People have probably asked you before what you wanted to achieve by the age of 25. Now that you’re there, nothing seems to be as you wanted. Instead of being the person you saw in your five or 10-year plan, you’re not even close.
Feeling like a failure at 25?
Coming to terms with this may not be easy for you. But this is more common – and normal – than you think. Whenever you start feeling like a failure, think of the following:
Things to remember if you’re feeling like a failure at 25
1. You’re not the only one.
Believe it or not, most young people feel this way. You will rarely find a young person who is fully satisfied with what they’ve become so far.
After all, the goals of students and aspiring young adults are often unrealistic. If you’re feeling like a failure, it’s NOT because you are one. You either need to work your way to get to your goals, or change them up to more realistic ones.
It doesn’t matter who you are or what your qualifications are. You can have several degrees or better skills than many thriving people your age – but these are not the only determiners for success. Regardless of age, most folks will feel like they’re falling behind in their personal or professional life.
Even the most popular people in the world must have felt like a failure at some point. The famous Walt Disney for instance, was fired from Kansas City Star in 1919 because he ‘lacked imagination and had no good ideas’. This wasn’t even the end of his failures. After getting fired, Disney’s animation studio Laugh-O-Gram went bankrupt.
But did he give up so easily? He surely didn’t become one of the most popular individuals in the world because everything went smoothly for him. He did it because he didn’t lose hope.
2. You are not helpless.
Fixating on the idea that there are other factors for your failure (such as unfair employment in your country or lack of finances to pay for a more ‘prestigious education’) is the worst thing you can do to yourself. But if you boost your skills and become dedicated to pursuing your goals, there is nothing in this world that can stop you from becoming who you are.
Only YOU can guide your own success. For example: your parents or friends might use their influence to get you a nice job – but how successful you will feel will depend on what you achieve. If you didn’t deserve it in the first place, you can still end up feeling like a failure.
Young people have it hard. Competition is too big; it’s much harder to get a job than it used to be. However, this doesn’t make you predestined to failure. You simply can’t go through life thinking that you aren’t in a position to change your current situation to a better one.
In fact, with many educated young people, employers started showing interest in the actual candidates and their capabilities, rather than just on their educational attainment.
Take Brad Pitt for example. He is now known as one of the best and most gorgeous actors in the world. But did you know that he used to drive strippers in limos, dressed as a chicken for the restaurant El Pollo Loco, and moved refrigerators before he was first discovered? His big break came when his friend invited him to an acting audition to play as her lover. The rest they say is history.
You never know when failures will stop and success will begin. Don’t give up – you are neither helpless, nor hopeless.
3. You cannot reach the top right away.
People don’t become highly successful just because they set their mind to it. If life were this way, everyone would be a success. If you expect to reach the top right after you get your degree or send out your resume, you are up for a huge disappointment.
Even the sharpest, most talented people in the world can make a bad call and experience some kind of setback. Things aren’t always under your control. You are now an adult and with it must come the persistence and strength to overcome various barriers.
When Steve Jobs was fired from the company he co-founded, he was certainly feeling like a failure. At his 2005 commencement speech at Stanford, Jobs said:
“I was out – and very publicly out. What had been the focus of my entire adult life was gone, and it was devastating.”
But he quickly overcame this and took a step that turned out to be even better than the first one. He was already in his 30s when he was fired, which is more than you have at the moment!
If you take the time to check the story of individuals you admire, you will learn that they didn’t become successful overnight. In fact, very few of them were a success at your age. So think of it as a beginning of your life journey.
4. You are young.
Some people have to start fresh even after decades of hard work. Michael Bloomberg was let go from the company Salomon Brothers where he was a partner.
With the money he got, he started his own company when he was almost double your age. He is now the 18th richest person in the world. Surely, the check he used to start his new business was quite hefty, but he did not get to this point easily.
The number of people who became famous before the age of 25 is so little you should definitely reconsider your expectations. Success is a ladder – and at times, you will have to go down a bit to climb higher afterward.
More opportunities are yet to come your way. If you’re motivated toward completing your goals, this is just the start. The real milestones should begin soon. Unless you want to become an athlete fighting with age restrictions, a bit of determination and good planning will get you where you want to go.
It doesn’t really matter how old you are to overcome failures and start again. But you do have the advantage of being young, so use it!
5. You can’t know how fulfilled others actually are.
Not everyone loves their life and their job. The truth is not always as it seems to you when you look at them. The biggest culprit for beliefs such as ‘he has it better than me’ is social media. People tend to present their life in a much better light than it truly is, making others feel like they are falling back.
You are a young adult, and there will be few people that you know who have fulfilled all their goals until this point. All those pictures of trips and cheerful faces cannot give you the full picture of how happy others are. You simply cannot measure your success with the success you think other people have.
I felt like this when I was 25. Now, three years later, I know that nothing is as it seems on the surface. When I look at people I believed had it all together then, I see failures and lack of motivation. As soon as you get to the point in your life when you truly feel fulfilled with what you’ve accomplished, you will learn that those you believed had it great in fact, had it worse than you.
Even if they did better than you do now, life is not written in stone. You can turn your entire life around – all it took me was some help with programming. I’m now a famous blogger who managed to complete her dream of travelling the world. It only took me three years since feeling like a failure. If I kept pursuing that belief, I wouldn’t be where I am right now.
These concepts may not be easy to grasp at first. But they can help every time you feel like you aren’t good enough. Remind yourself that you aren’t the only one, and that this is just the start of your journey through life. These thoughts should keep you motivated.
Motivation and dedication are the strongest tools you have to reach your goals. Even if you fail, life gives you a chance to try again. At that time, try even harder and make it even better!