What everyone should know before turning 25

The first half of your life determines the second.

You see this pattern when you examine all the great men and women. There’s no exception. Outstanding people don’t trip into fame, wealth or acclaim.

The reason for this is the power of compounding. Knowledge isn’t symmetrical. It’s only a handful of people that make all the great discoveries.

A good part of this asymmetry can be explained by compounding. If you remember back to school, compounding interest refers to earning interest on top of interest. If you put $10 in the bank, a 10% interest rate will give you $11. The year after, you’ll see $12.10 in your bank account. Do this a few thousand times, and the balance will shock you.

Compound interest doesn’t just apply to money; it also applies to learning and success. Let’s compare two people –Jack and Maryl. Jack never enjoyed learning and found himself at twenty-five without ever having applied himself. Mary was different. She’s curious. She sees the value in learning and how it will improve her life.

Mary is twenty-five, and so is Jack. For the last decade, Mary has been learning; Jack hasn’t.

Here’s a question. Do you think Mary is ten years ahead of Jack?

No, she’s not.

Mary is a lifetime ahead of Jack.

The power of compounding

This is the power of compounding. Every year of learning isn’t another scratch on the tally for Mary. That’s not how our brain works.

Instead, every day Mary spends learning and developing herself earns interest from the previous day. She begins to learn faster and understands difficult concepts much easier. This allows Mary to challenge herself and continue learning even faster.

If we step back and look at the trajectory of Mary’s journey, we don’t see a building steadily getting bigger – we see a fire. At first, it was slow, with a few embers hanging on. But every day of learning brings more oxygen. The embers turn into flames and the flames into a fire. The more Mary learns, the faster she learns, and the faster she learns, the more she learns.

There’s only one way to take advantage of compound interest – start today. The earlier, the better.

If you ever think you left it too late, imagine what you will think ten years from now, asking yourself the same question and wondering why you ever let this thought stop you from taking action.

The second half of a man’s life is nothing but the habits he has acquired during the first half.

Fyodor Dostoyevski
Published in Life, Philosophy, Productivity, Psychology, Self Improvement
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