The Defining Decade by Meg Jay – Summary

The Defining Decade by Meg Jay - Summary
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I am in my early 20s right now and I’m freaking out because I have no idea who I am, why I’m here, and what I’m doing with my life.

I read the Defining decade by Meg Jay and it calmed me down a bit because nobody has it figured out in their 20s and if they do, they are outliers.

Meg Jay is a clinical psychologist who specializes in adult development and in twenty something’s in particular.

Her book, The Defining Decade: Why your twenties matter—and how to make the most of them now, is based on her years of experience working with twenty-year-olds.

It’s a must-read for anyone who feels they are stuck, or even just curious about the next stage of adulthood.

Claiming your 20s is one of the most transformative things you can do for your love, work and happiness. The book is broken down into 4 parts Work, Love, Brain and Body.

Identity Capital

Identity capital is the collection of skills, relationships, and professional resources we build up over our lives. Identity capital is an investment you make on yourself. Do not consider this as an expense.

Meg Jay argues that the twenties are the defining decade of adulthood because it’s when people are most likely to develop identity capital.

This includes skills like professional qualifications or credentials, relationships with mentors or co-workers, and networks of friends that offer support in times of need.

Your 20s are a critical period of adult development. It’s the right time to educate yourself about your mind, body and your options.

“Forget about having an identity crisis and get some identity capital. … Do something that adds value to who you are. Do something that’s an investment in who you might want to be next.”

Meg Jay

Why your Twenties matter

The greatest asset we have is the time that is given to us. This is why our youth is the most important period in our life. All our youth decisions, our habits, and our lifestyle patterns establish the foundation of our lives.

This is the time we choose the kind of life we want to live in the future. It is therefore very important to choose the right direction, so we can make the most of it. The right direction means to have the right mindset, good habits and building the right lifestyle.

The peak of your energy and the best of your creativity is in your 20s. You have a lot to learn, you have a lot to contribute and you have a lot of ambition. This is the time when you figure out who you are and are able to make a dent in this world before you start to become addicted to comfort.

Here are some key points Meg points out in the defining decade:

  • 80% of life’s most defining moments will happen by your 30s.
  • Our brain is not fully baked until our 20s. Our last growth spurt in your brain happens in your 20s.

When you enter your 30s and beyond, social pressure begins to push you to conform to what they want you to be. And by the time you’re 50, you’re just a shell of your former self.

20s are a time when you can (ideally) take risks, learn from failure and get ahead of the curve. Whether you are single or in a relationship, your 20s is a great time to take risks, learn from failure and get ahead of the curve.

As you enter this decade of your life, you will have a few things figured out and a few things not. This is a good time to start that business you always wanted to start, or to get married and start a family.

It’s also a great time to figure out if you want to devote yourself to a particular job or pursue your own interests. Upon reflection, the next decade of your life is likely to be the best and most fulfilling of your adult life.

How to make the most of your Twenties

Here are a few tips to help you make the most of your twenties:-

  • Don’t lose that urgency and fire you have within you. Like they say make hay while the sun shines.
  • Don’t have the I will get to it later mentality. Later you may not get the life you want.
  • Ask yourself what you want, what makes you happy and what success is for you.
  • You need to be making moves in your 20s and little course corrections along the way will lead to a massive impact.
  • Don’t treat your 20s as an extended adolescence take advantage of your 20s.
  • Don’t kill time. Start now so you don’t regret the decisions you made.
  • Don’t feel behind by checking Other people’s social media. You just don’t know what’s going on behind the scene. Most of the people you watch on social media are not posting their reality. They are posting the best moments of their life (highlight reel).
don’t compare your life to others

30s and 40s are said to be the new 20. Don’t fall prey to that statement if you are in your 20s. Claim your adulthood now.

The world is your oyster, and you should make the most of it. It’s not too late to start over or try something new. Take advantage of the defining decade.

Why 30 is not the new 20 | Meg Jay

Why is the 20s considered the defining decade?

The twenties is considered the defining decade because it is the first time people are on their own, out of college, and away from the support of their families. This is the time when many people find themselves and begin to figure out what they like and what they are good at. The twenties are a decade of self-growth and self-exploration. It is a decade that can teach you how to be more responsible and how to develop a strong work ethic.

How do you make the most of your 20s?

The twenties is a decade that can teach you how to manage your finances and plan for the future. It’s also a decade where you make your biggest, most important friends and establish the network of people that you will have in your life for the rest of your life.

Why your 20s matter and how to make the most of them?

It is the age when we are most energetic, most focused on our goals, and most resilient to going through new experiences that are likely to shape our future as people. The twenties are supposed to be the time when we explore our options in life and try to figure out who we are and what we want.

Most people are not content in their twenties and continue to search for ways to improve themselves and what they do. They keep doing this in the thirties, forties, and so on. But there are people who become unhappy and complacent throughout these decades and waste their potential to achieve their goals.

It is during the twenties when we should discuss and plan our future, come to terms with our priorities, and start working on how we want to use our time and who we want to become. This is a defining decade because it is the time that can make or break us.


2 thoughts on “The Defining Decade by Meg Jay – Summary”

  1. Thank you for giving review such a book. I really appreciate it. I am also in my 20s but I don’t know what to do in my life. I hope after finishing this book I find my life’s meaning.

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