I really love asking people, “What would you tell your younger self if you could travel back five years?” Instead of asking smart people for the advice they would give — which may only apply to one situation they experienced — it gets them to immediately share things they’ve learned for themselves, even if they wouldn’t classify it as advice to share. It usually also leads to some interesting stories when followed up with some ‘why?’s.
Here are some of my answers:
- Seek out greatness in others. Work with people that have complementing strenghts.
- Figure out what you’re passionate about. Figure out what you’re good at. Try a lot of different things to figure this out. You think you know it now, but you’re wrong. Pursue it further to refine your clarity on what it is you do like to do. Pursue new things, too.
- Make a very concerted effort to do what you believe is right, or what you believe you should be doing; separating that from pleasing those you respect.
- Strive, every day, to be world class at something. And to be world class at something you have to have a world class day, every day, for many many days in a row.
- Talk with people. A lot of people. A lot of different people in different walks of life. Experience a lot of the world. Get to know it well.
- Read. A lot. It increases your understanding of the world in a way that often mentorship cannot, because it allows you the breathing room to interpret on your own.
- Write a lot as well. It forces you to bring your thoughts to a fine, clear point.
What about you? What would you tell your younger self if you could travel back five years?
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