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FAILURE Letters to Your Younger Self; What Would You Say?

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MJ DeMarco

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This post is for all us "older" folks and by "older", I mean over 35.

If you could write a letter to your younger-self, say, when you are 18 years old, what would you write? What would you say? What wisdom would you impart?

I ask this because I wrote my book from this perspective ... what would I have liked to have known way back then when I was 18 and full of "I know everything?!"

Letters to Your Younger Self… What Would You Say? | Fastlane Entrepreneurs
 

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Rickson9

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Foster strong relationships with good, positive people by being a good, positive person.

We are human 'beings' not human 'doings'. Experiences with loved ones are more important than money.

Learn the art of selling.

Be more fearless in the face of market crashes - they will make you wealthy without effort. Invest in companies that take advantage of the need for individuals to display their status - individuals will pay almost any premium.

Everyday I try to deal with, and manage, the consequences of, being ordinary.

Best regards.
 

dfw1

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When I was 18, it was 1982 and living in Westchester IL. Before I get into my post here, I have often wonder about this imaginary capability as if I could send my self a message into the past. I'm 46 now.

Since I read this posting today in DEC 2010, if I could send my self a message, here is what I would tell myself...

In the future your life is going to be like a bowl of spaghetti. In other words, you are going to be a jack of all trades, doing everything and anything, never really focusing on one particular aspect. Your friends don't really care, they just like your outgoing personality and having "good times".

You have got to FOCUS and take life seriously and quit chasing women. Women are going to distract you. Sure you got handsome green eyes and the ladies like to look at 'em, but you really need to find a gal who you have got alot in common with. Otherwise please forget chasing the women for now and having good times with your buddies and going to downtown Chicago night clubs or the Wrigleyville bars. Which you will be doing.
(In the '80s)

Make friends with those who are successful AND are actually WILLING to help you be successful too. If you can actually find someone like this (especially in the'80's) you could be on a life towards success like unknown by many other! Learn from them, even copy or improve on what they are doing. Find out what need their customers have and find out how to offer a better solution.

In the 90's there is going to be something called the internet, when your buddy tells you about it, around 1992, do not ignore it. Find out what is and learn how to use a computer. Buy a computer. And forget about the good times and chasing the women!

Learn about how to run a business. Learn about how to set up a corporate structure and everything associated with it. Start being more creative and writing down your ideas. Start identifying the needs of others and determine if you could solve those needs, where there is a huge audience. Learn how to run a business as if you are the CEO. Know and understand it before success happens. Not after the fact.

Don't wait until 1999 to find out about the internet and begin using it (even though dialup will suck) just use it and watch for opportunities. They are out there. Make sure you have built up a network of successful people who you can ask for help AND they will actually help you. If they don't help... F*** em!

This is what I would begin to tell myself. I wish I would of received this message back then and could of even corresponded with myself. But it is not possible.

The important thing is that I know what I know, NOW and I am actually taking action on what I know. I am focusing more so that my life does not look like a bowl of spaghetti anymore. I don't chase women anymore because I have been married for 8 years and have 2 wonderful kids.

But I will say that my wife and kids DO cause me distraction in achieving my goals. So maybe I need to contact my self now... Who may be in 2015 and ask him for advice about what I ABSOLUTELY need to do now and what decisions should I make now, so that the out come is what I actually desired.
 
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James Fake

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I am in the same boat with MikeC..

@Rickson - 'need for people to display their status'.. dayum, nicely put. Folks will spend everything they have to look rich!
 

FDJustin

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Apr 30, 2010
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Well, I don't fit in with this criteria, so... A letter to my future self:

Dear Future Justin, how are things going? I am well.
I just wanted to let you know that I'm now in the position to make or break you.
Sincerely yours, Justin of Dec 24, 2010.
 

tchandy

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I always thought saving money was the key to wealth. I'm the type of person that always had money and never spent it. I always thought having a savings account was key to my success. I'm sure that's what most parent teach their kids. I wish I would have started investing earlier than I did. Fortunately I can set my kids up for success and they can improve upon whatI leave them.
 

gotbalz

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note to self at 18- jobs are for sissies, grow some balls and try and make some real money by fulfilling a need. the rest will take care of itself !
 

Gabeseg

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Dec 11, 2010
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I would say self, learn to focus; To seek out the people who are doing what you want to do. Do not try to re invent the wheel. I would say to not let any woman get in the way of your dream. In fact, not to get involve with any woman until you have become successful because woman can be a distraction. I would say to learn to put your pride aside and to ask for help and to align yourself with people who are doing what you want to do in life. To learn to value a dollar and not blow it on things that doesn't count. To take risk in life instead of playing it safe. To learn to keep the main thing the main thing. To watch what people do instead of what they say. To be courageous and to go after those things that you want that you deserve in life and not to give any excuses as to why you can't have them.
 

TheFinBin

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Well, I don't fit in with this criteria, so... A letter to my future self:

Dear Future Justin, how are things going? I am well.
I just wanted to let you know that I'm now in the position to make or break you.
Sincerely yours, Justin of Dec 24, 2010.

