post written by: Marc Chernoff

10 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was Your Age

10 Things I Wish I Knew When I was Your Age

You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough.
–Mae West

Over the years my dad has contributed some truly inspiring content to our blog.  His two posts, 18 Things My Dad Was Right About and 10 Timeless Lessons from a Life Well Lived, were well received by the majority of you, and he absolutely loved reading the comments and emails you all sent to us in response to each post.  Today I’m happy to report that your kindness has paid off.  My dad was so inspired by your positive feedback that he surprised me this morning with a brand new post waiting in my email inbox.

The first line of his email read:  “Marc and Angel, with an imminent 70th birthday on my mind, I wanted to share a few things with you today:  10 things I wish I knew when I was your age…”

1.  Uncertainty is certain.

There is no antidote to uncertainty.  Everything is always uncertain.  There are infinite possibilities, which is what makes miracles possible.  Life is about dealing with the question marks and making the best of them without any guarantees for what’s going to happen next.

Nobody on Earth knows how things will turn out for you, which is why you have to press forward every day on the heels of your intuition and passion.  If you give it your all, sometimes amazing things happen, but they’ll rarely be precisely what you had expected.  Read 1,000 Little Things.

2.  Life is a circle.

Everything you do, everything you say, every choice you make, comes back around.

If you want to be rich, be generous.  If you want to make friends, be friendly.  If you want to be understood by others, take the time to truly understand them.  If you want to be heard, listen.

If you want to live an interesting life, be interested the happenings around you.  If you wish to truly learn and master a skill, study what you can and then teach someone else what you know.

If you long for peace, act in peace and harmony.  If you want the world to change, start with the one in the mirror.

What you give is eventually what you get.  Whatever it is you hope to achieve in this life, give it, nurture it, be it, and you will enjoy a lifetime filled with it many times over.

3.  Discipline is the mother of all virtues.

Self-control is the chief element of discipline, and discipline is the chief element of bringing ideas to life.  No matter how smart, skilled, or capable you are, nothing is possible or achievable without a disciplined mind.

Discipline is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do, whether you want to or not at any given moment.  It is the most important of all the virtues because without it, you can’t practice any other virtue consistently.  Read Getting Things Done.

4.  You have full control of your fears.

Your fear is 100% dependent on YOU for its survival, and it is the only thing standing between you and your goals.  Deal with your fears; don’t let them deal with you.

Have patience with the thoughts and concerns that remain unsolved in your heart.  Don’t hide; live in question as you slowly uncover the answers you seek.  Replace your fears with an understanding that settles them.  Instead of wasting energy on avoiding what you don’t want, spend it on obtaining the knowledge you need to achieve what you do want.

5.  Good friends are priceless.

Friends and acquaintances come and go, but good friends are hard to come by.  You know who these people are.  They’re the ones who are always there with you in spirit – the ones who leave footprints in your thoughts and dreams.  They are the glue that binds a smile to your soul.

Hang on to them dearly.  Reach out and make an effort to stay connected.  Lend them a hand and let them lend one to you.  Don’t get so busy or tired that you neglect their existence.  Treat your good friends like royalty.

6.  It’s impossible to love someone who doesn’t love himself or herself.

When someone doesn’t love who they are, they pretend to be someone else, and others end up falling in love with their mask, instead of who they really are.  To keep the affection they keep pretending and performing behind this mask.

If you see these masked tendencies in someone you care about, confront them before it’s too late.  Because if they lock themselves behind a mask for too long they will grow attached to it – it will become their comfort zone.  They will begin to enjoy the imprisonment, and if you try removing their mask to remind them of the truth, they will feel like you’re robbing them of their dignity.

Bottom line:  Self love is the greatest gift – to live and to teach.  The best way to love someone is to help them love themselves.  Read The 5 Love Languages.

7.  It’s impossible to know exactly how another feels.

The hearts and minds of others are mysterious, dense forests, always, no matter how deep into them you venture.

Even if you have known a person for a hundred years, it is impossible to know exactly what they are feeling.  You can’t feel something for them, or know exactly how their mind is processing something.  You could invest every bit of your energy over the course of your entire life in an attempt to achieve this understanding, but in the end you will fall short.

