A Few Tips To My Teenage Self….
By Stephen Doherty
October 17th, 2021
“Looking back we see with great clarity – and what once appeared as
difficulties now reveal themselves as blessings.”–Dan Millman
I have always been intrigued by the hypothetical question, “what advice would you give your younger self if you had the chance?” Since my blog’s primary purpose is to promote discussion with my son and daughter about the things in life that truly matter, I felt it might be fun – if only for a few moments, to grab the young Steve Doherty by the arm and whisper a few suggestions to him that might have made his ride a bit less bumpy.
- Buy a House
It doesn’t matter if you live in it or rent it out – the earlier you can purchase a home, the better. Then – no matter what – hold on to it until you retire. You will always have a home and/or a nice financial nest egg for your golden years.
- Do The Right Thing
This seems obvious enough but too often youth compels the expedient choice over the honest and virtuous one. The latter is corrosive to the character and, ultimately, to a happy and prosperous life. Do the right thing – always.
- The Time Value Of Money
Wealth is more often a by-product of time than any other factor. Pennies compounding for decades trump dollars compounding only for a few years. Put 10% of every paycheck into savings – and becoming a millionaire becomes a certainty, not just a pipe dream.
- Be Kind
Kindness provides more spiritual reward to the giver than to the recipient. It is life’s ultimate “win-win” scenario. Be the good guy. Sweetness is the new macho.
- Spend More Time With Your Parents
There isn’t a son or daughter alive that wouldn’t give just about anything to have one more dinner discussion with their moms and dads. Make time for those discussions while you still have time.
- Learn The Difference Between Swagger And Strut
Nothing is more unattractive than unearned hubris. Few things are more impressive than quiet confidence. Learn the difference. Humility is a super power!
- Learn The Difference Between Pleasure And Happiness
One of the hardest lessons in life is that all the pleasure in the world won’t buy a penny’s worth of happiness. They are two different things and they come from two different places.
- Stay Focused And On Task
Learn the difference between meaningful endeavors and meaningless distractions. Don’t be detracted from the things that matter. Youth pursues meaningless distraction like moths to lightbulbs.
- Embrace Failure
There is no better teacher in life than failure. Meaningful success will always be found beyond the battlefield of shattered dreams and disappointments. Never seek out failure – but always embrace the opportunity to confront your worst fears and adversaries.
- Health Is Wealth
Youth is bulletproof and immortal. But no success is worth achieving absent the ability to enjoy it. The greatest threat to your wealth and happiness is deficient health born of a lifetime of eating toxic crap. Learn early about nutrition because life’s most efficient assassins reside in our kitchens and pantries. Balance and moderation. Time worn advice but truer today than ever.
Doubtless, anyone reading this will add some of their own to this list and delete some of mine as we are all different. I do believe that there are some things that contain timeless and universal truths but I’m also aware that each of us has filtered the world through our own unique lens of life and how our respective worlds unfolded.
In the end, I will always believe that the quality of our lives was determined – not in spite of our disappointments – but because of them. It’s fun to look back and wish we could read the cards of everyone else at the table – but it is curiosity and uncertainty that shaped our lives. I would imagine having all the answers to a test beforehand would be a novelty, but could anything be more boring and unfulfilling than certainty of outcome? In the end, my obnoxious teen-age self would have probably just ignored the sage tips and (once again) launched myself into the abyss!
“When you become uncomfortable with uncertainty,
Infinite Possibilities open up in your life!” –Eckhart Tolle