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As I get older what are things I can do now to set myself up for the adult life.

I am a 16 year old male that just want to live a good and humble life. #life #career

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16 answers

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Jon’s Answer

This is a difficult question, even though it may seem simple at first. And know that everyone has asked themselves this very same question (at least once!).

Start with defining your goals. Where do you see yourself 5 years from now, or say 15. What are you doing. Who are you with. How are you giving back to your community. What are your dreams and what are the goals you must achieve in order to get you there.

Break that down into smaller steps. What kind of education do you need. What kind of job skills do you need. What kind of softer skills do you need (i.e. are you confident in yourself, do you work well with with others, do you know how to lead, etc). You may take courses (not just high school or college) that help with you with this. You may join a club or group to help you with areas you are less confident in (i.e. maybe a sports team or ROTC for developing leadership skills, Toast Masters is a great way to build your confidence in your public speaking and yourself overall, faith based groups can offer similar opportunities to grow yourself not only spiritually but in other ways too, etc). Be creative in finding small steps to work towards your goal. It doesn't happen all at once.

Manage yourself to towards those small steps. For instance, do you use a calendar well? Are you good at making task lists and knocking things off the list? If you need to save money towards a goal or step, can you do that? You won't get there if you aren't tracking yourself towards your goals, so figure out a plan that suits you and keep measuring your progress and holding yourself accountable.

Lastly, keep in mind, this question is never fully answered. There's always something you can work towards personally, that will help you for long haul. Just keep setting those goals and dreaming big!

Good Answer! David Broadbent, PMP

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Kim’s Answer

There are so many different aspects to your question. I'm going to avoid the career-related ones, with hopes that someone else will address those. I like to cover personal and financial. I think I got a little carried away with this, but, I hope you can use something from it. I think the most important is to learn money management.

1. Understand that tomorrow is not promised. None of us know how long we will be here, or, for how long we will be healthy. Always make time for the ones you love. To the extent possible, enjoy life to the fullest - don't think, "when I retire I'm going to do _____." My car plowed into a utility pole when I was 38. That was reality hitting me in the face. It's hard to balance work and home, and hobbies. Try hard. Believe me, time is more precious than money. But, you usually have either a whole lot of time (like, if you lose your job), or a whole lot of money (if you are working lots of overtime), but never both at the same time! Life isn't easy. . .
2. Don't be ashamed or afraid to use a therapist, esp. if you are having problems at work or problems in relationships, or problems with your kids. It can help.
3. Learn to budget, and to control spending. Understand the difference between "wants" and "needs." You "need" reliable transportation. That might cost $15,000. You "want" heads to turn when you drive up somewhere. That might cost $80,000. Never buy something as expensive as the bank says you can afford. If they approve you for a $350,000 house, buy one for $200,000. If you go all out for the more expensive one, when "life" starts happening, you will have to use credit cards. Start saving. Make it a habit to increase your savings amount regularly.
4. Use debit cards for daily living expenses. Use credit cards very sparingly, if at all. Protect your credit rating. Pay on time. Those with better credit ratings get lower interest rates on loans.
5. Learn about and create an "emergency fund." This is money that you set aside for emergencies, and should equal 3-6 months of your living expenses. This way, when your car needs new tires, you pay for it with your money, and pay yourself back, rather than using a credit card.
6. Never allow your living expenses to be totally consumed by your paycheck. Sometimes in life it is necessary to take a pay-cut in order to accept a career position with greater potential. Don't get stuck in a job that you dislike "but it pays good."
7. Don't stop being young at heart just because you are an adult. Walk in the rain. Splash in the puddles. Laugh at yourself.
8. Protect your criminal history. Do what is right. Never flee from the scene of an accident. Never drive drunk. Never do anything to get arrested. A criminal history makes life lots more difficult, including limiting your career opportunities in some circumstances.
9. Treat all people the way you'd like to be treated. Everyone. This includes the homeless.
10. Never compromise your integrity. Never. If your job wants you to do something illegal or unethical, find another job. Once you lose your integrity, you can never get it back, because you will always be ashamed of yourself.
11. Be happy in the moment. While personal and professional goals are nice, learn to appreciate today.

Hope this gives you food for thought. Happy to answer any questions, or discuss anything you want to discuss!

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Andrea’s Answer

Be curious! Read, investigate, ask questions. Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you

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Jenny’s Answer

I second a lot of the things that have already been said such as learn to manage money, start a retirement fund as soon as you can. You'll never miss the money that goes into the retirement account.

One thing I wished that I would've known about are skill assessments. It would've helped me decide on a career path when I was in HS or my first year in college. You can google it but one I like is onetonline.org. The 'test' is just a 'would I rather do this or that' and is pretty accurate!