What you can do is be a friend who listens, supports, and loves openly without judgment.  Only then will you get a momentary, unfiltered glimpse into their soul.

8.  Connecting with your purpose brings great results.

Don’t allow others to convince your heart what to do.  Your heart already knows.  Listen to it.  Don’t let anyone else distinguish what is right or wrong for you.  You’ve got to stand up for something specific, on your own two legs, or you will achieve nothing great in life.

Within you there is a formidable and undeniable sense of purpose.  Success comes from making a solid and persistent connection to that purpose.  When your intentions are supported by a ‘why’ that has meaning, you will find a way to bring them to life.  Getting anything done is a matter of continuing to remember why you have chosen to do this thing in the first place.

In the end, focused and persistent effort always brings great achievement.  When your efforts are driven by your purpose, you can keep these efforts going for as long as it takes to reach this achievement.

9.  A positive vision makes a big difference.

Don’t just see things the way they are.  Envision yourself in the place you want to be, skillfully doing what you are capable of doing.  Envision yourself in this place living the life you desire.  Allow yourself to dream in full color, and know with certainty, that this dream is achievable if you want it to be.

Envision the things you desire as being achievable and they will be.  Envision yourself doing what your need to do, operating at your very best, and then hold that image firmly in your mind, day after day, moment by moment, as you step boldly in the direction of your vision.

Give this vision all you’ve got, mentally and physically, and you’ll be amazed at the energy and excellence that comes out of you in the long run.  Read Learned Optimism.

10.  Your journey is ultimately what you make of it.

There’s no such thing as perfect happiness, just as there’s no such thing as perfect despair.  What does exist is a continuous series of imperfect moments filled with infinite possibilities and opportunities for you to interpret them and do with them as you please.

You can pave the road you travel with doubt and despair or hope and happiness.  It’s your choice.  Either way, you will eventually arrive at the same destination.  The only question is:  Do you want to arrive there with a frown or a smile?

Photo by: Hartwig HKD

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  • Thank you, Marc. Your dad sounds like a great man and must have lived a great soon-to-be 70 years. Let him know I’ll try my best to internalize all of this and that I appreciate the words of wisdom he has passed down.

  • Inspiration at it’s finest. You folks consistently post truly uplifting content that moves my core.

    Thank you Marc and Angel (and Marc’s dad) for continuing to make my days a little brighter.

  • Thank you, very very much for all of your positive posts. I’m getting a little bit of needed strength out of each one of them. I don’t usually comment, but I want your dad to know that I truly appreciate the content he shares here on occasion as well.

  • Hi Marc,
    Awesome post, and hats off to your dad…
    Please do let him know I’m sending a BIG thanks. These wise thoughts are indeed a treasure trove.

  • This was fantastic. Every point was spot on.

    Our lives will always follow a twisting turning path. Their will be hills and valleys, potholes, ruts, and dark corners.

    But if we mainain these core ideals, if we live with passion and purpose, the journey will be one hell of a ride.

    Thank you for sharing your wisdom.


  • I can never get enough of reading your blog. Love it so much. I love all the wonderful advice that you have to share and get so much from it. Don’t ever stop blogging ….. the wisdom so often lifts me up and gets me through.

  • Thanks Dad! ;-)

  • So wonderful! Enjoyed every point you made in this post. Thanks for continuing to inspire. Please, keep this blog going.

  • Fabulous post! Your father’s words of wisdom offer great perspective and a wealth of experience. Thank you for sharing. It’s an inspiring way to start a Monday!

  • Happy birthday Marc and Angel’s dad. Hope you have/had a wonderful day.

    You should know that your words have inspired at least one person to try and listen more closely to the voice inside - the one that already knew all of this stuff. Thanks. :)

  • The last comment I left on here regarded pretty much all the posts I’ve read so far. They are great.

    As I read all this material, it give me what definitely feels like a muuuuuch wiser (etc) perspective on… everything.

    I share this material with people when it looks like they might need a little help with their own direction.

    One of my favourite quotes is by Ghandi, ‘be the change you want to see in the world’.

    I just shared ‘If you want the world to change, start with the one in the mirror.’ - love it.

    Cheers guys, looking forward to reading more.

  • These are wonderful especially the “Life is a Circle”. Never heard it said that way before. It certainly is!

