It is true that wisdom often does come with age. The problem, however, is that the understanding was not there when we needed it back when we were young.
So, a great question I like to ask is, “knowing what I know now, what would I tell my younger self!”
Frankly, there are a bunch of things I’d say to myself. Too many, I’m afraid, to share here. I have made many mistakes.
So for this article, I have pared it down to twelve. I hope you can learn from some of my mistakes.
Twelve Things I’d Tell My Younger Self
- Find a passion and embrace it. Then get it out there, to everyone. Develop it. Compete. Believe in your capacity to improve steadily. Don’t judge yourself on your current output, as it will improve dramatically over time. Plus, finding your way will be more comfortable as doors open for those with a genuine passion for what they do.
- Don’t take that critical inner voice too seriously (if you have one), because it will talk you out of “foolish” things (like following your passions) that are the best thing you could do for yourself. For many that negative voice is always there, sowing the seeds of fear. Recognize it for what it is, then walk through it.
- Develop your Mantra, something to center you and get you focused. I like “do it now.” Use this mantra to calm you down, overwrite those critical thoughts, and keep going.
- If you find an influential mentor, thank the stars, and then take ALL of their advice. Otherwise, it’s not the advice you are seeking. It is your advice repackaged to look like someone else’s advice. Get all you can out of those special people you run across in your life and follow all their information.
- “Remember, don’t fool yourself – and you’re the easiest person to fool.” This quote comes from Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman and speaks for itself.
- Define your terms for success. Nothing worse than living someone else’s life. Create and raise your bar and never settle. It can be as easy to fail at something you don’t care about as something you do care about.
- Learn to love exercise and make it a daily necessity. Being fit is better than being fat. Being fit will help your career. One habit to develop – get a scale and weigh yourself every day. So much easier to lose two pounds than twenty (or more). It sneaks up on you.
- Take the lead on building relationships. You can never have too many friends. What’s the value of a lifetime friend? At work, strive to become “easy to work with.” Also, “like others first!” Champion others along the way. Stand up for them, and aid in their development when you can.
- Start saving money now – even if it’s not much – and keep saving. Learn to live below your means. You can’t have too much money. Moreover, when spending money, prioritize experiences and personal development above stuff. Finally, be discrete when buying stuff. You can have too much “stuff.” My rule, delay all more significant purchases for 30 days. If you still have to have it a month later, then, and only then, should you consider buying it.
- If you find a partner who sees eye to eye with you, whom you love and who loves you back, don’t let go. Get on with it. Build a life together, then if you can, a family. Make it work; you will if you want to. Parenting is genuinely challenging, but also ineffably satisfying. Best of all, kids thrive in a loving home. A loving family can both inspire and support your all your efforts.
- Develop a daily routine – habits will define you in the long run and give the added value of bringing you peace of mind. Also, change the pattern from time to time. The best results in a gym happen when you rotate the exercises regularly.
- Finally, while it’s great to be passionate about work and life, it’s also vital to “calm the F down!” No one likes being with someone who is all jacked up about everything, all the time. Remain calm, patient, and disciplined. Be friendly and kind. Don’t tell everyone everything. Then, almost everything will all work out!
In summary, life is short so get on with it. Don’t waste time. Sure, there are a million details to figure out, but believe me, you can do it. Just begin, now, today!
Moreover, be on the lookout for users, losers, and trolls. They are out there, real, and will not help you. As they say, “stick with the winners you will be a winner too!”
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