7 Things I’d Tell My Teenage Self

This is a video for teenagers.

It’s the beginning of a new school year, and so for this week’s video I wanted to things that I know I would have benefitted me as a teenager.

What would you tell yourself if you could go back?

Here are the 7 things I’d tell my teenage self…

1) Take risks

Try new things. We’re always going to be able to talk about the things we did, but never able to talk about the things we didn’t do.

We tend to carry on in school the way we started. It’s easy for an identity to be created by the way that other people see us. Don’t let yourself get pigeon-holed.

2) Be careful who you’re trying to impress

There are people right now (whether consciously or unconsciously) you’re trying to impress.

Be very careful about this.

If you could see where these people were going to be in ten years time, I guarantee you would re-evaluate who you’re trying to impress.

3) Trying to get invited to the party doesn’t get you invited to the party

One of my big insecurities in school was wondering whether or not I’d be invited to parties.

Being invited to parties is the byproduct of being the type of person that other people want to spend time with.

Focus on being someone that other people love spending time with.

4) Ignore people’s first reactions

When we do something new, we fear people are going to look at us strangely.

People who get acceptance are the ones who don’t need it.

If there’s something you want to do, do it regardless of what others might think. When you ignore their reactions, you’ll get over the initial period of discomfort and to a point where they accept how you now are.

5) School can suck

A lot of school is doing things you don’t want to do.

Studying things you don’t want to study, hanging around people you don’t want to hang around, listening to teachers you don’t want to be around…

And a myth in life is that that all changes; that when you begin doing what you love, you’ll be able to stop doing things you don’t love.

Sadly, it doesn’t quite work like that.

I’ve found in my life that even though I do the thing I love more than anything else in the world, there are plenty of things I still have to do that aren’t things I love.

The art is finding a way to enjoy whatever it is you’re doing.

When you’re doing the things you don’t want to do, can you figure out new ways of enjoying doing those things?

If you can, you’re going to be happy for the rest of your life.

6) See everything as a stepping stone

Many people resent jobs they do because they don’t feel they’re getting them closer to where they want to be.

The most successful people I’ve met have done a number of different jobs that had nothing to do with where they ended up.

But rather than viewing these things as a waste of time, they saw everything as a stepping stone.

Don’t fret that right now you’re going into something that isn’t exactly where you want to be.

The wrong job before the job you’re passionate about can have been the right job at the time. The wrong job can be a blessing when it teaches you more about what you want and where you want to go.

7) Enjoy being young, but think like an adult

When you’re a teenager, people are trying to lay down all sorts of rules around you.

But an adult treating you like a kid doesn’t mean you have to rebel like a kid.

You can still make the smart choice, by doing what’s best for you.

Don’t rebel just because you want to get back at someone.

You need to go out and mess up. Just stay within the realm of making mistakes that you can recover from. Make mistakes that aren’t going to kill you or stop you from building the future you want to have.

So there you have it. My 7 tips.

Leave a comment below to let me know what you think!

And if you’re an adult, leave a comment with the one thing you would tell your teenage self that you know would have made life better.

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268 Replies to “7 Things I’d Tell My Teenage Self”

  1. Hey Matthew!

    I’m 15 and wanna thank you so much for this video because I’ve been watching you and your vids for a while now and you are a great person indeed. Since I don’t have my money yet, I can’t buy your book, but I promise, the moment I turn 18 I will. All the tips you said in the video are great. But I kinda have a problem. I want to keep my grades as high as possible so I cana get in a good university. But the problem is all the people from my class don’t like me and think I’m a nerd, which I’m not. I have some good friends in the class but the rest of them are really mean to me. I don’t care what they think really, but is there a way where I can change that? Thank you Matthew so much. Love from Croatia!

