If you read last week’s letter, you’ll know that Sandra Sully recently asked me to contribute to her new book AGENDA.
She sent me a question to answer over email:
What’s your advice for the next generation?
So I sat down and wrote this long, nine-point answer.
Feeling rather proud of myself, I sent it back to Sandra, and waited patiently for her praise….
It came in the form of an email, later that afternoon. Sandra thanked me for my answer before very kindly asking if I could answer all the questions she’d sent through?
Ah, yes. I flipped back through the email chain and saw six other questions sitting there in her original email. There’s my eagle-eyed attention to detail at work! ??
Look, we can’t be good at everything, right?! ?
Anyway, while I did go and re-write my answers (yes, to all q’s this time!), I still wanted to share that original answer with you.
With pre-orders open for my new book for teens, Good Selfie, I thought it was a good time to share.
So, my advice for the next generation?
When I first saw this question, I didn’t want to answer it.
See, teenage Turia was uhhh, how do I say it? Well, she thought she knew everything.
So if someone in their 30’s was offering “advice” – yeah, she would have flat out ignored it.
But, for whatever reason, that stubborn, boy-mad, know-it-all is now in a position where people seem to genuinely want to know her opinion on things. It’s bizarre, I know.
In fact, I even wrote a whole book based on all the questions kids and teens ask me. It’s called Good Selfie, and being the narcissist I am (some things never change!), I think it’s pretty damn good!
So, if someone in their teens is reading this (hey!), and looking for some words of advice, here’s what I have for you. Oh, and if you’re not in your teens? I think it’s still pretty relevant advice.
Every winner was once a beginner.
It’s OK to be totally crap at new things. If you have a goal you want to achieve, or a new skill you want to learn, don’t let your fears of what other people will think get the better of you. I’m not saying “Don’t worry about what other people think” – because that’s crazy. Of course we care what people think! We’re designed to want to fit in with the tribe. It’s human biology.
What I’m saying is – people can think and say whatever, you’ve just gotta do it anyway. We all start somewhere, and you’ve got to be a beginner before you can be anything else.
There are going to be hard times in your life.
I don’t mean to be a downer, but it’s true. Part of living is accepting that there are gonna be things in life that we’d rather not face, and very often, those things will be completely outside our control. And you know what? That’s OK. Because, while we can’t always control what challenges us, we can control how we choose to respond. And while we can never change the past, we can be grateful for what the past teaches us, and use that to shape our future.
You can’t compare your behind-the-scenes with someone else’s highlights reel!
Remember – what you see on Instagram isn’t always reality.
Have a quick think about how you’re feeling just before you jump on social media, and then check in with how you feel after. A lot of people say they feel worse. I’m not saying get off social altogether, but if looking at someone’s social media feed makes you feel bad about yourself, unfollow them ASAP. Like, right now. What are you doing? Put this down and go and unfollow them!
It’s something you DO, not something you HAVE.
So, practice gratitude more. It will radically change your life – I promise you.
Choose who you spend time with.
Reflect on how you feel about yourself after you’ve hung out with your friends. Do they help you to feel confident, brave and positive, and like you’re capable of achieving your dreams? Or do they put you down?
If a friend isn’t being supportive, remember that you get to choose who you spend your time with. You don’t need to hang out with people who bring you down.
Seek out kick-ass women, and emulate them
There’s no denying that this is a really important time for women. But while there’s a lot of overwhelming stuff happening right now, and while there is a big gap between where we are and where we want to be, I try to focus my attention on the women who are changing the game right now. If we can do our best to embody the qualities we admire in those women, and bring that into our own lives, that’s how we’ll improve our reality.
Some women I admire, respect and listen to:
Beth Hamilton, Serena Williams, Clementine Ford, Jane Goodall, Stephanie Gilmore, Zoe Foster-Blake, Brené Brown, Michelle Obama.
Read everything. Read stories about people who have overcome great odds, read great fiction – read whatever you like. Just read more.
It’s OK to have bad days.
It’s not realistic to expect that we’re always gonna be super happy. Just as we have good days, we have OK days and we have bad days too. So, I just accept the bad days and think “OK, today isn’t the greatest.That’s alright. Tomorrow is a new day and I’ll probably feel better then.”
And lastly? My final piece of advice is to live life on your terms.
Do what you want. Chase the dreams that matter to YOU. Life’s too short. Do you, and do it big.
That’s my advice. If you loved it, amazing! There’s a bunch more strategies, tools and straight-talking advice for kids and teens inside Good Selfie, if you were so inclined.
