Do you ever look back at yourself growing up? Do you sometimes think of that popular saying, If only I knew then, what I know now, when you do glance back at a younger, innocent you? Do you often wonder why the wisdom you have today was not passed down to you by your parents or teachers? If wise counsel was given to you then I hope you give thanks for it.
So I got thinking what would I tell myself knowing what I know now if I had the opportunity. You may have your own if you give it some thought. And if you have kids, or nieces and nephews or maybe some friends children who you get along with, maybe you can pass on your own wisdom from life.
Here are 5 things I would like to be able to tell 10 year old me.
1) It’s ok to make mistakes
Robert, I want you to make mistakes-and many of them. Mistakes show that you are trying; if you are not trying you will never make any mistakes and therefore you are not learning new and wonderful things. We grow from our mistakes and we become wiser people for it. Obviously, you want to try your best not to keep repeating the same mistake, that is folly. So put your hand up at school, offer the answers that spring into your mind. Try new things, get stuff wrong, it’s really okay.
2) Give it your best shot and the results will look after themselves
Your teacher may have told you a year or so earlier that you aren’t clever enough to be in the top class for maths. But that was then. With a little more effort and practice you may well be able to grasp algebra. Or maybe not. It doesn’t really matter whether you can or you can’t. What does matter is that you ensure you put in all the effort you can muster. Some of the most successful people on the planet, and especially entrepreneurs, are only C grade students. The point is though, most of them still tried their best. They put in the effort. If you can honestly say you gave it your best shot (And you only have to answer that question to yourself; not your parents, teachers or friends) and you only gain a C it doesn’t really matter. Nobody can ever ask anymore of you than giving it your best. If you work hard at your studies the results that you are capable of will look after themselves.
3) Develop good reading habits
Read, read, read and read some more. Autobiographies of well known achievers from history should be a top priority. These books will give you incredible insights into how they achieved the great things they did. The obstacles they overcame, the setbacks they had to climb and the frustrations they endured. Success leaves clues and in autobiographies you will find scores of examples that you can copy and apply in your life.
Mix up the reading with exciting non fiction too which will increase your vocabulary and imagination.
4) Keep that vivid imagination and never stop dreaming
Your imagination is fertile and it would be wise to keep it that way. Keep dreaming those dreams and don’t let disgruntled adults whose own dreams now lie buried in the graveyard of disappointment tell you otherwise. Everything you use, touch, see and feel started as a dream and therefore in the imagination of someones mind. Dreamers are achievers even though they are sometimes laughed at, ridiculed and denounced. Keep them healthy and alive.
5) Look to get a little job
I do not necessarily mean a paper round in the early mornings, but something whereby you can develop an early appreciation for making money by helping or serving others. There are many things you can do. Try and find something whereby after a while, you could get a friend to do the job for you and you pay them a little less than what you are getting for helping you (That way you can help your friend earn money and you develop your entrepreneurial spirit). It could be for example, raking lawns in the autumn (Fall if you are in the USA reading this), clearing snow from drives in the winter, small shopping tasks or cleaning gardens. Try and find something that other busy adults don’t like to do or don’t have the time to do so you are offering a solution to a situation that those impatient seniors will happily pay you for. This will be excellent learning for when you leave the education establishment and enter the real working world.
There are many more things I could tell you young Robert; but for now these will help. Apply them the best you can and your life will be rich in many ways.
(Well number 5 I did from the age of 12. However, I could have started earlier I guess)
Like I say you have obviously got your own nuggets of wisdom from your experiences that you could pass on. Share them with the younger generation. I know that we learn from experience as we travel through life, but does that mean we have to ensure our youth make some of those painful mistakes that could be avoided? Let us not hide the ladder of success but stand it against it the right wall for all to climb.
And incidentally, I believe there is still a 10 year old child in all of us now that needs to be spoken to now and again. I know I remind the ten year old in me from time to time. Maybe, one or two of this list therefore applies to you too?
Only you will know that one.