    1. Hey Ivona,

      I can understand how difficult it can be to feel like no one likes you, but like you said, you have good friends, they are the ones that matter. Like I had mentioned in the video, don’t look to change the other people or impress them, just genuinely focus on being what you need to do and it will attract others. Also remember that ultimately, others acceptance and them liking you, has no direct effect on your grades. You know where you want to go and if you want to get into your favourite university, let that drive you! You’re in the drivers seat ; ) Take care lovely.

      Matt x

    2. Hi Ivona! As Matthew said, really, don’t you worry about these guys… I was kinda like you when I was your age. Actually, I’ve been considered a nerd, but I was just a good student… I just wasn’t a messy one! As an adult now, I can tell you that what really matters is your real friends, because later in life, they will probably still be your friends. No matter the distance, schedules (these will be tricky ones!), lifestyle. And the others? They’ll be… Wherever. Nobody will ever be friends with 100% of the people around, truly. Just be friendly… You don’t need enemies. But if someone dislike you, it’s their lost. Many of Matt’s advice, I would give myself, too. Mainly the ‘make more things that will give you experiences for life’. It will even make easier to deal with jobs or get one!

  2. Matthew I’m just reading the new Cosmo, for September and maybe you wanted to know that you’re mentioned!!!!!

  3. I would teach my teenage self to be smart with her money because trying to learn that lesson as an adult is very very hard. I would also tell her that other people’s opinions of her are inevitable but the opinions that are really powerful are the one’s she has of herself. And I would tell her to live consciously because reality is a hard wake up call when you’re sleeping.

  4. Awesome Matthew, thanks so much for sharing. The funny thing is this doesn’t just apply to teenagers, it still applies to our adult selves – it is still a good reminder for me. I always look forward to your posts. Be well…

  5. Thank you Matthew for this, not only is it informative, but it helped me reevaluate my priorities in my life. For example, I see how much time I waste trying to get the approval of type A losers and honestly when I look at my life and where I want to go and who I want to be around, this video most definitely made me realize that I should not care at all about gaining the approval of everyone.

    My question to you is: What do you suggest we do in terms of taking risks once we have this set identity? I feel that the most difficult thing about taking risks is that people who have this set mindset about you will get confused and I guess feel we are unreliable because they subconsciously think one thing about me, yet I’m taking risks and doing things completely opposite of what they think I should do…… So what do you think I should do?

    1. Hey Elizabeth, thanks for the comment and to answer your question: I think you already answered it yourself ; )

      Our identity is whatever we want it to be, and if that’s one that is constantly evolving and trying new things (which is amazing) then that’s what it is. To worry about others thinking you’re doing something “out of character”, and to let that stop you, is to still be wanting the approval of others. If there is a *smart* risk you want to take, then evaluate it according to you, not others.

      x

  6. LOVE this and sharing with my cousin who starts college tomorrow. If there were one thing i’d tell my teenage self, it would be that your risks, your dreams, your story are all unique to you. You don’t have to take on the sorrows and heaviness of the world because it takes a long time to sort through that and rediscover yourself when you do. It’s ok to be young, free and happy and anyone who faults you for it, you’re not obligated to care or take their opinion as fact. Dream big and keep it moving. Great video as always, Matt =)

  7. I love that you have books in the background! Books make every space feel homey.

    Remember last week’s challenge? I tried to give myself a pixie cut. And luckily I was smart enough to stop in time before I had completely ruined my hair :-)

    1. I wish that, as a teenager, I had trusted in advice like the one below:
      http://zenpencils.com/comic/106-chris-hadfield-an-astronauts-advice/
      In retrospect I find that doing the things I wanted to do every step along the way led me to a place I enjoy tremendously. But over the years I spent way too much time being anxious about what I was going to be when I grew up and how I would get there. Just relax, trust that things will turn out well and you’ll end up where you want to be (even if you don’t know yet where that will be) if you always give your best no matter what you are doing, and enjoy the way!

