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  • If you could send a short letter back in time to your younger self (at any age), what would it say and at what age would you want it delivered?
  • Seven successful business leaders were asked this question, and their candid answers reveal smart career advice we can all use.
  • For example, “Get serious about learning … and don’t be so arrogant,” is the message that Dan Lok, a serial entrepreneur, best-selling author, and two-time TEDx opening speaker, would tell his younger self.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Imagine if you could send a letter back in time to your 18-, 20- or 25-year-old self. What would you say? What do you wish you would have known back then?

We asked seven successful business leaders and advisors in The Oracles just that. Here are the important lessons Dan Lok, Bedros Keuilian, and others would share with their younger selves.




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1. Get serious about learning

There are three things I wish I’d known in my 20s. First, get serious about learning. For the cost of a $10 book, you can get the knowledge it took others a lifetime to accrue. Become obsessed with learning about business, sales, and marketing. I didn’t do that until after one of my first business partners took advantage of me. You think education is expensive? Ignorance will cost you a fortune.

Which brings me to my second point: choose your business partners carefully. You can’t do a good deal with a bad partner. I would rather do an average deal with a great partner because when you work well together, you can make it great.

Finally, don’t be so arrogant. Once I started becoming successful, I felt like I was invincible and lost money on several investments as a result. Stay humble and be open-minded — because you can learn something from everyone.

Dan Lok, Chinese Canadian serial entrepreneur, global educator, and international best-selling author of “Unlock It!“; two-time TEDx opening speaker and founder of, which connects companies to closers. Follow Dan on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram.

2. Find a mentor and solve bigger problems

If I could send a letter to who I was a decade and a half ago, it would say two things. First, find a mentor. Then solve bigger, more sophisticated problems so you can make more money and have a bigger impact.

Invest in more mentors right away. They may even be free, though you’ll need to put in some sweat equity. For example, when I was a personal trainer, one of my clients mentored me while I trained him in the gym. I got a lot of exposure to entrepreneurial lessons I would not have access to otherwise. Get coaching, join masterminds, and pay for a mentor if you must. Go to events where you can be mentored by those who are miles ahead of you and have done what you want to achieve. Collapse time and get an outcome faster, with less frustration and less money.  

Then solve bigger and more sophisticated problems for people, because that’s how you make more money and have more of an impact on others’ lives.

— Bedros Keuilian, founder of Fit Body Boot Camp, author of “Man Up,” and host of “Empire Podcast Show.” Read how Bedros built his dream life and connect with Bedros on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube.

3. Learn to sell face-to-face

If I could write a letter to my 21-year-old self, this is what it would say: First, stop drinking so much. Develop sober social skills. Second, shed your introverted excuses and learn to sell in person, face-to-face. This is one of the most important skills that anyone can develop at any age. The sooner you use it, the faster you’ll grow rich, find the love of your life, be a better conversationalist, and master your sober social skills.

Third, stop working for money and start working for experience. Find the most successful person who shares your morals and ethics, offer value so they agree to take you on as an apprentice, and never, ever let them down. These might be the three greatest investments you ever make in your life.

Craig Ballantyne, owner of Early to Rise and creator of The Perfect Day Formula and Social Story Selling System; author of the WSJ best-seller “Unstoppable“; read how Craig overcame entrepreneurial anxiety. Follow Craig on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn.

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