10 More Things I Wish I Knew Sooner

10 More Things I Wish I Knew Sooner

You see that kid up there? That’s me in fifth grade. That kid has absolutely no idea what’s ahead of him.

This post isn’t for 10-year old me because he wouldn’t understand any of this. He was more concerned about how to get girls to like him and how to be cool by putting his hands in his pocket with his thumbs hanging out.

So why did I use that picture? Probably because I look so adorable I thought it was featured image worthy.

Anyway, I published one of my most popular posts ever last July, 40 Things I Wish I Knew Sooner (The Compact Guide to Life,) in which I covered dozens of different topics including happiness, confidence, friendship, and tons of others.

Fast forward to today, I’m lucky enough to be living in the Philippines with several insightful entrepreneurs. They’re constantly dropping words of wisdom and knowledge bombs that make me wonder what they wish they knew sooner.

These are the smartest people I know and I’m always learning new things from them. Whether it’s related to business or life advice they’ve learned over the years, there’s tons of wisdom that can fall into the “I wish I knew that sooner!” bucket. Better late than never!

Although I haven’t personally asked them what they wish they knew sooner, I can share what I’ve learned from them that I could have used a lot earlier on in my life.

  1. Let your personality leak out more because the too controlled you isn’t nearly as fun. Being too uptight and self-contained sucks. Allowing your real personality to let loose always allows for more fun than your overly stiff version. Sometimes you may refrain from saying ridiculous things in a goofy tone because you don’t want to get weird looks. Who cares? Wildly flail your arms and make yourself look like the fool you really are because it’s a lot more enjoyable.
  2. Sing more, sulk less. If there was a sport called Extreme Sulking then I’d be in the top 10 worldwide. Going from talkative to completely silent because the smallest thing went wrong kills the fun for everyone involved, especially yourself. I used to justify it in my head and say it’s okay, but really it freaking sucks to be “that guy.” Don’t be that guy. You have to take into account how you make others feel when they’re around you. With that said…
  3. Take into account how you make others feel when they’re around you. There’s a big difference between bending over backwards to make others happy or comfortable (which you should never do) and being courteous to others. Be the latter. Don’t be a killjoy, don’t say things just to make yourself look good at the expense of others, and don’t disrespect someone by showing complete disinterest in what they have to say. Basically, don’t be an ass.
  4. Don’t be afraid of relationships. I went four years without one because I was afraid. I was terrified of the prospect of commitment and trying to be a good boyfriend. It’s a scary thing, entering a relationship. But hey, I’m in one now and I’ve got to say that they’re not all that scary. Sure, they’re hard work and they really expose your own characteristic flaws, but damn, it’s worth it.
  5. Wait before you open your mouth and argue. Oh how I love arguing. I got plenty of practice with that back when I was living with my grandparents. Now that I’m in “the real world,” I still find myself itching to play the contrarian and arguing my point. But what I’ve learned is that I open my mouth too soon and start mouthing back without understanding the other person’s point of view first. One, that’s irritating and two, you look like an ass, which violates #3. Listen and re-evaluate before you start barking.
  6. You can mix business with pleasure. Those who say you can’t are either listening to clichés or have unfulfilling jobs that repeat such mantras. I say mix it up! As much as I love my work, the fact that my bosses and I can joke about anything makes it 1000x better.
  7. Leaving home can do wonders for your self-growth. In fact, you should leave home as soon as possible. Give yourself some time away from the family and friends you grew up with. It’s ridiculously easy to keep in touch on a daily basis. After all, there’s Skype, Facebook, and several other popular tools you can use. Thrust yourself into the unknown world and learn about other cultures. It’ll be a real eye-opener.
  8. Life involves a lot of luck. It’s sheer luck that I ran into the tweet that introduced me to the Empire Flippers job listing. It’s also luck that I overheard one of my best friends talking about several of his favorite entrepreneurs, which made me do my own research. You can argue that eventually I may have stumbled upon the path that I’m on now, but I think luck landed me in my seat at this current moment in time. The way I see it, since so much luck is involved, you should start doing tons of amazing things right now so you can increase the odds of getting to where you want to be.
  9. You don’t (have to) know everything and you’ll be wrong over 80% of the time. Enough said.
  10. You’re going to be just fine.