  8. I absolutely loved the seminar example you talked about….. Sometimes I do things I love, but the entire planning process and preparing process is so tiring and frustrating… I guess it was very reassuring that you also do things you love… Ex. Seminars, but you hate the pre- planning process…..but you managed to find the good in it…. I loved that! thank you again for all of these blogs, you definitely changed my life in terms of how I feel and think of myself…. And for that I’m forever grateful! Keep doing what you’re doing! You are amazing at what you do! You’re so good at it!

  9. Hey Matthew!! Like everyone is saying, I’m so excited you posted a video directly for teenagers!! The tips in this video helped me out a lot, especially the “don’t worry about people’s first reaction” because I know that I am always worrying about what people think of me while I’m in class or the hallway. I’m going to be a junior this year and have never had a boyfriend let alone have a guy that shows interest in me. Freshman year i liked a guy who I had all of my classes with. I’m friends with his best friend and she told me that ” he thinks I’m pretty but doesn’t like me because I’m weird”. Although I have been watching your dating tips for adults, could you do a video on how to be attractive( personality wise) for teenage girls. I don’t really know how to flirt/ talk to guys I’m interested in because I get nervous so I just keep things to myself and don’t really say much. I think thats another reason why i’m so insecure. I NEED YOUR EXPERTISE MATTHEW!!! Thankyou so much for your time and I hope to hear back from you!

    Logan Lazaras
    Raleigh,NC

    1. Hi Logan,

      First off, if you’re it’s good to remember that the guy you’re talking to probably is as well. This is new territory for the both of you! Second, being attractive in your personality comes down to the same thing, even as you get older. It’s about learning who you are and being confident in that. Ultimately that will then show through in the way you carry yourself and speak. Focus on growing yourself and it will attract others naturally. Take care : )

      Matt x

  10. Hi Matthew,
    Thank you so much much for this video. I am turning 18 and my pearents are fine with me dating older guys. Unfortunately, I don’t exactly know how to approach them. Yes I know I am young and should maybe be looking for a guy my age but unfortunately guys tend to be very stupid. So I was wondering if you could maybe please give me some advice?
    Thank you so much :)
    Anna

    1. Hi Anna,

      My piece of advice would be to remember that older doesn’t necessarily mean wiser.
      I would say to always keep in mind your values and not to worry about impressing or figuring out a different way to approach older guys. To be honest, in that age range, we’re all pretty similar! If you have a confidence about you and are willing to approach a guy, you’re typically already one step ahead of him. Take care : )

      Matt x

  11. Hey Mattjew
    i just want really want to say Thank you so Much for the response last time. If writed it al down. And tommorrow it gonna begin my internship i’m so nervus but wish me good luck ;D and taking New knwoledge never hurts.
    Well i tried something New today i was on a paranormal information day.
    I just wanna learn something New i dont know of you believe in That stuff.
    But you can deside if you believe or not.
    And they say to Me i work hard and that my twinsister can learn something from me haha . And That i’m gonna to study ;)
    And everything gonna be allright.

    Now wish me luck tommorrow.
    And always take your advice any more advice for me?
    Thanks for everything Matthew :D <3

    Lovely Greetz Thirza ;)

    1. Hello lovely Thirza,

      So excited for you to start your internship. Just go in there and take everything in and focus on you and what you want to get out of it. No need to be nervous, you’re going to do amazing. Take care!

      x

  12. The biggest thing I wished I had done as a teenager was take the risk and gone up to guys I liked and asked them out on a date. I was soo scared to even be around guys at the time I had no guts to go up to them and ask them out now I am kicking myself that I didn’t do that! I did play on one of the basketball teams when I was younger but, I wished I had gone out and done more sports and I also wished I had of gone out and done the whole play in high school. You know the funny thing is I did more plays and sports when I was in public school but I quite doing that stuff in high school go figure eh!

