40 Things I Wish I Could Tell My Younger Self
From celebrities to scientists, doctors to artists, we asked some very successful people to share what they wish they had known when they were younger. You and your kids get all the great advice—no time machine needed!
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Accepting help doesn’t mean you’re weak
courtesy Rune Sovndahl
“A common mistake I’ve noticed most entrepreneurs, including myself, have made at the beginning of their business set-up is trying to do everything ourselves. When I launched my company I couldn’t afford the luxury of hiring experts and paying for their services. It helped my business but the long sleepless nights took a toll on my personal life. Plus it made me rigid; I’d gotten used to doing things in a certain way and I had to learn that may not always be the best way. Connecting with other experts and accepting help only makes you and your business stronger.” —Rune Sovndahl, CEO and co-founder of Fantastic Services
It’s OK to be selfish sometimes
Courtesy Damon Nailer
“I would tell my younger self that it’s important to be a little selfish. It’s great to be generous and compassionate and help others, but make sure to take care of yourself first. Meeting your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical needs are of utmost importance. Before you assist others, you must first look after yourself because you can only reproduce what is already produced in you. In essence, you can only give what you already have, and your input determines your output. Remember: blessed people bless people; healed people heal people; inspired people inspire people; and educated people educate people.” —Damon DaRil Nailer, life coach, author and educator
Cut out toxic relationships
courtesy Vid Lamonte Buggs Jr
“Something I wish I’d known when I was younger is how much negative people will drain your energy and time—and those are limited resources so you should save them for the stuff that’s really important to you and will help you grow. I’d tell myself to stop hanging around people who are negative, waste time complaining instead of trying to change, or pull others down. It can be hard to cut ties, especially if that person has been in your life for a long time, but cutting out toxic relationships is one of the best things you can do for yourself.” —Vid Lamonté Buggs Jr., athlete, entrepreneur, and author
School isn’t the end of your education
courtesy Paige Arnof-Fenn
“Like a lot of kids, I couldn’t wait to be done with school and start ‘real’ life! It didn’t take long before I realized that finishing formal school was not the end of my education. I wish I could tell my younger self that you will be a student for the rest of your life so never stop learning new things. The best part of this is that you get to learn stuff you’re really interested in, and the grades don’t matter anymore. Be a sponge for knowledge and learn now to enjoy the learning process.” —Paige Arnof-Fenn, founder and CEO of Mavens & Moguls. These educational quotes can inspire a love of learning.
Don’t let being in a relationship make you forget yourself
courtesy Kari H. Lichtenstein
“I would tell my younger self that within a marriage it is important to maintain independence and to continue to be an individual. I think too many people lose their sense of self which they later regret because they have missed out on friendships, experiences, careers, and interests to be part of a couple. While it is wonderful to be in a marriage, I believe it is also crucial to preserve a sense a self within a marriage.” —Kari H. Lichtenstein, founding partner of Stutman, Stutman & Lichtenstein, an NYC-based matrimonial law firm
Be forgiving of yourself and others
courtesy Keltie Knight
“I’m a firm believer that you only have 100 percent to give every day, not 110 percent. Some days I am 80 percent ‘worker,’ 10 percent ‘healthy eater,’ and 9 percent ‘friend,’ with only 1 percent left over for ‘wife.’ But other days I’m 90 percent ‘wife.’ I wish I could tell my younger self that you just can’t be everything to everyone, every single day! You’ll burn out. I’ve learned to forgive myself on the days my percentages are unbalanced and to be forgiving of others as well.” —Keltie Knight, “Entertainment Tonight” correspondent and host of “The Ladygang” on E!
Being busy isn’t an accomplishment
courtesy Nathan Hall
“This world glorifies being busy and has a narrow definition of success, so it becomes all too easy to prioritize everything else. We see extreme self-sacrifice as a badge of honor. As a mother and entrepreneur, I’ve totally fallen into this trap in the past, thinking that I need to put everyone else’s needs first. So I would tell my younger self to always make time for those things that bring me the most joy, whether that’s a hobby or a relationship or something else. In fact, I see my current business as a gift to my younger self and to other women to not be afraid to put their happiness first. —Carla Birnberg, CEO and Founder of Your Box Box
You’re beautiful the way you are
courtesy Cheryl Burke
“Growing up doing competitive dance, I was always judged on my performances. Often, judgment about my body type and physique went hand in hand with that. If I could, I would go back to the first time I ever felt bad about myself because of what others said about my body, and tell myself that their opinions don’t matter. The only person who should have an opinion about your body is you. If you define your beauty by other people’s standards you’ll never feel good enough, but if you learn to love yourself, you can’t go wrong.” —Cheryl Burke, professional dancer on “Dancing With The Stars”
One bad decision will not ruin your life (even if it feels like at the time)
Courtesy Catherine Bosley
“If there’s one piece of advice I’d give the younger me it would be to understand that success in life is about your body of choices as opposed to one good or bad one. In this day of digital everything, it can feel like everyone is watching you and one wrong move can derail the entire trajectory of your life—but in reality, actions are cumulative. I learned this the hard way when some pictures I thought were private ended up online, sparking a national controversy, humiliation, and cyber-bullying. I thought I was finished. But then I found the strength to rise above it and fight back. I found that mistakes can force you to make other choices that can open up bigger opportunities. On the other hand, one “good” choice, does not mean “good” is here to stay. It takes mindful and constant decision making, failures, and achievements, to acquire overall success and happiness. This means lamenting or celebrating any one choice as if it is the ‘end all or be all’—like I’ve done too many times in my life—is a waste of energy and time.” —Catherine Bosley, veteran TV anchor and reporter and TEDx speaker
Try new things, especially if you think you won’t like them
Courtesy Sharief Z.
“If I could go back in time to my younger self, I would demand that I step outside of my comfort zone more often! I would encourage myself to take part in activities and adventures that my initial reaction is to avoid. Eat new foods! Travel to different countries! Meet people different than yourself! During the times I’ve felt the most discomfort, I ended up learning the most. I was able to absorb the best lessons and knowledge from a different perspective. This is why traveling is so important, it helps you see and learn from an unknown, and also appreciate what you’ve taken for granted previously. ” —Shervin Roohparvar, tech entrepreneur, producer and TV personality on Bravo TV’s Shahs of Sunset.