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1) Take Care of Yourself
Before we go onto more complex advice, a reminder: ambitious people often don’t take care of themselves. But, this can make them burn out and ultimately be less successful.
In fact, even if you just want to help others, it’s important to look after yourself. Professor Adam Grant did research that suggested that altruists who also looked out for their own interests were more productive in the long-term, and so ultimately did more to help
2) If necessary, make mental health a priority
About 20% of people in their twenties have some kind of mental health problem.4
If you’re suffering from a mental health issue – be it anxiety, bipolar disorder, ADHD, depression or something else – then make dealing with it or learning to cope your top priority. It’s one of the best investments you can ever make both for your own sake and your ability to help others.
3. Improve your basic social skills
Social skills are useful for almost everything in life, and although not much is known about how to improve them, there are some really basic things that everyone can learn. It’s small habits like how to make small talk and changing how you think about social situations. Even these can make it much easier to make friends, get on with colleagues, and generally deal with people.
4. Surround yourself with great people
Everyone talks about the importance of networking for a successful career, and they’re right. A large fraction of jobs are found through connections and many are probably never advertised, so are only available through connections.
5. Learn how to learn
Another skill that will help you in every job is learning how to learn.
Surprisingly, you can become much faster at learning. One example is spaced repetition. If you’re trying to memorise something, like a word in a foreign language, research shows that there’s an optimal frequency to review the word. If you use this frequency, you’ll be able to memorise it much faster. There are now tools that will do the revising for you, like Anki for making your own flashcards, and Memrise for pre-prepared cards.