What I Wish I Knew When I Was Twenty – Tina Seelig

This is a book about turning ideas on their head, especially the idea of the preconceived path society prints on us. Through the classes she teaches at Stanford and her life experience in general, Tina Seelig takes us through a voyage on rethinking how we see failure, challenge the assumptions we have on how life should be, being more aware of ourselves and the world that surrounds us, and most of all, about giving ourselves permission to see the world in a fresh light.

There will always be uncertainty at each turn, but if we arm ourselves with the right tools, we will be able to squeeze the most out of life.
The 10 chapters of this book are filled with lesson after lesson, and what I enjoyed the most, is the fundaments and support that come with the stories that act generally as precursors to the lessons. They are all relatable, fun to read, and I’d even say catchy. They make me want to attend the courses on creativity she teaches.
With the reading of this book I am now taking with myself many invaluable lessons that I’m sure will have great impact on what’s to come, and for that, I am very thankful that she has lived such an interesting life, and that she found and took the encouragement to write this book, because luck is not about luck, but about working hard to put yourself in a situation to be lucky.
This are my favorite lessons from it:
  • The most interesting things happen when you get off the predictable path.
  • Even the worst ideas have something valuable in them, we just have to turn them around. So, build on the ideas of others.
  • The world has only 50 people in it. Be thankful. Apologize when you need to. Offer help whenever you can.
  • Learn about your interests and those of the other party and look for aligned win-win outcomes in negotiations.
  • Failing is a natural part of the learning process. If you aren’t failing sometimes, then you probably aren’t taking enough risks.
  • There are problems waiting to be solved everywhere, we just need to be observant.
  • Give yourself permission to go after what you want. If you want the leadership role, take it. Figure out what you want and seize it.
  • Know that you can question the rules. Challenge the assumptions. There are infinite possibilities once we look outside the traditional path. There is no one right answer.
These are much more powerful in context. I strongly recommend this book to everyone. The lessons here are essential and timeless.