What would you tell your 20-year-old self? I've seen this question pop up in a lot of interviews recently. What would I tell a me who was 20?
I know it's hard out there in Oklahoma, away from your family and all you've known, but hang in there; you're about to meet some of the greatest friends you'll have in your entire life and things will get easier. Besides, the weather in Ohio sucks anyway.
You should really hit the books harder and work more diligently to become an active student. You don't know this now, but you're going to regret having been surrounded by such amazing instructors and peers, yet taking so little away from the experience. There's so much you can learn from these people. Drink it up. (Not the beer! The experience!)
OK, ONE beer.
Alright, big news! Don't freak out on me, but in your career, you're going to specialize in something much different than you're studying in your coursework. It's OK though! You're going to use this knowledge as a foundation upon which to build some pretty incredible things. Seriously, the places you'll go, the people you'll meet, the work you'll create, you can't even dream it yet. Keep your chin up.
Technology is going to change the world so quickly you won't believe it! You're already on the right path by jumping on board this whole website thing. Dig deeper! The Internet of 2015 is bigger than you can imagine. Dream as big as you want, then double it! It's all possible! You've got really good ideas. Chase them! (OK, maybe don't chase that one where you try to raise pigs while traveling 250 days a year...No es bueno!)
Negative self-talk will lead you to the brink of disaster. Turn now! Believe in your positive thoughts. Walk away from the bad. Trust yourself before all other people. Self-doubt will do nothing but cost you. (You really can't sing though. That's just a fact. So maybe a little less time on the whole singer-songwriter thing...)
Some people are toxic. Trust your intuition.
Learn to be a better communicator. Don't let little problems turn into hard feelings because you were to afraid to talk things through. Learn to be a better communicator. Lay out your deals up front. Get clear. Don't turn away from adversity, address it head on. Learn to be a better communicator. (Yeah, I said it three times. This is freaking important!)
Learn to prioritize. (Also important!)
You're an introvert. It's not a bad thing. You don't hate people, you're just not that good with shallow conversations and strangers. Being an introvert is also what feeds your creativity and your creativity is going to connect you to people - a lot of people!
You're going to make an ass of yourself. Ninety percent of the time, you'll be the only person who remembers it. Don't lose so much sleep over it. The other 10 percent? Well, we're going to chalk that up to lessons learned the hard way. (But seriously, what were you thinking?)
Call your grandma. She'll be gone soon. In fact, see your whole family a whole lot more often. They love you in a way no one else ever can. You're going to need them many times and each time they will be there for you. Please be there for them. When you do go, be truly present in the moment. In fact, make the art of being truly present a priority in everything you do.
Money will seemingly lie at the root of many problems, but it is the answer to very few. I mean, it doesn't hurt, but it's nowhere near as important as you think it is.
While we're talking about money, your dad is going to predict your bad spending decisions with 100 percent accuracy for the next 15 years. His experience is worth a lot more than your opinion. Better listen up and learn to work within the budget. (Please, please, start using a budget! And saving! Saving is good!)
Most importantly, no one is going to tell you this for a long time, but God has the answers to what troubles you. Turn to Him. When you line yourself up with what He wants from you, everything else starts falling into place.
Have fun, have faith and keep working hard. This is going to work out just fine.
B.J. - 2015
P.S. - I know your dating game is pretty weak right now. OK, it's epically weak. Don't worry about it. You are going to marry the most amazing woman. Your entire world is going to change because of her. Treat her right from the start. Get home more often. Cherish her in every way.
I'm curious - what would you tell your 20-year-old self? Leave a comment below!