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What I Wish I Told My Younger Self

“I cannot wait to grow up” has to be the biggest and dumbest thing I ever conceived when I was younger and that is despite all the other embarrassing things I have done (the list is phenomenally long). Millions of people have also thought of the same thing, and now that we are older, have grown to regret it. Growing up involves a lot more responsibilities, more gruelling tasks, and having to deal with more complicated issues in the workplace. These are problems that everyone will face once they enter a certain phase in life, and there is no way around it. The issue however, is that no one, including myself was actually prepared for it.

When I was younger, doing young person things was a part of life. Naturally, there would be moments where I skived during lessons, or skipped classes at the pretense of being sick to play. I immersed myself in a myriad of online games and hung out at the comic books store, which took up a bulk of my time. These activities persisted through my teenage years, which truly were more important than ever in preparing me for the challenges that life will deal me with. I had fun, no doubt, but I always wish I did some things which would better myself. Here are some.

1. Socialising More

Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t a game-addict where my friends were only in the form of 2D characters. I had plenty of friends from all around, but that does not mean I had the appropriate form of socialising. Interaction as I grew up involves understanding the opposing individual as well as navigating through awkward situations. My teenage years involved me being relatively oblivious to these issues and was somehow the future foundation of my interaction skills. In terms of being a good communicator when I first entered the workforce, I was not spectacular. There was a lot of fumbling and awkwardness that I did not know how to navigate. My friends who actually took the time for more real-interactions in their younger years were more natural than that, and that is even despite the fact that they were generally more introverted in nature.

My adult years have led me to figure out that having the right methods of communication was imperative in creating more job opportunities, securing more deals and dealing with the dreadful office politics.

Essentially, venturing out into broader social circles will train you and give you a headstart in communication that will truly go a long way in any career.

2. Appreciating Various Job Experiences

I understand that this might not be possible for everyone because of the circumstances that preside over them. However, I must still acknowledge the importance of having experiences with various companies and industries before actually entering the workforce for real. By “Various Experiences”, I am referring to doing internships at organisations or simple part-time jobs such as Retail or F&B. As far as job experiences go, no job is not important in the crafting of a resume. The relevance or importance changes based only on the industry you wish to venture into. Part time jobs enable you to earn important skills as well, while offering you a decent paycheck. That is of course not to say that a full-time role in any organisation will bag you more skills. Rather, it is how you leverage on these job experiences to further the goals you wish to achieve. For instance, even service staff at F&B outlets can put themselves in more situations where they can hone their people’s skills.

Utilising the spare time you have from your holidays or even after school to take up jobs will provide you the basic tenets of tenacity and communicationIt even teaches you other skills such as that of leadership. In fact, for the males, despite all the chatter and downplaying of the importance of National Service (NS) in your careers, it is a good time to take a step back and set a trajectory and push for it to learn the skills that will bring you a long way. For the females, the time saved from NS (such as before starting University) can be useful in building a resume and getting job experiences before deciding on a career for real.

Ultimately, actually going out and working will grant you more than just simple monetary compensation and will aid you in your pursuit of success.

3. Set More Goals

I think goal-setting is something that will follow you through till the day you actually stop breathing. You set goals for almost everything in your life. You dream of starting your own family, your own business or even learning a new skill. These are goals that one day you wish to attain, even if they seem impossible right now. I’m not going to determine for you what is possible or not because there truly is no limit. I mean, just this year, commercial space travel might actually become a thing.

It is smart however, to break your goals up rather than just going for one long-term one. Having shorter and smaller goals will lead you to the ultimate long-term goal, without feeling demoralised because you don’t really see your achievements. Short-term goals enable you to see progression (or its awful brother, regression). Constantly setting targets and working hard to achieve them will build motivation and give greater clarity and direction to your end-goal.

Here is where I inject you with some tough-love. Not all goals will be realised, but having appropriate ones, and plans on how to achieve them will definitely bring you far.

From the first female Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (UK) Margaret Thatcher,

It (hard work) will not always get you to the top, but should bring you pretty near.

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