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Wellbeing / Work & family

Eighteen things I’ve learnt since turning 18

What better way to help my niece and nephew celebrate turning 18 than with some sharing of knowledge? Better that than some e-rubbish, where even if I tried I’d buy the wrong thing.

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So I handwrote the following and sent it to them.

  1. Knowing how to be sociable is an incredibly important skill, but so is knowing how to spend time alone.
  2. Trust your instincts. This is the best decision making tool you’ll ever have and the more you listen to your inner voice, the more attuned it will become.
  3. You have to work to get good, but you have to work your a*** off to get great.
  4. Keeping fit and eating healthily pays dividends beyond the physical – you can expect emotional, social and psychological benefits.
  5. Sometimes, even if you know precisely what to say, it’s more judicious to hold your tongue.
  6. Do what makes you come alive.
  7. Earning lots of money is great, but working on something you really believe it in is better. Combine the two? Bingo!
  8. Parents love their kids in a way that is deeper and broader than any other kind of love. Try to remember this the next time your mum or dad gets on your nerves.
  9. Experiencing pain, rather than avoiding it, means it’ll pass sooner.
  10. Travelling can change your life and even if it doesn’t, it will open your eyes. University is the same.
  11. Fix yourself first.
  12. If someone has an extreme reaction to something you say or do, it is far more likely to be reflective of something going on within them, than what you said/did.
  13. If you give people the benefit of the doubt, you will always be a likeable person. Conversely, if you are quick to judge, you will quickly put people offside.
  14. It is more important to learn how to agree to disagree than it is to win every argument.
  15. To be an effective communicator, spell out how you feel instead of making others guess. It is very hard to interpret another’s reason for being in a mood.
  16. Time speeds up as you get older.
  17. Don’t be afraid to challenge convention or authority.
  18. If you want to be happy, be grateful.

Do any of these resonate with you? What pearls of wisdom would you share with a younger relative? Let us know.

The happiest of milestone birthdays to the very lovely James and Sophie.

(And for those of you thinking I’m a bit of a mean aunty, I did send them some money too.)

Sam Leader

is a former director of Flying Solo and the co-author of Flying Solo - How to go it alone in business.

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