Now that I’ve experienced enough twist and turns in life at the age of 27, I think about all the things that I would tell a younger version of myself. A version of me from the ages of maybe 16–24, when I was faced with questions about myself. Before I had a fully developed prefrontal cortex and the awareness and vision that I did at the age of 25. There’s so much advice out there on how to succeed at specific things on a surface level such as college, exams, interviews, etc., but not enough about self discovery at a young age. I’m writing this to hopefully help someone figure out who they are so they can succeed on a deeper spiritual level.
I’ll outline my advice in chapters of young adult life, which orders chronologically and categorically:
- Who you are early on is mostly out of your control. There are simply many things in life we cannot choose and knowing this will give us the freedom to spend time and energy on the things that we can control.
- For most people, social media is extremely bad, because we are untrained at it. The people who limit social media use tend to be mentally healthier.
- Develop a strong work ethic as soon as possible and learn about habits as soon as possible. People who are great at what they do are ordinary people who have developed good habits and a strong work ethic over time.
- Everyone eventually walks their own path at life, but people realize this at different times. Learn more about the greats in society and you will realize most of them are much lonelier than the average teenager.
- For most people, college is a good path. This is a training ground for networking, exercising strong values and habits, and managing your time. The better the school, the better the training ground.
- A balanced life is a successful life. Don’t overdo partying, don’t burn yourself out trying to get the highest grades in classes that ultimately have no meaning in the real world, do spend more time cultivating productive hobbies that can later turn into meaningful side businesses or passion projects.
- It’s extremely common in the workforce to meet people who do something completely unrelated to their major. Tons of people pivot their careers and do masters, bootcamps, post-baccs, or self-teach after they graduate. If you don’t know what you want to do going into college, it’s ok. I meet tons of successful people who still don’t know what they want to do into their late 20s and 30s.
- Keep learning outside of class. Google, YouTube, books, and good articles are all better educational materials than tuning out a professor in a crowded lecture hall.
- Never sacrifice personal development for career development. Early in your career, bosses should be mentors for life as they play an extremely influential role. If you feel like your environment at work is not making you a better person, change your environment.
- Don’t be afraid to push back and stand for things you believe in. People who don’t say no will be treated as juniors regardless of their title.
- Learn different things outside of work, they’ll make you a better employee. It will also make you more creative and innovative at work.
- Everything you don’t want to do quickly becomes a chore. You might need to balance this and grind it out in some cases, but also take it as a signal that you are barking up the wrong tree. Don’t spend your entire career doing chores to survive. That’s slavery.
Love, Relationships, and Friendships
- As your relationship with yourself improves, your relationships with others will change dramatically. This is a good thing. Life will bring you the friends you deserve at the cost of the friends you picked up by accident.
- Fix your relationship with yourself before looking for a relationship with someone else. Always put in effort to maintain the relationship with yourself as well. Embrace the idea of being alone as a blessing, as it will give you the time and energy to do these things.
- The law of attraction is real. You will never have the chase anyone or anything if you keep building yourself. They will come to you.
- Be patient and understand that everyone has a different timeline.
- Take ownership of everything and always look to lead by example.
My Personal Principles
- Everything starts with intention. Always seek to understand the intentions of your actions and be honest with them. Some people never learn this and consistently play victim their whole lives.
- We make a lot of mistakes. Apologize, forgive yourself, and then fix it or do better next time. This will translate to improvements with your relationships with others.
- Failure is a good teacher so it’s OK to fail. Don’t fail too often too fast or else there will be long term effects on your self-esteem without you learning greater lessons.
- You’re probably wrong about most things. Knowing this is a type of freedom.
- Patience is everything as an adult. There will be things you will be right or wrong about depending on the timeline you give it. The Chinese bamboo takes 5 years to grow. In the first 4 years you won’t see anything happening. In the fifth year, it grows up to 90 feet in 5 weeks.
These are things I know as truths now that I wish I had lived when I was much younger. The journey is also the destination, so some lessons are best learned through experience. I hope my words serve as a helpful companion to those experiences.