7 Things I’d Tell My Teenage Self

This is a video for teenagers.

It’s the beginning of a new school year, and so for this week’s video I wanted to things that I know I would have benefitted me as a teenager.

What would you tell yourself if you could go back?

Here are the 7 things I’d tell my teenage self…

1) Take risks

Try new things. We’re always going to be able to talk about the things we did, but never able to talk about the things we didn’t do.

We tend to carry on in school the way we started. It’s easy for an identity to be created by the way that other people see us. Don’t let yourself get pigeon-holed.

2) Be careful who you’re trying to impress

There are people right now (whether consciously or unconsciously) you’re trying to impress.

Be very careful about this.

If you could see where these people were going to be in ten years time, I guarantee you would re-evaluate who you’re trying to impress.

3) Trying to get invited to the party doesn’t get you invited to the party

One of my big insecurities in school was wondering whether or not I’d be invited to parties.

Being invited to parties is the byproduct of being the type of person that other people want to spend time with.

Focus on being someone that other people love spending time with.

4) Ignore people’s first reactions

When we do something new, we fear people are going to look at us strangely.

People who get acceptance are the ones who don’t need it.

If there’s something you want to do, do it regardless of what others might think. When you ignore their reactions, you’ll get over the initial period of discomfort and to a point where they accept how you now are.

5) School can suck

A lot of school is doing things you don’t want to do.

Studying things you don’t want to study, hanging around people you don’t want to hang around, listening to teachers you don’t want to be around…

And a myth in life is that that all changes; that when you begin doing what you love, you’ll be able to stop doing things you don’t love.

Sadly, it doesn’t quite work like that.

I’ve found in my life that even though I do the thing I love more than anything else in the world, there are plenty of things I still have to do that aren’t things I love.

The art is finding a way to enjoy whatever it is you’re doing.

When you’re doing the things you don’t want to do, can you figure out new ways of enjoying doing those things?

If you can, you’re going to be happy for the rest of your life.

6) See everything as a stepping stone

Many people resent jobs they do because they don’t feel they’re getting them closer to where they want to be.

The most successful people I’ve met have done a number of different jobs that had nothing to do with where they ended up.

But rather than viewing these things as a waste of time, they saw everything as a stepping stone.

Don’t fret that right now you’re going into something that isn’t exactly where you want to be.

The wrong job before the job you’re passionate about can have been the right job at the time. The wrong job can be a blessing when it teaches you more about what you want and where you want to go.

7) Enjoy being young, but think like an adult

When you’re a teenager, people are trying to lay down all sorts of rules around you.

But an adult treating you like a kid doesn’t mean you have to rebel like a kid.

You can still make the smart choice, by doing what’s best for you.

Don’t rebel just because you want to get back at someone.

You need to go out and mess up. Just stay within the realm of making mistakes that you can recover from. Make mistakes that aren’t going to kill you or stop you from building the future you want to have.

So there you have it. My 7 tips.

Leave a comment below to let me know what you think!

And if you’re an adult, leave a comment with the one thing you would tell your teenage self that you know would have made life better.

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268 Replies to “7 Things I’d Tell My Teenage Self”

  • Hey its Emilia!

    Just wanted to tell you that I have moved on from tht guy.
    He went back to his gf etc but I face a problem now.
    This guy who fancied me before 2 years ago and still flirts with me, broke up with his gf now. I like him too and I want to make a move. How do I though? How long do I leave it? PS He always asked me who I like and we are so compatible. He LOVES my FuN side. I don’t want to seem desperate though Matt

    Thanks so much :-) x

  • Hi!
    I really liked this video but I have a question. I have been looking at a lot of your videos and read your book but there is still one question remauning.

    I am interested in one guy who I never have been talking to. I have seen him at The same places as me just a few Times. We both play The same sport and it is from tournaments I have seen him. I know his name but here is my problem. How do I get contact with him? Is write to him over Facebook a good idea? In that case what should I write? Or do you have any other sudgestion on what I should do?

    Regards Louise

    1. Hi Louise, It doesn’t look like hes had time to respond, but hes got a video on YouTube about this particular thing. You can search for it. But, he basically said its fine to reach out to let the guy know your interested, but the key is to let them take it from there. So, suggestions were, asking his opinion about something, there is more on the video.

  • Hey Matt!
    This really helped a lot and the advice that you gave really helped. I am fourteen and I like a guy who has a different skin colour and religion from me, but we get on great (well, we used to). I know that my family wouldn’t be comfortable with me dating him. But we had a massive argument and now we’re talking again. Over the past couple of days we have been on the phone to each other for a total of around six hours in about three phone calls and we never run out of things to say, but he keeps saying to me that he isn’t my friend and I don’t even know if he’s joking. The kisses on the messages have stopped and he deleted my number before we started talking again, he doesn’t text me anymore either. PLUS he was telling me about this girl he really likes and how he really respects her and she goes to his school and I don’t. I have never met him in person, but I have skyped him etc. I just don’t know what to do. He worked out that I still like him and when I said “What would be the point though, you don’t like me anymore” he said “my feelings might have changed”. He is just sending me so many mixed messages and it’s starting to really upset me. Please get back to me if you can,
    thanks for listening,
    Vicky :)

  • Hey Matthew,

    Enjoy watching your videos! You’re such an inspiration as a speaker for me.

