Instead of boring you all with a lengthy essay, I compiled a list of ten items that I would tell my younger self, the final three of which are powerful quotes from two of my favorite thinkers of all time.

Without further ado, here are the ten things I would tell my younger self:

1) Find something you’re good at that you can’t live without, and do it at all cost. This is what you’re meant to give to this world and what will most satisfy you.

2) Your parents, teachers, and society, really, in fact, and without a doubt, don’t know everything, and neither will you. So, have fun, do point #1, and don’t take life too seriously.

3) Most importantly, be a good person, be happy, and always be grateful for good health. That we know of, we only get one life to live, so make the most of it and cherish every moment.

4) Be reasonably confident, above all, to protect yourself from stupidly confident people. (Note: This is a partial interpretation of Charles Bukowski’s quote, “The problem with the world is that the intelligent people are full of doubts, while the stupid ones are full of confidence.”)

5) Your “heart” feels what your brain cannot “know;” in other words, do not ever disregard your gut instinct about someone or something.

6) Going to a top-tier university, or having a well-paid “dream job,” are both overrated and loads of unnecessary, boring hard work if you’re not doing something that you’re passionate about.

7) Do not regret listening to and empathizing with people that do not know how to do the same back. This is anyone’s greatest strength, because you learn from listening to others. Vice versa, being willfully ignorant is anyone’s greatest weakness.

8) Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly. -Albert Einstein

9) He who would learn to fly one day must first learn to stand and walk and run and climb and dance; one cannot fly into flying. -Friedrich Nietzsche

10) Without music, life would be a mistake. -Friedrich Nietzsche