Dear 10-year-old me
Giving a speech at my old primary school helped me focus on what I wish I knew then.
(Tammy Gardner)

Kindness trumps cool, every time. Seriously. You know that girl in your class who is popular and cool, but makes you feel awkward and silly? Listen to your stomach and your heart and don’t push on that brick wall. Focus on being kind and finding kindness in others and nurturing that in yourself.

Because honestly, when you get older, really successful people – and I am not talking about the people who make all the money and have the scary cars and jobs and clothes and things – but the TRULY successful people, the ones who are happy and have lots of love and fulfilment in their lives – those people have cherished kindness. Once you get older, kindness IS cool.

Find something that fascinates you, and stick with it. No life can be truly shiny until you hook your heart on something you really love to do. The best case scenario is that you can make a career out of that. The next is if it can be a lifelong hobby or brain sharpener.

So if you secretly love maths or pottery or writing or painting or poetry or angles or test tubes or plants – hug that firmly to yourself and don’t give it up. Put in the hours and get good at the thing you love and it will be part of you forever.

Don’t lose the ability to get joy out of the little things.  I consider my greatest character trait the fact that I am so easily amused... and it’s all too easy to lose that if you start feeling you need to ‘get more serious’ or ‘grow up’ or ‘stop being so childish’.

Childish is not realising it hurts someone else’s feelings when you grab a toy away. Laughing for 15 minutes because it suddenly struck you that your laugh sounds really funny... that’s not childish, that’s AWESOME.

Don’t worry too much if you feel like you are odd. I spent most of my youth feeling most terribly odd, and wishing that I could be more contained, better behaved, quieter... less loud and awkward.

And the truth is, it was only when I realised that all the bits of me that made me feel odd were all the bits of me that I actually like the most, that I got really happy – and got to the point where my job these days is to share how I feel with other women.

What would you like tell your 10-year-old self?

Read more by Sam Wilson

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