one piece of advice


I’ve been chatting with many young people lately, and they are all generally very stressed and anxious about the future. I offer them my own advice, but don’t want them to just take it from me. So I surveyed some of the people in my life that I admire the most: “what is one piece of advice you’d give to your 20 year old self”

Ordered by age, youngest to oldest.

  1. “Most of the outcomes you have at this stage of life are products of time, place, and luck. Don’t try too hard to manufacture everything.” Katie, 23
  2. “Protect your intuition and don’t overanalyze the forces that guide your behavior because they’re probably just revealing preferences that you don’t need to reason out.” Angie, 24
  3. “Don’t be too hard on yourself. Read a lot. Do the work. Eat your leafy greens.” Terry, 24
  4. “As much as people have the capacity to grow and change, you have very little influence over how that happens for other people, so practice taking people/appreciating them as they are.” Sritej, 24
  5. “Only doing pre-professional clubs is silly. Join clubs to meet people with your other interests because once you get a job, you’ll want a more diverse community around you that’s not only work-related.” Shohini, 24
  6. “If you look at yourself and see an endless list of things you need to change or improve, the deficiency could just be in your ability to accept where you’re at. It’s easier to grow when you’re starting from acceptance rather than self-hate.” Nikhil, 25
  7. “Maximize the number of decisions you make in a day—minimize hesitation by maximizing reps.” Austin, 25
  8. “Cultivate an abundance mindset, and protect it. Disunity is an illusion. Manufacture luck. Arrange your life for taking shots on goal.” Sean, 25
  9. “You are going to change a lot on basically all axes, but the things you care about at a gut level aren’t really going to change. Get comfortable with that. Put differently: The things you love are worth loving, and don’t try to make yourself love something you don’t already.” Santi, 25
  10. “Push yourself to create more, there’s nothing cool about ideas and opinions without execution.” Ethan, 25
  11. “Ask for help more—for more things, more frequently, more openly.”
    • Evan, 25
  12. “There is no advice out there that could possible make being 20 less shitty so all you have to do is: 1. Exist 2. Have fun 3. Fuck up” Rebecca, 25
  13. “Stop thinking everyone is thinking about you.” Lia, 26
  14. “Living in pursuit of external validation will never give you peace, happiness, or fulfillment.” Olivia, 26
  15. “You will never regret the times you decide to stay in and recharge, to focus on yourself—that’s what makes the spirit fierce and free.” Nikita, 26
  16. “If something or someone makes you want to disappear—get drunk, get high, zone out—give it less of your time. If something or someone makes you want to try—to be funny, to be beautiful, to create—give it all of your time.” Erin, 27
  17. “Spend time alone. Tinker, make, create, learn to love and be loved. Don’t go in half cocked.” - Ruby, 27
  18. “Do as much very shitty grunt work as possible early.” Danny, 27
  19. “Find what you’re passionate about and go all in. It’s better to do one thing deeply than many things shallowly.” Nick, 27
  20. “Don’t worry so much about whether people think you’re smart. It matters more if they’d want to work/hang out with you again.” - Karl, 29
  21. “Put more trust in your future self.” Katherine, 30
  22. “If you have a passion, follow it. If not, don’t work too hard.” Lisa, 30
  23. “Youth is wasted on the young.” Dennis, 30
  24. “Invest deeply in quality relationships; learn from your friends.” John, 30
  25. “Enjoy the journey.” Ash, 31
  26. “Focus on your craft. Keep your psychology positive and humble, and don’t worry about the outcome.” Graeme, 31
  27. “Stop always chasing the future and instead think about how to be present, build relationships and find opportunities with what you have around you.” Jolie, 32
  28. “Stop worrying about chasing girls. The best ones are yet to come, and they’ll like you more in a few years too.” Nick, 35
  29. “Try to have a good time, all the time.” Andy, 56

I’ve written about how there’s no better teacher than time, so honestly advice from other people is probably just a bunch of vague words. But at the very least, take it from a handful of people across a wide spectrum of ages that things will work out :)

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