What should be the long term goal for a 21-year old?

For a 21 year old, it is not an age to set goals, I feel. I mean I understand one would probably be a graduate at this stage. But then, this is an age to explore.

Let’s take it this way. A person who has been in such a caring environment for almost 21 years, who has been exposed to academic struggles only, who is hardly aware of how the real world runs and how difficult it is to sustain, who has only won games and competitions in schools and colleges where he is competing with a mere 100s whereas on the other hand, the outside world has millions of competitors striving. How can we expect such a person to come out in the real world and start setting goals for himself when he has hardly realized his passion yet?

Goal setting comes yet 3 to 4 years down the line from this age. At this age, the person simply needs to allow himself to accept what comes ahead of him.

It is something like diving in a fierce river. Initially, just go with the flow. Understand where the river takes you and how it takes you ahead. Once you have made yourself comfortable, then you start moving your hands and legs to decide the direction in which you’d like to swim.

So, at this age, move out into the world and allow it to heat you up like an iron, test you and prepare you for this world. How would that happen?


  • Volunteer
    Wherever you are and whatever you must be doing, volunteer and take up responsibilities upon yourself. Do not hesitate in doing so. This will help you become more confident in handling tasks and issues. You might make mistakes initially and find people laughing at you, but then who has learnt without making mistakes yet? So go for it and do not think about what others are saying, because your progress is in your hands and not theirs!
  • See
    Keep your eyes “open” and your mind “wide open.” What I mean is understand and analyze each and every happening around you. Each of them can teach you some or the other lesson of life. Become an observer. Avoid getting entangled into issues unnecessarily. Simply observe and analyze. Try to realize what’s right and wrong.
  • Explore
    Be open to explore anything and everything. Allow yourself to find your true passion, your real interest to which you can give your 100%. Never restrict yourself to a particular idea or never limit yourself from trying something new; something which you would never see yourself doing. Who knows, that could be your golden chance.
  • Experience
    When you explore, you experience. These experiences are the lessons that life teaches you. These experiences could be good or bad or even worse. They shall pass. But what stays with us lifelong are the teachings out of these experiences. It is these experiences that influences our thought processes and eventually shape our destiny.
  • Fall, Analyze, Rise
    One cannot learn to handle fall without falling. So don’t be afraid to fall. Be brave. Get hurt. Cry, but then move on. A fall should be a motivation for you to move ahead and not a hindrance to your progress. Perseverance and patience is the key. So fall, then analyze and rise.
  • Again fall, Analyze, Rise
    Fall again. Don’t worry. Any fall is simply iteration towards progress. The more you fall, the more you analyze and get back to this world.


In the age of 21, where academic institutions set us free to enter this world, another school called life binds us in. School teaches us “what to do” in life whereas life teaches us “how to do” in life. This is an age to realize our true passions and understand how and where we see ourselves standing 10 years down the line. So:

  • Move out of your comfort zone
  • Experiment
  • Listen more
  • Speak less
  • Observe more
  • Go with the flow
  • Don’t over – think
  • Give your 100%
  • Try something that you never thought you’d see yourself doing
  • Stay determined
  • Be patient
  • Smile
  • Make others smile
  • Stay happy

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