31 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I Was Young

As we go through life, we encounter various experiences that shape us into the person we are today.

Some of these experiences come with valuable lessons that we could have learned earlier.

Unfortunately, we can’t turn back time, but we can always share these lessons with others in the hopes that they can avoid making the same mistakes.

Here are 31 things I wish someone told me when I was young:

1. Commit yourself to make lots of little mistakes when you’re young

Mistakes teach you important lessons.

The biggest mistake you can make is doing absolutely nothing because you’re too scared to make a mistake.

So don’t indefinitely hesitate — don’t doubt yourself. In life, it’s rarely about getting a chance; it’s about taking a chance.

You’ll never be 100% sure it will work, but you can always be 100% sure doing nothing won’t work.

Most of the time you just have to go for it! And no matter how it turns out, it always ends up just the way it should be.

Either you succeed or you learn something.

Win-Win.

Remember, if you never act, you will never know for sure, and you will be left standing in the same spot forever.

2. Find hard work you appreciate doing

If I could offer my 18-year-old self some real career advice, I’d tell myself not to base my career choice solely on other people’s ideas, goals, and recommendations.

I’d tell myself not to pick a major because it’s popular, or statistically creates graduates who make the most money.

I’d tell myself that the right career choice is based on one key point: Finding hard work you appreciate doing.

As long as you remain true to yourself, and follow your own interests and values, you can find success through passion and inner alignment.

Perhaps more importantly, you won’t wake up several years later working in a career field you despise, wondering “How the heck am I going to do this for the next 30 years?”

So if you catch yourself working hard and loving every minute of it (or at least appreciating it), don’t stop.

You’re on to something big!

Invest

3. Invest a little time, energy, and money in yourself every day

When you invest in yourself, you can never lose, and over time you will change the trajectory of your life.

You are simply the product of what you know.

The more time, energy, and money you spend acquiring pertinent knowledge and experience, the more control you have over your life.

4. Explore new ideas and opportunities often

Your natural human fears of failure and embarrassment will sometimes stop you from trying new things.

But you must rise above these fears, for your life’s story is simply the culmination of many small, unique experiences.

And the more unique experiences you have, the more interesting your story gets.

So seek as many new life experiences as possible and be sure to share them with the people you care about.

Not doing so is not living.

Our education system doesn’t teach us to explore, but we always have hidden inquisitiveness within us.

It’s important to keep the fire of exploration alive.

Explore everything that intrigues you.

Find your boundaries and break them.

Walk an extra mile and you’ll get to know how beautiful this universe is, and you’ll discover a new you!

Less

5. When sharpening your career skills, focus more on less

Think in terms of Karate: A black belt seems far more impressive than a brown belt.

But does a brown belt really seem any more impressive than a red belt?

Probably not to most people.

Remember that society elevates experts high onto a pedestal.

Hard work matters, but not if it’s scattered in a hundred different directions.

So narrow your focus on learning fewer career-related skills, and then truly master them.

6. People are not mind readers; you have to tell them what you’re thinking

People will never know how you feel unless you tell them.

Your boss?

Yeah, he doesn’t know you’re hoping for a promotion because you haven’t told him yet.

That cute guy or girl you haven’t talked to yet because you’re too shy?

Yeah, you guessed it; she hasn’t given you the time of day simply because you haven’t given her the time of day either.

In life, you have to communicate with others.

And oftentimes you have to open your vocal cords and speak the first words.

You have to tell people what you’re thinking if you’re looking for a response.

Full Speed

7. Make swift decisions and take immediate action

Either you’re going to take action and seize new opportunities, or someone else will first.

You can’t change anything or make any sort of progress by sitting back and thinking about it.

Remember, there’s a huge difference between knowing how to do something and actually doing it.

Knowledge is basically useless without action.

8. Accept and embrace change

However good or bad a situation is now, it will change.

That’s the one thing you can count on.

So embrace change, and realize that change happens for a reason.

It won’t always be easy or obvious at first, but in the end, it will be worth it.

Gossips

9. Don’t worry too much about what other people think about you

For the most part, what other people think and say about you doesn’t matter.

When I was 18, I let the opinions of my high school and early college peers influence my decisions.

And, at times, they steered me away from ideas and goals I strongly believed in.

I realize now, ten years later, that this was a foolish way to live, especially when I consider that nearly all of these people whose opinions I cared so much about are no longer a part of my life.

Unless you’re trying to make a great first impression (job interview, first date, etc.), don’t let the opinions of others stand in your way.

What they think and say about you isn’t important.

What is important is how you feel about yourself.

10. Always be honest with yourself and others

Living a life of honesty creates peace of mind, and peace of mind is priceless.

Period.

Social Circle

11. Talk to lots of people in college and early on in your career

Bosses.

Colleagues.

Professors.

Classmates.

Social club members.

Other students outside of your major or social circle.

Teaching assistants.

Career advisors.

College deans.

Friends of friends.

Everyone! Why?

Professional networking.

I have worked for three employers since I graduated from college (I left my first two employers by choice on good terms), but I only interviewed with the first employer.

The other two employers offered me a job before I even had a formal interview, based strictly on the recommendation of a hiring manager (someone I had networked with over the years).

When employers look to fill a position, the first thing they do is ask the people they know and trust if they know someone who would do well in the position.

If you start building your professional network early, you’ll be set.

Over time, you’ll continue talking to new people you meet through your current network, and your network’s reach and the associated opportunities will continue to snowball for the duration of your career.

Alone

12. Sit alone in silence for at least ten minutes every day

Use this time to think, plan, reflect, and dream.

Creative and productive thinking flourishes in solitude and silence.

With quiet, you can hear your thoughts, you can reach deep within yourself, and you can focus on mapping out the next logical, productive step in your life.

13. Ask lots of questions

The greatest ‘adventure’ is the ability to inquire, to ask questions.

Sometimes in the process of inquiry, the search is more significant than the answers.

Answers come from other people, from the universe of knowledge and history, and from the intuition and deep wisdom inside yourself.

These answers will never surface if you never ask the right questions.

Thus, the simple act of asking the right questions is the answer.

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