August 7, 2017

‘Trust your gut,’ ‘sleep,’ ‘relax’: advice we would give to our younger selves

We asked today's leaders and innovators to share their wisdom with the next generation

What advice would you give to your younger self? At this year’s Aspen Ideas Festival, Allstate asked participants—some of today’s most innovative thinkers and creators—what wisdom they could have used in their youth. “Trust your gut”; “Don’t be afraid to fail”; “Ask questions”; and “Travel” were just a few of their answers. Many of the participants echoed this sage guidance: “Relax and enjoy the moment!”

Their advice inspired us to put the call out to our very own experts who have contributed to The Renewal Project this past year. (The Renewal Project is made possible by Allstate.) We will share their advice all month as students wrap up their summer breaks and head back to school. Today we hear from two executives who are helping communities become more engaged through technology:

Liz Forester, Director of Programs and Partnerships at the Cleveland nonprofit DigitalC:

There is so much in this world that is beyond your control. The circumstances you are born into, other people and their thoughts and actions, and the state of the world in general. But one of the most powerful things in life is something you can control: your choices.

Life is full of situations that will fill you with doubt. When that happens, believe in yourself and you will create miracles. — Liz Forester

So my advice to you is this: choose to believe in yourself. Do it even if no one else does, or especially because no one else does. Do it because choosing to believe in yourself means believing you can, and believing you can is the most important first step in just about anything you do. Your power is infinite. Embrace it. Commit to it. Make it as much a part of yourself as your name, your laugh, your beating heart. It won’t always be easy. Life is full of situations that will fill you with doubt. When that happens, believe in yourself and you will create miracles.

Jimmy Chen, Founder and CEO of the social impact startup Propel:

  • Genuine curiosity paves the way for school to be about exploration and learning rather than just passing a series of obstacles. And let your curiosity extend beyond school—there are so many great places and people out there that it’d be a shame not to learn from them.
  • Choose your friends wisely, but once you do, cherish those relationships. You probably won’t look back and say “I wish I hadn’t spent so much time with people who I love and respect.”

  • Learn how to manage money. As you get older, there will be non-intuitive pitfalls, and buying a book now is way cheaper than learning through trial and error later.

  • Sleep more. Your body needs it, and there’s nothing brave about staying up all night.

The Renewal Project

The Renewal Project is an effort by Allstate to highlight, support, and celebrate ordinary people creating extraordinary community renewal.