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What Would You Tell Your Younger Self?

This exercise helped me to understand how many great things happened in my life. Without planning and expecting anything. I am grateful for all the challenges life gave me and all the people I got to know in my journey.
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Tomas Laurinavicius overlooking rice paddies in East Bali, Indonesia.
Overlooking rice paddies in East Bali, Indonesia.

Every year I reflect and try to remember the most important lessons I learned. I do this exercise to analyze myself, identify patterns and have a note to my future self. Another motif is a hope to inspire you to make a change.

Taking care of my mind and body. Becoming better every day. Building a business that provides me financial freedom and impacts the world. These are the things I care about the most. In the recent years, I made many mistakes and wrong decisions. I acquired bad habits but at the same time, I learned many lessons. The school of life allowed me to understand myself and what I want from life.

Today, I am dedicating this post to my younger self. Below are some of the things I would tell my younger self at different stages of my life.

Infant to a teenager

At this stage of life, you can not do much. You don't have an opinion. You have to follow everything without questioning and accept things as people tell you.

Play more. Play, smile, laugh and be free. People become angry, sad, sick, selfish, greedy and poor because they don't play enough. Don't get discouraged by others, you have so much happiness inside of you, enjoy it.

Love yourself and the world. Love is the answer. I mentioned you people who don't play enough become sad for life. Your love can heal them.

14-year-old myself

Now you collect experiences, ideas, choose role models and recognise emotions. You question yourself to find your identity.

Try new things. Have fun building and breaking. Read books that don't look good for teachers or parents. Watch movies and everything possible to form your own opinion. Most important question everything.

Listen more. Actively listen and analyze what you are hearing. Question everything and try to make connections. Relate. Any fool can judge and critique but only smart ones will try to empathize and make connections.

You have no limits. If anyone tells you can't do something, they're showing their limits. Most of the time these people will be the closest to you, your family, friends, lovers. Love them but don't listen to their limitations on you.

Don't expect anything. No one owes you anything. If you want something, work for it. You are the only one responsible for your life.

17-year-old myself

You already know what you want in life. Be brave and ask yourself what makes you excited. What idea sounds so surreal that it gives you chills when you think about it? What is it that keeps you awake at night? That scary idea is your real life calling. Even if you don't know where it's going to lead, even if everyone else thinks it's stupid. Believe in yourself and go for it. Don't ask for permissions and just do it.

Make no excuses and find a way. To make you more confident, I'll tell you that no one knows what they are doing. It just looks that they know.

Make self-development a priority. Read more about the things that excite you, question everything. Learn how to become a better speaker, writer, storyteller, son, friend, leader.

Pursue your dreams. Start creating a plan to achieve your goals. Focus on what excites you and collect the information about your calling.

Start writing. Clear communication is a key to personal and professional success. Practice writing every day. Write about your day. The show you have seen, your feelings, fears and dreams, love and the perfect world. Make it interesting.

Don't try to be important. Your ego will demand attention, ignore it. Serve anyone without expecting anything in return. Amazing things will happen once you shift your mindset and start enjoying helping others. You will see how paying it forward comes back in the most beautiful and unexpected ways.

Meditate. This may sound like a woo-woo but it will solve most of your problems. Calmness, peace of mind, confidence and stability. These are some of the benefits you will gain from meditation.

Don't be childish. Don't give up for your ego pressure. It's fine to break your word. If you made a stupid promise or a stubborn statement just because you wanted to be different. Admit your mistakes and move on.

Fear nothing. If it doesn't threaten your life, fear nothing. Want to talk to that attractive girl in school? Do it. Want to start a blog? Do it. Want to speak at an event? Do it. All these acts outside your comfort zone will scare you to death but will enrich your life 10x.

Life has no rules. Everything is made up. If you decided to drop out of school make sure to develop a plan what are you going after and do it immediately. It's not worth your time suffering and letting your creative potential fade.

Be bold. Stand for yourself. If you believe in something, go all in and don't soften when people start pouring their sh*t on you.

21-year-old myself

This is your golden age. Decisions you make at this age will show the first signs of success in the upcoming years. You're young, free and full of energy. Your body and mind can quickly recover after a failure. You have the power but you lack knowledge. Step out of your comfort zone. Journal daily, work on your habits and start making meaningful connections. Fall in love. Go out and meet like-minded people. Join meetups, groups and events to get exposed to crowds to start building self-confidence. Connect with everyone to start shaping relationships with people from different fields.

Don't be fooled by the surface. You already know what you want from life. It may look attractive to work in one or the other industry but most of the time you will be fooled by the surface. Don't question yourself just because someone is successful selling running shoes. You only see success in the mass media. Nobody talks about behind the scenes. How much energy and effort it takes to become good at something not to mention becoming great.

When you love, love with all your heart. Love is scary because it makes you vulnerable. But it's the ultimate life experience. If you love, love with all your heart. You will get hurt but don't abandon love. It comes and goes. Love yourself, people and life anyway.

Always do good. You want to be the bad boy. You want to break the rules. You want to be recognized. This is your ego. Looking for an external approval. Always do good. It will make you feel good internally.

