books, education, letter, writer, writing, youth

A Letter to My Younger Self

I just finished reading “What Now?” by Ann Pachett. It is her graduation speech to the students of Sarah Lawrence, her alma mater. She talks about crossroads and decisions and happy coincidences. It made me think about a book I read about two years ago called “What I Know Now: Letter to My Younger Self” where a variety of women write letters to themselves when they were younger.

I wrote my own letter to my younger self as part of a final project in business school for a leadership class. I realized I’ve never posted it to this blog, and I went back to read it today. Not only is it a letter to my younger self – it’s a good reminder of how I should be living every day. The letter pertains to many of the principles we learned in the class, the main premise being that if you start every day with 94 out of 100 points, the way a gymnast starts every routine, how will you get to 100? This idea is adapted from Peter Vidmar’s, part of the US Olympic gymnastics team in the 1980’s, motivational speeches that he gives all over the world.

I hope you’ll share your letter here as well.

“Dear Bella,
How are you going to get the other 6? Extend for 2. Take risks for another 2. Be creative to get to 100. Decide what about you remains rock solid and what changes you must make if you are to develop the potential you represent. What really matters?

Denial, passivity, collusion, and habits will try to obstruct your path to change. Work through these phases by trusting life, by trusting that when a door closes, a window opens. Change is about loss. It may be years before you understand why some losses are necessary in order to achieve greater wins down the road. Do not fear – help is on the way. Do not wait for trauma, hurt, or pain to make necessary changes; work toward clearly perceiving a better way.

Disappointment is not the fault of others; it is the result of your own premature cognitive commitment. Don’t be so quick to ignore or dismiss the logs and rocks. Understanding their motivations, or lack thereof, will hold the key to your growth.

Be wary of the boxes: those you put yourself in, those you put others in, those others put you in, and those you allow others to put you in. You must decide which boxes hold your truth.

What vision of the future will sustain you through the valleys of your life and then help you climb to the summits? You choose your energy level, enthusiasm, and sense of hopefulness. Trust is gained by behaving trustworthy.

Eliminate “but” from your vocabulary because everything that comes before it is a lie; replace it with the powerful word “and”.

People will tell you that you feel too much, trust too much, and believe in dreams too much. Smile at them and walk on – feeling, trusting, and believing. Because you feel, you think, and therefore you’re unabashedly, delightfully, and magically exactly who you’re meant to be.
Believing is seeing.


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I'd love to know what you think of this post! Please leave a reply and I'll get back to you in a jiffy! ~ CRA

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