If you didn’t love it, well, no harm done! You and teenage Turia can hang out and have a good laugh at me ?
I’d love to know: what would you add to this? What advice would you give a younger generation? Let me know in the comments below.
OK, now, Good Selfie officially goes on sale on April 1, but all pre-orders will begin to be shipped out next Friday! So if you want to get your hands on it a little earlier (thank you!) you can check it out here.
It answers all the q’s teens ask me most and has a bunch of practical exercises, stories and other cool stuff inside. It’s also been beautifully illustrated by Freda Chiu and worked into a dreamy design lather by the team at Evi. O Studio.
I’m so very proud of this book. It’s been a big challenge – my first-time self-publishing which is scary and exciting. But as I always say, you can’t grow inside your comfort zone, so every now and then you’ve gotta get out!
If you or someone you know might like it on their bookshelf, on their bedside table or to use it as a fancy coaster, head here to check it out and purchase.
I hope you love it as much as I do.
With much love,
PS – An enormous, wholehearted, massive THANK YOU to everyone who has supported Good Selfie already. Can’t wait to see what you think! Upload a pic and use #GoodSelfie on Insty and FB so I can see when they start landing in your mailboxes! xx
Points 4, 5, 7 and 8 got through to me immediately. At one point my life changed drastically and did not follow the direction I had envisaged. But, that was many years ago. I have met some amazing people along the way and made some lifelong friends. For the latter I am truly grateful. They taught me to be positive and to ‘smell the roses’.
Hi Turia, so I read your email, and if I could give one piece of advice to the younger generation…(this is going to sound bad) but it would be your grades in school don’t matter unless you want to be a Dr, brain surgeon or Lawyer! The amount of kids I see stressing and having anxiety attacks over there School exams is ridiculous! I hated school, I only went to Year 10, my grades Were not good, and I’ve got a great job, a job I love, a job that makes me happy.
Sage advice which I am sending onto my boys who are not teenagers but young adults. The only thing I would tell my teenage self was that I should have spent or given to my parents a little more of my time. Time is so precious and we are all so busy. Just let them know you care by sharing some small part of your life with them. We are bought up to be strong, independant and to stand on our own two feet but the backlash is often parents feel shut out, lonely and miss sharing the little stuff with their kids. My greatest regret were the times I was too busy with my own life to take time to include my mum. Not until she passed away did I realise that I had taken her for granted and realise she was my greatest supporter.
I am a 16 year old girl, I love the advice you just gave to me. My age group tends to be the subject of a very large amount of advice, a lot of which is the same and gets very dry, and it becomes easier and easier to ignore this shallow advice. Your advice really struck a cord with me, I really want to live my life on my terms, the way that suits me, obviously not thinking that nobody else matter etc, but I really love the idea that you do determine your future. I am very positive person, and after an extremely difficult last year, I found myself have bad days which for me was unheard of and had a very bad impact on me, your advice makes me be able to move past those bad days, let go and have good ones again.
And my advice to teenagers my age is subscribe to Turia Pitt, your weekly or so emails make a really big difference in grounding me through the interesting times of my teen years
A thousand thankyou’s for this advice, it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Sending stacks of love to you Imogen! Excited to see what you get up to – I’ve got a feeling that a life lived on your terms is a pretty epic one! xx
What would I add? ‘Own your power’
In a democratic society, we often take for granted that we are the ones who can change things. We all have the capacity to influence for positive outcomes. Don’t stand on the sidelines of life and let others do the hard work, get involved, ‘be the change’, and definitely live life on your terms.
‘Stay loyal to yourself even if it means being disloyal to your culture.’ There is a time for silence and a time to speak up. Know who you are, know what you value and why, and stay true to yourself.
And another thing: ‘Everything is inter-connected’
Your energy and actions are changing the world. Bit by bit, ripple by ripple we all add to the collective outcomes of our communities and life on Earth. Shine your own unique light into the world so that we can all grow.
Rudyard Kipling says it best: “the strength of the pack is the wolf, and the strength of the wolf is the pack”
Always question your assumptions – don’t just believe something, say something or do something simply because you have always done it that way. Become aware of what you are believing, saying and doing and become aware if that is really right for you? Does it feel right? Is it right? Is it how you want to live your life? When you question your assumptions you can stretch more, see more, discover more, grow more and get a whole lot more out of life. When you question your assumptions you are taking greater directorship of your life.
Love this x