Asymmetrical Press released a book called “Advice to My 18 Year Old Self.” Branding is not a logo. Branding is who you are and where you’re going. Who I am has not changed significantly over the years as much as my comfort with who I am has. At 40, I give myself significantly more permission to be myself than I did 22 years ago. I have become more confident in the brand that is me. This same concept applies to artists, businesses and products.
Here’s my letter to me, at 18.
You are smart and see things differently. Stop worrying that people don’t think you’re smart. Your confidence will be far more useful than trying to prove how smart you are. Don’t try to suppress your imagination and A.D.D., use it like the FORCE to envision millions of ideas, all while everyone else in the room is still listening to the question.
Embrace mistakes. Make a ton of them, as quick as possible. Try new ideas. Experiment with the old. Question everything; this will get you in trouble, but just smile and take it as a compliment. Read Socrates and Aristotle.
Be kind. Not everyone sees things the way you do. Warning, the way you see things can create a very real threat to other’s status quo. Don’t feel so bad about the relationships that didn’t work out…you’ll soon meet a girl, marry her and have a super amazing kid.
Who you say you are isn’t interesting, people don’t care. What you do is everything. Just do things. Create. Make the world better. Do, and then you’ll never have to tell people who you are. They’ll know.
Serving your community will be your everything and that look will way different than you think it should look at 18. The more you learn how to speak for others, the more you’ll gather people and empower them to speak for themselves. Remember, a great leader works their way out of a job. Also, remember, sometimes, silence justifies those who are doing wrong, so don’t be afraid to speak up. Freedom comes with responsibility, so, don’t waste your liberties by watching tv and wasting time.
Don’t worry so much about finding a job…get some experience under your belt, and when you’re ready, make one up and be the best at it. Live in such a way that you won’t need to retire.
Finally, Joshua, know that all that you do for the world is great, but that the sooner you catch on that your humor is the best way to warm people up to the real lessons you want to teach, you’ll see that everything goes better. It’s like that great philosopher said, “Just a spoon full of sugar helps the medicine go down.” Humor is how you’ll remind everyone that they will inherit the earth.
Your 40 Year Old Self