I recently read an inspiring article written by Robert Herjavec titled “The Advice I Would Give My Younger Self.” which was shared with me by a really good friend as I was pondering my life and where I was headed in the future (as many of us do at 22-years-old).
Herjavec, a successful business man and entrepreneur listed four timeless points that he would tell his younger self:
- Experience is infinitely more valuable than money.
- Don’t make excuses, because no one cares.
- Take risks when you’re able to.
- Your degree is nice to have – get one, but don’t go into massive debt.
All of that being said, and ringing very true, it got me thinking about what I would tell my younger self. Granted I’m still “young,” but I do think I’ve learned a lot that a younger Marina didn’t know or realize. Here are the things I would tell my younger self, and even my present self for that matter:
Stop caring so much if people like you or not
In the words of Jimmy Eat World …
“It’s only in your head you feel left out or looked down on
Just try your best
Try everything you can
And don’t you worry what they tell themselves when you’re away”
I used to spend a good chunk of my time worrying about people’s opinions of me. I would get instantly anxious if I felt like someone didn’t like me. I would worry “what I did wrong” if a friend stopped reaching out to me. I would try and figure out how to get others to like me more. As someone who is more-so introverted than extroverted, this was mentally straining.
The truth is, caring about if people like you or not is truly a big waste of time. Not everyone is going to like you, and who cares if they don’t? Ask yourself how much it would truly benefit your life if you felt like everyone liked you as much as you wanted them to.
Imagine how much more time you’d have to think about other things if you stopped thinking about other people’s opinions – probably a lot. You’re not everyone’s cup of tea, and on that point why would you want to be?
Stop worrying so much
This one is a constant work in progress, but seriously, stop worrying about every little detail of your life and if things will fall in place, and when they will, and why they don’t. A lot of life’s questions don’t have any answers, so stop asking them. Try and go with the flow more.
Life doesn’t owe you anything
I’ve mentioned this in a previous blog post, but it really is a fact I think everyone should embrace. I was reading a book recently titled “When Panic Attacks” by David D. Burns M.D., and there was a passage that stuck with me:
“[People] often think they’re entitled to enjoy difficult or unpleasant tasks. They feel that life should always be easy and exciting, and free of frustration. Give me a break! It doesn’t work that way. There is no rule that says life will always be rewarding.”
Sometimes things just suck, and that’s the way it is. Shit happens, and more often than not it’s not always good. Push through it- it’s just life. Things will work out eventually.
Memories are more important than things
Seriously, stop spending money on new clothes and spend money on trips, spend money on experiences! Spend time with your family and friends.
Good things come in time
Instant success is not real, and it takes time to hone in on the skills you want to perfect. No one becomes an instant expert about anything right away, and it’s stupid to expect yourself to do so. Breathe. Chill out. Stop looking at everyone else’s work or life experience and ride your own wave.
You can’t do it alone
This took me a long time to learn, but I think it’s one of the most important points to take away. While it’s important to be independent, it’s also important to lean on others when you need to. No successful person has become successful by plowing forward by themselves. They’ve had countless influencers, mentors and people helping them along the way. Accept the help. Welcome the help.
Say what you feel
At this point in my life, I am the most blunt that I have ever been, and I welcome it. Life is too short not to be honest, or to say what’s bothering you, or to state your opinion even if other people are going to shoot you down or push back. Seriously, don’t hold back.
Make a list of the good things you have in your life, because chances are there are a lot of good things. Some people don’t even have beds to sleep on at night let alone access to education, health care and so much more. Try and find the lightness within what seems like darkness.