Sunday Ajao: What I Will Tell My Younger Self

“To be nobody but yourself in a world doing its best to make you everybody else means to fight the hardest battle any human can ever fight and never stop fighting.”E. E. Cummings

Remembering my earlier days brought about lots of fond memories. Growing up came with a lot of learnings and while I don’t regret past experiences, there are definitely some nuggets of wisdom that I have been able to pick up over time. I am sure that some of these notions, if I had known them back then, would have helped me immensely in navigating life with less uncertainty. So, if I could go back in time, here are some advice I would give to my younger self:

Look beyond the immediate limitations: I grew up in a place that was outside of the city, with many limitations imposed by the community and the environment. Without doubt, growing up was not a bed of roses but one thing I have learnt is to look beyond any limitations, challenges or boundaries that may want to dim the light of my vision. Rising above your immediate limitations will give you a growth mind-set as opposed to a fixed mind-set.

Stretch myself, get out of the comfort zone: My younger self was fortunate to grow up in an environment where I believed I was at my very best due to accolades and results I was receiving at the time. However, looking back now, a firm advice to my younger self would be to stretch himself the more and get out of his comfort zone. Perhaps, my younger self could have achieved more during my early period if I had stretched and pushed myself a bit.

Dream big but start small: One big lesson I have learnt over time is to think big or dream big but start small. My younger self held on to so many business ideas because I was waiting for the big break before embarking on the ventures. I have however realized that you are able to bring things into existence by starting small while you continue to follow and chase after your big dream. In chasing your dreams, don’t worry about getting knocked down. Instead, focus on getting back up as quickly as possible.

Don’t take things so personally: I’m a very sensitive person and I often take things very seriously and personally. I think my younger self would be much better off if I wasn’t so sensitive. Taking things personally may have made me a more empathetic person but it caused me a lot of stress along the line as well.

Work to live, don’t live to work: I usually spend too much time working and worrying about work. I think I would tell my younger self to take things easy a little bit and not worry as much. Remember that life is a marathon and not a race! Success isn’t a destination, but a lifelong journey.

Find a mentor: This is something that my younger self did well but I wanted to mention it here as I know its importance for personal development and career advancement. Seek for a strong mentor that would help in your journey of life.

Take better care of your mind and body: As you get older, you’ll realize the importance of eating better and exercising. One important nugget for my younger self is to pay more attention to my body and health as I get so busy with making it in life. It is extremely critical to honour your body because you only have one. Treat your mind with the same amount of care. Mental health is just as important as physical health

Claim your stage: Growing up, my younger self didn’t really like being on stage but I have come to realize that being able to show your qualities to people by having a commanding presence does add value to you and what you represent. You belong on your stage, the world needs you – this I would definitely tell my younger self!

In closing, a constant reminder to my younger self would be never to forget the God factor – He alone makes all things beautiful in His time.  I would also tell my younger self to enjoy every moment, have fun navigating the curves of life and celebrate his victories in life… even the small ones.

Sunday Ajao

Founder/Principal Consultant
CareerNudge Consulting Inc., Canada

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