14 January 2020

Things I wish I knew or understood growing up


  • It's very easy to be too modest about your achievements. If you've ever been the only person doing something at work, that makes you its owner. You're not 'a' system administrator. You're 'the' system administrator. Seeing it from this perspective was an instant confidence booster for me.
  • Don't go to interviews or promotion panels without ensuring your clothes are ironed. It seems a waste of time, but it's very easy for others to judge you on it. Those little details count.
  • Research the job and products/services of a company well before the interview.
  • All the endless, crazy thoughts and judgments you have as a kid about whether you should have a girlfriend/boyfriend, know what you're doing in life, having lots of friends, FOMO, etc., can get too much on top of you. I was lucky to have a Connexions advisor who put everything in perspective and explained I should ignore all that.
    • Focus just on what I want.
    • There's no rush to solve everything tomorrow. Let everything fall into place and come naturally to you.
  • Knowing your personality type can help explain many things about your behaviour. Use 16personalities. Also look at other things like autism, anxiety, depression, etc.
  • Try and listen to any bells. Your conscious may make you aware of emotions that you dismiss.
  • Try not to push people away; being introverted and cynical makes it difficult. Know the different between offence and banter.
  • It's very easy to be stubborn. Open your eyes to other views and listen.
  • Be prepared to be criticised.
  • Admit when you are wrong rather than invent lies.
  • Defence mechanisms - learn Valliant's categorisation and know when you're not being mature. These are also related to the seven deadly sins and virtues.
  • Jealousy - instead of being jealous of what your friends have, turn them into a 'reference'. Be proud that you're friends with them and that you can show them off for how cool they are. It's not a competition.
  • Don't wear your heart on your sleeve: do that and your heart will break too easily. Not that you shouldn't fall over in love/lust, but getting too emotionally involved can be creepy and overbearing. Try not to turn partners into projects, let them come to you.
  • HAIL (TED video)
    • H - Honesty: Being true - straight and clear.
    • A - Authenticity: Be yourself. [Standing in your own truth.]
    • I - Integrity: Be your word. [Doing what you say.]
    • L - Love: Wish them well.
  • Give yourself space; don't take on too much stress. You're allowed to say no.
  • Study and do homework early, don't leave it to the last minute as tempting as it is. Breaking things down to smaller chunks is the best approach. As soon as you see a problem as insurmountable, break it down again and again until you can do something right now.
  • It's okay to be humiliated or embarrassed. It will happen sooner or later. Try to see the fun side of it, and don't take yourself, or anything too seriously - take a pinch of salt.
  • Use Reddit to find communities, as well as others like Meetup.
  • "Wear sunscreen".
  • Laugh.
  • Complement others. Be polite. Do good deeds and sacrifice a little effort to help others. It can be rewarding knowing you've helped someone else.
  • Put yourself in other's shoes: try to think how you feel in their situation. It's easy to show sympathy, but harder to have true empathy. Respect others regardless of their characteristics.
  • You are alright. You can stay.