My husband teaches at a local university. One thing he highly recommends is going to your professor's office hours, even if it's just to introduce yourself at the beginning of the semester. They want you to succeed!

Expose yourself to new experiences.

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Ashley’s Answer


I admire your proactiveness in asking this question. There is a lot to learn as you grow older and have experiences and you will figure out your balance as an adult in time - so don't feel you need to know it all at this moment. When I was a teenager, and as I've grown, I found the thing that served me most as an adult was the connections I made with people and I did so in the following ways:

1) Practice listening, whether you want to or not. You can't get to know people if you always talk about yourself. Make people feel heard and ask questions. Practice this with your family members, especially grandparents, as you'd be surprised the lessons they can pass along, and your friends and schoolmates.
2) Read as much as you can - books (all kinds), self-help guides, magazine articles, newspapers, etc. It expands your horizons, helps you with critical-thinking, and helps you connect with others.
3) Listen and/or play music. Music is something that connects everyone - it's a universal language. Consider making playlists and sharing music you like with others.
4) Serve your community - this is the one of the best ways to gain perspective on how other people live, what drives them, and the struggles they experience. You may find that you thought your life was hard, but someone else always has it harder. Reflect on that and reach your hand out to help.
5) Find hobbies or things that interest you in a group setting. Participate! This is a great way to find your people and often leads to life-long friendships, which will be people you will lean on.
6) Write & Feed you inner dialogue. Keep a blog, a diary, a or just a notebook to write down ideas, reflections, or other observations of your daily life. Reflecting on who you are, your goals, what makes you feel, and what you like and don't like helps you become more well rounded and self aware, if not confident. Confidence with a well-thought out position will serve you well.

Overall, look outward, listen to yourself, and be kind.

Happy to talk more if you have more specific questions or want to brainstorm ideas.


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Vinu’s Answer

Don't be naive and hope for things to work out the way you want to by themselves. If you have any goals/aspirations make sure you take the necessary action towards it. Do not pedestalize any other human being, always take their advices and learn to analyze them ,if they are not serving you then you should learn to discard them and say no! Whenever u feel low and when that negative self talk starts try to replace that talk with positive ones, ask yourself would you say that to your friend if he/she was depressed?.. Train that inner self talk to be your best friend not your enemy!

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Dasha’s Answer


I think is important to note that you are still young and that you have time. A lot of the time people spend so much time worrying about the future that they don't focus on what is happening now. While you can still plan for the future, remember you only experience high school once enjoy it.

One of the main things I would have wanted someone to tell me is start to develop good money habits RIGHT NOW! Learn how to manage your money, because when you get to college you have all this freedom and sometimes you can over spend trying to have fun.

Another thing I would say is be open to change. You can plan all day long, but things happen things change. Life happens so remember to not get too discouraged when it comes to the things you want or plan to do with your life.

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Kimberly’s Answer


In addition to the other comments, here are some recommendations/pieces of advice that helped me when I was your age thinking about the future.

1. Start to build relationships with people in the field of your interest or generally anyone who has the same passions as you. These connections could help you in the long run with becoming a mentor or finding a job. If your connections don't end up being either of these, then you made a great friend along the way!
2. Create a LinkedIn now. It will help you to start building your portfolio and as you progress through your journey, you can slowly add to the website. This is also a great way to build new relationships.
3. Financially, start saving some money now if you have a job. It is usually recommended to save 20% of each paycheck but if you can save more, that is fantastic.
4. Remember to have fun and continue to find passions in your life. Always search for something new to explore or learn about. Sometimes, you never know what door that may open up for you.

I wish you luck in your journey!

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Kimberly’s Answer

1. Have a plan for a career.
2. Always have a plan B and be open to other opportunities.
3. Don't get into credit card debt, and weigh the benefits of student loans if you need to go that route.
4. Volunteer - it not only can be used for your resume but it makes you and world a better place.
5. Have a hobby and/or exercise for an outlet and self-fulfillment.
6. Nurture relationships at home, with friends, and at work.
7. Enjoy life and everything for what it is :0)

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Georgi’s Answer

1. Delayed gratification - don't go into debt for the sake of impressing people
2. Look at your career options and choose something that is both lucrative, matches your personality and you can see yourself do for years.
3. Do not let other people put you down. Learn that no relationship/friendship is better than a bad one.
4. Develop a habit of focusing on the important tasks and treating the rest as optional.
5. Focus on improving your communication skills - this will drive your career and personal relationships.

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Kiirsten’s Answer

Hi Donnell!

