10 Powerful Pieces Of Advice For My 18 Year Old Self

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I turn 30 next year.

The thought of hitting that milestone is strange and scary. I certainly don’t feel like I’m nearly 30!

It boggles my mind to think ten years has passed since I was 18.

The memories I have of that time are as fresh in mind as they were then. In the intervening ten years, I have done many things I never thought I would, and made a lot of stupid decisions.

I don’t live with regrets, but there are a few things I wish I had done differently during those years.

1. Reconsider Going To University

We are constantly told we must go to university to make anything out of our lives.

It’s a lie.

Apart from making some great friends and learning to fend for myself, it wasn’t worth it.

I graduated with a piece of paper in my hand and no idea of what I wanted to do for a profession.

A degree can open doors for you, but it’s not the only route you can take.

2. Join The Gym!

Growing up, I was always skinny.

So much so, that I was nicknamed ‘Bones.’ To this day, I’m still referred to as Bones by my old school friends.

Obviously, I was painfully aware of the fact that I was skinny. It affected my confidence.

I felt like I was beneath people simply because I was underweight.

I had little or no confidence with the opposite sex. Why would they want to date a guy, who looks like he hasn’t eaten for a week?

If I had joined the gym earlier, these insecurities would have faded away much sooner.

I would have avoided living my life in head, instead of living it in the real world!

3. Don’t Worry About What You Want To Do Once You Graduate

I’m going to let you in a little secret.

I only realised what I want to do with my life recently. Prior to this, I had no absolutely no idea.

I travelled, hoping I would stumble across the answer.

I gave teaching a go. I enjoyed teaching, but did I want to do it for the next 30 years of my life?

Probably not.

I’ve always had a passion for writing and making my own way in life. Recently, I’ve realised I can combine the two, and make my dream a reality.

Some people know what they want to do from an early age, some people don’t.

There’s no shame in being part of the latter category. You can always reinvent yourself down the road.

Nothing is set in stone.

4. Don’t Be Afraid To Fail

Throughout my life I’ve been afraid of failure.

I was afraid of failing exams.

I was afraid to be rejected.

I was afraid to take chances.

I always felt an intense pressure to succeed no matter what.

Realising that failure wasn’t a catastrophe, but was beneficial, was a major turning point in my life.

No one wants to fail. We all want to succeed. But, failure can teach more than success ever can.

It’s not your success, but your reaction to failure, that defines you as a person.

5. Read More

Back when I was little, I was a voracious reader. I would read whatever I could get my hands on.

Novels, picture books, even my Dad’s atlas, I was obsessed with learning anything I could from books.

Somewhere along the way, I misplaced my passion for books.

Video games took over, I was embarrassed to admit I liked reading. I was lying to myself.

If I had read more when I was younger, I would be much further along the road.

Books are an invaluable source of knowledge. Make reading an integral part of your life.

6. Be More Experimental With Your Cooking

When I first went to university, I couldn’t cook.

I could rustle up a sausage butties, and heat up soup, but that was it.

Eventually, I expanded my repertoire, but I would adhere to these recipes rigidly. I was content to stick with what I have, instead of looking to take risks and cook a different dish.

When I eventually took risks and cooked tougher dishes, it was empowering. I realised that cooking wasn’t that difficult at all.

What I didn’t realise at the time was that experimenting with my cooking gave me more confidence to take risks in other areas of my life.

If I could pull off an elaborate curry dish, maybe I could talk to that cute girl in the library.

Experimenting with my cooking made me realise I could experiment elsewhere in life.

7. Don’t Get Hung Up About Your Insecurities

I had numerous insecurities that held me back at one point.

I was too skinny.

I wasn’t as clever as the other people in my class.

Nobody wants to hear my opinion.

All these thoughts would consume my mind and effect how I lived my life.

I was living in a climate of fear, instead of just living! I didn’t realise that almost everyone else had their own insecurities.

The mistake I made was caring too much about what I lacked.

I learnt to focus on what I had to offer instead.

My insecurities may be a part of me, but they are not the sum of me.

8. Quit Video Games

I used to be obsessed with video games.

There was one game in particular, that took over my life at one point, Football Manager.

I would find myself thinking about the game while I was at school. I wasn’t thinking about anything educational, I was considering what players to buy, what formation to use.

It took over my life.

I wasted hours of my life playing this game, with nothing to show for it.

Video games are a huge time drain. All those hours could have been better spent progressing in life, meeting new people, honing my craft.

Instead, I wasted them in front of the TV.

Cut out video games. You’ll thank yourself for it.

9. Talk To People More

I was always shy.

I still am at times.

I was scared of talking to new people. I was afraid they would think I was an idiot.

I didn’t realise that everyone has insecurities. Everyone is afraid of what other people think.

I missed numerous opportunities thanks to an irrational belief I was beneath people.

You can accomplish a lot on your own, but you can accomplish much more with the support of others.

Open up. Don’t be afraid to express yourself.

10. Step Out Of Your Comfort Zone Every Once In A While

After I graduated university, I wanted to live in Australia for a year. Only, I was scared.

I was scared to take the leap. What if I can’t find a job? What will people think if I go there for a year? What if I don’t like it?

I was scared to leave my comfort zone. I was safe, I knew what to expect. But, I wasn’t happy.

Eventually, I mustered up the courage to book my ticket and go to Australia.

It was the best decision I ever made. However, once I got there, I noticed the comfort zone would come back in other ways.

White-water rafting? Not sure I like the sound of that! Skiing? Hmm, I’ve never done it before, seems difficult.

Thankfully, I was able to recognise these signs and snap out of this mindset.

Trying new experiences is the only way to grow. You might not like what you’ve tried, but at least you tried it.

Growth cannot be achieved from your comfort zone. Its good to step outside it every once in a while.

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I like to write. I like to travel. https://www.thetravellingtom.com Join my email list -> https://tomstevenson.substack.com/

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