    1. It’s funny, it’s like we don’t care what others think until high school. Strange how that works.
      But now we have the rest of our lives to make up for it and take the risks ; )
      Take care Betheney!

      x

  13. thank you hero for this video.
    what i would tell your teenage self that you know would have made life better is this ….
    when anyone calls you names or swear you , it doesn’t mean that is who you are . it means that they are feeling bad and trying to make you feel bad too .the future is going to be as what you want based on what decisions are you going to take coz (You are today because of yesterday’s decisions and you tomorrow because today’s decisions ). . if you have a problem( why it happened / why me/ when /where….) .what you have to do is ask yourself what is the solution .that makes you stop thinking about the problem and start thinking about the solution. it will save your time, and you will feel great. coz your time is precious , so you will live it with peace , love and happiness. the one person you should to start to love is YOU ,and that will be after forgiving yourself .
    and remember that
    ( the universe is made for us ,to discover ourselves , to love ourselves before we love anyone , to make our dreams come true and to stay positive ). if we didn’t understand this then we will suffer.
    thank you hero.you are amazing that’s why icall you HERO.

      1. When l read what i wrote ,I couldn’t stop lauging . I forgot to write things like( when you have a problem don’t say……or what i would tell my teenage self….ect). What l wrote is vnglish not english :D. So forgive me my english is bad ,but my vnglish is great.
        Thank you for the response
        THANK YOU HERO

  14. Hi Matthew,

    Just wanted to say a massive THANK YOU. I’m 19 and your advices are really precious. You’re like the brother I never had !

    Love from France :)

  15. To the kid above,
    10yrs ago I was that mean kid at school, now I’m friends with all the kids I bullied. Not proud just saying that its not the end of the world, focus on being the best that you can be – work hard and ‘kill them with kindness’ no matter how mean anyone is to you because then you will always be content with yourself

    Being disliked sucks but a few close friends is all you need :) take care of yourself x

  16. In High School I was pretty bad at not doing some of these things, but as im getting older (I’m 19 now) im doing more of these and it is making me happier. As for taking risks, I have dropped out of the community college that was not making me happy so that I could apply to schools out of state that better fit me and what i want. I have pretty much stopped trying to impress my peers because I am seeing where many are going in life and their approval doesn’t matter to me any longer. Especially after dropping out of the community college i have learned to ignore people’s first reactions because i feel like it is the right decision. Plus i have always done my own thing regarding clothes and hair styles so yeah. While I am seeing everything that I have been doing lately as a stepping stone to a better me its actually a few of my friends that are the ones telling me that i am confused and that they feel bad about what i am going through and that they can’t imagine doing what I have been doing. Even my parents realize that what I am doing is not to rebel, but to do what is best for me and my future and that it is about time i speak up for what i really want instead of just being told what to do and what i should want.

    <3 I hope I'm doing something right lol

    1. Thanks so much for your comment Bre. It’s good to remember that simply because someone, or your friends in this matter, don’t understand what you’re doing or what’s going one, doesn’t mean it’s wrong. It’s also comforting to know that your parents can see it’s not rebellion and that you have a conviction in what you want to do for you. Take care : )

      x

  17. I would tell teenagers that we are all different people but were not really snowflakes…. Meaning we all have our personalities that make us that wonderful person we are, but most of the things that happen to us happen to everyone. Your not alone in the problems and situations your presented with, the odds are one of your friends are having the same issues. There are even bigger odds that you know a responsible adult who survived the same situation, that may be able to tell you “dont do this or try that”.

    I think too often we as young people sit in the corner and feel alone and almost victimized by negative situations, because we feel like “nobody will understand, I must be a freak”. I have known many people who felt that way in high school but also let that behavior carry on into there adult life, and the problems only get bigger. As Matthew so wisely tells us, create good routines now and dont ever be the victim, this behavior will only ever hurt you. When people or situations tear you down, hold yourself up.

    Thanks Matthew!

      1. Silly me! I clicked the “let me know when other people post on this topic” or something to that effect button….. That was a very large mistake! If I could tell myself of a few hrs ago not to do that I would!!

        Heaven help you Mathew Hussy! Your going to need it to reply to all of us! I hope that just shows you how much we value your knowledge!

        Holly

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