Top 3 Things I Wish I Knew in College

I just gave a talk. I feel as though I’ve waited my whole life to give it.

I was invited to come back to Yale and address freshmen from low-income households. I met up with some of them ahead of time for a small-group dinner. I then met with a broader group.

My topic: Top 3 Things I Wish I Knew in College. I talked about:

  1. Take more risks in life and learn to fail. Many of us are perfectionists. That can make us risk averse. Get over it. Many of us are addicted to validation from others. Get over that. Cultivate courage and consciously wean yourself from making decisions based on what others approve.
  2. My biggest obstacle in my life is my inner critical voice. Many perfectionists are highly critical of themselves. We say things to ourselves that we wouldn’t say to our worst enemies. Don’t do that. Realize that you already are “enough.” If you don’t affirm yourself, you’ll be looking for it from others. A race against yourself is impossible to win.
  3. What drives personal happiness. Ignore the noise. The modern culture tells you that you are not “enough” unless you make money, drive a certain car, carry a certain handbag. Happiness is a choice and the data firmly support that. Decisions based on money, status, and prestige will be bad decisions in the long run.

It is really fun to be back on campus. It brings back so many memories.

I really miss my college friends.

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