Lessons Learned: 5 tips I would give my younger self about success
Written by Josh on February 4, 2020
What if it wasn’t too late, you weren’t too tired, and it wasn’t impossible?
Don’t waste the lessons of a life survived by not using them to design a life worth living.
Imagine you had the keys to the DeLorean, the time machine that could take you back in time and visit your old self. What would you say to you when you got there? What piece of wisdom or golden nugget would you plant?
Maybe you’d warn yourself against dating that idiot or give yourself a big stock tip. All good. Remember, though, that the superficial doesn’t last long without the foundation. Over 70 percent of lottery winners are broke within 5 years because they received the fruits without planting the seeds.
So if we are willing to dig a bit deeper and give ourselves a foundation of success, we could equip ourselves with the necessary ingredients to become the person worthy of success. And that’s invaluable.
Here are the 5 tips, or pieces of wisdom that I would bestow on myself if given the chance.
1. Don’t listen to broke people on how to become wealthy
This piece of advice has nothing to do with money. It has everything to do with following competent advice, not just that of our loved ones. We have a bad habit of blindly trusting people who we love and care about, regardless of their success or expertise in such topics.
If we take familiarity out of the equation, would we trust them on all matters or only those where they have expertise? Surely you wouldn’t ask your car mechanic on how to perform a root canal…or your dentist on how to fix a transmission!
Yet we’ll ask mom and dad who have never made more than $25k per year on how to become wealthy. Or our perennially unhappy brother about achieving happiness and inner peace. Or worse yet, people in positions of authority (not expertise) on how to start a great career. It’s not long before we end up in $100k of student loan debt and still can’t find or keep a job.
2. Value Yourself
They say that if you don’t value yourself, nobody else will. Value is another way of saying self-worth or self-identity. It’s what we feel we deserve from life. If we don’t feel worthy of success, we will turn a blind eye to any opportunity that might present itself to us. At the same time, we will find a way to introduce problems, stress, and hardship.
Think of our identity like a thermostat. Once it’s set, we will do whatever it takes to keep things about the same “success temperature”. If things start to get too hot with success, we’ll find a way to mess it up and lose the momentum, opportunity, or wealth. However, if things get too cold or dreary, we’ll suddenly decide to kick it up a notch, very similar to a survival instinct.
Most people, after being beaten down by school, parents, society, and life no longer see themselves as being able to provide value. This phony baloney is what keeps us down for the count forever.
The takeaway is to believe in yourself and recognize your talents, skills, and value. Or you better find someone else who does until you’re ready to believe it yourself.
3. Don’t be afraid of failure
Growing up, I was taught to always shoot for success. The implied message was to avoid failure at all costs. If success were this way, then failure was the other way and that I better choose wisely. We even see it in our grading system in school. The opposite of excellence is failure.
The problem is that this is 100% completely and factually incorrect, misleading, and wrong. At least according to successful people. Success is not the opposite of failure. It’s on the other side of failure. It’s what happens when we push through failure and keep going.
Perhaps I should have paid more attention to the Rocky movies when he said, “It’s not how many times you’ve been hit, but how many times you can get hit and keep going.” The reason we ultimately never reach our goals is that we give up before success.
The key here is that when start down the path of a worthwhile and important goal, to never ever ever give up until we succeed, no matter how many times we “fail” along the way.
4. Do what you love and monetize it
My 20-year stint in corporate America taught me quite a few valuable and not-so-valuable lessons. One of the latter was that I can either love what I do OR make lots of money. This either/or mentality is a foundation of the employee mindset.
What I’ve come to realize is that there are ways to do both. In fact, it is imperative to do both if we want both wealth and happiness in our lives. So instead of trying to make money, imagine doing what you love and finding ways to monetize it.
If we consider the fact that there is money in everything (absolutely everything!), then why ever do anything solely for money?
The advice here is to find your purpose first, build your skill at it, and monetize the heck out of it. Provide value to the world and be compensated in return.
5. Let it go
Ego, left unchecked, can be quite a dangerous thing. It can make us believe we’re better than we really are, closes us off to new ideas and methods, and can really turn others off. This is no way to build relationships and focus on long-term success.
It can also create a mindset where it’s more important to be right than to be happy, rich, or successful. Whether it be something we were taught or something we went through, if we don’t allow ourselves to be “wrong”, we’ll never have the opportunity to learn.
If we can keep our ego in check and realize that nobody is perfect or right all the time, we’ll not only be able to see new opportunities, but we’ll be able to let go of the past that may be holding us back. It’s difficult to move quickly into the future holding the weight of our old grudges and issues.
The direction here is to move forward at full speed, keeping our eyes on the future. Anything behind us can be left there, as it’s where it belongs.
The good news is that while we may not be able to go back in time and give these valuable nuggets to our younger self, we can certainly offer them up to our current self. After all, it’s not too late to change the future we have left.
- Do you agree with us about the advice you’d give your younger self?
- What other things would you tell yourself?
- Do you have a story you’d like to share about an experience you or a friend wish could have been different?
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