TED Conversations

Morgan Bakies

Summer co-op, LyondellBasell

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If you could give your twenty-year-old self one piece of advice, what would it be? Why?

Hello! I'm an undergraduate student who was truly inspired by Meg Jay's talk, "Why 30 is not the new 20" so I wanted to see what the TED community has to say. I turned twenty in March and I want to make the most of my next decade of life. How did you spend your twenties? Was this the defining of your life? Currently, I see endless opportunities, but I'm scared for the day they will disappear.

So if you're above twenty, what advice do you have for your past self? If you are twenty-something, what do you tell yourself everyday to be the best you can be? And if you're under twenty, what's one thing that you hope your twenty-year-old self will remember about adolescence? Thank you so much and I look forward to seeing what you have to say!

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  • May 20 2013: I think Steve O. nailed it; make a conscious decision to be happy. Society (media, etc.) will do everything in its power to convince you that personal happiness is dependent on something (formal education, career, money, marriage, children) outside of yourself; it isn't. It is dependent on the conscious choice to get up every day and decide to be happy. In turn, the ripple effect of this is a condition of life so improved as to be unrecognizable from your former deluded state of happiness being dependent on "whatever". (Don't get me wrong: having some education is better than not having it, having some form of a "career" is generally a good thing, and having enough money to live comfortably is nice, etc., etc.; BUT none of these externalities CREATE happiness or a sense of satisfaction.)

    Along this vein and on a more practical note I do think one of the more common "errors" of youth is to hook up with the wrong partner in an attempt to complete oneself. What I know at the age of 49 is that no one else completes you; you complete yourself and once you realize this, you are then capable of having healthy relationships with other more fully self-responsible humans.

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