The time just after graduating college is confusing, when opportunities and advice are thrown at us from every corner. There’s a problem with looking at a million open doors that invite you. It gives you the illusion of choice but indirectly pulls you in every direction.
A young gentleman who is stepping out into the real world, that is, the professional world, needs to have a few priorities to keep his head straight. These priorities can shape a lifetime of healthy choices both mentally and physically.
I’m no expert in this. I myself have just finished with my college and am figuring things out. I’ve been thinking and acting on my priorities and they have helped me structure my life, at least to bring some shape and form to it. I’d like to share my priorities in life that are keeping me healthy both in mind and body. These rules or guidelines can be adapted by any young gentleman of this era.
1. Structure / Routine -
Most of us have lived chaotic lives in our teens. Doing random stuff at random times is not healthy for both your mind and body and it also hinders your productivity.
I understand that you’ll have to do unexpected things, go places at sudden notice due to friends, and your social circles. A few variables are acceptable. But when your are on our own, you need structure your day with a morning routine, work-hours routine, and a night-time routine. This way your circadian rhythm(the biological sleep/daylight/eating clock) will stay healthy.
These routines should let you have an average of 7-8 hours of healthy sleep every night. Anything less or more is harmful. Trust me, I know as I’ve experienced major problems with my sleep schedules.
When you have some fixed time planned in a day for yourself or for other necessary things in life, many healthy habits can occur and you will not procrastinate.
2.Grooming and hygiene -
As a human being, hygiene comes first. I don’t need to tell you folks about hygiene, but I unfortunately do know people who do not prioritize this in their daily life. Hygiene includes – brushing your teeth twice a day; showering with soap or body wash; shampooing and conditioning your hair at least weekly; trimming your nails at least twice a month, both at your fingertips and at your toes; using deodorant before going out; and washing your face.
I know that this can seem like a lot but they are just the basics for a healthy human being in general. If you don’t give a damn about your hygiene, most people will move away from you and it’ll be your fault.
Now especially to you gents, maintaining and grooming a beard can be a headache to some. But do not let it grow loose wildly. When you show some proper care and attention to your beard every couple of days to do some touch ups and fixes, you will notice a better you. The compliments are secondary. When you develop a grooming routine, you’ll learn to take pride in fixing your beard.
The best part, you can customize and experiment with beard styles and try on different designs. It’s better to experiment when you are young before you get social and professional restraints on what you can and cannot do.
3.Fitness regimen -
I’m not telling you to go to a gym or even workout everyday. I understand that some people are more fit and athletic than others. Being chubby doesn’t make you any less of a man.
But if you can’t walk for around four or five kilometers, can’t jog continuously for more than half a kilometer or if you can’t do even ten proper push-ups on any normal day, then you are seriously unfit.
If you are unfit, then make time to walk for an hour a day, or do some home workouts. The internet has endless content of basic exercises that you can do at home without any equipment. Start with 10 or 15 minutes a day, and gradually increase your workout. I agree that it will exhaust you and cause aches. But the results are worth it.
Daily exercise releases hormones and biological juices into the brain that makes you happier, healthier and more productive. If you’re unable to do anything with life and are facing depression, get off your ass and start working out. It helped me out in tough times, so I know personally. You’ll even get addicted to challenging yourself in terms of fitness.
4.Work > people -
Some of you people-friendly folks may find this point offensive but this is my work ethic. My philosophy is that work is more important than people. All the people in our lives are temporary, they come and go. Emotionally attaching ourselves to people or objects is hilarious as everything changes.
Our work is what makes us who we are. It defines us. The persistence, determination, dedication and drive we show through our work makes our social status. Whoever we surround ourselves with and our social (non-professional) contacts are of hardly any use to us.
A professional network of contacts can do more for your life than your buddies. When you work and thrive in a field of expertise where you’d get the recognition from others in that field but flak from your close social circles who wouldn’t understand your job, it is better to stick to socializing with your professional contacts.
