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21 Pieces of Advice To My 17-Year-Old Self

Me at 19 years old giving advice to my 17 year old self. Still applies today.

Tam Pham
Tam Pham
3 min read

I had lunch with someone recently who asked for my advice. She reminded me a lot about myself and asked me for tips on life. So here it is:

1) Read books.

I can’t think of a single successful person who doesn’t read books. Books are such a valuable way to know years of expertise into a concise reading piece. Wish I would have started earlier.

2) Don’t stress about “finding your passion”

At 17, I don’t think anyone knows exactly what they want to do with their life. Chill.

3) Experiment with your interests.

If you’re interested in something, go do it! Experiment and see if you actually like it. If you want to go into business, do a business internship. If you want to be a doctor, go shadow a doctor. You won’t know until you do.

4) Be happy with who you are.

Don’t be jealous or envious of what you don’t have. Be content and happy with everything about you, even your imperfections.

5) Write every day.

Even if it’s just 250 words, write every day. Writing is such a great way to get your thoughts onto paper and sharing it with the world.

6) Smile.

Life is too short to be sad, angry, or jealous.

7) Commit to traveling whenever you can.

There’s a cycle we all believe we have to go through: College, Good Grades, Shitty Jobs, Graduate, Shitty Job, 1 Week Vacation, blah blah blah. “Now’s not a good time to travel” most people would complain… Honestly, there is no perfect time to travel. Shut up and just do it.

8) Start something.

Whether it’s a project, blog, or campaign, start something that you are passionate about.

9) Focus on your health & well-being.

A healthy person = healthy life. You’ll have more energy to do the things you love, spend more time with close friends & family, and prevent from feeling like sh*t!

10) Start meditating.

Meditation is such an underrated form of relaxation and focus. I wish I never thought it was exclusively for old grandmas.

11) Have a morning routine.

Decision fatigue is a real thing… Instead of deciding what you want to eat, what you want to wear, what you want to do after you wake up… Have everything automated with a routine.

12) Plan vigorously.

Plan your outfit the night before. Plan all the key things that needs to get done for tomorrow. Plan for the future. Plan for the worst. Plan for the unexpected.

13) Find your flock.

“You are the average of the 5 people you spend the most time with.”

Spend time with people who inspire you to become a better person. Not with people who drag you down.

14) Go out of your way to help someone, every day.

Should be mandated.

15) Breakups are NOT the end of the world.

There’s so much more to life than one girl (or boy). Get over yourself.

16) Stop & smell the roses.

Take a step back from all your hard work and be grateful with everything you have.

17) Live in the present moment.

Get off your phone and actually talk to people around you. Have your undivided attention on the person you’re having lunch with.

18) Spend more time with your friends & family.

Stop working so much and have fun.

19) Work smarter, not harder

“If you gave me 6 hours to chop down a tree, I would spend the first 4 hours sharpening my ax”

20) Understand yourself.

Know yourself. Understand yourself. Love yourself. Have clarity on what you want to accomplish, who you want to help, and where you want to go.

21) Fail fast. Fail hard.

Failure should not be avoided but it should be something that should be embraced. School doesn’t teach failure, so take risks, get out of your comfort zone, and pick yourself back up.


Tam Pham Twitter

I'm a writer and bachata dancer currently bouncing around Latin America. Trying to make the most out of my one wild and precious life.

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