When you’re young, you tend to think you have everything figured out. You move along at a mile a minute, blazing your path and achieving your goals. You hear advice from those older and wiser than you, but you might not really listen to it. You hear those common adages, those words of widsom packaged in clever clichés—and you roll your eyes and get back to doing your thing.
And then you get older, and you realize that there’s a reason those clichés exist: They’re true.
In my life, there have been some ups and downs—but if my younger self had paid a bit more attention to some of those sayings, well, I think it would only have made her stronger.
There’s a lot that I would tell my younger self, but most importantly, I’d tell her to pay attention to those words of wisdom she heard oh-so-often, and yet still overlooked. And these are the ones I’d want her to remember the most:
1. Be Ready to Work Hard
Some things will come easy for you, but many things you will have to hard work for. And that’s OK—you will treasure what you earn much more than what you don’t.
2. Be Good to Everyone
They’re just like you, going through their own lives, facing their own challenges, and creating their own stories. Forgive easily and try very hard to forget.
3. Be in the Moment
Don’t be in such a hurry to get where you’re going. Savor the moments of your youth—homecomings, walking home from school, and firsts of everything. Let go of any negative emotions as quickly as possible, and hang on tightly to the positive ones. Also, write. Keep a record of your positive memories—they will help you through the times that aren’t so peachy.
4. Be Able to Let Go
Remember that everything passes. Always welcome change in your life, and don’t get too attached to any present circumstance. It’s all part of a never-ending cycle.
5. Be Curious
And keep dreaming—it keeps your perspective fresh. But always put action behind those dreams. Imagination is a wonderful thing (and you have plenty of it), but without concrete execution, it’s wasted. Anything you can dream, you can achieve.
6. Be Your Own Person
Value the opinions of others, but never take them as your own unless you wholeheartedly concur. Continue marching to the beat of your own drum. Just as everything is temporary, so is the opinion of others. Never allow outside influence to compromise your values—instead, choose what you stand for and stick to your guns.
7. Be With Good Company
Welcome like-minded people into your fold. Surround yourself with positive, caring, intelligent people, because the road is too long to walk alone. Your friends are the people who will stand for you when you’re too weak, tired, angry, beat-up, burned, jaded, and stressed out.
8. Be the Change You Want to See
Live life with integrity, and remember you are your word. Listen to your internal compass—your intuition won’t steer you wrong. Rather than criticizing, take on problems you feel must be solved—and then be the solution.
9. Be Fearless
You will never know what you’re capable of unless you go for it. Within each and every one of us is raw potential waiting to be unleashed. Fear is the only thing holding anyone back from reaching his or her full potential. So, think less and act more.
10. Be Kind
Simplest of all, do good in this world and everything else will follow. Respect the opinions of others, even if you don’t agree. Live and let live. Life is more peaceful that way.
Finally, and most importantly (and yes, it’s another cliché)—enjoy the ride.