We hear it from our parents and elders on a regular basis; do this, do that, stay away from this. At times, we may take heed, but others we can buck against their words in fierce defense of our own lives. 


As we progress in our lives, retrospection is a beautiful thing. It allows us to learn from our mistakes and make better choices moving forward. As the popular adage “shoulda happened, woulda happened” says, had we known what we knew yesterday we may have made different choices at the time. Regardless, there is always someone further along their journey who is willing to give some advice. We have the power to translate their words of experience and use it for our own good. Here are a few poignant pieces that may strike a cord.


Don’t follow the rules. Question them, and if they don’t work for you, create new ones.

Do I actually have a good reason for going to college, other than it’s expected of me? Do I even have the will to work a 9–5 for the next 50 years of my life just because it’s ‘just something we are supposed to do’? Where do these rules come from and why do we abide by them? Just because these ideas are the norm, does not make them right, or at least does not necessarily make them right for you

Believe in yourself.

You are more than the sum of your parts. You have so much potential. Inside you fear so much now, even yourself. You can do so much more than you know right now. You don’t need to know it NOW. You will learn it day by day. Every journey is taken one step at a time.

Parents are probably the only ones who are going to stick around and care for you no matter what.


Most of your best buddies are going to be ephemeral. Friendships will fade, distance will prevail.


Diversify your skills. Diversify the things that give you awe.

  1. read a lot to find the things that fascinate you.
  2. write down ideas every day.
  3. develop a skill that makes money NOW (like computer programming). develop more than one of these if you can.
  4. develop skills for the future (like writing, communicating, speaking, entertaining).

Wake up asking “What If?”

For instance, “What if I didn’t go to college and instead I wrote a book or learned how to program and started making money instead of borrowing it?”

Or, if you want to go to Harvard but were rejected: “What if I just showed up for classes there and nobody realized I wasn’t an actual student?”

“What if I took a job and started learning skills instead of arguing with my college girlfriend?”

“What if I stopped waiting to begin my life and started pursuing the things I love?”