5 pieces of advice to avoid a misspent youth

Your 20s are a valuable decade. Don't waste them.

Many people lament that youth is often wasted on the young. In your 20s, you're supposed to be making mistakes and learning how to best live the rest of your life. However, many people have regrets by the time they make it to their 30s or 40s. These same people have offered some advice for how to avoid falling into the same traps.

1. Take some risks

Don't talk yourself out of your goals or dreams. Don't be afraid to take risks or grab every opportunity. Redditor Bhruic said, "Don't talk yourself out of doing things you want to do. Don't let fear win. If you want to vacation in Europe, do it. If you want to talk to that hot girl/guy at the bar, do it. If you want to start your own business, do it (and do the research first). Getting to your 30s and having a string of regrets is going to haunt you." Successful people are less afraid to taking those risks. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has echoed this sentiment.

2. Learn to say "no" with confidence

This skill is pretty important early in your career. As the new face in the office, you'll likely be given a lot of work you don't have the energy or time to do. You might feel pressured to take on all of these tasks to prove yourself, but you don't have to. This also applies to social circles. You don't have to go out with your friends all the time if you don't want to. Saying no gives you the ability to prioritize the people and experiences that are meaningful to you.

3. Stop comparing yourself to others

While some comparison can help motivate you to achieve your goals, over comparison can actually de-motivate you and slow you down. Compare where you are in your life to where you want to be. Not to where anyone else already is. Use your 20s to learn how to be content with your accomplishments and not envious of the success of others. Research suggests that comparing yourself to others is pointless. If you need a little motivation in this area, consider this quote: "Never compare your beginning to someone else's middle."

4. Don't rush through your 20s

Take your time. Enjoy your life. There's no sense in only looking forward at that promotion or your next career move. If you spend all of your time looking forward, you'll never have time to sit back and enjoy what you have. "So many people in their 20s are in a hurry to get to where they want to be: graduated, established, promoted, in love. Your 20s are a time where it is ok to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. Don't be in a rush to be who you are going to be. Just enjoy being who you are," Alicia Quarles, New York Correspondent, E! News.

5. Accept failure as a stepping stone to success

Many people are scared to fail, but often you have to face a few failures to make it where you want to be. Huffington Post Editor-In-Chief Arianna Huffington says the most valuable lesson she learned in her 20s was to accept failure. "My later success would not have been possible without learning from these early failures. At the time I wouldn't have minded fewer failures, but they're not only part of life, they're a valuable part of life."