TED Conversations

Rodrigo P. Feliciano

Knights of Columbus


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If you were to give one advice to a thirteen year old, what would it be? Please explain your answer.

Being a thirteen-year old is one of the most critical periods in our life. This is the time when the choices we make determine, to a large extent, our future. We reach a certain age when we realize that we wish our parents, teachers, or some of the adults in our life told us or taught us some things that are critical for a more meaningful and successful life. "I wish I knew this earlier, my life would have been much better," is a common statement we say later in life.

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    Jan 26 2014: Thirteen is often the traditional age of initiation into manhood, but depending on where you live, traditional initiations for boys are often very rare these days, for several reasons. Robert Bly's book "Iron John," and his easily found video lectures, focus on how to regain these lost manhood rituals. Since fathers are often too close to their sons, often unconsciously competing for the attention/affection of their wife and their son's mother, they are often not suitable as "initiators." Uncles, older cousins, grandfathers, teachers, coaches, etc. are often best.

    There are two crucial periods in brain development/expansion in men: Puberty and in our early 20s. Some ancient Hebrew rituals required that a 13-year-old Bar Mitzvah candidate be sealed into a cave for 3 days with only water to drink, in order for his left brain ego to deflate in his aloneness and hunger, and for his uninterrupted waking thoughts and sleeping dreams to enhance his holistic right brain. Thus the boy who entered the cave symbolically "died" and the man who emerged from it was "reborn." Some bible scholars see the story of teacher Jesus raising initiate Lazarus from the dead in this light, rather than a literal resurrection from the dead.

    My point: At critical junctures in anyone's life, they should take time/make time for lots of personal reflection. My brain/mind was never healthier than when I lived alone in the mountains for a year and my nightly dreams became very vivid and instructive. I typed out hundreds of pages of dream-generated philosophies that have served me well all my life. While others are clamoring for their time, efforts and attention, people should take time to find who they are and center themselves.

    Very, very best!
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    Jan 20 2014: The world is illusion trying to change you. Do not conform, don't be afraid to be yourself
  • Jan 19 2014: Everyone has a different set of natural gifts, learns at different rates, and a set of challenges in life. Not everyone is willing to work hard, defer gratification and do what is right and just.

    Learn to enjoy work and take pride in your efforts. Distinguish yourself by using your set of gifts to prepare for life's challenges extensively, exploit the opportunities presented you, and finding a way to make your sacrifices, persistence and hard work lead to success and happiness.

    Do the best you can be at all things you attempt and be happy with your effort, no matter the outcome.Remember happiness starts from within.

    Do not be afraid of risk, but choice your risks wisely, such that the rewards potentially warrant the risk. Then just proceed in life with a positive attitude and a hope that you will be able to realize your dreams and find your passion.

    Treat other people as you wish to be treated. Work on developing character attributes such as being trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind,obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent.

    Try and do something nice or say something nice to someone each day, it makes you feel good and them feel good.
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      Jan 19 2014: Mr. Galway, thank you.

      I wish every one of us, young and old, follow these wise words: Work hard, do the right thing, defer gratification - the right thing at the right place at the right time, prepare and educate yourself, and so on ...

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    Jan 18 2014: Excellent advice from a wise person. Thank you!
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    . . 100+

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    Jan 18 2014: 13 is a fantastic age:)
    Listen to your own inner voice. That is the voice of your own soul. You are unique. Find out who you are. No one knows you better than you. Don't be an imitation of anyone, there is only one original you. Be yourself. You are precious. The world needs you to be you. Find out what you love to do that improves the lives of others. Pursue that. Master doing what you love. (it takes time and practice; be patient with you) If something doesn't feel right to you, it probably isn't for you.

    Here's lots of goodies, to explore:

    And a top favorite;

    Life is a process, breath deep and enjoy!!
  • Jan 14 2014: It is not WHAT you know but rather WHO you know and HOW you know them that opens the vast majority of doors in life.