I recently came across a very catchy and thought provoking article on LinkedIn by Shane Rodgers titled “The career advice I wish I had at 25”. He said a bit about how we get to look back years from now and wish we had the opportunity to use a time machine once, go back in time to give our youthful selves a lecture or two on the things you should have done differently.
“In the future, when we turn 50, we will each be given a ticket to a time machine and, just once, we will be able to go back in time and talk to our 25-year-old selves.
Even then, time travel will be expensive and wreak havoc with frequent flyer programs. So there will only be one trip. So what if we could? What would we say? What advice would we give?
I often wish I could do this. Just once. So, just in case the time machine ever comes along, this is the career advice I would give my 25-year-old self.”
Since I know using a time travelling machine is an incomprehensible feat, at least not for now and in the foreseeable future and as a young rookie who belongs to the group that believes in the school thought that says “It is better to learn from the mistakes of others, You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself”.
Here are few golden nuggets of wisdom I picked from Shane’s article:
Take a Chill Pill:
Haha; yes he mentioned this but not in those exact words. Allow yourself get a breather, a career isn’t a race or a marathon affair. The prime of our lives comes with serious youthful exuberance and impatience but as we get older we realize that there is that life and the career we decide to pursue in it should be treated with a long term approach.
Take life in strides, allow yourself time to breathe and grow. Things will fall in place if you work hard and allow yourself time to get good at things but if you choose to overwhelm yourself with work, you end up empty and tired, wearing yourself out and lose all the joy it takes to do a good job.
Failure is not defeat:
As bizarre as it may sound, failure is one of the best ways to learn, it serves as a part of the process to eliminate unsuccessful options. Richard Branson’s first venture was a magazine run by students. He visualized the brand would eventually include banks and travel companies. He obviously failed at this first attempt in business and several others but got his big break with Virgin Airlines.
Thomas Edison, the famous inventor once said: “I have not failed. cxI have just found 10,000 ways that don’t work.” Take some risk, do not let the fear of failure limit your reach and approach to all the wonderful opportunities around.
Sometimes failing spectacularly is the best evidence that we are alive, human and serious about aspiring to the extraordinary. There is no value in being ordinary when you have the capacity to be remarkable.
Several Real Successes come from Repetition, not new things:
More often than not, Real Success comes from repetition. You don’t have to wait for that mind blowing, ground breaking and never-heard-of idea. Most of the real success stories you have ever heard of were as a result of sheer persistence and determination to do old things in better way persistently.
Thomas Edison made a thousand unsuccessful attempts to create the light bulb, but his persistence paid off. The book Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell perfectly explains that you need to spend at least 10,000 hours on something to become a true expert at it. Perfect examples include; The Beatles who honed their performance skills through several gigs in Hamburg, a very important part of their success story and Bill Gates who, through a series of unplanned accidents, spent more time than almost anyone else on a computer.
“The lesson here is get good at things before you try to move to the next thing. Genuine expertise belongs to an elite few. They seldom have superpowers. They usually have endurance, patience and take a long-term view. They also love what they do. If your find that, don’t let it go.”
Have a genuine interest in whatever field you find yourself:
A lot people complain about how their present career path has failed to provide fulfilment and they fail to spend time learning about the business. Here is a story of President J F Kennedy’s visit to NASA, he met a man who happened to be a cleaner and asked what his job was. The cleaner replied that he sent rockets to the moon. As mundane as his task seemed, he felt he was a part of something bigger. We should take a leaf from this and be a part of the big picture. Feel like a part of what organization do and be connected to the true objectives of your workplace.
A network of age-similar people is overrated:
Several intelligent young people are plagued with the whiz kid syndrome. They form series of network made up of smart young people who exchange ideas and social interest with members of the same peer. Beware of the smart young thang syndrome, building a youth only enclave can be totally restrictive.
Network and feed off the energy of the older generation as much as you can, as they are experienced and can serve as useful mentors who can help open doors and fast track career advancement.
What other advice would you add to this list? I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts in the comments below.
Written by: Mariam Banwo Barry