Me at 33 to me 23 – Advice to a myself as a graduate

Me at 33 to me 23 - Advice to a graduate

Dear Dave @23,

The next decade is a defining one. Many of the decisions you make will impact the trajectory of your life. Many decisions will be easy to make, but hard to change, so take the time to consider your options. You have potential, use it.

Ideally you would take all ten pieces of advice all at once, but one piece of advice followed is better than ten heard. So I am leaving you with one per year, to build from the foundation up.

“In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable” – Old Navy saying, attributed to Dwight D. Eisenhower

@23 – Take time to plan your career. You will spend ~80,000 hours of your life working, it is worth taking a few hours of your life now to define your core values and your life priorities. So create a plan.

You are unlikely to follow the plan and shouldn’t. You don’t know what’s out there and so you will need to be agile and adapt, but a plan will help define your true North and inform your decisions. Remember as you make these decisions, that money is only an enabler, as are skills and networks. Money is important, but it will not motivate you. Learn more – Career Strategy &  Career Myths.

“No one owes you a great career, it argues; you need to earn it—and the process won’t be easy.” – Cal Newport

@24 – Develop Career Capital – Spend time learning new skill sets, do not just improve your existing ones. You will hear the many stories of successful people who had an idea and sacrificed everything for it. What you won’t hear about is their natural ability, hard work and a large dose of dumb (timing) luck that got them there. If you are one of those one in billion it will work out for, then you’ll ignore this anyway, so I can safely give this advice.

So take the time to learn the skills and get the experience that goes on your CV, but also learn how things work in the “real world”. Future opportunities will be in the gaps, not only the problems. You will be in a better position to identify those gaps from the inside, don’t fall into the Millennials trap. Learn more – So Good They Can’t Ignore You & What Colour is your parachute.

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it … he who doesn’t … pays it.” – attributed to Albert Einstein.

@25 – Become Financially Literate – The Compound Effect is your friend or enemy when you are young. Every decade you wait, you are halving your retirement pot. Invest in your future self by paying off debt, relevant up-skill and investing in assets. You can delegate you investing to the likes of Scalable Capital, but don’t abdicate the responsibility, make sure you understand enough to make in informed decision. I know of too many people who were made promises by trusted advisers and have or are going to retire poor. Learn more Financial Literacy CourseMoney: Master the Game.

Do you understand the power of the Compound Effect?

“Your network is your net worth” – Porter Gale

@26 – Develop your Network Effect – Meet different types of people. They will inform your world view, expand your horizons. Jim Rohn famously stated, you are the average of the five people around you. Just, think how diverse those people are and yet they are the most like you. Think how much more diverse the opinions of others may be. Your views are far more narrow than you’d think. Not just from a career, but life perspective. Develop your network effect, you will find friends, jobs, perspective. Learn more the Network Effect & Charisma Myth.

“No one learns as much about a subject as one who is forced to teach it.” ― Peter F. Drucker

@27 – Trust in coaches and mentors – The best at anything and everything, have coaches. So should you. By now, you will have a good idea of your strengths and the key things you need to develop further to succeed. Invest the money to accelerate your development and learning. Focus on game changes. Use Digital Mentors for the general idea and broad knowledge, hire professionals for specifics. Demand social proof from them before spending the money. Do you need a speech coach? Perhaps someone to teach you a better running technique?

“Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present experience. It isn’t more complicated than that.” – Sylvia Boorstein

@28 – Discover Mindfulness – There are so many people competing for your attention. Gary Vee explains that it the job of a marketer to be where your attention is, so basically ruin whatever you enjoy. Developing mindfulness will help you experience more peace and greater joy in your daily life. Learn more Teach Yourself to Meditate & Headspace.

“It takes just about the same amount of time to be a nice guy as it does to be a jerk.” – Mark Sanborn

@29 – Engage the Fred Factor – It is not what you do, but how you do it. There is a reason you are paid to do work and if you are only going to be happy when you are doing certain activities, you are going to be generally miserable and chances are, you will miss out on many amazing experiences. Having a positive approach, doesn’t mean being a push over, it means trying to make the best of a situation.

“The first wealth is health.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

@30 – Rejuvenate your Health –  Something happens when you turn thirty, no longer can you just exercise to run off those kebabs. Take a look in the mirror, you will wonder how you let this happen to you. Diet will become not just important but crucial. So eat healthier such as vegetable based smoothies. Look after your mobility and fitness. It’s bad now, but there is still time to recover, a transformation to your “old” self is possible.

“The mind is everything what you think you become.” – Marcus Aurelius

@31 – Counter these 3 Common mindsets. As you become more experience, your eagerness to learn may wane. You might get too comfortable (Galton’s Wall), feel like you don’t belong (Impostor Syndrome) or merely fill your days (Parkinson’s Law). Take a moment to tread water, re-orientate and start again.

Are these three common mindsets holding you back?

“Remind Yourself that When You Die, Your “In Basket” Won’t Be Empty” – Richard Carlson

@32 – Prioritise your time – It is so easy to be busy. Make sure you listen to Lazy at least 3 times a year. Being busy is not a badge of honour. It means you are not in control of your time. Be disciplined with your schedule, plan the important things in first and then make it a decision not to do them.

“Failure is never quite as frightening as regret” – Anonymous (Contributed by Dean Bosnich)

And now @33 remember to try new things and don’t be afraid to fail. From time to time, remember what it is to be you.

With love and aspiration,

Dave @33

Thin Dave


P.S. You were raised with manners and love, so I know you will thank people and express gratitude, but take time to thank yourself and celebrate the small things in life.

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