  • Every one of your posts motivates me. You’ve given me a clearer path for a more inspired future.
    Bless You

  • Thank you for sending these wonderful messages out into the world (Marc, Angel, and Marc’s dad). Reading them has brought to live not just by words but by my deeds.

  • Hello Marc and Angel, As usual one more beautiful feather in your cap. Wish this is taught at every school so that the students do not grow up and have to feel sorry for missing this guidance.

    Hope this wisdom helps the youngsters a lot. Thanks to your dad again for the wonderful post.

  • Hi Marc

    A big THANK YOU to your dad for sharing these thoughts and insights. He’s a wise man indeed!

  • Thank you! And Happy 70th Birthday to your Dad. How generous of him to give such a great gift to all of us.

  • Your dad sounds like a wise man. I like the whole list, but connecting to your purpose and a positive vision really speak to me now. I’m currently reading The Power of Story by Jim Loehr and really focusing on my purpose and creating the story of where I want my life to go. :)

  • I don’t usually comment, but Rohan’s comment, also made me think, “I should comment too.”.

    I love your posts and want to say that I love that you have a dad that is also so inspirational too. Your blog is always thought provoking and truly moves my heart and soul.

    Thank you for being a part of my life and providing some direction in times when I need it most.

  • Christopher Frisbie
    February 11th, 2013 at 11:02 am

    The absolute truth is the hardest thing to exist in. Its like we are born with it and we lose it by learning from what we see around us. When we get older we yearn for it over and over. Thank you and your father.

  • I’m one of those who never comments, but I so enjoy your posts I realized with today’s thoughts, by Marc’s dad, it was time. Thank you for the navigation, the validation of how I try to live my life. Not a spring chicken here, so completely understand and agree with Dad! What a smart man. And a good son to recognize it.

  • Wonderful!! Thank you for continuing to help me grow.

  • What wise words! Thank you Marc and Marc’s dad for sharing these nuggets of life’s wisdom. I am reminding myself to live as many of these as constantly as I can. Have a great birthday and an amazing 70th year!

  • Wonderful and Inspirational . Thank you

  • I am pretty sure I want your dad to be mine… That was such a great post. Thank you!

  • My Dad turns 70 on the 18th, so this post is very exciting. I have to admit I am REALLY struggling with self-love, I cannot get it right. Feels too selfish yet. Great stuff, I am passing this along to a lot of friends.

  • Marc and Angel, I love the words of wisdom and the books to read you always share with us all. Now I see where you get it from. Your Dad is a smart man. Happy 70th to him!

  • I think I want to be adopted. :)

  • Recently when someone asked me my favorite website, I said without hesitation. I eagerly await your posts and ALWAYS, without fail, take away something of value. Today, I needed to hear what your Dad said about discipline. It’s easy to succumb to lethargy but that was the perfect reminder to me.

    Keep up the great work Marc and Angel, and to Marc’s Dad, a big thank you for passing along exactly what I needed to hear today!

  • Aint this the truth. Especially about life being a circle. Round and round we go…

  • This is one of my favorite blogs! My New Year’s resolution for the last couple of years has been to do what I can to be a better person and live a more positive, productive life. This blog and articles like these are helping to keep me on that track and to keep me from repeating bad decisions made in the past and to help me keep certain people out of my present. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    I should add that one of my favorite quotes is “Each person’s task in life is to become an increasingly better person.” - Leo Tolstoy. These are words I live by and are helping to fuel the direction I’m now taking in life.

  • These are great! I especially like #2 - Life is a Circle. So true!!! Please thank him for these inspiring words to live and love by! Happy 70th!!

  • Thank you for such profound wisdom. Your father is a very wise and compassionately inspirational human being. This article touched my heart.

    And thank you for your site. Your articles help me often.

  • #2 and #5 are my favorites!

    I must admit bought your eBook last week, so have been so happy reading that it almost didn’t click on my blog this morning - but I’m happy I’m did!

  • Love this, thank you for sharing!

  • “Life is a circle” really stood out to me…what an excellently-written point expressing the virtues of Karma and the golen rule.

    Thank your Dad and wish him a happy B-Day for us!