Take care of your body. You will have to spend the rest of your life in this body. Eat more vegetables and fruits. Make regular exercising your priority. Don't overeat junk food.

Don't drink too much. It's nice to have drinks with your friends and do stupid things. But it's not worth wasting your best days laying in bed with a hangover. Drink responsibly.

Give up sugar. You don't need sugar. Tea and coffee taste amazing without sugar. Enjoying a cake and ice cream only on the weekend has a different meaning. Your thinking will become clearer, your body will perform at a higher level.

Apply the 20/80 rule. You learned that people who work hard get what they want. Unfortunately, it's not true. You can work little, be smart about it and get what you want. Learn what works and do more of it. Ignore the rest.

Master money consciousness. Invest your time in learning about money. How money is made, how money acts, how to manage and grow money. Learn the difference between assets and liabilities. Start building up your assets. Money is not the answer but focusing on making money will make your life easier.


Listen to your heart.
You might be stubborn with your decisions, beliefs or ideas. This will make no good for you, listen to your heart. It has all the answers, it has all the solutions. Be courageous to let your mind connect with your heart.

Let other people in. Your life is about making meaningful connections. Strangers can become your best friends, soulmates, business partners, mentors and even lovers. Keep the door open and make the entrance welcoming.

Think long-term. Thinking a year in advance is not a long term thinking, think 10-20 years in advance. Great things take time. Be patient.

Don't try to win alone. It's fine to ask for help, to not know everything, to be lost and vulnerable. People relate to real people with their strengths and weaknesses.

Don't judge. First, don't judge yourself. You're enough. Second, judging others is not fair. You don't know the context (you will never know all the context). It's creating negative emotions inside of you and that is worse than cancer.

What my friends have to say?

I asked my friends what would they tell their younger selves. I got tons of inspiring and touching responses. I'm surrounded by the most honest, creative, humble, supportive and loving people. I'm sharing my favorite ones with you.

"It is awrite. You can love yourself. Even if no one else will." - Aarti V Raman


"Never stop asking 'but why?'" - Blair Jones

"Relax. Everything will go exactly as supposed to. And guess what? It's going to be even better than you could ever imagine today." - Charlie Man

"Love comes, love passes. Don't sacrifice your opportunities because of a temporary fascination." - Karolina Jasvinaite


"Trust your intuition and stand for yourself. Nobody knows better than you what is good for you!" - Helene Schmit

"Always believe in yourself, don't listen to what others say about you or your life. You are the only person responsible for your happiness." - Andra Tomescu

"Its ok if you took one wrong step, you didn't know it will turn out wrong! Be a little more focused and you're gonna be the Queen of this world one day!" - Divya Sharma

"Play now. Play tomorrow. Your Life is a game." - Caroline Weiler

"Don't worry. It's all going to be great, you will get more than you expected and you will be better than you think you could ever be!" - Akvile Zelnyte

"Don't worry and trust yourself more." - Viktorija Gorcakovaite

"Nobody cares how many hours you put in. Do what you have to do and go ride a bike." - Mariusz Ciesla


"It's ok to take a step back. It doesn't mean you gave up, it means you're mature enough to see that pursuing won't benefit." - Olivia Es

"Buy bitcoin." - David Bengoa

"Slap him and tell him to study hard and exercise." - Adhi Ariebowo

"Start following your dream TODAY!" - Guideaux Hiers

"Take small steps." - Heidi Pungartnik

"Go for a run." - Joshua Miller

"You are not too skinny, without shape, your nose isn't weird (you're actually stunning). Don't think you can't achieve higher and stop settling for mundane options. Have no fear. The world is an open space. Embrace it. Believe. And yes, you can do all those things you think are beyond you." - Claudia Monteiro


"Take dance classes, learn to play guitar, make more mistakes and meet more people." - Jacob Madden

"Do not allow fear of failure hold you back, be bold, be brave, have confidence in yourself and invest time in being the best you can be." - Joana Andriulyte


"Stop worrying about your stuttering and love yourself the way you are, because if you won't, then who will? And another very important: don't waste your time with a wrong person and the last one: start learning from your mistakes and don't be afraid to make them." - Gerda Gergardaite

"Better check yourself before you wreck yourself." - Donatas Laurinavicius

"Choose LOVE!" - Renars Garda

"Don't be afraid of chasing your dreams. Just do it!" - Nora Zakarauskaite

"There is a world of possibilities that the people who surround you may not know about." - Luke Ryba

"You can do and learn anything in this world." - Joachim John Harris

"Stay off Facebook." - Andy McLean

"Don't wait for the perfect moment to do something, it will never come. So do it now or forget it." - Ignas Butenas

Conclusion

There are many things I didn't mention. Just because I think certain paths I took in my life led me to mistakes that taught me more than any advice ever will. This exercise helped me to understand how many great things happened in my life. Without planning and expecting anything. I am grateful for all the challenges life gave me and all the people I got to know in my journey.

What would you tell your younger self?

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Originally published at tomaslau.com on May 4, 2016.