Hindsight is definitely 20/20 and there are plenty of things ahead of me that will become more apparent soon. Can’t wait to see what’s ahead!

Now on to you…

What are some things you recently discovered that you wish you had known sooner?

Share them in the comments and let’s start a discussion!

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Vincent Nguyen is the author of Self Stairway and founder of Growth Ninja, a digital marketing agency that specializes in Facebook Ads. Voted "Most Guapo" five years in a row (lost during 6th year to a hand model.)

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19 responses to 10 More Things I Wish I Knew Sooner

  1. Lei Lani Lucero April 1, 2014 at 1:12 pm

    I am at a great point in my life, but the one thing (really? only one? *laugh*) that I wish I would’ve discovered earlier is that once you feel comfortable in your own skin, and being who you truly are, that everything else in life is much more pleasant and enjoyable. I show up at work with a flower behind my ear, and wear bells at random times during the year (so I can show up “with bells on”) and speak my mind (after consideration for others, of course, but I do speak without much fear of sounding ignorant or unbalanced).
    Thank you for your emails and posts, you are an inspiration.

    • Lei, thanks for sharing! I’ll admit there are still times I’m not 100% comfortable in my own skin, but hey, I’m at least 10x more comfortable in it than I was a few years ago. Progress!

  2. Great great great post! Continue to post the truth, Vincent. I also love your writing style 🙂

  3. I Love this!!! Especially the last one – you’re going to be just fine! No matter what decisions you make or regrets you have, everything will work itself out!

  4. Thanks for the post! Feeling better now in the day that started bad. I have to stop sulking. 🙂

  5. Number 1 is great. I am learning to be myself and live soundly in the moment of opportunity so that I really have the kind of experience I want.

  6. “I went four years without one because I was afraid.”
    ==> 4 years from what? After your first girl? Heh…

    I like the 1st point the best by the way. 🙂

  7. The thing I desired to know sooner is difficult to describe. In a way, it can’t be described because I still don’t know the answer. Life is precious, time passes quickly, and I still don’t know if the person I’m spending time with–either in a conversation, a friendship, a helper, a healer, I don’t know-just about anyone–is helpful or harmful. I mean yea, some people you just know you don’t want to be around, like criminals or evangelists/zealots, but let’s face it. Some people can have a detrimental effect and you don’t realize it for quite a while. I guess you can call it a “blind eye”. It doesn’t really mean they are harmful. Just that there may be a better way to spend time. Think of the book Rich Dad/Poor Dad. Guy Kawasaki didn’t love his real dad any less, just he learned more about the real world of business and finance from his friend’s dad. How do we know how much time to allocate (spend quality time with) to either. We don’t. But it sure makes a big difference to your life. And to them.

    • Very insightful, Nick. Sometimes it does take time to see who’s a drain on you but being paranoid and looking at everyone with a critical eye isn’t exactly the ideal state. Maybe we just have to go at it blindly and reflect often to see where we’re at. 🙂

  8. To compliment and encourage myself instead of waiting for others to do that……..

  9. “Life involves a lot of luck.”
    Yup, definitely agree with that.

    Yet, there’s something that people might overlook after looking at the statement. Yeah, luck plays a role for success but it’s not the luck that matter, it’s our reaction towards luck that is critical here.

    Some are lucky to be presented with a platter full opportunities in front of them but they rarely take it while some are presented with only one opportunity but they snatch it like a person starved for food.

    “you should start doing tons of amazing things right now so you can increase the odds of getting to where you want to be.”
    Well said. Exactly what I have in mind.

    • Agreed, Wan. Luck happens to most of us and we can easily let the majority of it slip on by. Grab at it and take advantage of luck when it presents itself. 🙂

      Pssst… You can also replace “luck” with “opportunity.”

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