Question 4: Dr Tina Seelig, faculty director of the Stanford University School of Engineering, and author of inGenius: A Crash Course in Creativity.
What advice would your future self a year from now give you today.
A perennial favourite of mine has been the Wear Sunscreen song and school address. Much of its advice still resonates with me, as does the words of many luminaries of our time. So, if my future self sounds familiar, know that it’s heavily influenced by wiser words and minds than mine.
Don’t sweat the small stuff. Like most things today, you can edit, add layers, revise and align perfectly once you’ve built the whole picture. Extreme perfectionism is merely an excuse for inaction, one which eats away at opportunities which may become scarcer each day.
If people don’t get you, leave them be. The times of banging your head against a brick wall are over, and the energy saved, is better used on those people who do.
I’m proud of you for finally valuing your skills. Valuing your own skills is one of the hardest lessons you’ll have learned. Don’t ever sell yourself short again; it’s a long spiralling slide downward.
Yes, it’s still just you. Yes, it’s unlikely that you’ll ever meet your true love, but there’s always hope. Stranger things have happened. Besides, what would the human race be without hope but bottom-feeders too afraid to walk out of the primordial swamp.
You’ve done good. Know that at your lowest moments in 2016, you’ve still created more, created better, created boundary-pushing-stuff for you, and comparing yourself to others isn’t fair on you, or them.
You’ve made a lot of new friends. Some have gone, some remain. Some let you know they’re alive and well every day, while some make you smile every now and then. Treasure them all. They’ll still be here for this new year, if only in spirit.
Sleep. While some may judge your sleeping in or napping, only you know how much better you work and create after a snooze. In the end, sleep is a necessity much under-rated, and one which can be more precious than money or love.
Paint. You know you want to. Paint heartens you, challenges you and gives you a sense of achievement digital cannot. Good or bad, the painting is yours, an expression of your soul which, perhaps even your conscious mind cannot decode. Besides, you never know; your work may one day bring joy to those you may never meet.
Rest. You are not a machine. Trying to work like one only burns you out.
But most of all, don’t sweat the small stuff.