It's me, Glenn. I'm you, but just a few decades into the future.
Yeah, it's really me. I mean you. Relax! Don't freak out. Just read what I have to say and think it over.
I've got the benefit of having lived your life for the past few decades, so I know what your future might look like. I've learned a lot along the way, and I'm here to share some of that with you, before you embark on your journey.
Weird, huh? Yeah, I know.
Okay, here goes:
This is a lesson that could take you a really long time to learn. Or you could take my advice and absorb it right here and now: Accept yourself for who you are. This doesn't mean you have to stop from learning and growing and becoming a better person. But it does mean you should tune out the criticism from competitive classmates and insensitive teachers, and the occasional snide remark from those who don't get you.
You'll need some time to discover your source of confidence and feel more comfortable being you. But before that happens, stop being so hard on yourself!
Don't ask, don't get.
Dad once told you that. And it took me a while to discover just how true it is. It's so much easier and safer to hold back from expressing what you want. But if you don't, nobody will ever know what you really want. Yes, you'll expose yourself to much more rejection this way. But you'll also increase your chances of actually getting what you want. Whatever that may be.
When someone tells you you can't, tell yourself you can.
You get a lot of people telling you that you can't do this or shouldn't do that. When you hear someone try to talk you out of doing something because they think you're not qualified for whatever reason--take it as a sign that you probably should do the opposite.
Be a little nicer to your parents.
They've endured a lot to bring you into the world, raise you, and give you a platform to build your own life. Respect that and be grateful. Because you'll be a parent yourself one day, and only then will you really understand the full extent of the sacrifices your parents have made for you.
Never give up.
There will be times when you'll fail. That's a part of life. And things might get really tough for you. Whatever you do, don't give up! Don't give in to dark thoughts, because your mood will eventually lift. Things will change. Things will get better. Reach out for help if you need it.
You think video games are hot now? You have no idea just how big this industry is going to get when you get older. You've laid a good foundation by teaching yourself programming in 6502 and 8088 machine code, BASIC, Pascal, and a few other languages I forgot. Don't drop it! Keep building your skills in this area. You might even want to build a career out of it.
I know how much you enjoy that state of creative "flow" you enter when you're designing and debugging a program. And that sense of accomplishment you get when your program finally runs smoothly and bug-free.
Buy Apple stock. Lots of it.
You were pretty darned clever to persuade your parents to dip into their savings to buy you your first computer, an Apple II+, when you were 13. Just how smart you were you won't really appreciate for a couple more decades, but take it from me: Take whatever savings you've got and plow it into Apple stock now--and keep doing that for the next couple of decades.
In fact, someone ran the numbers recently (in my time), and this is what $1,000 invested in Apple stock in 1983--your time--will become 34 years into the future: $304,640. That's a holding period return of 30,364%, or an annualized return of nearly 19%.
You'll thank me--I mean, yourself--big time for this advice!