CREDIT: Courtesy Subject; Hill Hudson
Editor’s note: We asked noted entrepreneurs to reflect on what they wish they’d known starting out and to put it in a letter to their younger selves. Peter Gasca co-founded national toy company WildCreations.com, a two-time honoree on the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing private companies in the U.S. in 2011 and 2012.
By now, you are in your early twenties and the heavy weight of insecurity, uncertainty and the Generation X expectation of doing worse than our folks is hampering your aspirations for greatness.
Don’t sweat it. Everything turns out OK.
And while you’ll regret nothing in your life, there are a few nuggets of wisdom that you’ll find useful (please, use them).
Embrace your geekiness.
You were bullied as a kid because you always put your studies first, which influenced your pursuit of academics. You can, in fact, be smart and cool. In fact, up here, geeks rule the world. Keep up with the studies and never be ashamed of knowing things.
Do, however, avoid the mullet. It is neither cool nor geeky.
Ask more questions.
You are already questioning things you are learning. The problem is you need to actually speak up and ask. Calculus, algorithms and computer programming seem mundane, but trust me, they will come in handy later.
Forget Ms. Rosewood.
Of course you’ll always remember your high school English teacher. Her red marker essentially snuffed out any creative inclination you had. Here’s the thing. Creativity is subjective, and just because your creativity did not fit into someone else’s rubric does not mean it has no value. Stick with it, dude, you are onto something.
And while you’re at it, don’t delay reading Kurt Vonnegut.
Kiss the girl.
It turns out that life is very much like dating, my friend. The best way to get good at something is to just do it. Of course, this means that you will fail often, but if you look at it like kissing, it sure will be fun along the way.
Also, the heartache you have gets easier. As will the second, third and so on. This lesson is true for failure as well.
Nobody wants you to fail.
The key to sustainable happiness in life is to surround yourself with people who support you. This is true in personal and professional relationships. Prioritize these relationships over career, for as long as you have support, you will be able to make it out of any jam you get into.
The one exception is parachute pants. Nobody will support you when you wear parachute pants.
The Red Sox and Cubs will win the World Series.
That’s all the information you’ll get, because somehow, you will still manage to jinx it.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.