What Advice Would You Give Your Current Self?

Instead of thinking of your past self, what advice would you give your current self? What would you say if you came to you asking for help?

Sometimes we are too close to the problems we face to consider them properly. It may help to view them from a distance, so to speak, as if you were helping someone else with their problem. Thinking of it from a different perspective might just change your entire approach.


It’s the one year anniversary of our first podcast! In it, Lee and Michael discuss the questions: ‘What beliefs do you have that might be wrong?’ and ‘What makes a place feel like home?’


With that in mind, what would you say to a friend who came to you seeking guidance for a problem that you are facing? How might you advise someone else who happens to be in your situation?

In theory, this may shed some light on what you should do — or at least, what you might think is the best way forward. It is also interesting to consider if you would follow the advice that you would give. If not, what does that say about your advice to others? And what does it say about your willingness to listen to someone else?

Related questions: What advice would you give your past self? Do you talk to yourself? What is the best advice you’ve ever received? What advice would you give your pre-lockdown self?

What Is The Best Advice You’ve Ever Received?

Giving — or getting — advice is a tricky thing. You have to be in the right frame of mind to hear advice and really learn a lesson from it.

And yet, given at the right time, by the right person, in the right way, advice can be life-changing. I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that wise counsel can change the course of your future, and can influence some of the most momentous decisions from that point on.


Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘What book has had the biggest impact on you?’ We discuss another question as well, ‘How do you show thanks?’


It can come from many possible sources. Some are expected, like parents or a mentor. You might come across it in an inspirational book, perhaps a teacher or a religious figure. Or it might come from a less-expected source, like someone you don’t know particularly well, or perhaps a fortune cookie. Inspiration can come from the unlikeliest sources, as long as you are open to it.

Have you gotten powerful, meaningful guidance that has stayed with you over the years? What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Related questions: What advice would you give your past self? Have you ever had a mentor? Been a mentor? Who inspires you? What’s the most useful thing you’ve ever learned?

 

How Do You Grow?

In an ideal world, we would keep improving, getting better nearly every day. For that to happen, though, you need to know how to grow.

Most of us start our growth as toddlers, under the care of our parents. We learn to talk, then to read, and we start to learn about the world around us.

That growth continues in a more formal academic environment: school. We have classes and textbooks, homework and essays. Elementary school is followed by high school, and maybe college, and possibly even more advanced schooling, like law school or medical school.

Some people manage to grow best in this sort of environment. Learning this way might include multiple advanced degrees, extension school, or even just adult education classes. A structured learning environment, with lectures, exams, and homework suit some people very well.


Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘What book has had the biggest impact on you?’ We discuss another question as well, ‘How do you show thanks?’


After graduating, we might also learn on the job. For example, our co-workers or a mentor might help us grow, and some employers offer classes on appropriate subjects.

Additionally, there is self-guided learning. An individual might read extensively on their own, attend lectures, or even just have in-depth conversations with friends from all walks of life.

Growth, of course, is not limited to learning. You might also grow by overcoming past trauma, or recognizing your own biases. Knowing your own shortcomings, and determining how to minimize them or even turn them into strengths, can be most beneficial.

All these, and others, are ways to learn and and expand your horizons. Do you have a preferred way? How do you grow? And what would you recommend to a friend or family member?

Related questions: What experience helped you grow? How do you learn? What are you doing to improve yourself? What do you wish you had learned as a child?

How Do You Determine What Matters?

Most people strive to live a life that has meaning; a life that matters. Key to that end, then, is figuring out just what matters in the first place.

This question follows up on this week’s Throwdown Thursday question: Everything Matters or Nothing Matters. As with many Thursday questions, the answer likely falls somewhere between the two extremes. In this case, there are some things that matter, and some things that don’t.

If that is true, the challenge lies in determining which of your actions fall into which of the two categories. You probably don’t want to spend a lot of time agonizing over decisions that don’t matter. Similarly, you do want to put in the time and effort to make the right call on something that is meaningful.


Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘How can we maintain wonder?’ We discuss another question as well, ‘How do you think others see you?’


But how to decide between them? One way might be to lump all the small decisions — what to wear, what to eat, when to go to bed, and so on — as being inconsequential. The big decisions — where to go to college, who to marry, which house to buy, whether to have kids — are meaningful.

There are a few problems with this. One is that adding up a bunch of small decisions can equal a big decision. Constantly being late for work (a small decision) day after day may mean you lose your job (a big outcome). And even a small decision can have a big impact. If you trace back the biggest, most important decisions in your life, often they come from small choices we made.

But it is important that we recognize what matters and what doesn’t. Or is it? Maybe we treat every decision as one that matters. Or might that leave your wracked with indecision, stressing over the potential consequences of everything you do?

How do you determine what matters?

Related questions: What is important? How can we turn ideas into actions? How much power does an individual have? What deserves your attention?

 

What Makes A Person Interesting?

When you meet someone new, you may find that person interesting or you may find them boring. Can you pinpoint exactly what makes someone appeal to you?

There are many things that might make someone fun to talk with. Maybe they have funny stories to tell. Perhaps they know a lot about a wide variety of subjects. Alternately, they may be a good listener, which might make for a good conversationalist.


Related: Listen to an episode of the Intellectual Roundtable Podcast, where Lee and Michael discuss this question: ‘What gives a person value?’ We discuss another question as well, ‘What makes you you?’


In fact, not everyone finds the same things interesting. To me, a person might be quite dull; but to you, they could be fascinating. So really the question could be rephrased as “What makes a person interesting to you?”

Or maybe it is a fact that all people have something to recommend them, and you only need to put in the work to find out how the person interests you specifically.

At any rate, can you identify the traits someone might have that makes them fun to be around? What might a person do or say in order to participate in a meaningful conversation? When you think about the humans you have been fascinated with, do they have something in common? What makes a person interesting?

Related questions: Who are your most interesting friends? What makes a good friend? What makes a good leader? Who are your heroes?