In January, we asked you what advice you’d give your younger self as part of our regular We Ask, You Answer feature.
There was plenty of great advice—and a lot of catharsis, it seemed—and we’ve collected some of the best tips for you here.
1. Don’t worry about the future.
2. Follow your passion, even if it does not pay very well. If you are good at what you do and love your career choice – the money will eventually follow.
3. Now is the time to establish good habits for life in every area; they might take a lot of hard work to form, but it’s worth the effort and missed television.
4. Listen more, listen better, pay attention and remember! Many people have been there and done that and can save you some headaches—but only if you listen.
5. There are some narcissistic whackjobs and bitter people in the world who will make your life a misery and who are so firmly embedded in their own version of reality that they’ll never change. Should you have the misfortune to encounter such a person, in whatever capacity, don’t hang around any longer than you absolutely need to.
6. If you get an idea that inspires you, act on it immediately! The best ideas are often the first to fade from memory, or get put on the backburner indefinitely.
7. Pay more attention to advice from adults. Or, pay less attention to advice from adults.
8. Keep playing, laughing and having fun, don’t get too serious!
9. When you’re planning your college major, don’t just think about the classes or subject matters you like most. If you want to climb the management chain, take management classes, not just marketing classes!
10. Don’t go out to eat so much; put the money in a high-interest account instead! Self-control with your money means freedom to live the way you want to live down the road.
11. Beyond just saving, learn to manage money now so you won’t make so many stupid mistakes later or develop nasty habits.
12. Don’t stress about relationships. If it works, it works, if it doesn’t, it doesn’t.
13. Be more assertive! Be more spontaneous.
14. Tell your parents and grandparents you love them. You don’t know how soon they will die.
15. There’s so much you don’t know, but you have such a great opportunity to keep learning. Never, ever stop learning.
16. Never ever stop asking questions about how the world works. Make “Why?” your favorite one.
17. Go to a state university. Going to a private college isn’t worth the extra money.
18. Learn about maintaining optimum health while you still have it. Get started with healthy eating and exercise young, so you don’t spend half your life worrying about weight, blood pressure, heart attacks and all sorts of weight-related problems.
19. Don’t be afraid to ask people for things you want if the worst outcome is that they say no.
20. Get over it and kiss the girl!
21. Don’t stress out all the time. It will eventually take its toll on you in various forms.
22. Have fun while you can. Go out with your friends. Plenty of opportunity is going to come your way.
23. Stand up for yourself once in a while. People will respect that.
24. Don’t just save on take-out. Save 10% off the top of every paycheck and do not touch it until you retire.
25. Be prepared for your life to change. Realize that the relationship you thought you had is going to end. Don’t let what is happening paralyze you with fear.
26. Be aware of life-altering decisions when you’re young. Think seriously about having kids because they will dramatically change your life.
27. Expand yourself, even if you are sure where you are going. Learn something totally unrelated to your passion. Visit a place you wouldn’t normally go. A flexible mind and attitude will take you very far and allow you to handle the uncertainties in life.
28. Make your life your passion. Don’t get stuck being defined by your job. Start a website, get your name out there, volunteer, teach.
29. You’re (probably) not going to die next week. Figure out what you want to do with your life. You don’t want to be 37, broke, unemployed, and still living in your bedroom at mom’s house.
30. Don’t put off being happy. Don’t be the person that says, “I’ll be happy when…” Happiness is only found in the present. Now, today. Try to find some happiness in the journey of life—don’t think about the destination. It’s just a wooden box.
31. Do all the crazy stuff. Take the risks. They’re totally worth it!
32. Whatever you do, believe in yourself. You have untapped potential, and you will accomplish everything you have dreamed about. No one has the right to tell you can’t do something great in your life. Don’t allow them to justify their mediocre lives by destroying your dreams.
33. Improve your skill set. Learn a foreign language. Learn a martial art. Learn web design. Learn piano.
34. As for the best piece of advice anyone had to offer: take a piece of paper. The lottery numbers for January 1998 are…
You can check out the unedited list of tips in the original We Ask, You Answer column. All in all, Lifehack readers left 60 responses. Thank for taking part and sharing your retrospective advice!
Unfortunately, retrospect is something that comes too late to be of much use to ourselves in the past—but your experience may just help another reader avoid the mistakes that you found yourself making throughout your life.