I recently replied to a post on Twitter asking what advice you would give your 18-year-old self:
“The Cure Head is not cool”.
It was probably sparked by the fact that my 15-year-old son is currently sporting the most magnificent mullet you could imagine. He’s a great kid though and I have a brilliant relationship with him. So, I’m going to forgive the mullet and hope that just like my Cure Head, this is just a phase!
But then I got thinking about these philosophical questions about the advice you give your younger self. And how entirely pointless they are. Bear with me and let me explain.
Figuring it out
In the last few weeks, I have been asked to chat with the son of a client of mine about his future career. I have also met with a college-bound extended family member for much the same reason. Both these students had various challenges and it was pretty easy for me to point them in the right direction. That comes from being nearly 48 and having lots of life experience.
But I feel a little like a fraud when asked to give life advice because it indicates that I have it all figured out. And I assure you that I don’t. Like everyone else, I’m still figuring out the game of life. I am still trying to pursue the things that make me content and fulfilled.
I’m purposefully avoiding the word “happy”. No one should expect to be happy all the time. That’s a blog for another day but suffice to say, my ambition in life is to keep abnormal stress to a minimum and cope with the normal stress of everyday life as best as I can.
A lot can change in a year
I think a great question to live your best life now is this:
What advice would you give yourself one year ago?
This will give you massive hints and clues as to what you should be doing right now. I can’t change the Cure Head now! Robbie will be stuck with the photos of the mullet forever. But I can decide to make changes based on what I know I should be doing and what I wished I started a year ago.
I believe (and so should you) that you can make beneficial, life-changing tweaks over the period of a year. The book Atomic Habits by James Clear is a great place to start if you are unsure. Instagram is full of crap and pointless advice about life. But there are also some awesome accounts from people who have that life experience and are openly and honestly admitting that they are still figuring it out. Try following Mark Groves (Create the Love), Mel Robbins, and Brendon Burchard for a start.
Be careful though! The algorithm will suck you in and you could be scrolling for days! I have a love/hate relationship with Instagram. Only today I have deleted off my phone. I do this at least every few weeks for days at a time. I think it’s good discipline. Enough about Instagram, back to the question at hand.
This too shall pass
If you keep a journal, reading back over what you posted a year ago will tell you if you are making progress. If you have found the beauty and elegance of meditation you should download the Insight Timer app. It has a daily check-in feature and you can see what parts of your life serve as mood boosters and stressors. These types of exercises are telling you what you should be doing more of and what you should get less of your attention and focus.
“But Carl”, I hear you cry, “I don’t journal or meditate!”
I hear you. Neither did I until the last few years. Please give them both a go. But while you start on that journey, take some time out to think about where you were a year ago. What is the one thing that you wanted to do then but did not do? I bet it’s still on your mind. Start with that one thing. Give it a few weeks of disciplined effort and see where you go and how you feel.
We are all always learning. I hope you are always striving to get better. We have one wild and precious life. Forgive whatever was your version of the Cure Head and focus on what you can make happen right now. You owe it to yourself, to your family, to your colleagues. You also owe it to your legacy.
Life is full of curveballs. It’s never as hard as you think. If you are having a rough time right now, keep reminding yourself that “this too shall pass”. And when it does, I wish you well in living your best life.
Take care and good luck.
MD, Metis Ireland
Metis Ireland Financial Planning Ltd t/a Metis Ireland is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.
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