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10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was 20

March 21, 2014

1. TAKE RISKS WHEN YOU CAN

Have you ever noticed how many immigrants own their own businesses? Many of them came to America with little to nothing and therefore had nothing to lose. What a perfect time to start a business! If you aspire to start your own business, or try a new career, do it before you have too much to risk losing!

2. CONFIDENCE IS MORE THAN HALF THE BATTLE

Whether you are trying to attract that perfect partner or presenting in front of a boardroom of executives, confidence is absolutely key. If you lack self confidence, fake it for now and find it quickly. Pick a hobby or join an organization that will help you build your self confidence. For me, completing Navy Flight Training was the ultimate self confidence booster!

3. DON’T UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF NETWORKING

With the advent of the Internet, you really have no excuse. You must network. I have example after example of how networking has helped me over the years. Enough said.

4. DRESS FOR THE JOB YOU WANT

Pretty straight forward, if you want a promotion, dress like your boss, not like your peers.

5. DON’T FEAR CHANGING COURSE

There is more than one solution to your life’s puzzle, If you can’t find the right spot for the next piece, it’s OK to move to another corner of the puzzle! I went to school with a plan to work on Wall Street, but spent my first 8 years out of college in the Navy and ended up working in high tech sales. There will be twists and turns, embrace them, it’s part of life’s grand journey!

6. PUBLISH YOUR GOALS

It’s the best way to ensure you hold yourself accountable for yourself. If you don’t write them down, more than likely they won’t get done.

7. FOLLOW YOUR PASSION

A large percentage of successful people and millionaires didn’t do it for the money, they did it because it was their passion. Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg, Sam Walmart, they were pursuing their passion, not a quick buck.  Do what you love and you’ll never work another day in your life!

8. CHOOSE YOUR ATTITUDE

It’s a well know quote, “it’s not what happens to you, it’s how you react to what happens to you”. This is the key to choosing your own attitude. It’s one of the only things that you have complete control over and it can be the difference between being generally happy or being consistently pissed off!

9. LAUGH AT YOURSELF

When I finally learned to accept myself for who I am, along with all of my faults and idiosyncrasies, was the day I learned to laugh at myself. More importantly, stop worrying about what others think of you. Of all the people you will encounter in life, 50% will like you, 25% will dislike you and the last 25% will always be making up their mind. You are who you are and your ideas and actions mean something to someone so stop trying to please everyone.  Abraham Lincoln said you can please all of the people some of the time, and some of the people all of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.

10. MAKE MISTAKES NOT EXCUSES

The best life lessons come from our mistakes. Some of the best and brightest sight their mistakes as the best learning moments in their journeys. Embrace your mistakes and own up to them, don’t make excuses, no one ever got ahead in life by being excellent at excuses.

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