Image shows Adam asking “What would I tell my 13 year-old self?” on Twitter.


I posted this question on Twitter. The response was incredible.

It seemed rude not to pull the advice together. So here you go. Share it with a 13-year-old.

Make your own decisions (and ignore adults)

“Your parents and teachers will try to give you advice. But the world in which you are growing up is very different to the one in which they grew up. So make your own decisions. Find something that excites and terrifies you at the same time. And do it really well.” ~ @simonperks

“Ignore adults who tell you you need to study something you can use to get a “proper job”. Do what feels right to you. Eventually you’ll find your own path.” ~ @andre_spiteri

“Your guidance teacher is a useless woman. It’s probably not her fault but she’s not going to tell you what to do with your life. You have to figure it out for yourself.” ~ @suzannealgayaar

“Don’t let anybody tell you can’t do something. And if they do, prove them wrong. Also, reading books is cool.” ~ @thatcontentshed

“Don’t listen to your teachers. You can do anything you put your mind to.” ~ @social_pip

“Question everything, especially what’s on the Internet. Learn to use your mind and words for critical thinking not criticism.” ~ @cjbryce

“I think I’d probably advise to go with your instinct and trust yourself more. Adults don’t always have the answers.” ~ @tokaynicola

Get out and make things happen

“You have to make your own opportunities. Even your teachers and parents have their own shit to deal with, you can’t rely on them – so get out there and make stuff happen.” ~ @sfolland

“If you really want to do something, move heaven and earth to make it happen. And if you don’t have a clue, there’s no harm in just earning money doing any old job for a while before you do. Finally – don’t think you have to go to uni at 18. You can go later if you want!” ~ @word_service

“Don’t close yourself down too early. If you like doing something, think about how you can use that as inspiration for what you might do with your life. If you have a passion, go for it, but be prepared to work hard to get what you want.” ~ @sarahwood7

“If you want to start a business or an endeavour you can. Aged 13. It’s free to start a website with Wix, or Weebly. And the world is your oyster.” ~ @framepruk

Be yourself and follow your passions

“You spend most of your school life trying to fit in. Then the rest of your life desperately trying to stand out. Nurture what makes you different and you’ll be miles ahead of everyone else!” ~ @suzannealgayaar

“Being told you dance to the symphony of your own orchestra feels like an insult now, but it’s what makes you a success, and a happy one at that. Being “odd” taught me confidence and lateral thinking – essential for self employed success.” ~ @annie_writes_

“What people think of you has little importance. But what you think of yourself is important. And don’t compete with anyone but yourself.” ~ @hushheartoxford

“Do what you enjoy, not what you think you’re supposed to enjoy.” ~ @molliebentley

“The job you’ll be doing when you’re 41 didn’t exist when you were 13.” ~ @alisonksmith

“Learn as much as you can about your interests. Why do you like what you like? Things we enjoy in the past become an ideal career in the future.” ~ @_je_suis_isi_

“Everyone has their own set of skills and they are all useful. School enables you to learn more skills to either fill in gaps or build up your existing ones. In the future, you can use skills like storytelling, or coding etc to earn a living.” ~ @wordbird

Don’t worry

“It’s okay that you have no idea what you want to do with your life yet. You still won’t when you’re 30. But the exciting thing is that you get to go out there and figure it out. And it’s never too early to start.” ~ @kickstartsophie

“Don’t be rigid in your expectations on what you will do for a living and equally don’t stress if you don’t have a clue what you want to do for a living. And still don’t stress if you bounce between the two extremes. Give yourself time and space to figure it out.” ~ @staceytillott

“Everyone is guessing. Nobody really knows what they’re doing. The successful people are the ones that don’t let this bog them down.” ~ @suzannealgayaar

“If you’re still trying to figure out what you’re good at, you are not alone. There are careers where you can do the thing you love, whatever that is. Sometimes people give you rubbish career advice. They mean well. It’s still rubbish. Make your own mind up.” ~ @claireburnbaby

“You will be plagued with Imposter Syndrome, in some degree, all your work and freelance life. It’s normal, everyone has it. Work past it and don’t let it win … if you study and learn (whether that be academic or on the job) you can do anything. Just believe in yourself.” ~ @psychodwarf

“I would definitely say that it’s absolutely OK to make mistakes in life – it happens, you learn from it, and the world doesn’t end*. *unless you’re in charge of a nuclear reactor or something.” ~ @leachyonline

“None of the stuff that’s bothering you right now will matter in a couple of years’ time.” ~ @singlemahoy

“She’ll change her mind several times about what she wants to do with her life, and that’s okay. Each career pivot has been a huge learning experience. Trying to ‘be cool’ isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. Find your tribe, stick to the nice people who lift you up. Don’t take any s$!t from people who don’t have your best interests at heart. Don’t smoke. Smile in photos. Oh, and use study periods to study not bunk off.” ~ @karenarnott

Grades aren’t everything

“It isn’t all about technical skill and academia – good humour, kind nature, good people skills and a positive outlook will get you ahead!” ~ @clairebarrance

“Adulthood is trying your best to get through a day without messing up, or anyone realising you’ve messed up. I know more people who have got where they are through their character, than their academic ability. Once you’ve got your foot in the door, personality goes a long way.” ~ @jr_marketeer

“School is important, but life skills, experience & showing passion, positivity & commitment will get them way further in life. Work hard, but your success doesn’t depend on your results, it depends on your determination.” ~ @topcontentUK

“Get work experience. Nobody’s going to give you a job because you’ve got a degree. Placements are there for a reason. And the folks who take them are going to make more money than you, faster.” ~ @suzannealgayaar

Ignore everything you’ve just read…

“Ignore most of the advice everyone else gives you and figure it out yourself. Listen to them, but trust yourself to make the right decision. Your gut is usually right.” ~ @louiseshanahan_

Disclaimer: I have simply pulled together this amazing collection of advice from other freelancers and people I know. I will take no credit if this inspires 13-year-olds to ignore adults and figure things out for themselves. It will make me very happy though.