10 Things I Would Tell My 18 Year-old Self

  1. Life will never be easier than it is for you right now. Accept the stage of life you’re in, and do your best to make the most of it.
  2. It’s okay to act your age. Stay up all night and watch the sun rise. Don’t be afraid to embark on an adventure. Delight in the free time you have. You’ll never have fewer responsibilities than you do right now.
  3. Location is not everything. Until now, those you call friends and the people you’ve dated were based on the simple fact that they lived close to you. In some cases, you were incredibly lucky, and you should do whatever it takes to keep those those relationships true and strong. In other cases, toxic people have invaded your social circle, and it’s time to make the hard decision to remove them from your life.
  4. Take the time to understand yourself. In your most honest moments, you will realize the person the world believes you are and the person you actually are may not be the same. Think hard on who you think that person is. Very soon, the first-impressions you make will be on people who could be your future husband or wife, best friend or business partner. Your reputation will follow you for the rest of your life.
  5. Money does not equal happiness, but it does give you freedom. As you think about how you will make a living, understand the practical fact that you need money to survive. Hoarding money will not bring you happiness, but the choices having money affords you may. A person with no money has no freedom.
  6. Not everyone will love the work that they do. Being passionate about the work you do is not the rule, it is the exception.  You must be deliberate in choosing your education, trade or entrepreneurial endeavors.
  7. Be grateful. You did not arrive here alone. Carefully study the people around you and give thanks to those who helped you the most. Knowing who’s actually in your corner and treating them well will be your key to finding success in life.
  8. Do not be afraid to be different. Until now, you’ve spent most of your life trying to “fit in.” You will spend the rest of your life trying to stand out, trying to be different. The sooner you can find your best way to be different, the sooner you’ll find happiness.
  9. Talk is cheap. You will be confronted by many charlatans and posers. Sometimes these impostors will be a significant other or an alleged friend. A person who breaks their word once will do it again. While you can’t control what others do, you can control what you do. Hold people accountable to what they say, and avoid those who talk a lot, but do very little.
  10. Accept people for who they are. Friends will change. People who you thought you knew will reveal their true-selves. Sometimes this is for the better, sometimes for the worse. Your biggest challenge will be judging which one is occurring in front of you.
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