Advice for those 18 and less

In no means am I where I want to be in life, so take everything I'm about to say with a grain of salt.

This is simply the advice I would give my 18y/o or younger self.

As I formally transition into adulthood, there is one concept I always think about:

For the first 18 years of your life, you try to fit in. For the rest of your life, you try to stand out.

I've personally experienced this a lot.

Throughout high school, I allowed a lot of my quirks, interests and eccentricities to become diluted. I allowed my individuality to dissolve in order to assimilate to friend groups / online communities / etc.

It's one of my biggest regrets.

As I grow into adulthood, I'm now having to intentionally draw out some of my buried individuality. The interests, passions and goals I previously tried to hide is now what I'm learning to embrace and show off.

Don't get me wrong. Learning to fit in is incredibly helpful. I'm a great communicator because of my ability to adapt and mirror those around me. However, balance is necessary and often the sacrifice of individuality is not worth it.

This idea, I think, is valuable for any person at any stage of life, however I know a lot of my network is business-minded folks and so I'll elaborate on why it's especially important for them:

There's a common understanding about those deep in innovative breakthroughs: Those on the edges often come to control the centre.

You can only be truly successful when you are deeply passionate about what you do. You need to explore to find what you are truly passionate about.

Often, most of the successful businessmen I look up to simply followed their curiosity. Eventually, they found a way to change the world their way.

If you are reading this, and you're still in high school or younger, lean further into your individuality. Seriously. Think about what makes you, you. What feels like play to you but feels like work to others? What weird interests do you have, that others don't seem to share? What do others ask you for help in? These questions will point you in the right direction.

Of course, this still applies if you're 65. I think it's important for everyone to remember.

If you're reading this, I wish you the best.

Finding yourself is challenging but it's extremely fulfilling.

Carve out who you are and kick your dent into the universe.