What advice would you give your younger self?

Scott Meyer rules
Scott Meyer’s Basic Instructions

Elizabeth poses two questions:

  • What would you tell your younger self?

It was initially tempting to inventory specific sources of pain and failure and undo those. However, the more I thought about it, the more I believe these were learning experiences that helped me later in life. For example, signing a contract with Bally’s was a costly mistake (especially trying to get out of it in 1990), but I’m more acutely aware of ways salespeople may take creative liberties with reality. I have walked away if the person was overtly lying or seemed shady.

I do like Elizabeth’s condensed: Expect more. Merely changing a question from “Can I…?” to “How can I…?” can often lead to new possibilities. (And, sometimes, sarcastic fodder from a cranky coworker who’d offer “fly back through time, change history.” 🙂

I would add hesitate less. Many of the regrets I have are from over thinking in social/dating situations and handling them poorly. I should have also sold my airplane sooner to the first interested buyer (before 9/11). Seize the carp!

Finally, travel more. I wish I had traveled more when I was younger, if only to get out of my comfort zone at a time when I would be more open to circumstance. And could travel light. And I could sleep without four pillows.

  • Would your younger self listen?

Certainly. Employing the (unsolicited) wisdom would not happen as soon as present-day me would have liked, but I’d understand.

So, gentle readers, what would your answers be?

8 thoughts on “What advice would you give your younger self?”

  1. Mine:
    1) Pay off the credit cards. They were too easy to get, too easy to use.
    2) I don’t know. I would insist on some proof that I was me.

  2. You know, I’ve come back to your blog for a couple days now, trying to answer these questions, and they are deceptively hard. I thought about telling myself to take a different career path, or warn myself about specific incidents I have regrets about, or some other thing, but the bottom line is I’m pretty happy today and I wouldn’t want to muck up my path for getting here. So, I’d probably just tell myself “Look… I’m you near 40, and proof that it all turns out just fine to this point. Go confidently!” And, yes, my younger self would listen. =)

  3. I’m with Karen – Life’s good. If pressed, I would have advised myself to get out of tech stocks entirely in 1999.

    My younger self would hem and haw, but eventually come around to the undeniable conclusion the market was isane.

  4. I am happy that I arrived to certain “goals” more slowly because I got to “smell the roses” on the way. I am glad that I traveled quite a bit. Maybe in addition to have learning French, I would have told my younger self to learn Spanish?

  5. 1. Go with your gut instinct.
    2. Don’t spend so much on that stupid credit card!

  6. Like Sara, I’d agree with #1, “go with your gut instinct.” My #2, “be brutally honest.”

    (By the by, formatting looks awful in Internet Exploder 7. E-me for the brutally honest specifics 🙂

  7. I would tell myself to “explore more”. To explore more opportunities of traveling. You know I travel mostly through trainings, so I would do them even more. Also I would change my major, business is not for me. Another thing is that I would probably go to study my university degree to another country!

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