Note to My 18-year-old Self

Note to My 18-Year-Old Self

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Have you considered talking to your 18-year-old self?

Let’s say you could travel back to when you were 18 years old with all the knowledge and experience you have today.

What would you change in your actions?

What would you do differently?

I’ve been thinking about this question for a while as I reflected on my past. Here are the major pieces of advice and the note to my 18-year-old self to achieve the future I aspire to.

1. University is Not Always Necessary

Let’s make things clear first. I loved my university life.

University is great if you dream of becoming an engineer, lawyer, or doctor.

It’s also a great social hub to improve your people skills and engage in an active community.

it remains the formal way to get a job in today’s market.

Traditional education will get you a traditional job.

But if you have already figured out what you want in life, you’re better off with alternative education.

You might want to be a YouTube celebrity, making funny videos or pranks like my friends at How About Beirut.

In this case, the university will actually confuse you.

Ever since I discovered entrepreneurship as I read The 4-Hour Workweek, I knew that I wanted more than a desk job. I wanted to spread knowledge, inspire, and work on my own terms.

The problem with the university system is that it’s a SYSTEM!

You enroll in a curriculum with minimum ability to modify it through few electives, and even some of those are restricted based on your major.

That system turned me into a robot; trying to get good grades.

It kept me too occupied to pursue my other interests.

University meant one thing; get a degree and get a job.

I was a good student in general, but I struggled with math since ever! How frustrating is it when you’re judged based on subjects you’re not passionate about?

So, to my 18-year-old self,

You have more potential than you can imagine; don’t feel limited by the assessment of your instructors. They don’t define you!

Spread your wings, take action on your talent, impact others around you, and share your message with the world.

Don’t choose a major because you lack inspiration and don’t waste the best part of growing up.

Focus on self-education over traditional education.

Become a life-long learner.

2. Parents Don’t Always Know Best

Parents are emotional creatures.

They care about your wellbeing, they worry too much, and they often make mistakes.

Your parents want the best for you, but THEIR option isn’t necessarily YOUR best option.

I have one of the most supportive moms in the world! She went through odds to raise me as a delinquent teenager and never gave up on me.

My family struggled financially when I was 15 so I got my first job at a copy center back then and had to pay my school tuition fees to continue my education.

My mom got used to the idea of me having a full-time job as a safety net to secure my future. The problem is that this concept is totally wrong.

According to Rich Dad Poor Dad, being employed will never make you rich. You need to have a business or investment that generates passive income.

I always aspired to make my mom proud. That’s one of my biggest drives in life.

But looking back to the recent years, If I wouldn’t have gone into having my own business in digital marketing, I would have disappointed myself!

So, to my 18-year-old self,

Start by making yourself proud.

Set goals for yourself and crush them one by one.

Trust me, your mom will be proud of what you will become.

3. Not Every Advice Counts

I grew up in a neighborhood that wished me well.

They all gave me advice on how to tackle life; even when I never asked for it. Some people just like to give, and that’s good.

However, some people were just raised with rigid ideologies that they can’t shake off.

They may give you their opinion on how your idea is too good to be true, or the economy is too unstable, or you don’t have what it takes to pull it off.

Avoid this negativity.

Don’t let ANYONE impose their opinion on you or crush your dreams.

They lack the courage you have; they are not driven as you are.

So, to my 18-year-old self,

People who haven’t achieved what you want in life are not eligible to give you advice.

Zone them out of your system.

4. Be Relentless

Stop seeking permission from people around you on how to live your own life.

Be confident in your approach.

The biggest mistake of beginning entrepreneurs is that they give too much attention to what people think about them.

Their need for belonging cripples their progress.

But at the end of the day, their opinions don’t pay your bills.

Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her. – Lao Tzu

So, to my 18-year-old self,

Plan and execute.

Take smart risks.

Don’t apologize to people who are not able to realize your dream.

and don’t let them tell you that your dreams are too big.

No dream is too big if you are willing to work hard for them.

Be unapologetic in your approach.

Part of your entrepreneurship journey is to fail and learn.

5. Be Radically Honest

Following the 80/20 rule, 20% of people around you are responsible for 80% of your happiness.

On the opposite end of the scale, 20% of people around you cause 80% of your misery.

The law of attraction states that surrounding yourself with positive people will lead to positive outcomes in your life.

Attract the people who bring you happiness and reject those who bring misery.

Your best approach is to be radically honest with people.

People tell me that I’m honest to the extent that I’m perceived as rude. It’s OK.

Tell everyone exactly what you are thinking. Don’t round the edges.

Have no filter.

Many people will dislike you for this. Again, it’s OK.

Those people have no place in your life anyway.

Tell people what they SHOULD HEAR, not what they WANT TO HEAR.

You will make more space for people who inspire you and you inspire them.

So, to my 18-year-old self,

Be honest from the start; radically honest.

Negative people will soon disappear from your life and your path to success will be clear ahead of you.

6. Spend Time with the Right People

How do bodybuilders grow?

They increase the weight they lift every time.

How do you grow in life?

You spend time with people who push you out of your comfort zone.

That’s because you are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.

So, to my 18-year-old self,

Choose 5 people who will push you to succeed, and spend your time with them.

  • Which people have the confidence you want?
  • Who has achieved the results you aspire to achieve?
  • Most importantly, who are the people who are radically honest with you?

You will grow faster if you spend your time around those.

Will the cold hard truth hurt when they say it? Sure.

But remember, pressure on coal turns them to diamonds.

7. Plan to Get Rich

Many dreamers will tell you that money isn’t everything.

I’m a realist myself.

In today’s economy, money is on the same level with oxygen.

Set yourself on the path to getting rich early on in life.

That way, you won’t have to worry about money anymore.

It’s true that money can’t buy you happiness, but it can sure give you more options.

How do you get rich? Simple.

Fail, over and over.

The faster you fail, the faster you will succeed.

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work. Thomas A. Edison

So, to my 18-year-old self,

Find your way to make money fast (preferably online), and fail as much as fast as you can.

Fail much faster than your competitors.

Learn from every failure.

Build up experience at an early stage and you will succeed when the opportunity comes knocking.

8. Build a Business That Lasts

Here’s a sad fact, 96% of businesses fail in 10 years regardless of the success they had.

So focus on long-term cash flow when choosing your business, and set a system to beat the 10-year mark.

One way to do this is by focusing on your unique personality.

Income will keep coming in as long as you are providing value to people.

Here’s an example.

Most businesses rely on advertising to make money.

They pay for Facebook and Google Ads to show their products to people.

What would happen if they can’t afford to run ads or Facebook changes their policy again?

They run out of business.

But then you have the late king of pop, Michael Jackson.

Michael Jackson died on June 25, 2009.

Yet, he earned $75 million between October 2016 and October 2017.

How is it possible you say?

His business was powered by his personality.

So, to my 18-year-old self,

The first thing you invest in once your business generates steady cash flow is your personal brand.

Create a YouTube channel and start a blog because the content you create will keep providing value to people forever.

Will these channels generate money immediately? No.

Remember that Michael Jackson started his career at a very young age and it took time to reap the benefits.

If you can bring value, your personal brand can achieve the same.

Question: What advice would you give your 18-year-old self? Share it in the comments and I might add it.

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