This way, you’ll be talking to people who’ll understand you and within this professional social circle, everyone mutually lifts each other up, instead of passing discouragements.
You’ll be judged both positively and negatively for anything you do or say in the open world. It is up to you to choose which type of people you end up listening to.
5.Selective Socialization -
They say that a good modern gentleman treats everyone with respect and kindness. Do it. But do not waste your kindness and respect on people who pull you down.
In most of our immediate social circles we will have a few discouraging, indifferent and worthless folks who judge too quick. When you recognize these people, distance yourselves from them. It will work wonders for your mental health.
There are always some friends who are sheer losers. They either know their position and accept it or they put themselves on a virtual pedestal and keep blowing their trumpets when they have done nothing in their lives. Instead of wasting your precious time and energy near them, move away and recognize those who are of real help to you professionally and personally.
The few friends who genuinely help you and care about you, are the ones who you need to strengthen ties with. Being an artist(author), content creator and freelancer, I personally require motivation and encouragement from people to fuel myself to work harder. Sometimes this comes in the form of tough love and brutal honesty from some people who understand this field and actually care.
During these situations, do not push these friends away thinking they are discouraging you. Learn to recognize honesty but keep a safe distance from everyone.
Like I wrote in my previous point, people are temporary. So, instead of forming hard attachments, better be opportunistic and recognize social changes when they come. Everyone plays roles. The actors of these roles in your life keeps changing.
6.Finding your style / Creating your brand -
Most of us gents do not dress consciously to college. But once we’re out in the professional world, how we dress makes an impact on our lives.
A true gentleman is classy and professional. That doesn’t mean that I’m telling you to break the bank. Spend within your budget. First dispose of the clothes and accessories that you do not wear and donate them to a good cause. Now, use your budget to up your style game.
Nobody’s going to notice any cheap brands and comment harsh things. Just maintain your stuff and wear the right combinations on the right days. A little education into men’s style can go a long way to up your game and earn you compliments.
Whatever you wear indirectly builds your brand. All of us who use social media have our personal brand in the digital sphere. Wearing trendy pieces like loose fitting and baggy clothes can come off as unprofessional. Learn to get properly fitting clothes and wear classy pieces when outside. You can even experiment with watches and footwear.
We want a world where we aren’t judged by our looks but that’s not our reality. Psychologically we make judgments subconsciously whenever we see someone. So why not use this to your advantage and game the system to favor your brand.
I’ve been style conscious from a couple of months and only sometimes. But this is a life skill that does miracles through not just compliments but by altering people’s perceptions of you.
7.Don’t waste your values -
A true gentleman must have metrics or codes by which he values the things in his life – the materials, the people and the abstract. A man who values something is always more interesting than a man who values nothing.
The problem here is that most people value almost everything, mostly irrelevant and petty matters, in their lives. People value opinions from their loser friends, their professionally different family and the society around them. Some folks place too much value in the daily mundane tasks and objects when they are temporary and subject to change. When you give a damn about everything, there won’t be any value in your damns.
What I mean is, choose what you give a damn about. Choose your values with enough care as it will define your life. Caring and valuing the things that truly matter in our lives, which is different for each person, makes us grow as a good human being.
Instead of taking advice and opinions from hundreds of places, try to value yourself and invest in learning to keep developing yourself. That way you’ll design your own priorities that brings you value.
Here’s another priority that I haven’t included in the above list. Invest in yourself. It means to keep learning as long as you are biologically capable of learning. Invest in books, audiobooks, courses, explore open-source data, talk to experts and explore every topic you can. You can never know what will interest you and what can change your life for the better if you do not explore learning it.
A quote from one of my favourite Stoic philosophers, Seneca, says, As long as you live, learn how to live.
Thank you for reading this article. Let me know in the comments what you felt about these priorities and anything you would like to include in this list. If you liked this article please do share the link to this page on social media and to your contacts or anyone who might benefit from it.
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