Advice to Your Younger Self: What Would You Say?
If you could go back and give your younger self some life-changing advice, what age would you pick and what would you say? Would you change careers, college majors, or perhaps even significant others? Do you tell yourself to work harder or to stop and smell the roses?
If you need some inspiration, here's some advice from our Wise Bread bloggers to help get you started.
As much as you love business, please realize that you will never fit in with the corporate-office crowd. Find a job or some sort of meaningful work that lets you interact with people and exercise creativity every once in a while, rather sitting around analyzing numbers.
Try out new ways to make money while you have that regular job.
Read more books, take a public speaking class, go to slightly more exotic places, and keep riding your bike.
Some of the things you are focusing on now will bear fruit much, much later.
1. Go to the doctor when you get hurt. I don't care if you don't like it, it's good for you and will save much trouble later.
2. You're not stupid. There simply just are things in life that you don't know what to do with until you've experienced them.
3. Follow your gut. Somehow, it knows.
4. Invest yourself in what you love. It WILL pay off later.
5. Make sure you're following your dreams and not someone else's. If that means changing direction in midair, do it.
6. Let the money come to you. There will be sparse times, but it will come.
7. That intuition that you aren't made to work inside, at a desk, in front of a computer all day? Absolutely, positively, 100% correct (see #3).
8. That chance you're going to get to jump off a cliff attached to a parachute? Take it!
9. Just go for it--just live. You'll be fine.
Credit cards are not the friends that you think they are. Start protecting your assets now. Don't worry about buying the latest and greatest, and don't bother spoiling your friends with dinners on the town. No, the next round of drinks is NOT on you. Walk to work when you can.
You can live like a pauper for a few years in order to achieve what you want. You're great at linguistics, so give grad school a shot.
Stop obsessing about your nose. It turns out that lots of people covet noses like yours.
Plan for tomorrow, because nobody else is going to do it for you.
Will, take better care of your body. It will be a while before you start to realize that your body isn't indestructible. But healthy habits are hard to develop. Start now while you have plenty of free time and your schedule is flexible.
Don't develop a tunnel vision about "what I want to be when I grow up." People change careers all the time. Some of the most fascinating and successful people you'll meet are doing something completely unrelated to their college majors. Keep an open mind. Audit a bunch of classes. Extend yourself. Learn things that are of interest to you instead of focusing purely on what you think will become useful to your career later.
P.S. I leave you the wisdom of Conan O'Brien's Class Day speech at Harvard:
I've dwelled on my failures today because, as graduates of Harvard, your biggest liability is your need to succeed. Your need to always find yourself on the sweet side of the bell curve.
Because success is a lot like a bright, white tuxedo. You feel terrific when you get it, but then you're desperately afraid of getting it dirty, of spoiling it in any way. I left the cocoon of Harvard, I left the cocoon of Saturday Night Live, I left the cocoon of The Simpsons. And each time it was bruising and tumultuous.
And yet, every failure was freeing, and today I'm as nostalgic for the bad as I am for the good. So, that's what I wish for all of you: the bad as well as the good.
Fall down, make a mess, break something occasionally. And remember that the story is never over.
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