Justin,

I'm 26 myself. I couldn't agree more. When I read your post for the first time it actually frightened me. However, it's absolutely true. Lay the foundation now. Live like nobody else NOW...so that you can live like nobody else later.

- Dave
 

phlgirl

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Never stop learning. Listen to people who have been where you want to go - be it people you meet in a classroom or in your everyday life.

Set goals. It is as simple as taking 30 minutes out of your life a few times a year. Write down what you want and set a weekly reminder (cell phone) to review the list. What can you do today to get ONE STEP closer to your goals?

Invest in assets which produce a stream of income, allowing you to live the life you desire.

Set rules to protect you from yourself.

Life is short. People say this and you probably just brush it off but it is absolute truth. There is no guarantee that you or those you love will be here tomorrow. Enjoy every minute. If you are unhappy, make changes (severe, if necessary).

There is next-to-nothing you cannot accomplish, if you set your mind to it. Go out there and get it!

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Just for the record, I nearly missed the age cutoff. ;)
Merry Christmas everyone!!!!
 

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Flatlander

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Dear Rich,

Quit being such a dumbass.

Your pal,

Rich
 

rocknrollkid

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35 Year old Ryan,

You are such an a**hole for not building a time machine and giving yourself the money your future self has. If Bill & Ted can travel through time, so can you.

-Rjb

In which my older self replies...

21 Year old Ryan,
The Raiders have still not won a superbowl. I'm glad I do not have to witness 14 years of suckage again. They will continue to let you down.
Stop getting drunk and throwing all your money on the roulette table when you go gambling.
 

code junkie

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Dec 10, 2010
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I'm not old enough to fit the criteria, but there are still some things I would like to say to my 18-year-old self.

Don't trust everybody. You can't tell whether someone is trustworthy until you know them very well. Even then it's not certain.

In fact, not to get involve with any woman until you have become successful because woman can be a distraction.
I would say the opposite. I would say, quit having one night stands and flings, and find somebody good and mutually supportive. A supportive person in your life can make an enormous difference. Although, it really should be someone else who has ambitions and takes them seriously, just like you.

Network. Network. Network. Network. Network. Network. Network. Network. Network. Network. Network. Network. Network. Network. Network. Network. Network. Network. Network. Network. Network. Network. Network. Network. Network. Network. Network. Network. Network. Network.
 

jrws

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Wow, this is full of ideas that are applicable to my life, thanks for starting this guys. I will learn from your mistakes and wonderful successes.
JimmyJam
 

AroundTheWorld

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quit chasing women. Women are going to distract you.

I would say to not let any woman get in the way of your dream. In fact, not to get involve with any woman until you have become successful because woman can be a distraction.

BWAHAHAHA..... Those darn evil women.


Love this question MJ. Rep + for asking it.

Here is mine...

Self,

Learn as early as possible how to live a life of freedom and authenticity. Start a business and begin investing immediately. Instead of saying, "it's not possible" say "how is it possible?". College Degrees are for middle management. You don't want to be middle management. Never stop learning, and occasionally branch out into new subject matter. You will fail. When you do, learn your lessons, lean on those you love, brush yourself off and do it again. You will succeed. When you do, make sure you do something important and fulfilling with that success. Travel the world and know how blessed you are to be an American. Never say "someday." Do it now, or stop thinking about it. Go into every new venture (whether it is business, relationships, parenting some other decision in your life) with intention. Study it from several paradigms, align that venture so that it is something that will be authentic to you, then take the leap. It is okay to burn the bridges behind you. There is no reason to go back. You are bringing the good stuff with you, and there is even better stuff waiting for you.
 

Robert Francis

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I didn't write it (It's that spoken word song by Baz Luhrman), but it came out at about the EXACT time in my life when I was too young to know how quickly 14 years fly by (and it's advice was applicable) and too old to take it seriously enough.

To add some potential value, I've highlighted the parts I've found to be most true...

Ladies and Gentlemen of the class of '97.
Wear sunscreen.
If I could offer you only one tip for the future, sunscreen would be it.
The long term benefits of sunscreen have been proved by scientists, whereas the rest of my advice has no basis more reliable than my own meandering experience...
I will dispense this advice now.

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth; oh nevermind; you will not understand the power and beauty of your youth until they have faded.
But trust me, in 20 years you'll look back at photos of yourself and recall in a way you can't grasp now how much possibility lay before you and how fabulous you really looked...
You're not as fat as you Imagine.


Don't worry about the future; or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubblegum.
The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind.
The kind that blindside you at 4pm on some idle Tuesday.

Do one thing everyday that scares you.

Sing.

Don't be reckless with other people's hearts, don't put up with people who are reckless with yours.

Floss.

Don't waste your time on jealousy;
Sometimes you're ahead,
Sometimes You're behind.
The race is long, and in the end, it's only with yourself.

Remember the compliments you receive, forget the insults;
If you Succeed in doing this, tell me how.

Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements.

Stretch.

Don't feel guilty if you don't know what you want to do with your
Life.
The most interesting people I know didn't know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives, some of the most interesting 40 year olds I know still don't.

Get plenty of calcium.

Be kind to your knees, you'll miss them when they're gone.

Maybe you'll marry, maybe you won't, maybe you'll have children, maybe you won't, maybe you'll divorce at 40, maybe you'll dance the funky chicken on your 75th wedding anniversary.
Whatever you do, don't Congratulate yourself too much or berate yourself either.
Your choices are half chance, so are everybody else's.
Enjoy your body, Use it every way you can... Don't be afraid of it, or what other people Think of it,
It's the greatest instrument you'll ever own...


Dance... even if you have nowhere to do it but in your own living room.

Read the directions, even if you don't follow them.

Do NOT read beauty magazines, they will only make you feel ugly.

Brother and sister together we'll make it through
Someday your spirit will take you and guide you there
I know you've been hurting, but I've been waiting to be there
For you.
And I'll be there, just tell me now, whenever I can.
Everybody's free.

Get to know your parents, you never know when they'll be gone for good.

Be nice to your siblings;
They are the best link to your past and the people most likely to stick with you in the future.

Understand that friends come and go, but for the precious few you should hold on.
Work hard to bridge the gaps in geography and lifestyle because the older you get, the more you need the people you knew when you were young.

Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard;
Live in Northern California once, but leave before it makes you soft.

Travel.

Accept certain inalienable truths, prices will rise, politicians will Philander, you too will get old, and when you do you'll fantasize that when you were young prices were reasonable, politicians were noble and children respected their elders.

Respect your elders.

Don't expect anyone else to support you.
Maybe you have a trust fund, Maybe you have a wealthy spouse; but you never know when either one might run out.

Don't mess too much with your hair, or by the time you're 40, it will look 85.

Be careful whose advice you buy, but, be patient with those who supply it. Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of fishing the past from the disposal, wiping it off, painting over the ugly parts and recycling it for more than it's worth.

But trust me on the sunscreen...


(Brother and sister together we'll make it through
Someday your spirit will take you and guide you there
I know you've been hurting, but I've been waiting to be there
For you. And I'll be there, just tell me now, whenever I can.
Everybody's free.)
 

Robert Francis

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Just realized Baz doesn't include what I think is one of the most important pieces of advice to "younger me."

It is IMPOSSIBLE to overestimate the impact that your spouse has on your ability/inability to, ultimately, achieve your goals.

Having been married twice, first time to an "albatross type" wife and the second time around to my "soul mate," this might be on of my strongest opinions based on life experience.

No matter how "right minded" you may be, if you are married to someone that is not supportive and positive regarding your goals, your path will be significantly more difficult.

IMHO, looking back, I'd tell "younger me" that it's (much) better to wait and be single than to marry someone that is not your "soul mate."
 

JEdwards

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I would tell myself to get a haircut and get a real job...


Actually, I would tell myself to hire the best, and not to waste any time.

Which I did, and it cost me millions. Oh well, we live and learn.
 

Rem

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The blonde. Don't do it. Walk away. hahahahaha
 

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Blu

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I would say something along the lines of... stop being so scared of what other people will think. Take risks, it doesnt matter if you fail, you are young enough to start again. Be audatious, dream big, and realise that others will doubt you because they cant see the things you can. Utilise your skills, re-enforce your weaknesses, and be relentless.

Sleep is for the dead.
 

emorgan

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Jul 24, 2007
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Looking back, the one thing that would have made all the difference would have been to keep working even when I didn't have to, not buy that cash flow negative house ( like Steve O warned me), and always make sure I had a car paid for.

I would also not be so hard on myself. You fall down. Get back up. Everyone effs up. Keep going :)
 

theBiz

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The note would go as follows:

Purchase limos . com
Learn how to code
Build a lead gen business

Sell it....
Buy it back....
Then sell it again....

hahaha just sayin'
 

TK1

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This thread idea is so great I wish it had over 1000 replies :)
 

healthstatus

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Buy Google stock, sex.com and business.com when they become available, get out of the market in 2000, and 2007, and it is easier to stay in shape than get back into shape.
 

Gonzosan

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Although I'm not exactly doing amazing now, if I could go back to when I was still in high school, this is what I would say:

1. Invest early, don't waste your money on worthless crap. I have nothing to show for my times as a teenager working other than an old beat up car I bought when I was 15.
2. Study on your own time. I wish I would have learned how to program and stick with designing stuff, my goal is to own my own video game company, and I did start getting really big into learning it on my own but stopped.
3. Wish I would have networked a lot more now, I didn't come from an amazing city by any means, but still. I'm now part of a Toastmasters, and I wish I had known about it a while back.
4. Learn another language, I know two languages, but I still want to learn a third.
5. Overall, I wish I was more disciplined early on, I'm struggling to build the habits now and it would have been great if they had been hardened over the years.
 

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