I don't know you, and a lot of people have already given you excellent advice. What I'd like to add is that you're awesome. In times like these, it's very easy to be focused on yourself, live in the moment only, to be selfish, greedy, etc-- but I think it speaks volumes that you're looking not just to your future, but to live a good and humble life. People can easily be taught all different skills whether it's running reports on Excel, public speaking, or building houses-- but they all can't easily be taught a positive and outward mindset, which is what you probably have. Be kind to others, be respectful, help where you are needed, and be passionate.

I'm excited for your future!

Hi Kiirsten! Great start to an encouraging answer here; but the question wasn't quite answered. Regarding the question Donnell is asking, is there anything you can recommend the student to do to set themselves up for success as an adult? Jordan Rivera COACH

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David’s Answer

Donnell, the other people have given you excellent, thoughtful answers. Let me add a couple of ideas:

1. Use Please and Thank You. Most people do not, but you are not most people.
2. Brush and Floss Twice a Day. Most people do not, but you are not most people.
3. What are you good/not good at. I will never beat Rihanna at signing. But I am good at asking questions and listening. Know your good/not good. Work at getting better at what you will.
4. Accept that you will not know everything. It's ok. That's where the Please and Thank You, asking questions and listening make you better.
5. Try to understand other people. It's not easy. It will help you communicate better.

There, those are my suggestions.

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EJ’s Answer

A very interesting question, as living a "good and humble" life may sometimes be at odds with achieving what most people consider material success.
However, there are a few "common sense" things that you can do, to assist in taking you where you want to be as an adult.

The first is to seek peers whom you feel, are people that you think highly of. As human beings, we often learn from the people around us.
Also, finding worthy mentors is a key task. Can't say enough about surrounding yourself with positive people. People who do not share your same values and goals, will typically lead you astray.

The second is to build your own character and discipline. Actively gauge yourself. Do you have a temper? Are you selfish? The nature of self-critiquing yourself is a humbling one, as we all have things that we can work on. By working on our weaknesses, we build ourselves as positive people.
I will throw in exercise and diet, as a healthy body drives a positive and healthy mind. Many times, we often fall into lapses, where health and mind are not high on the priority list. Inadvertently, this may hinder one, as again health has much to do with our perspective on things.

And finally, to end on a more practical note. Go out and do some volunteer work. Seek out a local community center or church. Get to know the people there.
As personal examples, my son is interested in Tae Kwon Do, so he does volunteer work at his dojang.
My family has volunteered with work organizing cultural weekend festivals for the city art institute.
Also, I have volunteered for work at a local Korean community center (cleaning, serving food, organizing activities, etc).
Also, there are practical benefits to this. You can note this for college admissions or on a resume.

Seek out the grunt work, and start off small. Quite frankly, most of this work is not very glamourous.
But in the long run, working hard and being constructive have always been core at what I feel is a good and humble life.

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Marey’s Answer


First of all, the fact that you asked this question already shows how dedicated you are to making sure that you are living the life that you dream. All of the advice above is so great, and I think that you are going to really go far in life. Something that I have always stuck to is "Never be afraid to embarrass yourself". This can translate many different ways but how I took it was:

-Apply for the positions that you want, even if you aren't fully qualified.
-Try something new, even if it seems scary.
-Stick up for others and don't always go with the "trend"
-Dance down the grocery store aisle if your favorite song comes on- you will only spread Joy to those around you :)
- give more than you take. But be selfish when you need to be and say "no" to things when you really don't want to do them.

Thank you for being aware of the needs you will need as your grow. I wish that I had this awareness at 16, 20, 23... You are amazing.

Well-said Marey! I got caught a couple months ago doing the "hokey-pokey" while standing on my designated 6' social distancing dot at the store check-out. We all laughed! Kim Igleheart

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Mark’s Answer

Let me say, that the fact that your asking this questions, shows that your a very well grounded person for your age. Without being long winded, as children we learn of the golden rule, "Treat others the way you want to be treated" live by that because unfortunately....a lot of people do not abide by this rule and you have to learn to respect other regardless of there disposition. Social status in high school and college does not matter in the real world, build relationships with people who love you for who you are at your core. Keep money in its place, do not let it motivate you to do wrong to others for it. Never be afraid to not know something, ask question all the time, that's the only way you learn.

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Simeon’s Answer

The biggest things you can do to set yourself up for success as an adult is to learn how to manage your money and build up your relational network. For money, learn how to review and control your spending. You can end up much better than the average by being careful with your money. Yes, a certain amount of income is necessary to get going forward, but past that point the biggest thing you can do to help yourself is to control and monitor your spending. For relationships, take risks and try out new groups you might be interested in. Go out for lunch and coffee with people just to get to know them. Go to group events. Relationships are the gift that keeps on giving. Your friends are the ones that will help you through tough times and often the ones who get you into job opportunities you weren't even looking for.