The Best Advice You Can Give Your Teen Self Is Not “Work Hard.”
Everyone always gives such big cushy advice to their teen self, but I think the little things would make a much bigger difference...and would be faster to tell in case the Time Travel Police are on your butt. Here's what I mean...
Every time you see a survey of things you wish you could tell your teenage self, they're great, but they're such big things. CBS News and Vanity Fair did a poll and these were some of the things we'd say to sixteen-year-old us...
- Get a better education, 16%
- Be bolder and stronger reaching for your goals, 11%
- Plan better for the future, 9%
- Slow down, and take it easy, 6%
- Live life to the fullest, 5%
I want to stress, those are good pieces of advice. Nothing wrong with shooting high, and fancy. But if I'm 16, and you come along and tell me to get a better education, I'd need to know why. Bolder and stronger? I'd need to know how. Plan better for the future? Great, but how do you get your teenage self to understand what that means?
See? All great advice, but you'd need a week or two to reach yourself on each topic.
Me, I'd go for stuff that'd make a difference right away.
"Don't worry about kissing Tonya after prom. She's just a friend. 100%." I didn't want to date her or anything, but for some reason I couldn't stop thinking about how I WOULD do it, in case she expected it. Ugh.
"Thank Mr McPherson for helping you with algebra after school. It never made sense, and thanking him wouldn't change it, but it would let him know his hours and hours of help meant something to you besides frustration. Because they did.
"Tell Ray to suck a fart. He's not going to do anything but be surprised." Ray was always threatening to mess me up. He was a jerk.
"Have more Dead Smurf Association parties." I only had a couple, and they were fun. More fun is good! And yes, I really did have a Dead Smurf Association.
"Don't break up with her. Especially not so you can "stay friends and get married later." And for cryin' out loud, if you're going to do it, don't take her to a really nice restaurant, and have a romantic night...it doesn't make the break up easier, just louder. And sadder." Yeah, I did that. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.
What would you tell yourself?