If you could go back in time and speak to your 21 year old self what advice would you give

Advice I Would Give To 21 Year Old Chris …

So I received a private message (PM) on Facebook with the following question:

Chris, If you could go back in time and speak to your 21-year-old self… what advice will you give?

I thought long and hard about this as I figured the person asking, was also seeking advice from my experiences and perspective as a 43 year old man. I also thought, you know what…

This is a perfect topic for this weeks blog post and Podcast episode …

So that is how this post, Podcast episode and piece of advice came to fruition…

Remember, this is advice given to a younger version of myself and whilst the advice I give in this may not be applicable to everybody, I am sure some of you may be able to take positives and learn from some of my experiences within this post.

So where was I at, within my life at 21?

I had left school at 16 with minimal qualifications

At 21 – You do NOT know it al!!

You may think you do…

You may feel like the smartest person in the room

Trust me, you’re not!

Keep your mouth closed more often and your eyes and ears open a lot more. Watch, listen and learn… That way you’ll learn and grow a lot more!

Gain what extra qualifications you can along the way. Your personal education is one of the most important things you can focus on. Always be looking for ways you can grow and expand your knowledge and never stop learning.

Be willing to study, read and learn from everybody no matter who they are. You can always learn something from everybody and apply this into your life.

I had full-time employment as an Electrician – Fully qualified Tradesman at 19.5 Year old

If you can gain a core skill or trade then do it.

I am no longer working on that core trade, but it has always been a skill that I could fall back upon when needed.

It is also a skill that I can take and use going forward and use the valuable lessons learned from gaining this skill and apply this into every other area of my life.

The fact that you have that skill, remember that this is now an asset that you can use to better your life and grow as a person.

Always use your skills to your advantage, grow and gain as many more as you can and this will contribute to your growth and experience that you can use in all areas of your life

I had a 20 a day smoking habit

Simple advice here – GIVE them up!

Smoking is not good for you, it may seem cool, but you are doing serious damage to yourself and spending money on an addiction that could otherwise be invested.

I was also spending around £2500 a year on cigarettes and another £2500 on drinking and partying. Totalling to at least £5000 a year I could have (should have) saved or invested.

I was still living at home with my parents

This is still okay as long as you are comfortable with this and it is working for you.

But know that one day you will be looking to have your own place you call home and can life life your way and on your terms.

There have been many people who have built really successful businesses from their bedrooms in their parents house. It just has to be a good environment, for you to do that.

If it isn’t, then look at getting your own space so that you can grow both as a person and your business…

I was just about to enter the Royal Air Force as an Aircraft Electrician

This was one of the best decisions of your life.

Joining the military teaches you many valuable skills. Turns you from a boy into a man and it is something I personally feel everybody should experience.

I got to travel the world, meet new people, gain many new experiences and get highly educated in one of the best training environments in the world along the way.

I eventually got home sick and decided to give my RAF career up after 5 years.

This was a BIG mistake from me …

That said, whilst I regret leaving, I also know that is how I got to where I am today…

I had a long-term girlfriend and thought we’d stay together

Sadly when I joined the Royal Air Force, the relationship I had with my long term girlfriend drifted apart.

I was now living in a different country, and only seeing each other 3 times a year. We eventually broke up and this is in part to the strain on our relationship and that i had grown into a new life and become a different person.

What I can tell you is the right person for you will eventually come along. Never feel that you have to stick in a relationship when it is not working. I know it can feel vulnerable when you are single, but it also leaves you available

As I lived in a small country with poor local politics, troubles and hatred, I had BIG dreams of outgrowing this and travelling the world

I joined the Royal Air Force and got to see many new places from Turkey, Cyprus, France, USA, Canada and Alaska, The Azores and many other amazing places.

I urge anyone to travel the world as it will give you a very different perspective on the world. You will see there is a bigger world out there and endless possibilities and opportunities for you.

As you travel you will find that your narrow view point will be expanded and the little things you initially thought were important may just show up as insignificant.

I didn’t have a plan or know where I wanted to go with my life

At 21 I knew I was on this earth to do more than work as an Electrician.

There HAD to be more in life.

That I knew…

Now if I could go back to the 21 year old Chris I would tell them to create an ambitious plan and then set about working daily towards this.

Learn to adapt and tweak this as you progress, but always have a goal you are working towards and commit to this 100%

As I got older I did get goals and it is amazing what you can achieve in a short space of time when you have a plan and work towards achieving it.

Like I said, I always had the feeling ‘there has to be a lot more for me in life’ and this is where I had ambition and the drive to better myself.

Trust this gut instinct.

Follow your heart and go where you are drawn towards. If you are passionate about something, then follow this path, go on that journey.

I have driven for more. Pushed hard with this desire and this has resulted in me starting and running multiple businesses.

What business you ask?

  • I own a property rental portfolio
  • I have run my own Electrical business
  • I have setup and run a restaurant for 2 years
  • I created an online business selling information products
  • I make commissions as an affiliate marketer
  • I coach others to making money online with their businesses

This all takes time and is something I would love to tell my 21 year old self to focus on. Spend the time, grow your assets and most importantly take the chances or opportunities as they arise.

At that age I felt on top of the world, fit, unstoppable and feeling I knew everything. Kind of a cocky self confidence

I guess this in some ways is good.

That confidence and feeling of you can do it is a great asset. On the other hand what can hold you back is the fact that you may feel like you know everything or you are always correct.

You have matured and grown to a 21 year old man, but you now have to gain valuable life experience and grow as a person.

Like I said, learn from others, take the long term view and grow your assets along the way.

Most of all enjoy every day as before you know it – 30 will arrive, then 40…

Everything had to happen right away and I couldn’t see the benefit of playing the long game instead of the instant gratification

I was impatient.

Couldn’t see that there was a longer term goal I could work towards.

I wanted instant gratification and results.

If I could go back I would say to plan and work in terms of years for my businesses. Look at how I can expand and grow with a view of taking daily action towards achieving results in the next year rather than next week.

I would also think that 30 and even 40 were a lifetime away, meaning I had plenty of time

Enjoy each and every every single day.

It seems as if the years just slip past and before you know it, you’re 40 and wonder how the hell that happened.

Take daily action towards your goals and enjoy every step of the way as life is a journey and you should enjoy it and grow it as time progresses.

Final advise

The internet is an amazing place where you can build and grow an amazing business, make awesome connections and is going to revolutionise the world we live in.

Embrace it, the technology and use it to your advantage.

You have amazing skills and you can use them online to grow your very own business that is unique to you. 

Follow your passions…

…be 100% you at all times

enjoy every step of the journey

and take daily consistent action

finally – Never EVER give up on anything you wish to achieve! 

About The Author


Chris Cole is passionate about online technology, video and audio. He is from Northern Ireland and has been working online since 2009. He likes to write about his marketing journey online and is also a lover of all thing Video and Podcast related. Follow Chris' journey and while you're here - Watch out for the new Broadcast Geeks Podcast that is coming soon. If you like this site, then why not come and join Chris over inside the Broadcast Geeks Facebook Group (Click Here) https://www.facebook.com/groups/broadcastgeeks

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