  • #3 and #4 are really priceless. I would add: When starting new things, you will not be that good at it at first, but with practice it will get better…guaranteed. Great post!

  • This sounds like something my dad could have written… maybe our dads are friends :) It’s a ‘printer.’ I’m running out of room on my refrigerator…

  • What wonderful observations about life! As I approach my 60th birthday I’ve been examining my own life lessons. He’s articulated many of my thoughts so well. Thank you!

  • Thank you so much for this Marc, Angel and Marc’s Dad - I treasure these words.

  • Love, love, love your Dad’s column. These are things I have spent hours thinking about lately, as I need to make some changes in my life. I feel as if he has just provided me the confirmation I needed to go forward. I’m not young (50) but these are great things to remember and apply every day of life. Thank you!

  • Best one yet! Love your stuff! :)

  • Thanks for this post. It’s a fresh breath of air.

  • I am encouraged upon reading these words. Thank you.

  • Your Dad is a wise, wise man who knows how to express some truly deep thoughts in a really engaging way. We are all the luckier that he has shared himself with us, and definitely all the more inspired ;-)

  • As always, I found so much to think about and reflect on in this post. Number 5 is definitely where I feel I am particularly weak, and #7 is just brilliant! So thanks to your father for including those two especially.

  • Fantastic post! I am more inspired than ever to press on and make the most of my life. It’s a beautiful gift and I want to get to my 70th birthday and say “I didn’t waste the gift”.

    The post has so many insightful quotes:
    Your fear is 100% dependent on YOU for its survival…
    Allow yourself to dream in full colour…

    Marc, can I put this post on my blog? I would like my readers to learn this too.

  • It’s funny that we tend to ignore alot of stuff when we are young and only realize it when older and we learn the same through our own experience.

    That’s when the real learning comes around.


  • I really enjoyed reading this, please tell your dad thank you, it really helps. I love all the posts here - very positive and it does make a difference in my life : )


  • Hi Marc and Angel & Dad - the Blogger of the Day!!

    Well, as most of the above comments mentioned, this post is lovely, simple and yet beautifully profound.

    All I want to convey to Dad Uncle is that : when I was going through his post with every next point I had someone or some situation in my mind and the read was a joyride… I felt as if its a Spa session for mind and at the end there was a feeling of being rejuvenated.

    Wishing you happy b’day in advance,

  • Thanks everyone! I just copied all your comments and sent them to my dad in an email (to make things easy on him). If more comments are left, I’ll add those into a second email.

    Honestly, with all this positive feedback, you all are doing a wonderful job at motivating him to write another post. :)

  • Life is a circle. That was brilliantly stated! GOSH! I feel uplifted and better and more loving in my life because i get to be apart of this website. Your dad is almost as cool as MY dad, and thats saying something! Keep it going guys! MUCH LOVE!

  • What a blessing to have a father whose mark on you, Marc, is very clear! No wonder you and Angel are together. I love reading and sharing your posts.
    Happy Birthday to Marc’s dad… and many more.

  • charismaticcharles
    February 13th, 2013 at 3:20 am

    Genes don’t lie in your case Marc. Thanks to your dad, I’m grateful to you and Angel.

  • Thanks for making my life to look brighter …

  • Thanks for the wonderful read. I always try to amend my way each time I read one of your posts.

  • What wonderful observations about life! As I approach my 25th birthday I’ve been examining my own life lessons. You have articulated many of my thoughts so well. Thank you!

    Snehal Masne

  • This completely hit home for me! Thanks for posting. This stood out over other similar articles.

    We wrote a blog post to show our reaction. Please check it out:


  • Please tell your dad that his words are much appreciated and thank him for sharing the things he has learned with others. The rest of your website is amazing, too - I feel constantly motivated & uplifted after I read something you’ve posted. Thanks for helping to make a difference to other people’s lives. Have a good one :)

  • I certainly see now that the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree. Your Dad is very wise, and knows how to clearly communicate his message.

    There is definitely a pattern here.

  • Thank you Marc and Angel. You make my days a little happy… Looooove to read your site.

  • Happy belated birthday Marc and Angel’s dad. Hope you have/had a wonderful day.

    You should know that your words have inspired at least one person to try and listen more closely to the voice inside - the one that already knew all of this stuff. Thanks.

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