Dear Younger Self
“Stop being so hard on yourself, kid.”
This is the first piece of crucial advice I would tell my younger self if I could speak directly to him today.
Now, at 26 years old, I am far from what I would consider an expert in this game we call life.
I still find myself running around without a clue as to what I’m doing but pretending that I do. (that’s what your 20’s is all about…right?)
Although I still make many mistakes, I am much better at learning from them and I find myself maturing after each one.
So much so that my friends are actually starting to ask ME for life advice — HA.
Little do they know…
However, knowing what I know now, there is a lot I’d like to say to my younger self… A lot
All those times I doubted myself, struggled to find the answers, questioned my very being; I wish I could have been there to knock some sense into younger me.
Are you still with me?
If you’re still reading this, then you’re likely nodding your head in agreement. Laughing at how naive you once were and how far you’ve come.
If not, then you’re likely still reading because you want to see what pieces of advice I am about to give to younger me.
Either way, I have learned some critical life lessons that have allowed me to grow and live my best life.
Here are just a few…
Your Timeline is All That Matters
It is so easy, especially in the age of social media, to get caught up in what everyone else is doing.
Your friend got into a better University than you, your classmate landed that great summer internship, you just saw that your old college roommate bought his first house via Instagram.
We have this innate response to compare ourselves to others around us and it can be very damaging.
You can quickly fall into this funnel of self-doubt that leaves you feeling helpless and questioning the choices you have made in life.
Oh, young Andrew, let me tell you something:
As your life plays out, you will do great things. You will travel the world, land your dream job, get your first apartment, and find your dream girl.
And guess what?
You will have done it on your own time and on your own terms.
Embrace your own timeline, I promise good things will happen.
Feedback is Your Best Friend
It took me a long time to embrace this idea, but feedback is the most valuable gift you could ever receive.
In the past, any negative feedback slowed me down. Whether it was an essay in University, the way I was doing something at work, or an idea that I thought was super awesome — only to be told to go back to the drawing board.
This kind of feedback would immediately shut me down, cripple any motivation, and have me questioning any talent I thought I had.
Young Andrew, what I can tell you is this:
The day you decided to see feedback as a valuable learning opportunity, rather than a shot at your very existence, was the day you started to succeed in life.
Embracing feedback and capitalizing on it’s lessons guided you towards everything you ever wanted.
It allowed you to build on your talents rather than question them and allowed you to achieve goals you never thought possible.
Feedback will be your best friend, so stop treating it like an enemy.
Want Something? Ask For It
I cringe thinking about all the missed opportunities in my life simply because I was too afraid or hesitant to ask for something.
The fear of rejection, that embarrassment of a turned down request, often gets in our way of asking for something we want.
We play up this scenario in our head of the worst possible outcome, shooting ourselves down before anyone else even can.
But here’s the reality of asking for something you want:
Best-case scenario — you get what you asked for.
Worst-case scenario — You get told no, and you are no worse off than you were before you asked. You might feel a little embarrassed, sure, but you haven’t lost anything.
So young Andrew, let me tell you something:
Eventually, you decided that the world owed you nothing, and you would ask for the things you wanted.
Good news… that raise you asked for, you got it. That promotion you asked for, you got it. The first date you wanted with that beautiful girl, you got it.
The point is this: there was nothing to be afraid of after all. You started asking for the things you wanted in life and you received them.
Though this may not always be the case, just remember: if you don’t ask for what you want, you may never get it.
If you want something, make it known — and watch the magic happen.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone…Often
Last but not least.
That comfort zone that feels so safe, leave it. Leave it often.
This is by far the most important piece of advice I would give to younger me.
Why you ask?
Because it wasn’t until I started to adopt this mentality that my life substantially improved.
For many of us, we have dreams, passions, and interests that we want to pursue; travel to that foreign country, immerse yourself in a new culture, accept that job you know you are by no means qualified for.
The thought of these things seem appealing, but actually going through with it? No way. Way too risky.
But let me tell you something — fear comes with a heavy price, and if we let that fear control our lives, we will never reach our full potential.
So here’s one last thing I’ll say to you, young Andrew:
Let go of your fears, they are only holding you down.
Your life begins the day that you accept this to be true.
Being uncomfortable and stepping outside of your comfort zone will push you to achieve your most sought after goals and more importantly, will allow you to reach your full potential.
You will travel the world, you will work in another country, and you will end up in the career that you were meant to be in.
This will all be because you weren’t afraid to say yes, to just go for it. To step outside that comfort zone you held so tightly for so long.
The Best is yet to Come
So young Andrew, I hope that you will take this advice and apply it to your life (I have a good feeling that you will).
Because once you do, that is when you will start to reap life’s biggest rewards.
…I wonder what I will want to tell myself 10 years from now? ;)
Thank you for reading :)
Please comment below with any advice that you might give your younger self or anyone else for that matter who may just need a little bit of motivation in their life.