Advice to Myself 10 Years Ago

Dear Tom,

Lately, I’ve been waking up at 2am. The only cure for stopping the mind from race during this time is to get out of bed, walk downstairs and get some water (no worries, being afraid of the dark doesn’t last much longer).

The main reason why I am writing this to you is to feel better about myself. Maybe even to try to impress you.

‘I gave advice to a 13 year old!’ Low standards, whatever.

The second is to reflect what has and hasn’t worked in the last 10 years to then use it to guide my life now.

*throat clear*

There will be a lot of decisions you’re going to make in the next 10 years. Don’t worry about making the CORRECT one, per say, just double down and make the ones aligned with your foundation.

A. FOUNDATION

Practice on growing your foundational core every day. Your core is made up of 4 pillars.

1. Spiritual: Be grateful and take time to reflect. Cultivate faith, with prayer. This translates into believing in what you’re doing and acting in the face of uncertainty.

2. Mental: Which has three components: knowledge, competence, and creativity. Knowledge and competence are the basics. Creativity is a superpower. Every day, gain knowledge and practice creativity.

3. Physical: Maintain momentum. Exercise every day. (Stretch, lift, walk, etc.) PS yes six packs are worth it… the ladies like them, which leads me to…

4. Emotional: nurture your core relationships (with yourself and loved ones). How you do this is by MAKING time for them. And treating your relationships like a bonsai tree. Water the whole and trim the negative branches. One bad branch can impede the growth of the whole tree.

Build a daily habit where you strengthen each pillar.

B. DESIGN YOUR LIFE

You’ll want to settle for less than your standards many times, don’t.

You’ll know you’re on the right path and living your own life when your thoughts, words, and action are all congruently grounded in your truth.

You won’t always be on the right path, be ok with this.

C. HAVE AN INTENT

Your foundation is your ship. Intent is the rutter.

A month ago, one of the top Instagrammers in the world was teaching me how to take better pictures. She asked why I was seeking advice.

“I want more likes on my photos”. I said.

…being liked more feels good.

Her main piece of advice was simple,

“if I ask at any time “why” you’re taking a picture and you don’t know — you failed.”

The “why” directs intent. Be the captain of your own ship. Don’t act without an intent.

D. RELAX

Late last year I reached out to a well-known author. I wanted to learn from him directly, so I offered up about a dozen ideas on how he could improve the project he was working on. I was nervous to even hit send.

His response was inspiring. He thanked me and then gave me an assignment to see if we’d work well together. I’ll let you read the part that inspired me:

So I was wondering if you can read that article and see what sticks out to you and send it to me.

It’s ok if what resonates with you doesn’t resonate with me. Then we’ll figure something else out.

This is the best example I have of taking a relaxed, with easy confidence approach.

E. THE OTHERSIDE

A fear I struggled with through high school and college (even a little now) was the fact I enjoy going to church. I didn’t want others to think it was weird. More accurately, I was weird.

I’ve come to realize it’s not the absence of fear, but your relationships with fear that positions you for happiness.

Feeling fear, then approaching with courage has resulted in me falling flat on my face, and some of my greatest achievements thus far. A risk I suggest you taking more than I did in the last 10 years.

Fear is simple an emotion to indicated, ‘I’m ready!’ Nothing more, nothing less.

F. SKILLS

Don’t be afraid to be good at only a few things. In fact, please don’t waste your time trying to be good at many things. (You don’t even get better, trust me!)

Hone your focus on mastering a few skills. This is yield greater results.

G. GIVE UP

Learn as quickly as possible if someone/something is right or wrong for you. The faster your learn this, the better of you’ll be.

H. HUMOR

The average kids laughs around 300 times a day. The average adult laughs about 7. Don’t lose your laughter.

The key to this is to listen to more comedy and don’t take yourself or life too seriously.

I. SWING

Let me tell you about a story that’s going to happen to you in the spring of this year.

About 50 people are going to be watching you. The baseball season will be on the line and it is a do or die moment. If you get a hit, the season continues, if you get an out the season ends. Man on third, two outs. Approaching the plate like Ken Griffey Jr., strut and all.

Before you know it, you’ll have 2 strikes against you. And chances are you suck at baseball, so you could be as screwed as I was. But hey, at least you know it’s coming.

The next pitch is going to be flat and down the middle. I know this because it happened to me.

Here’s how my story went: the ball hit the catcher’s mitt, and the ump screamed strike three, I just stood there and felt the whole team’s disappointment. I didn’t even attempt to hit it. I just froze.

This time: swing, Tom.

PS And if you don’t, it’s ok, then we’ll figure something else out.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.