There's a lot of learning in life that simply requires time -- time to experiment, to try new and different things and to gradually learn about yourself and your values. There is, after all, a reason why they say that wisdom tends to come with experience.
But what if you could go back in time and give your younger self some tips to help speed up the process. What would you say?
Last week, we asked several of the speakers at The Huffington Post's Thrive conference exactly that, and their advice ran the gamut from big-picture thoughts, to down-and-dirty financial advice. (A common theme? Relaxing and trusting that everything will be okay ... are you listening 20-year-olds?) Here's what these 11 extremely accomplished men and women would tell their younger selves:
For me, that was just before I went off to become a monk, and everything just seemed vitally important. I was carrying the weight of the world on my shoulders. I would just say, "It's okay. It's okay."
--Andy Puddicombe, Headspace Co-Founder
Stop worrying about your thighs! I was obsessed with how I looked to the point where I was never getting outside of myself.
Finally -- and I don't know if it was having kids, or seeing a friend of mine battle breast cancer and ovarian cancer, and finally losing that battle -- I said, "I am so lucky to have this body." The way to be your best is to be giving, and the way to be giving is to stop thinking about what you look like.
--Lucy Danziger, Former Editor-in-Chief, SELF Magazine; Well-being Lifestyle Expert
Can it be the advice I'd give my 20-year-old daughter? I’ll tell you what I told her, which is, you need to learn to cook your own food. Don’t leave that job to people you don’t know.
--Laurie David, Author and Producer
Don't go into debt! Don't get any credit cards, and always use cash. I just flashed back to my 20-year-old self running up $25,000 in credit card debt and not knowing I had to pay it back.
--Maysoon Zayid, Actress, Professional Standup Comedian and Writer
When I was 20, I needed to understand that tomorrow is another day -- and sometimes things will not happen as fast as you would like. You need to be patient. I was the president of a multinational corporation when I was 40, but I wanted to be there at 25! But you need experience, of course.
--Federica Marchionni, President, Dolce & Gabbana Inc.
I think that I actually gave myself this advice when I was 20, which was: Really trust in the universe to take care of what you need. Rather than stressing or worrying about the future, just trust in the unfolding of the moment.
--Dr. Mark Hyman, M.D., Authority in Functional Medicine; Founder, The UltraWellness Center
My 20-year-old self was pretty bummed out, because I wanted to sing on Broadway and it was pretty clear to me at that point that it just wasn't going to happen. I didn't have the connections or the ability or desire to go to New York and wait on audition lines.
But what I'd go back and tell myself is that there a lot of paths to a dream, because just two months ago, I appeared in "Rock of Ages" on Broadway. I came to it from a very roundabout path of technology, and building my brand through social media, and then getting the opportunity to do that.
--Randi Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO, Zuckerberg Media; Editor-in-Chief, Dot Complicated
It’s all going to work out great. Just relax and trust and when you’re going through the challenging times, know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
--Agapi Stassinopoulos, Best-selling Author and Speaker
Keep your head down. It's when you get distracted (and I got distracted), or you try and do things the easy way that things don't work. Keep your head down, do the work and it'll all pay off.
--Dr. David Agus, M.D., Professor, USC Keck School of Medicine and Viterbi School of Engineering; CBS News Contributor
Give up on Hollywood notions of love at first sight, because then you’ll be surprised when you find it. And, it’s worthwhile to confront your fears sooner rather than later, because you’re going to end up confronting them anyway.
-- Adam Grant, Author and Professor, Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania
It’s going to be okay. I love you, and it’s going to be okay.
--Panache Desai, Spiritual Teacher
These interviews have been edited and condensed for clarity and length.
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