To transit from youth to adulthood and self-reliance can be challenging for any young person. It was the case for me. But what productive habits change young people into adults? And why should any young person listen to an older one about the best way to become a grown-up?
Well, there is a part of the brain which does not fully develop in most of us until the age of twenty-four years old and is accountable for regulating mood, controlling impulses, attention span, and the capacity to plan ahead as well as understand the consequences of a person’s actions.
Meanwhile, it is up to the adults to guide them by showing them possible consequences, good and bad, of their behavior.
But it is just around such time that I found myself alone in an unknown country, the USA, and in which I didn’t speak the language. I had to grow fast and transit even more quickly if I wanted to make it.
With that in mind, let’s look at some useful habits I believe is the transition from youth to adulthood:
Who You Are as an Individual
The most significant and problematic challenge of transiting into adulthood is to figure out who you are, what you care about, believe in, and stand for because we are all raised with people telling us what to think, how to act, and what to say.
These people are usually your parents, teachers, friends, and other so-called authorities. Most of the times, when given a choice, young people, as well as adults, seek the easiest path, the path of least resistance, just to be able to be accepted.
But it is in those moments when you opt for a different route that it can define you as an individual. The important thing is to make those decisions for yourself, not because of authority figures or out of fear of losing someone's affection, but out of the conviction of who you are and who you want to be.
Fight the Fear of the Unknown
Whether it comes in the form of different ideas, different cultures, or different food, we all have an inclination to dislike what we do not understand because of fear of the unknown.
People’s brains who do reject new evidence do release an addictive chemical that makes them feel better. In that way, your body is encouraging your ignorance and fear. You need to fight such impulse. Becoming an adult means growing, learning, understanding and not shying away into a comfort zone.
But remember not to confuse intellectual bravery with physical courage. It is harder to change your mind about an opinion than it is to jump out of a plane. Exploring a new culture or examining a new idea will make you grow and make you the kind of person others will be interested in.
Stand Up for What You Believe in
It is not enough to have high ideals and beliefs; you sometimes have to get off the couch and stand up for those beliefs. This is especially hard when you are hanging with your friends, and they all express an opinion that is the opposite of yours.
Because you are outnumbered, it is easy for them to ridicule your opinion. Stand firm. Defend your views and beliefs. Be an adult version of yourself. More important, you will feel proud that you took a stand because doing nothing will haunt you for a long time.
Talk and Action
You have to realize that there is one main difference between a young person and an adult. Young people talk about what they want to do while real adults act and put those things into action. The second difference is that adults are more organized because they have less time to do more.
Successful adults make a to-do list, and they do not put off doing things until later. They know that being organized can change your life. You should focus on priorities which need to be done now; you do things you need to finish and don’t say “I’ll do it tomorrow,” which in turn makes you much more successful.
Pay Attention to Advice and Guidance
Understand that whatever difficulties and doubts you are facing in youth, millions of people before you have gone through the same experience. Paying attention to people's advice and guidance does not always mean you should take it, but you can make a decision as to which advice is right for you.
To transit from youth to adulthood, it is also a good idea to gather some books and biographies of successful people who came before you so you can refer to them when you need to.
If you do not learn from the experiences of others and yourself, you will end up making the same mistakes over and over. Therefore, when somebody gives you advice, do not dismiss it just because they are older.
Get Mentors to Copy
Many successful adults are worthwhile looking up to, even following and copying. The world is also full of them. But you need to pick the right people for the right reasons.
Skip celebrities who make a lot of money, act stupidly and unwisely. They chase fame and glory so obsessively that they are not interested in anything else and have no desire to learn.
Do not make the mistake of believing that just because these people can act or sing that all of them also have valuable insights into wisdom or culture. Instead, find successful adults that represent the values that you want to have, and not the fame they have.
Choose the Right Friends
When you grow up and transit to adulthood, it is good friends who are helping you through the tough parts of life. Bad friends, on the other hand, would often be the cause of most of your problems.
So, do not befriend young people just to get back at someone or to try to be something that you are not. You would waste that way a lot of your youth and miss out of some great friendships.
Beware of Your Manners
When you are a young person being told to keep your elbows off the table, firmly shake hands, respect people or ask someone if they would like something to drink, it all seems like a lot of illogical rules.
Know that part of transiting from youth to adulthood is the awareness that it does not matter whether or not the rules of manners make sense. What is important is the effect of following these rules and that people do appreciate them which in turn gives you respect.
An actual adult can take care of himself and his day-to-day needs. Learn to make your bed, pass the vacuum, do your laundry, cook, or even manually fix things.
The sooner you begin doing things by yourself, the sooner you get respect and feel proud, and enriched.
Have Patience in Love
Practically all information you have about the opposite sex is very wrong because it is only based on stereotypes, rumors, shallow teen movies, and young celebrities. Do not change yourself into something you are not just because you think that is what they are looking for. It is a bunch of c…!
Talk to the person. Ask her to tell you about herself, and then show her you have been listening by doing or giving something she talked about. It shows you listen and care.
Keep in Shape
I know it is hard for you to understand that your body will not always be dissolving the many fat calories you consume. For now, you can maybe eat a full pizza and a bucket of ice cream, and then stay awake all night, but in time, it will change.
Young people cannot realize what I am saying here or even believe that will ever change, even if they have seen pictures of their parents in shape earlier on in life.
The body is like a marvelous machine. It runs prodigiously when it is new, from the day you were born until the moment of death, it will keep running every second of your life from 60 to 100 years. But after a few years of transiting into adulthood, your metabolism will slow down, and eventually, have small or significant interferences.
Never Act on “I Dare You.”
I believe that the three very unsafe words for young people are "I dare you." The challenge to prove "you can" to others is very tempting, especially since they might believe that you don’t have what it takes.
They may call you ‘chicken’ but know that by refusing a dare you display more intelligence, courage, and independence than anyone who makes the challenge thinking they are brave. I call it stupidity.
Do Not Be Afraid of Your Adult Version
With the transition from youth to adulthood, priorities will shift, and friends will change. It may be scary for most young people to become an adult by following all of the above suggestions. And surely when the example you have is shouting orders or barking by saying "When I was your age…."
Do not worry, be yourself, know who you are, what you stand for, watch for any attacks on your principles, but always be open to change if an indication comes up.
Finally, most of what is important to you now won't be in a few years. Avoid doing permanent things that someday you may regret because your taste in styles, music, type of girls or boys, your thoughts, and even pretty much everything will change.
So now you have some suggestions on how to transit from youth to adulthood.
Sergei VanBellinghen, Founder & CEO of First-Class Lifestyle and sergeivanbellinghen.com, Success & Self-Improvement Coach, Freedom entrepreneur & business partner of Stuart Ross, also counselor in East Europe-West relationships, a passionate Globetrotter and an avid audio booker