I RECENTLY turned 30 and I am glad to say that I have grown a lot wiser. I say that because I took a look at the Facebook posts of my good self when I was in my 20s and boy, was I an idiot.

Then I looked at the 20-year-olds around me and I realised their idiocy matched mine when I was their age.

But as opposed to many of my peers, who only complain about “kids these days…”, I decided to do some good and teach the younglings some new stuff.

So if you have just graduated from college and are about to enter what adults call “The Real World”, strap in, because this should have been mandatory reading in secondary school.

And yes, this will be condescending in tone. Deal with it.

1 The world doesn’t care about your hopes and dreams.

It also doesn’t care about your gender, race, religion, where you come from, what you get offended by, your hobbies, likes and dislikes, your favourite colour, etc.

On the surface, it sounds like all those things matter, but by and large, The Real World only cares about one thing – what you can bring to the table. What value do you bring? How are you going to help someone either save time or money? That’s it.

A mechanic can fix a father’s car so he can pick his kids up from school. A doctor can prescribe medicine to a woman so that she can get better and go back to work. What can you provide to society?

2 Do more than what you are paid for.

The economy isn’t exactly doing great, so it’s a playground for employers. There have been many stories of fresh graduates who bring their parents to interviews, gripe about pay, haggle over working hours and basically showcase the attitude of someone not willing to work.

But here’s the thing – all your would-be employers went through much harsher work conditions during better economic times. It’s gonna be really hard to find an employer willing to give you your asking pay.

But trust me, if you are willing to work harder than other candidates for the same pay, the job is yours. And eventually, you will be paid what you think you are worth. The trick is getting your foot in the door first.

3 Some ‘entrepreneurs’ are fake.

Don’t quit your job to start your own company simply because an entrepreneur said, “If you don’t follow your dream, someone will hire you to build theirs”.

Most of them are really just rich kids – a University of California, Berkeley study said entrepreneurs are usually from higher-earning families.

Their journey is different because while their roads are paved with gold, our roads must be paved with diligence, perseverance and hard work.

4 Don’t subscribe blindly to wise sayings. Context is everything.

Actions do not always speak louder than words, and on that same note, the pen is not always mightier than the sword either.

The world is rarely “this” or “that”. Our lives are not binary, so do not follow advice blindly. Even (and maybe especially) the advice given in this column.

5 Money is everything.

Okay fine, it isn’t everything. But it is the one thing that is closest to everything, so it has to be something, right?

Money provides security and a solid foundation to build hopes and dreams on. Do not neglect the power of money.

The next time someone says, “money isn’t everything”, just nod politely and banish him or her from your life. Most times, people use that saying as an excuse for their laziness. Don’t buy into that fallacy.

And yes, money does buy happiness. Don’t believe me? Talk to a bankrupt person and see how joyful he or she is. Money is not the root of evil. Lack of money is.

6 Metallica rocks.

I know this is out of place but they do. They absolutely rock.

7 Delayed gratification will pay dividends.

When I got married, my wife and I decided not to go on a honeymoon. Instead, we put our savings into our first home.

We became homeowners at the age of 26. We only went on a proper honeymoon five years later and we’re on solid financial ground because of it.

Nobody cares about the fancy car you want to buy, at least not the people who truly care for you.

Your fancy clothes, gadgets and accessories will become obsolete. What will never become obsolete is financial discipline.

Live below your means. Save 50% of your pay. Delay. Your. Gratification. Luke Skywalker never needed branded shoes and neither do you.

8 Allow yourself the chance to fail.

Take a chance. Pitch that crazy project to your boss. Turn that hobby of yours into a second career. Finish that novel. It will probably suck, but trying to do something is a million times better than never starting. You may never be Elon Musk, and that’s okay.

The point is, you have to start somewhere. Allow yourself the space to fail, and you will achieve better success generally than those who never fail.

9 You don’t have to get a boyfriend/girlfriend, get married and have children.

It really isn’t. I have met many people who are either single or married without children and they are perfectly happy, thank you very much.

But of course, there’s that age old question: “Who will take care of you when you get old?” Well, in the words of Jimmy Carr: “Trained healthcare professionals.”

10 The following are not backed by science:

Feng shui, geomancy, astrology, horoscopes, numerology, reiki massages, alternative medicine, homeopathy, face reading, psychic readings, palmistry, clairvoyancy, extrasensory perception (ESP), and beliefs in the occult and supernatural.

This is not an exhaustive list.

Now that you have finished reading, congrats! You now have an edge over your fellow 20-year-olds.

Armed with all this knowledge, I wish you godspeed on your journey. You have every opportunity and capability to change the world. And often, it is the young people who do. But even if you don’t, that’s okay.

Just remember: Metallica absolutely rocks. Seriously.

Dr Jason Leong is a former doctor who decided to become a full-time comedian. His upcoming show, You Stupid Or What?, will be happening on Feb 23-25 at PJ Live Arts. Find out more at!

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