What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

This isn’t an easy question to answer, especially when you’ve been fortunate enough to be among the most successful members of your peer group by any definition of either “success” or “peer group,” but it’s a worthwhile exercise in reflection and gratitude all the same. So let’s do it!

What do I wish I knew 10 years ago ? What would I tell Pete just coming out of undergrad ? Here are a few things :

  • Take 1-2mg of melatonin an hour before bed instead of lighting up a bowl of weed, it does the same thing.
  • Postface your typically blunt commentary and advice with “I’m just teasing” or “I joke,” particularly with close friends and family.
  • Take it easy on your brother, he’s the only one you have.i
  • Keep diving deep, that’s where truth and beauty lie.
  • Don’t worry about a “normal” career path, seek leverage.
  • You can’t be too good at selling, practice the craft.
  • Your school grades don’t matter and never did.ii
  • Mind your exposure to oil prices, they won’t go up indefinitely.iii
  • Learn to program computers.
  • Read books older than you are.
  • Ask yourself more frequently, what’s the worst that could happen ?
  • Don’t take your eyes off of technological innovation for a split second.
  • Watch your posture, use a desktop for 90% of your screen time.

Now what do you wish you’d known a decade ago ? What advice would you give your younger self ?
___ ___ ___

  1. Not that I’m trying to be my brother’s best friend (I’m not trying to be anyone’s best friend, come to think of it), but when trying to push those around you closer towards excellence than the socialist cultural default of mediocrity, I can tend to push too hard and too fast when really the best tasting meals take time! And what are we if not food ?
  2. Other than for the lulz of being chauffeured in a Maybach with a license plate reading “28GPA”.
  3. But that doesn’t mean that Alberta isn’t still the best place to make it big, as long as there are fish around.

10 thoughts on “What advice would you give yourself 10 years ago?

  1. Jack Baruth says:

    I wasn’t particularly young a decade ago but let’s see:

    * Go ahead and have a second, and maybe third, son.
    * Even though you hate the seating position in NB Miatas, build and race one of those instead of the Neon because you’ll have more places to race it.
    * Don’t be unpleasant by default to everyone you meet.
    * Take half of the $300,000 you’re about to spend on guitars and international travel, then put it in an index fund.
    * A bowl of weed has the same effect as melatonin and it is less habit-forming for your body.

    How’s that?

    • Pete D. says:

      Jack, that’s not half bad! Always appreciate insight from those who’ve lived lives both full and on the edge, as you clearly have. Thanks for chiming in! Just a couple questions about your answers :

      Why do you wish you’d had more boys ? Your son seems both lucid and well-adjusted. What is he, or what are you, missing out on in your opinion ?

      As to melatonin, it might be habit forming, but its effects are mild, consistent across brands, and it’s in no way a social drug. Weed is not only highly variable from source to source (though perhaps this state of affairs will improve with the coming era of regulated kush, but that’s another topic), but it also has uses other than sleep. While I’ve had magical times high with friends, I’ve also had mortifying times, whereas melatonin has never been anything other than a private stalwart in sheep-counting. I guess I’m a sucker for consistency but I’ll take melatonin in this fight.

      As to racing, investing, and being a dick (especially online*), no argument here. We could all benefit from being faster, richer, and kinder. Or at least I could be…

      Thanks again!
      ___ ___
      *dilbert - flame war victims

    • Jack Baruth says:

      With regard to the sons thing — one son is great, three would be better, five would offer some redundancy in the case of BASE jumping or Special Forces combat missions.

  2. […] The Moet certainly wasn’t tongue-in-cheek (it was crystal-to-lips-delicious) but was the silver spoon just a joke ? While obviously not meant to be taken 100% literally (it wasn’t even sterling), it was more just a reminder of how fortunate we are, which a new child will certainly do anyways, but can you really have too many such reminders ? […]

  3. millennial genius says:

    I was barely out of high school back then, I remember Bitcoin was released around that time, so my advice would have been to mine Bitcoin. I didn’t get my first coins until 2013. I don’t have much, but it’s a decent amount imo. I think if you have as much BTC as your age or more you are on a good track. I like cars myself but I must restrain from spending them or in 10 years my advice to myself would have been to hold it. I would like to buy some real estate eventually with a portion of it which I have no idea how I will go about, since governments will ask where you got the money from to buy a house, and I bought most of it with cash or got paid in BTC for some freelance-ish stuff (nothing illegal tho). Never used exchanges etc.
    For now I’ll just keep holding it all and keep learning.

    • Pete D. says:

      For now I’ll just keep holding it all and keep learning.

      This is the strategy that legends are made of. Seriously. Keep it up, my man.

  4. For someone who’s so proud of his automotive fortunes, your advice is silent on the topic of cars! I can guess what it’d be by synthesizing items three through five (counting from the end), or just canonize Jack Baruth’s comment.

    That aside, I agree with all your advice, but wonder at the wisdom of encouraging your readers to practice selling. The same advice could be given for quite a variety of crafts, so why single out the slimy one?

  5. Adlai says:

    Creative disinterpretation is an art, too, and life is too short to treat all exercises as though Bikram were Pope. My “agree with” means that I could plausibly be offering that advice to myself – ten years ago, ten years from now, maybe even continuously throughout; naturally the precise appropriateness or practicality of any specific interpretation, literal or otherwise, varies.

    • Pete D. says:

      Many things are “art,” including but not limited to basket-weaving, lawn-mowing, and trickle-charging. Not to mention selling. Now while you may find selling detestable or at the very least lamentable, it’s really nothing more than the art of effective persuasion.

      Even if you intend to make your mark on the world with slings and arrows, you’ll be alone against the world if you can’t tell your story convincingly when rallying the troops. So, if you crunch the calculus to find that, yes, violence is bloody expensive, you’ll also deduce that other means of improving your lot, acquiring what you desire, or even hooking up require continuous practice and effort in obtaining compliance from those around you.

      We might like to think of ourselves as rational calculators who “just want the facts,” but the mountain of evidence to the contrary shows that not only can we be persuaded more subtly, but that we rather enjoy it more too.

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