I applied for a job yesterday. At the end of the application submission I was notified that my application would be fast-tracked if I undertook four additional questions. They turned out to be essay questions and I took about two hours providing the answers. One in particular struck a chord with me: What would you tell your 10 year-old seff? Why would you tell him this? What would you be hoping to accomplish?”
I really took this seriously, and dug deep into my soul, memory, heart, and brain in order to come up with an answer. I must have done something right because they got back to me 8 hours later requesting an interview.
Here’s what I wrote:
I would say:
“You have a few tough years ahead of you, but never doubt your vision for your life. If you get knocked off your path -which you will- gently and lovingly correct yourself without being too hard on yourself, without getting discouraged or thinking you’ve fallen behind. No matter what, a clear, unwavering commitment to that vision is the only thing which will bring you salvation, meaning and happiness. Also, you must work harder than you think in pursuit of it, and when you start something don’t get placated and satisfied with beginner’s luck. On a similar tack, persevere when things become tough. You have great taste and great ideas which deserve to be followed through on and worked at, so trust that, and trust that if you pursue these things, and walk this righteous path, everything that is lower order will fall into place.
Don’t fret over those who don’t like you and forgive those who wrong you -you don’t know what their level of suffering is and there could be myriad things bothering them which have nothing to do with you. When people hurt you, it’s usually not because they want to hurt you but because they want to help themselves and they re unsophisticated and careless in the manner in which they do so.
Always stand up for yourself, and if someone stands up to you, take them seriously. Don’t get defensive. They are being courageous and you should reinforce and reward that courage with respect and a fair hearing.
Don’t let social pressure compel you into speaking anything less than the truth. If you don’t know what the truth is, you are allowed to say nothing. Don’t be pressed into giving an answer you aren’t ready to give. Look at people in the eye when you talk to them and smile because it is good for your posture and your relations with other people.
Give compliments as soon as they occur to you -don’t worry if it sounds corny. Trust your instincts.
The right girl will come along if you move righteously in your path, but if she does come along, you must be smart enough to recognize her and brave and secure enough in who you are to commit. Still, be discerning and never settle.
Say yes to things that sound cool even if you haven’t strictly budgeted money for them -you can always make more money. Take bigger risks when you’re younger because you have so much time to recover and start again.
Cut ties with people who hold you back or who contribute to your bad behaviour. Even if you care abut these people. Sometimes you can love people best from a distance.
Forgive your parents for their stupidity and mistakes. They were but children themselves when they had you and they are still figuring things out. More than anything, be grateful to them for all of the tools they furnished you with. They may have trapped themselves in their own invisible prisons, but from their self-imposed captivity, their spirits call out to you to run and be free and shape this world in the manner you see fit.
Honour your step-father. He has a lot of wisdom to teach you and he is trying to shield you from the bad influences in your life which unknowingly seek to atrophy your spirit. He is not your father but don’t hold that against him.Over time, he will become your greatest ally and advocate.
You and your dad got separated early on. It will never be like you hope it will be with him, Like it should have been. Sometimes two spirits which sprung from the same place get separated and kept apart for a time or for a lifetime. That’s ok: If they’re meant to be together, there’s always the next life or the one after.
This goes for women as well… one in particular…you’ll see 😉
Never take your siblings for granted; they are the only ones who will understand exactly where you came from and until you have a wife and kids they are the only other people you can love as much or more than yourself. That’s good, because you can practice true generosity and reciprocity with them by seeing them as extensions of yourself.
Don’t focus on the abstract or the macro to distract from the immediate problems in front of you. If you think about it for a moment there is always something right in front of you that you are competent enough and able to take care of (without screwing up too much) which will make your particular space in the world a little better. Let your ideals set your general direction and the work you put in be the steps in that direction.
Balance your masculine and feminine energies and celebrate them both because they are beautiful aspects of you which need expression and which act as a brake on the excesses of the other.
Your life is a call to adventure. Start today. There’s no time to waste, but if you feel like you have “wasted” time already, trust that that ‘wasted’ time was necessary to bring you to the level of unprecedented wisdom you are currently at and then act on that wisdom.
Say no more than is necessary. Always make the joke. Don’t multi-task while eating. Breathe while you chew. Do your push-ups every day. Avoid breads and pastas. Eat meat. Write every day. Be a man. Sing out loud. Stand up straight. Always observe. Find what you love, what sets you on fire and develop tunnel vision. If you want something, ask. Always make more food than you intend to eat and then tell the people around you that you’re full and they can have the rest. Have no expectations in relationships beyond that which is explicitly agreed to and measurable. Bring water with you everywhere you go.
Don’t be afraid of death even when it seems like certainty. We die like we live and so if you live honourably, you will leave this world in the same way.
And always remember: You have been called for such a time as this. The world needs you and your gifts. You are not condemned by your yesterday if you can grab hold of your now and move in your destiny.
Move. Change. Be. Now!”
I would say this to my younger self because it is what I have learned and by passing it on and having him hear it from a credible source, hopefully I could get to my current level of understanding a little sooner (there are only so many years in life after all).
Maybe someone else will get something from this also. Wish me luck on the interview 🙂