How To Deal With A Quarter-Life Crisis

Research has it that eight in every ten young adults face a quarter-life crisis. I was no exception. In this article, I will show you how I overcame my quarter-life crisis and took back control of my life.

What is life? What is the purpose of living? How do I make it in life? These are questions many young adults ask themselves.

– Author

Table of Contents

Like many other young people, I was often perplexed by the meaning and value of life. I wanted to know why I existed and ultimately find my purpose in life. I read stories of teen geniuses and mavericks like Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg and how they had everything figured out while they were teenagers. The more stories I read, the more lost I became. I always believed that everyone has a role to play in making the world a better place. However, I never thought that figuring out which role to play was going to be hectic. As the days went by, I was increasingly feeling lost, and unsure of my future.

Clinical psychologist Alex Fowke describes a quarter-life crisis as “a period of insecurity, doubt and disappointment surrounding your career, relationships and financial situation.”

My Quarter-Life Crisis Experience

In my early-20s I was torn between pursuing a career and starting a venture. This decision seemed impossible to make; there were so many unknowns. Surprisingly, for my friends, life seemed like a well-detailed road map. Did they know something I did not? I was often too scared or too egocentric to ask. My agemates knew something I did not and this frightened me more than anything. I secluded myself with the hope of figuring everything out.

What began as a temporary period of seclusion with the hope of beating my quarter-life crisis became a year of intense learning and self-development. What I discovered in my year-long isolation really changed my life and led to the breakthrough I had been looking for. Today I decided to condense my year-long experience and the myriad of lessons I learned into six practical tips that you can also take to beat your quarter-life crisis:

1. Ignore the “shoulds”.

We all have expectations of how our life should be but sometimes life does not go our way. When this happens, take the setback positively. A missed goal or milestone does not automatically make you a failure. In fact, a failure or a setback comes with many lessons and often leads to success when taken positively. Choose to learn from these mistakes as you chant a new path.

“Without making mistakes, there won’t be lessons learned. Without getting hurt, there won’t be knowledge gained. The only way we grow is by learning from the past.”

To avoid anxiety and depression, accept the past. What you did or did not do in the past cannot be altered hence it is wise to make peace with it. Reject any societal expectations placed upon you that hinder your growth and understand that goals change. If you feel the need to change careers or relationships after a while, take the step and learn from the journey. Embrace your new self and set new milestones that align with your goals and dreams. Do not let anyone dictate what happiness or success should be to you.

See also10 Tips that will save you time, money and improve your mental health

2. Find your purpose.

A purpose gives life meaning and gives you the strength to pursue something every day. With a purpose, you can overcome challenges and become relentless. To harness the power of purpose, be clear on what is important to you. This will give you reassurance, clarity, and direction even when the going gets tough. A purpose will remove the mental fog that leads to confusion and self-doubt enabling you to become the best version of yourself.

Know that it is you who will get you where you want to go, no one else.

You can find your purpose through deep contemplation and self-exploration. Once you have, pursue it!

3. Avoid comparison.

Do not compare yourself with your peers or even people on social media. Learn to understand and accept that everyone has their own journey. In fact, the only person you should strive to be better than is the person you were yesterday.

“Comparison is the thief of joy.”

– Theodore Roosevelt

Instead, practice self-care and mindfulness, focus on your purpose, set attainable goals, and get a mentor/coach to guide you when you feel stuck.

Read also: 15 Passive income streams for 2023

4. Trust The Process.

Rome was not built in a day. Choose a goal aligned with your purpose and make fearless decisions to attain it. Trust the discomfort and understand that life is not perfect but never let your eyes off the prize. There is a reason you have a specific desire.

“If you can dream it, then you can achieve it.”

– Zig Zaglar

More often than not, we are tempted to believe the naysayers and cave into what is expected of us. Once you have a burning desire, be relentless and pursue it to fruition. In the end, it is not the actions we took that we will regret, it is the actions that we did not take that will haunt us.

5. Do not give up.

Choose to stand up for yourself even when those closest to you discourage you. In the face of adversity, respond instead of reacting. A response is calculated while a reaction is often emotional and irrational. Responses are self-assuring and affirm to our goals and purpose while reactions are emotional outbursts that show a lack of direction and control.

The opposite of courage is not fear, it is conformity. People tend to conform to the status quo rather than be courageous enough to stand up for their goals.

When you hit a rock, pivot if need be but stick to the goal. Do not quench that thirst. You are experiencing a crisis because you know that you should be doing much better than you are. Conforming will only worsen the crisis. Not giving up and pursuing your purpose will give you the satisfaction you need in life.

See also: 10 Habits to Eliminate in 2023

6. Improve yourself.

After finding your purpose and accepting your authentic self, focus on self-improvement. Set targets aligned with your goals and put in the work. Possible areas to improve are your habits, finances, health, network (social and professional), and knowledge. Being on Medium is a step in the right direction.

Be relentless in your pursuit to become better. “An investment in yourself pays the most dividends.” — Warren Buffett


I applied all of the above lessons and my life changed tremendously. I believe that the same can work for you. A quarter-life crisis is often a crisis of identity and self-doubt. Embracing life and striving to achieve your goals will give you the self-assurance and motivation that you desire. Understand that life is a puzzle that we figure out day by day. There is no guide and no one has all the answers. Try as many things as you wish to and get your hands dirty, then wash them and begin your new path using the lessons you’ve learned. Life is an accumulation of experiences and we can only live it actively — not passively.

Thank you for making it this far. I write about personal finance and self-development. Subscribe to my WEEKLY newsletter for a curated dose of money and growth tips that will make you better, wealthier, and happier.

See also10 Tips that will save you time, money and improve your mental health

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