I have given numerous keynote speeches over the years, and invariably one of the most common questions I am asked afterwards is: What would you tell your younger self?
This is such a great question and given the forum that I am usually in; I typically don’t have much time to provide a comprehensive answer. My usual response is “Don’t worry so much”.
If I had the time to address the question further, I would respond with the following life lessons:
The grades you get in school do not determine your worth.
Do not place your worth on a grading system that compares your intelligence against someone else’s. Everyone learns in different ways, and that is okay. (Ironically I was a D student in Mathematics throughout elementary and high school, yet I spent much of my previous career working with numbers and Profit & Loss analysis – turns out I wasn’t bad at mathematics after all).
Don’t spend your time worrying about things and ‘predicting’ future problems.
I used to be a professional worrier and I was very good at forecasting future issues – the vast majority of which never occurred. Live in the present moment.
“I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened. Worrying is like paying a debt you don’t owe. I have spent most of my life worrying about things that have never happened. Drag your thoughts away from your troubles... by the ears, by the heels, or any other way you can manage it.
Don’t judge and formulate fixed opinions. Be open to other viewpoints. You don’t have to be right.
As is typical with the young, I tended to read and become passionate about various causes and world events and held firm on the need to be right. I have since learned that none of this matters. Everyone wants to be loved, valued, validated and respected. And giving love, value, validation and respect is far more important than being ‘right’.
All the challenges and problems you face will help you to grow and become a stronger and better person.
I wouldn’t have believed it at the time, but in hindsight, I now realise that all experiences, even the challenging ones, were for my evolution and growth.
Love your body.
I came across a photo recently of myself on the beach in a bikini taken roughly 20 years ago. Why was I so worried about my body? Gravity was kind back then – everything was where it was supposed to be!
Enjoy your natural hair colour
I now spend a small fortune highlighting my hair to get it to look like my natural hair colour and to cover the grey.
Take good care of your health and wellbeing — practice daily self-care.
I learned the hard way that we cannot serve from an empty cup. If you don’t love yourself and take care of yourself, you cannot love and take care of others.
Do not equate your net worth with your self-worth.
The amount of money you make does not determine how worthy you are. Society teaches that the more money you make, the ‘better’ and more ‘powerful’ you are. This is nonsense. No amount of money takes away the low lying feeling of doing something you do not want to do. Regardless of how much money you make, if you are not happy, it is not worth it. Money does not validate your worth.
Finally, in all those moments of self-doubt and worry – go inwards.
Get quiet, meditate, tune out the noise, and the answers will come. Do not seek external validation and answers. The answers are not there. They are within.
These are a few of the life lessons that I would tell my younger self. How about you, what would you tell your younger self? Share with me; I would love to know.
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