We’re all born amateurs at life and we get better at it as time goes on. What’s something you know now that you wish you had known when you were 22? (If you’re 22 or younger, what’s something you wish you had known five years ago?)
Tim’s Answer: I wish I had known that as I embarked out into the world and tried to start a career, the great challenge I’d be facing would be from within my head, not out in the world. There are two things to understand here, the “in my head” part and the “out in the world” part, and I didn’t understand either nearly well enough.
For the “in my head” part, I had no idea about the concept of two competing forces inside of me (what I’ve been calling the higher being and the animals), battling for control. I thought the battle was me against the world, and by completely missing where the real battle was, I was totally unprepared to help the right side win. I was an amateur on that battlefield and I was beaten soundly for a bunch of years as a result.
Meanwhile, I had the “out in the world” part all wrong as well. I saw the world as huge and daunting and over my head, and I took it as a given that luck played a large part in how things unfolded. But the truth is, if a reasonably smart, reasonably talented person goes hard for what they want—if they ignore the odds, scoff at conventional wisdom, stomp on irrational fear, and internalize that there’s no such thing as luck, only patience and persistence—then the world is no match for them. For a person like that, the world is easy.
The challenge is to be “a person like that”—that’s the hard part. Fully conquering this is still very much on the to-do list for me, but at least now I know where to direct my energies.
Coming out of college, I thought I was a superhero entering a gladiator pit. The thing I missed was where that gladiator pit was. If I had understood this as well then as I do now, I would have done a lot of things differently.
Oh, also—I wish I had known then that if you push the little tabs in on the ends of a Saran Wrap roll, it holds the roll in place when you pull on the plastic. I just learned that recently and it would have saved me a lot of annoyance if I had known it back then.
Okay your turn. Answers can be multiple paragraphs or one word, heartfelt or silly, personal or universal—doesn’t matter. Just write something!
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