If you could go back in time to my age (18) what would you do differently?

What pieces of information would you use as stepping stones? What do you wish you have known at age 18 that would have contributed to more success? Where would you have invested more of your time and knowledge into?


Erghh...tough to answer because at 18 I know I didn't listen to many people...and I thought I was a "nice kid."

A lot of this stuff is learned through trial and error, and this saying (which has been attributed to many people from Mark Twain on down) is accurate:

“Good judgement is the result of experience and experience the result of bad judgement.”

So at least in this model, you have to go through the bad to understand the good.

I'll say this, from my own experience:

The time will pass.

In three blinks of an eye you will be 40.

I know it seems like a far away point now, but trust me, time accelerates as you get older.

Each summer you plan to learn how to sail a small boat.

Each summer passes and you have to work, you can't take the time off to do the course, the sunny days pass by.

Suddenly you are 30.


The time will pass.

If you want to get good at something--business, music, art, whatever--start now. Persist. The time passes, quicker and quicker, whether you like it or not, and if you stick with whatever it is, you will develop that skill...

...and suddenly, in two blinks of an eye, you will realize you are a professional.

I have perhaps 25 functional years left in the workforce. The full force of this is in my face every waking minute. Be the person you want to be--or be a flake. That is fate's demand.

Don't be too concerned about money at your age. You can build it. Live beneath your means. I didn't, through my mid-20s, and it bothers me to this day. Put a percentage of your income aside every paycheck. Then you can take vacations when the opportunity arises, buy stuff on sale that you really want when it comes up, take that sailing course and get started on the road to enjoyment and perhaps mastery.

Don't let circumstances rule you. Need to get out of work early to take that course? Talk to your boss about it.

Start a side business now, if you're so inclined. You can make all the mistakes early and it won't cost you much...and you can be a pro at 28. Because, trust me, the time will fly by.

Make the things you want to happen...happen.

Don't be too interested in pleasing other people. It doesn't pay off. They will simply take advantage and then take more. Take care of yourself first. If a choice comes down to doing something you know is important to your life, or pleasing someone else and suppressing your desire or interest, choose yourself.

You can always get another job.

Speaking of jobs...don't let anyone tell you that "you have to pay your dues" or "you have to have more experience."

That is the Chicken Little way of the world and those people do not know what they are talking about. Someone told me I couldn't be a factory manager when I was 24. I quit, and within 4 months was a plant manager. People do not know what they are talking about.

Even me.

Trust yourself. Find your own truth. There are MANY ways to success--not just one. Not just the single one advertised on television. You can figure it out your way, and you'll probably be a lot happier.

Oh, and invest in some solid real estate as soon as you can to get a passive income going.

Answered 7 years ago


I am the sum total of ALL my experiences and actions. And I happen to like who I am.

Answered 7 years ago

Hi there! I love the fact that you are thinking in fundamentals - good habits and cornerstone knowledge makes all the difference when starting the heady journey that is a startup.

Let's start with three principles here, and you can always call me for a longer discussion! Love talking about Leadership.

1. Learn to iteratively tackle a problem:

One of the most important things I teach in Problem Solving is Communicate with the Problem. That is, understand it - it's not going away, it's bothering you, but know that it can ALWAYS be solved.

Military strategies from WW2, your own sense of history, your family's history, and a careful study of similar problems will give you a dogged sense to stay with a nagging problem. It's like staying on a bucking bronco horse that is trying to throw you off - and not giving in.

2. People are different, and different is good:

No startup was done without help from others. Perspective is not just 'I see things differently', it is 'I know different stuff' as well as 'I can see different things altogether'. In other words, learning to identify, respect and positively utilize differences in perspective - a cornerstone of team building - is critical for being a leader, and getting things done.

3. There is probably no single thing that is 'the end':

As a younger person, many things can feel like 'do or die', the 'end of the world'. Grab on to your failures and less-than-proud-moments as treasures to float to the next level. Got duped? Remember it. Plan didn't work? Remember it. Lost money? Know how that happened, never let it happen, and use all of this to build best practices and strategies.

Problem Solving, Patience, People-Orientation.
Now that's leadership!
Give me a call if you'd like, let's talk more.


Answered 7 years ago

I started my career as an engineer and transitioned into advertising and marketing.
Looking back, one thing I would have done is go and work for a successful ad/marketing agency, before starting my own company. Even if I had to work for free.

This would have shortened my learning curve regarding getting clients, delivering work, proposals and how to base your fees.

I got to where I needed to get, but took much longer.

Answered 7 years ago

Just one thing.

Stop worrying about the future. You'll be fine.

Answered 7 years ago

I have always been lucky when it came to my education and my career. I traveled the world and enjoyed what I did. However, honestly speaking, I never pushed myself outside of my comfort zone. I was afraid of failing. So if I could go back, the one thing I would change is to give myself the room to take risk, push myself into areas that perhaps were not a natural fit for me but that nonetheless interested me. In fact, it was not until I was 35 that I finally allowed myself to strike out on my own and accept that failure (big and small) might be a part of that learning process, but that I was okay with it because I was also learning so much and finally doing what I truly loved. Anyway, whatever you decide, just know that as long as you focus on what you love things will always work out for the best.

Answered 6 years ago

It's not what you know, it's who you know. Most of my biggest wins have come about through my network of relationships. Make time to develop relationships with people and understand what how they can help you. Often it is not you asking them for help in your career or goals, but they will help you by virtue of their knowledge and support. Creativity is more important than knowledge as Einstein said, but relationships power progress.

Answered 5 years ago

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