What Would You Tell Your Younger Self?
Last weekend I watched The Adam Project on Netflix. If you haven't seen or heard of it yet, it's a comedy/action/adventure film about a time-traveling fighter pilot who, after accidentally crash-landing in 2022, teams up with his 12-year-old self in a mission to save the future. I really enjoyed it, but I must admit I enjoy just about any film with Ryan Reynolds in it.
Anyway, some of the dialogue between the younger and older versions of the main character is absolutely priceless…and thought-provoking. It got me thinking about what words of wisdom I would share with the younger me, given a chance.
If you've not considered this question before, I highly recommend it. We all get so busy in the now that we sometimes don't pause to reflect on how we got to where we are—pivotal life experiences and everyday norms that have blended to create the richly woven fabric of our lives. After all, our life experiences combined with our Perceptual Style are what make us unique!
One part of the storyline that comes to light early in the movie is that the main character loses his dad at a young age. I definitely relate to that.
My dad died three weeks before my 11th birthday. He was only 38 and a Navy pilot, so it was definitely unexpected. My mom was left with three children to raise (I'm the oldest). Suffice it to say that my dad's passing was a pretty pivotal life experience for us all. Over the years since then, we've had our ups and downs, but on the whole, we flourished as a tight family of 4. There are many stories, but we'll save those for another time.
What I want to share with you today is a reaction I had all those years ago that made me smile in retrospect.
My first memory of the specific reaction occurred several months after Dad was gone. Our family of 4 was on our way to a school event for one of my siblings, and I was not thrilled about having to attend. I remember thinking, 'Oh well, this will be over in a couple of hours, and I can move on to what I want to do." Then another thought hit me almost simultaneously, and this one was startling—"Oh…the only thing you can't get out of is dying".
I can remember four other distinct instances occurring over the next eight years, where that same thought construct happened – first thought along the lines of "this will be over soon" and the second thought about "the only thing you can't get out of is dying."
Stay with me here. The point is not that I was aware of my own mortality. In reflection, what made me smile was the inherent optimism and future-oriented essence of the first thought and the acknowledgment of limitations in the second thought.
This is such a Vision response! Optimism that whatever is wrong right now will be corrected or fade into the past. Expectation that the future will be to my liking. And an acknowledgment that there's a limitation, but it doesn't apply right now.
Once you are aware of your Perceptual Style, it's amazing to see how it shines through during the course of your life.
That brings me back to the question in the title of this post – what would I tell my younger self?
I think I'd tell myself to listen to my intuition more during those early years. Just because you can't fully articulate why you believe there may be a problem coming your way doesn't mean you should ignore your intuition's warning signals.
And maybe I'd say to lighten up on the need to be right because honest mistakes open doors to new knowledge and understanding. It's a waste of emotion to resent not being right; just learn from it and move on.
Those are two Vision traits—strong intuition and the dislike of being wrong —that I didn't fully recognize and embrace until I was in my late 30s.
What life lessons or perspectives would you share with your younger self? I invite you to give it some thought. You may surprise yourself with the answers!
Please share your thoughts on this topic in the comment section below.
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About Lynda-Ross Vega
Lynda-Ross Vega is a partner at Vega Behavioral Consulting, Ltd. She specializes in helping corporate leaders, entrepreneurs, and individuals with interpersonal communications, team dynamics, personal development, and navigating change. Lynda-Ross is co-creator of Perceptual Style Theory, a revolutionary behavioral psychology theory and assessment system that teaches people how to unleash their natural strengths and build the life and career they dream of. For free information on how to succeed in business and in life doing more of what you do best, visit https://www.YourTalentAdvantage.com.
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