping out of a bridge just because it makes you feel excited. 

6. Explore Your Comfort Zone

The sixth piece of advice is to do something that feels difficult every day

This advice is pretty straightforward. In essence, you should regularly challenge yourself to do something that helps you explore your comfort zone and takes you out. 

This challenge could be something as simple as a cold shower, talking to strangers, or practicing an instrument you’re not familiar with yet. 

lessons from my 20s living in Japan I learned the hard way
Photo by Ty Curry on Unsplash

Whatever it is that helps you feel a little bit of controlled stress every day will help you develop resilience. This resilience will allow you to handle anything that life will inevitably throw at you

7. Love Is Always First

Finally, my seventh piece of advice is this. Make sure to say “I Love You” as often as possible. Because you never know when it’s going to be the last time.

I hope that those little nuggets of wisdom from my 20s serve you as well as they did to me. 

If they did, or if you disagree, let me know in the comments down below. I’d love to hear what you think.

See you in the next post.

2 thoughts on “7 Simple Lessons From My 20s Living In Japan I Learned the Hard Way”

  1. You are so smart and wise beyond your years. And your self discipline is so admirable, but I also know you know how to have fun.

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