I sometimes ask people to write a list of what they would tell their younger self. I thought it might be a good idea to do the same for myself. The following is the life advice I would give myself at fifteen years of age, knowing what I now know. It is focused on creating a good life.
Selecting 15 years was arbitrary, no rhyme or reason to it. Feel free to use any age which suits you. I am reasonably sure that I could add more to this list given enough time. Twenty nice pieces of advice seems like a lot, but then life is complicated and can be messy.
One of the main points of the exercise is to recognize what we have learned. It should be noted that it is easy to write it down in this format, but difficult to apply in life. Our attention and focus should be on applying what we would tell our younger self to the present.
I encourage you to try the exercise for yourself and see what you come up with. Feel free to post your lists in the comments section. For what it is worth here is my list:
- Learn to listen to your body. Your body is the best guide you will ever have in life.
- Have the courage to utilize your intuition.
- Pay attention. This is the number 1 skill in life and is the gateway to many of life’s aims. Pay attention to your inner world as much as the outer world. The more we pay attention, the better we get at it.
- Develop tenacity and grit. Persist, Persist, Persist!
- Learn to relax, incidentally it helps the development of grit. Relax many times during the day. Being relaxed is a big key to life which many people miss out on.
- Keep your focus. Too many people get lost in life. Make sure you are not one of them.
- Try to keep good friends. Relatedly, let go of poor friends.
- Set a vision for your life. Then set a goal. Then set micro-goals. Now work hard towards your vision.
- Learn to love yourself, take the time to appreciate your abilities and talents. Develop a self-care routine.
- Invest in love. This applies to hobbies and interests, and work as it does to relationships with others.
- Do not worry what others think of you. What others think of you is irrelevant.
- Life is not fair. Do not expect it to be otherwise. Accept the unfairness of life and don’t allow yourself to become a victim.
- Appreciate the good things in life. The good things in life are those which enliven you. The things which you bring you joy and peace.
- Look after your health and fitness. You will appreciate this more as you get older.
- Learn something new. Challenge yourself, do a degree, take up a new hobby, jump out of a plane.
- A paradox of life is we are perfect as is, but we should always be working on ourselves. Smooth out those rough edges, clean up those blind spots. Lift yourself up, push yourself to be better. That is perfect too.
- Do not settle for mediocrity. Strive for excellence. Watch for the trap of becoming a perfectionist.
- Treat people nicely but do not allow them to walk all over you. Set some clear boundaries. Know where to draw the line in all varieties of relationships.
- Be grateful. Then be even more grateful.
- Develop relationships, meet new people, lots of new people. Talk to strangers. Be nice to people, don’t be mean. Do not treat people in ways you will regret later on.
- Keep doing something creative in your life. Creativity is like soul food for the mind.
- Be mindful that there are numinous things greater than self which influence life. Develop your spirituality as much as anything else.
- Be generous, but allow others to be generous towards you. Make sure that the relationship does not become one sided where you are always giving.
- Throughout your lifespan including old age try and expand. Do not receded or contract from life. Reach out in as many areas as you can.
- You will die. Be mindful that life will pass in a blink of an eye. No need to be solemn, instead live life with passion.
- Notice that you like everyone else is a gullibility eating machine. Learn to be less gullible.
- Confront reality. Do not cower from the truth. Meet it headlong and integrate it into your life.
- Emotions and thoughts are temporary. Do not get caught up in them.
- Accept everything, then let it all go.