What Would You Tell a 16 year old?
- Listen to your parents. Obviously, that needs to be the first thing on the list. We do have a wealth of knowledge collected over years of victory and defeat. Life can be hard and it makes no sense to not listen to the advice of the sages. Noone has your best interests in mind like God and your parents, so stop believing everything your friends say.
- Don’t be so afraid. I often wish I had not held back from opportunities out of fear. I had a chance to go to Spain in high school and didn’t because I was afraid of traveling so far from home. I had a friend who was a terrific pianist; her teacher wanted her to try out for the Julliard School of Music. She wouldn’t do it out of fear and, in fact, walked away from playing piano altogether. Be confident in this world. Everyone’s afraid, except me...I’m old and tough now.
- Pay attention to your environment. Be aware of who’s around you, what’s being said and where you’re going. Don’t be so naive and look at people and their body language. Trust your instincts if something isn’t feeling right, get out. Good rule of thumb: don’t hit people up the minute they walk into a room. At least greet them first, maybe even ask them how their day is going before hitting them up for what you want.
- Stick it out, but know when to walk away. There’s much to be said about toughing out something you may not initially like, i.e., a job, a class, a conversation, a person. Sometimes it will get better or resolve. The key, though, is that there is forward motion. If the job isn’t getting better or the person isn’t trying to understand or the conversation is going in a circle, maybe you need to quietly walk away. Don’t make a scene or burn bridges, just quietly move on.
- Always be respectful and cheerful. Happy people easily attract others. Be respectful of everyone and, please, if you can’t tell a joke to your mother, you shouldn’t tell it to anyone else either. In fact, stop telling me your jokes. Mix technology into it and the punchline is meaningless to me.
- Slow down. You all drive too fast, talk too fast, type too fast, eat too fast, rush through homework, can’t wait for the weekend, wish the holidays were here already...slow down and enjoy the journey. Life has a way of speeding up all on it’s own. Seriously, I feel like I was 30 yesterday.