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Advice 10 Wildly Successful People Would Give Their 22-Year-Old Selves

May 25 2014 - 2:00am

When graduation rolls around, we're always watching commencement videos to gain some wisdom for ourselves, even if we're well past being new grads. Hey, good advice is timeless, right?

LinkedIn rounded up some of its biggest influencers to answer the question of what they wish they had known at 22 in a new series called "If I were 22 . . . [1] ." We've picked out some of the best and most relevant advice all new grads should take note of, so take a moment to read it!

Source: LinkedIn Author Richard Branson [2], Instagram user AriannaHuff [3], LinkedIn Author Rachel Zoe [4]

Arianna Huffington: Unplug, Recharge, and Renew Yourself

"In college, just before I embarked on a career as a writer, I wish I had known [5] that there would be no trade-off between living a well-rounded life and my ability to do good work. I wish I could go back and tell myself, 'Arianna, your performance will actually improve if you can commit to not only working hard, but also unplugging, recharging, and renewing yourself.' That would have saved me a lot of unnecessary stress, burnout, and exhaustion.

". . . So the advice I’d give to young people today is this: don’t just climb the ladder of success — a ladder that leads, after all, to higher and higher levels of stress and burnout — but chart a new path to success, remaking it in a way that includes not just the conventional metrics of money and power, but a third metric that includes well-being, wisdom, wonder, and giving, so that the goal is not just to succeed but to thrive."

Source: Instagram user AriannaHuff [6]

Deepak Chopra: Wisdom in Uncertainty

"If only I knew then [7], as I know now, that there is wisdom in uncertainty — it opens a door to the unknown, and only from the unknown can life be renewed constantly.

"So the best way to live — which I didn't know when I was 22 — is to embrace the wisdom of uncertainty."

Source: Instagram user DeepakChopra [8]

Suze Orman: You Define Money

"Money will never define you [9]. You define your money. When you are starting out in your 20s, it is natural to think about all that you will have and do once you start making money, and making more money. That gives money way too much power over your life. It’s not about how much you make, but the life that you make with the money you have."

Source: LinkedIn Author Suze Orman [10]

Richard Branson: One Step at a Time

"Most 22-year-olds today think that the way to make their fortunes is through setting up tech businesses, and it is true that can be a fruitful direction. But other more conventional businesses shouldn't be forgotten. There are still plenty of different sectors that need shaking up. It is more important to follow your passion than going into tech simply to make a fortune. Not everybody is technically minded anyway, and if you don't really love what you do, you won't succeed.

". . . As a 22-year-old starting again [11], I'd love to spend my life from a really young age doing things that completely transform the world.

". . . As a 22-year-old, it is important to have an absolute blast. You are only 22 once! Make sure you have the time of your life, stay up for plenty of sunrises, and meet all kinds of people in as many places as possible.

". . . I never looked 40 years ahead. It was one step at a time, building block upon block and sometimes finding those blocks fell to the ground on the way."

Source: LinkedIn Author Richard Branson [12]

Guy Kawasaki: Don't Get Married Young and Make Your Boss Look Good

Investor and bestselling author Guy Kawasaki gives advice on all aspects of life [13], ranging from love to working with bosses. 

"Over your lifetime, you’ll probably have five to 10 jobs in two to three industries. Your first job is not going to be your last. It’d be great if your first job was to be the fifth employee of the next Google, but the odds of this are small. The only mistake you could make [14] is taking a first job where you couldn’t learn anything, and if you can’t learn anything, it’s probably your fault. Just get in and work hard and stop thinking about finding the perfect first job.

". . . Your job is to make your boss look good. The theory that you should make your boss look bad so that you can advance above him or her is flawed. Trying to do so will probably make you look disloyal to your boss and stupid to the rest of the organization. You want your boss to succeed so that you can draft behind him or her.

". . . I got married when I was 32. That's about the right age. Until you're about that age, you may not know who you are. You also may not know who you're marrying. I don't know anyone who got married too late. I know many people who got married too young." Source: Facebook user Guy [15]

Jim Kim: Become a Leader

Who knew we had to work on our leadership skills early on in our careers? World Bank President Jim Kim makes very good points in his post [16].

"Begin working on your leadership skills. You’re never too young to think about your role as a leader. There are 'natural' aspects of leadership like charisma, emotional intelligence, and visionary thinking, but no single skill by itself will be enough to tackle the most complex and meaningful leadership challenges.

"Leadership is not about being the head of a large organization. It’s about making groups more effective. And almost no matter what you do, better leadership skills will help."

Elizabeth Warren: Expect the Unexpected

"Class of 2013, all the planning and preparation in the world can’t prepare you for the many twists that are coming your way. Just today one of you may meet the guy you will marry — or the guy you will divorce. You can’t predict it all. People will tell you to plan things out as best you can. They will tell you to focus. They will tell you to follow your dreams. They will all be right.

"But they will also be a little bit wrong. Never be so faithful to your plan that you are unwilling to consider the unexpected [17]. Never be so faithful to your plan that you are unwilling to entertain the improbable opportunity that comes looking for you. And never be so faithful to your plan that when you hit a bump in the road — or when the bumps hit you — you don’t have the fortitude, grace, and resiliency to rethink and regroup.

"So to all of you who have always known what you wanted to be when you grow up, go get ‘em. But for everyone, plans or no plans, keep a little space in your heart for the improbable. You won’t regret it."

Source: LinkedIn Author Elizabeth Warren [18]

Ken Berger: Be Humble

Charity Navigator CEO Ken Berger can't say enough [19] about staying humble.

"Whatever your position or salary, never think you are smarter, better, or in some way the keeper of unique knowledge and expertise; that is the way to ultimately isolate yourself and it will lead you on a path of career destruction and/or to a miserable and empty existence. People may tell you how brilliant you are and compliment you in all kinds of ways as you become a 'big boss man,' but do not ever think of yourself as superior to others. Anyone who thinks they are the smartest person in an organization is usually the real idiot!"

Source: LinkedIn Author Ken Berger [20]

Rachel Zoe: Don't Look at the Clock

"No one told me this, but I instinctively figured it out on my own: never pay mind to the clock [21]. When you are first starting out at a job (and even when you are settled into a company), stay as late as you can and also always be the first person to work in the morning. This is obviously easier to do if you love your job, but even if you are in an assistant or entry-level role, you must understand that putting in the extra time will move you closer to what you want to do. One of my first jobs in New York was for YM Magazine, and although I was technically hired for only three days a week, I would always log extra days no questions asked; it was hard work, but it taught me so much while also making me stand out."

Source: LinkedIn Author Rachel Zoe [22]

Sallie Krawcheck: Focus on Gaining Experience

Sallie Krawcheck, head of 85 Broads, gives keen insight [23] on not falling into the "hot career" trap.

"At this early stage of your career, there’s a real temptation to go into a field of work because your friends are or because it’s 'hot.' But there’s also an enormously small likelihood that it will still be hot 10, 20, 30, 40 years from now. So, rather than wedding [24] yourself to an industry, instead shift your focus to gaining experiences and learning as much as you can, so that you build transferable skills."

Source: LinkedIn Author Sallie Krawcheck [25]

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