    On topic: I remember watching your videos a couple of years ago being a teenager. I was really insecure at the time and thought boys didn’t like me because of my wheelchair.

    I’m twenty now and have come a long way since then. Still the same person, but I’ve noticed how much I like to meet new people, try new exciting things, be on stage and put myself out there.

    I would say to my 16 year old me: don’t overvalue having a boyfriend or those kind of things, invest in yourself in every way you can and enjoy!

    All the best from Amsterdam


  • Matthew,

    I really needed to hear this. I stumbled upon your videos on Youtube.

    I’m 19. I turn 20 this September. I’m reaching a point in my life where I’m wondering why I’ve never dated. I haven’t had my first kiss, I haven’t had a boyfriend, and frankly haven’t had any sort of relationship.

    What is the problem here? Is there a problem at all?

    I have a theory, this might just be my insecurities but, I’m a tall woman. I’m introverted. I used to be shy but I’ve outgrown that since I started college. I think it has made me intimidating to men.

    Every time I’ve started to flirt with a guy we usually hit it off, I’m laughing, he’s laughing but it never really goes anywhere. I replay everything in my head and just wonder: “What went wrong?” I know this is shallow but I often attract shorter men and I don’t see myself with that type of man. The reason behind that is that I want to feel protected but I realize that I’m creating an ideal that isn’t fair to men.

    I just want to date and meet new people. I’m not looking to settle down, I just want to enjoy another man’s company, learn his likes, dislikes, what he’s passionate about, his personality, make him laugh, and just have a man genuinely care about me. I’m a stand up comedian, it’s a weird thing for me to do since I’m so introverted and usually shy, but I’ve come to realize that it has made me a stronger more outspoken and confident young woman.

    I guess what I’m trying to say is: What advice would you have for me? I’m tired of hearing people tell me, “Why are you still single?” “You’re way too beautiful to be single!” “You have the whole package, brains, beauty, and you’re funny, why don’t you have a boyfriend?” “I can’t believe you’ve never dated!” Blah, blah, blah…

    I’m very passionate about school. I have big plans for my education and am thrilled about possibly getting into medical school someday. I just want somebody that will support me and love me along the way. I’m scared to be THAT girl. The girl who is still single, all her friends are married or in serious loving relationships, and me living alone with a cat and moping around and wondering what the big deal is about being in a relationship.

    I know I’m young. I have my whole life ahead of me, but I am tired of hearing: “It will happen on its own.” “Give it time.” “He’ll find you.” “The right man will come into your life and you’ll know.” Blah, blah, blah. I’m just frustrated and feel so much pressure from my peers, my mother especially, and several friends.

    I don’t want to wait around like a damsel in distress.
    I’m not the type of woman who sits with her legs crossed and her hands folded neatly on top and just waits.

    I’ve given it much thought and just want some sort of reassurance that I’m not crazy about what I’m rambling about.

    Your videos are helping me to realize that.

  • hey matt! your videos are really great :)
    whatever you say really relates to practical life and and your advice is freaking awesome! i am 18and i feel that i am not yet ready to date someone but i still love watching your videos whenever i get time. <3 you!

  • I just graduated from Stanford. I’d tell my teenage self two things:

    1. Vibrators are amazing. Try a few.
    2. Learn to code.

    Matt, I want your response on point #1. No one talks about vibrators. They’re not in the news, they’re not in teen literature, they’re not on TV, they’re not mentioned in songs, they’re not in your videos, etc. And yet they’re incredibly enjoyable, and learning to pleasure yourself and increasing your self-compassion is one of the best ways to increase your confidence — which is a topic you’re keen to bring up. It’s empowering to know that I don’t depend on men for orgasms. What’s more, knowing exactly what you like increases your confidence in the bedroom. I’m sure you have to be especially careful around the topic of sex. However, I would love if you could find a way to mention it. Perhaps you could devise a skit like the ‘Brainal’ video. I’d love a response!

  • I would love to tell my teenage self i love her soooo much and cant thank her enough for every mistake she did.

    What you said was true everything is a step stone, so guys dont be disappointed

  • Very beautiful video. I wish i had known this when i was a teenager.
    I would tell my insecure teenage self that it’s okay to be who you are, say what you mean and do what you want. It’s okay to reach out and be nice to those persons who are being made fun of by everyone, it’s okay to not make fun of your teachers if you feel it’s wrong, it’s totally okay to be different.
    It’s funny how things that looked cool to teenagers always felt wrong to me :-( but i did them anyways.
    Thanks Matthew, you’re awesome.

  • There are a few things I understand would make a world of difference had I known them before. A sort of “Back to the Future” moment. Would that change the current path I am on? Would I have been a different person? Would I not have met the people I call my friends? Would I still be able to sleep at night and express gratitude for the choices I made and the details that came with it? Let’s see. But, if I could, I would have told my younger self a few things.
    Know More-https://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2019/02/back-to-the-future-things-i-could-tell-my-younger-self/

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