Photos: Greg Raines via Unsplash; Michael Hull via Unsplash; Jamie Brown via Unsplash; Octavio Fossati via Unsplash; Alex Jones via Unsplash.
I recently had a conversation with a friend. She’s been an amazing ear to bounce off ideas on as I’m currently starting a new project on the side called SPECTRA. I just gave it a go. After a year of thinking about it, I bought a domain and started reaching out to people.
Our conversation led to a discussion about how things were so different when we were teenagers and then life got in the way and we grew up. But some of the things we did as teens were magic and showcase a can-do attitude that I want back.
So here are a few things we can learn from our teen selves.
I noticed that when I was younger I was more curious about the world. And I guess that is true for everyone. Nothing stopped me from learning on my own how to use a computer when I was 9. I was curious about the world and I wanted to find out more about it.
The older you get and the less curious you become about the world. Your mind becomes less elastic and the boxes that you use to compartmentalise information become more rigid and dogmatic. Those boxes can be useful but can be detrimental to our own growth as individuals. Curiosity is adventure. Curiosity is a new experience. Curiosity is being more open-minded which can only be beneficial in this globalised world.
So get off your couch or whatever and try to be more curious about the world. Try a new cuisine, try to learn to do something new. You may discover something new about the world and about yourself. And it might help you in your professional as well as personal life.
2. Failure? Who cares.
When we’re younger we might tend to just jump head first into a new challenge without thinking too much of the consequences. I definitely noticed that I was less of a perfectionist. I just gave things a go. I taught myself how to edit and make videos with clips, pictures and effects, and I decided one day to improve my English by reading fanfictions online.
But the older you get the more you get paralyzed by the fear of doing things wrong. Why should I even give it a go if it’s not going to be perfect? Why can’t I just be safe and stick to what I can do?
Because you don’t know what life has in store for you. I spoke about how much I learnt after getting job rejections. If I hadn’t tried I would always wonder why I did not give it ago.
Don’t let the fear of failure stop you from going after something or from being curious. Be more like your teen self who learnt how to skate and didn’t give up despite falling a billion times. Be more like your teen self who sang with friends despite being tone deaf.
3. You don’t feel guilty for having fun.
Every day tons of articles and blog posts are written about how to become more productive. Our focus is to become more productive, to do more in less time and not let distractions get in the way. But let’s be honest. There are days where you just need to chill, your productivity energy happens to be on the down low and all you want to do is lie in bed or have fun with your friends.
I feel guilty every day I take off from my studies but I need to recharge and it’s not healthy to work constantly. Brains need to rest, and they also like the idea of doing other things other than working. So I’m going to take a leaf out of my teenage self’s guide to life and say to myself that it doesn’t all have to be about work. I can have fun and be guilty free.
I’ll be ten times more productive once I get back to the books.
4. Living in the moment
When I was younger I was obsessed with the idea of growing older. I complained to my mom about not having me sooner and constantly dreamt about going to university. But I was living in the moment, despite always looking to the future.
My mind was very much focused on the task at hand, be it the homework I had that day, or spending time with my friends, making silly choreographies and singing in what I thought was English. I was right there, in the moment.
I noticed that that is no longer the case for me but also for my friends. Life seems a constant consideration of yesterday and tomorrow but rarely it’s about today, the right here and now. And it becomes about today only thanks to meditation or whatever.
But living the moment is the best thing ever. It’s about taking a few minutes to just look at your surroundings, indulging yourself on ice cream without thinking about anything else but the ice cream. It’s magical.
Living the moment means not feeling guilty for having fun; not being too afraid of failure; and allowing yourself to be truly curious about yourself and the world around you.
Being a teen was stressful. There were tantrums, there were tears, and trust me I never want to go back to those years. But I think we can all learn something from our teen selves. We can all learn from that transition stage where you get closer to adulthood but still have so much of the spontaneity of being a child.
Is there anything I have missed that you think we can learn from your teen self? Would be cool to know. 😀