What 8 Successful People Wish They’d Known at 22

Turning 22 marks the beginning of a new chapter in the lives of most people. Fresh-faced college graduates are setting out into the real world for the first time, leaving the relative safety of university life to begin their professional careers. Many of us look back and wish we could impart some advice on our younger selves to help avoid the inevitable pitfalls and perils that come with growing up.
LinkedIn recently asked its most successful users to share the advice they would give their 22 year old selves. Out of the over 60 responses, we’ve selected 8 pieces of advice from some of the most influential people in the business world.

Richard Branson – Founder Of The Virgin Group


“If I were 22 today, I would embrace the opportunities technology has given us,” Branson says. “While I am
in my sixties, I am incredibly excited about the transformative power of the Web and all sorts of new technology. From opportunities to tackle climate change to research to beat terrible diseases, as well as inventions to improve everyone’s lives, I am sure the coming years will be a period of tremendous innovation.”

Jim Kim – President Of World Bank

“You’re never too young to think about your role as a leader,” Kim writes. “There are ‘natural’ aspects of leadership like charisma, emotional intelligence, and visionary thinking, but no single skill by itself will be enough to tackle the most complex and meaningful leadership challenges.”
“Leadership is not about being the head of a large organization. It’s about making groups more effective. And almost no matter what you do, better leadership skills will help. Start now on a lifelong commitment to humbly listen to your co-workers and set yourself on a program to improve those things that will make a difference in accomplishing your goals. If there’s a way of getting some real feedback, start doing it right away.”

Martha Stewart – Founder Of Martha Stewart Omnimedia

“Life will inevitably throw you some lemons,” Stuart says. “It doesn’t matter. Whenever that happens, pour 3 cups of fresh lemon juice (from about 20 lemons) through a sieve into a pitcher. Combine 2 cups of superfine sugar, 4 cups of water, some ice, and a generous portion of perseverance.”
“Stick with it. Don’t give up. Defend your ideas, but be flexible. Success seldom comes in exactly the form you imagine it will.”
“Finally there is one more thing every newly minted graduate should do: take the time to enjoy your meal, savor your success, and celebrate it with your family and friends. You deserve it.”

 Rachel Zoe – CEO Of Rachel Zoe Inc.

“It was through a combination of instinct and great advice from my parents — for which I am eternally grateful — that I was able to navigate the uncharted territory of the fashion world,” says the world renowned stylist. “If I could go back and do it all over, these are the points I would hone in on; they are also the words of wisdom I offer to anyone who is just getting their feet wet.”
“Don’t look at the clock. Learn what you’re good at and what you’re not good at. Know what to prioritize. Rise above drama. Stand out in your job interviews.”

Craig Newmark – Founder Of Craigslist

“People will quickly decide to perceive you one way or the other,” Newmark advises fellow young nerds. “And it’ll be hard to change that perception, which is what the marketing folks rightly call a ‘brand.’ You’re responsible for your own branding from the beginning, and if you can get it done well, right at the start, and then protect it, that’s good.”

“We nerds aren’t good at that, and tend to be perceived unfairly. That can be corrected over time, particularly if you have a sense of humor. Publicly identifying with Dilbert helps.”

Arianna Huffington – President And Editor-In-Chief Of The Huffington Post Media Group

“For far too long, we have been operating under a collective delusion,” writes Huffington. “That burning out is the necessary price for achieving success.”
“I wish I had known this when I was 22. I’m convinced I would have achieved all I have achieved with less stress, worry and anxiety. In college, just before I embarked on a career as a writer, I wish I had known that there would be no trade-off between living a well-rounded life and my ability to do good work. I wish I could go back and tell myself, ‘Arianna, your performance will actually improve if you can commit to not only working hard, but also unplugging, recharging and renewing yourself.’ That would have saved me a lot of unnecessary stress, burnout and exhaustion.”

Ban Ki-Moon – Secretary-General Of The United Nations

“I reflected on a Confucian teaching that had been impressed upon me from a young age: ‘To put the world in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must cultivate our personal life; and to cultivate our personal life, we must first set our hearts right.’ I understood this to mean that if I wanted to contribute to the greater public good, I had to begin by working on myself; only then would I see progress radiate out from my personal circles to society at large.”

Deepak Chopra – Doctor And Best-Selling Author

“The greatest thing about being 22 is that none of these traps have closed,” Chopra says. “The instinct to be free is very strong when you’re young. The flame of discontent is still fueled by idealism. If you consciously attune yourself to the best in your nature, you will be holding tight to the invisible thread. The world’s wisdom traditions declare that Dharma is real and can be trusted. Uncertainty isn’t something to fear. It’s an absolutely necessary prerequisite if you want to kick-start the age-old process known as the beginning of wisdom.”

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