Advice I Wish I Heard Sooner…


When you are young, many people will try to influence your life. They will give you advice or guidance, hoping that you have a better outcome in life. However, their good intentions can cause you to develop high expectations, and suffer disappointments. As a result, we all presume how our lives should turn out. 

You wonder, compare, and expect things from yourself because that is how you, and almost all of us on earth, have understood progress and success. We all compare houses, cars, salaries, and education, believing that these things add value to one’s life. Strive, plan and struggle to obtain these things to quickly learn that nothing in this life turns out exactly as planned. 

Life’s unpredictability frustrates and exhausts us. It makes us feel small and helpless. 

So, in case you forgot, you are more than just trivial things.

Advice number 1: You are more than your quantifiable accomplishments

We all take accomplishments in the form of good grades and awards as a sign of success and progress, and it’s not wrong to do so. They do, in a microcosmic way, measure progress. But, they do not measure your worth. 

Degrees, accolades, and other quantifiable forms of progress are not accurate prognosticators of your worth. Hence, do not look down on others because of their education or lack of one. Intelligence is varied and multi-form. 

Advice number 2: Develop financial literacy at a young age. 

 Academic life is a selective environment where you will learn things that are only applicable within that environment. However, do not use this as an excuse to overlook your schoolwork. Of the subjects you learn in school, the more salient ones will be proper grammar, mathematical literacy, and social skills. Everything else depends on your career path. 

To function as a human being in this society, you will need more than proper grammar and math. A quick caveat, I am not disparaging education. Education is important, wonderful, and it opens worlds of knowledge. You will need to learn how to do taxes and create and keep and budget. So, learn how to manage your finances at an early age. It will save you time and money in the future. 

Advice number 3: Value your time. 

Speaking of time, learn to value it. Time is a priceless treasure because it is something you will never get back. I heard someone once say that no matter how much someone cares for you, that person will not care or value your time more than you. In a way, it’s true. 

Do not wait for the right time for something because that time, the “right” time, will not come. Be prudent and wise with your time, and cherish the time others invest in or with you.  

Advice number 4: Another note on time. 

Andre De Shields once said, ” Surround yourself with people whose eyes light up when they see you coming.” Do that. Life is too short to spend it on bad relationships, fake friends, Instagram pictures, and with people who do not value your time and effort. 

Advice number 5: Learn to have boundaries

In relationships, space is crucial. While relationships do demand that you invest time and effort, you need to invest time and effort to foster and maintain a relationship, you also need to learn when to give someone space. A lack of boundaries spells a codependent relationship. 

However, boundaries are not just to protect others. They protect you as well. Boundaries set the tone for how others should approach and treat you. 

Advice number 6: Color outside the lines. 

In kindergarten, art class was my favorite class. I’m sure it was everyone else’s too. You received a blank piece of paper and a box of markers and crayons. You were free to draw and paint whatever you wanted. Yet, somewhere along the way, we learned that coloring inside the lines was better. 

Life exists in dichotomies. We apply universal dichotomies to rules that govern our social, political, and economic lives. As a result, many of us do not take risks. Many people would rather remain in a situation they feel familiar with because it fits the guidelines rather than risk entering something new. That is why many people stay in bad relationships and crappy jobs–feeling unfulfilled and regretful. 

So, take risks. Take calculated risks and try not to have any regrets. 

Advice number 7: Subtext

All writers know that 90% of written dialogue is subtext–the things left unsaid. Subtext exists in body language, glances, and the words a person leaves out. 

To learn how to speak to others, you learn the art of subtext. Hence, in a conversation, make sure you actively and attentively listen to what the other person is saying. It involves empathy and a desire to understand someone. So, listen. Pay attention and put what you’ve learned about someone into practice. 

Advice number 8: Rome was not built in a day. 

“Slowly is the fastest way to get to where you want to be” – Andre De Shields.

Lately, many of us have been under the impression that there is a magic shortcut to success. A route where you could skip all of the failure, heartbreak, and effort. But, that road does not exist. 

If it did, we would all be successful, rich, or famous. And, we would all become bored with that lifestyle pretty quickly. 

It would be easy to play things safe–to do everything to avoid failure. But, is that really living? Living in the 4 by 4 box of safety and comfort? 

You cannot live your life at the mercy of other’s people’s opinions or expectations. 

So, if you have a dream or goal, go for it. Expect failure, derision, and rejection. It will happen. I know it will be difficult to accept failure and rejection. But, the more you expose yourself to it, the easier it becomes to manage. I am not saying that you will suddenly become unaffected by failure or rejection. But, you will learn how to manage your reactions better. 

Advice number 9: Go outside 

One last piece of advice: go outside. Many of us spend too much time in front of a screen that we’ve forgotten what it feels like to lie beneath the shade of a tree or how the sand feels beneath our feet. So, go outside. Reconnect with nature because nature is the only thing that makes sense in this hectic crazy world. 

Citations:

Gorman, J. (2018, January 26). 10 things I wish I knew earlier in life. Medium. Retrieved January 28, 2022, from https://medium.com/personal-growth/10-things-i-wish-i-knew-earlier-in-life-4a7ed73f9bd2 

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