If You Knew Then, What You Know Now …

–What Pearls Of Wisdom Would You Share?

How many times have you said to yourself, if I only knew then what I know now? Everything that has happened to me, to you, to your parents, your siblings, your friends, all of these events have molded us into the people we have become. We all have things we would have liked to have avoided. All the bad, all the mistakes, all the life lessons – give you the one thing you weren’t born with. Confidence. Confidence in yourself and the belief that you can overcome anything. Life teaches you lessons to get you to where you need to be.

Have no regrets in life because of the choices you make. Good or bad, they are a learning experience, to help you grow. The only regret in life, is to never make a choice at all.

― James Hauenstein

Have you ever thought about going back in time and having a conversation with yourself at 18?

What would say? What pearls of wisdom would you tell yourself? What stories would you tell? Would you issue warnings or draw a map of the future? Would you gloss over the bad and focus on the good? What about regrets?  What would you say to you?

Now take those lessons and put them to use. Please share your wisdom of experience below in hopes that others may reap value from your “school of hard knocks” … ⤵︎


Dennis Pitocco
Dennis Pitocco
DENNIS is the Founder & Chief ReImaginator of 360° Nation, encompassing a wide range of multimedia enterprises, including BizCatalyst 360° —the award-winning global media digest; 360° Nation Studios —dedicated to reaching across the world in an effort to capture, produce, and deliver positive, uplifting messages via blockbuster global events, and; GoodWorks 360° —a pro-bono consulting foundation focused entirely on providing mission-critical advisory services to nonprofits worldwide. Collaborating with his Chief Inspiration Officer (and wife), Ali, everything they do is "for-good" vs. "for-profit". Their mission over the past decade-plus has been to rediscover humanity at its best, influencing and showcasing it every step of the way. Together, they do their very best to figure out what the world is trying to be —then using all their resources to help it to be better every day in every way. They understand and embrace the notion that it’s not about me or you; it’s about caring for the people we serve and more responsibly stewarding the precious resources in our care. And they believe it’s about showing up, being present, and intentionally giving our invaluable gifts of time, talent, and treasure "for good". Dennis is a contributing author to the Best-Selling Books ♦ Chaos to Clarity: Sacred Stories of Transformational ChangeJourney Well, You Are More Than EnoughThe Four-Fold Formula For All Things Wellness: True Stories of the Heart, Spirit, Mind, and Body.

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  1. Wow. I think I could write a few pages of gold nuggets.
    One, that comes to mind first is: be honest. Be as honest as you can with each other. Sometimes the things we don’t know about someone, would make a huge difference in how we thought of them, or how we treated them.
    Two: be kind to everyone.
    Three: never give up. No bad time lasts forever. Things change. People change. You can change a bad situation.
    Very nice thought provoker Dennis.

  2. I am certain I would tell my 18 year old self to follow her heart and pursue her passions. I will not regret having not for I have learned a great deal along the way. Looking back is futile unless you do so in an attempt to not make the same mistake again.

  3. Dennis, thanks for building on an idea that can make a difference. My Pearl of Wisdom would be: Listen to your Inner Guidance even the guidance is in Dreams because our dreams are a microcosm of our waking world. Then take all your beautiful Pearls of Wisdom, string them together, and wear them with pride.

  4. If I could have a conversation with myself at 18 … Rather than giving advice, I would aim to hold space for my younger self to question and explore. I would like to demonstrate the beauty of changing my reactions to others and to events in my life rather than consuming copious amounts of energy to change others and to change events in my life. The shift is subtle yet profound.

  5. When you’ve had difficult people in your life, people who were cruel, their behavior had nothing to do with you. It simply isn’t about you.
    That said, pay attention to the patterns in your life: When you’ve experienced that kind of cruelty multiple times, you have to see your role in it. Are you inviting this into your life (there’s NEVER an excuse for bullying)? Are you contributing to the friction with your reactions and responses to the cruelty? Sometimes the lesson is that you can walk away when something isn’t right for you. Choose yourself.

    • Great point here, Sarah – the importance of paying attention to patterns, as one can ultimately recognize their role in repeating patterns. And of course, walking away may be the best first step in the right direction in our journey of self-discovery. Thanks for sharing such authentic wisdom!

  6. Great stuff Dennis. A wise reminder for all of us to build our moral compasses and live purposeful lives. Along those lines, one of the best pearls of wisdom I heard as a college student came from an oil and gas executive who was also a philanthropist. He said, “Mark, we all have 168 hours during the week… more and no less.” It is incumbent to make the most out of these doing our very best. No expectation can be higher or lower.”

  7. I love these thoughts, Dennis. Thank you for bringing them to the table this morning. As I am about to attend my 30 year HS reunion this weekend, this post is timely and relevant.

    My pearls of wisdom would be the three things that my mom always shared with me that I didn’t quite grasp until after she passed away:
    ~Don’t let the turkeys get you down.
    ~You are made of good stuff.
    ~What are you going to do?

    Things I’ve learned – so much! Life fluctuates. There will be hurdles, and some are easier to jump than others. Some may even knock you down and perhaps knock you out. But, you WILL rise strong. Channel your strength, embrace your tribe, live for today. Worry gets you nowhere. Believe in yourself and know that connecting the dots isn’t always linear. But they do connect eventually.

  8. Good question, Dennis. I think about this often. Especially in my case when I swallowed everything hook, line, and sinker. And before I leave my “nugget”, my biggest concern in thinking this way is that people feel shameful because they might think, “why was I so stupid…..”.
    That doesn’t mean we can’t share our nuggets with others, younger people.
    If I could talk to my younger self – and really know that it really was I – I’d tell myself to question things. Don’t accept everything like I did. It’s not wrong to question because you may end up agreeing. As I like to say, “Questions are important. The answers may change but if we don’t ask, there’s no need to continue searching for the truth.”

    • Indeed John, Questions matter at all stages of our life, particularly when we’re young and inexperienced. And as you say, we should never stop asking, as it’s all part of the journey of discovering who we are and building our understanding (and our character) from the ground up… Thanks for sharing!

  9. Thank you for this thought provoking question Dennis. I would more quickly have discerned and contemplated those times when I felt coerced into decisions that were out of alignment with my surprising inner wisdom as a young woman. We sometimes forget with the demands of adult life that we have the innate wisdom for our unique self expression in the gift that is our life.

  10. We are what we live, we are what we do, we are emotions, feelings, we are words, tears, smiles, we are places, gestures, thoughts and all this is life. We are life.
    We are our relationships, the places we live, our successes and our failures; in summary we are the experiences we do and what we will do. Above all we are the way we classify and remember these experiences and the emotions we felt while we lived them.
    So: relationships, places, emotions. The sum of all this and the ability to learn and “make ours” past experiences constitute the personality.
    Another important element that contributes to characterizing our experiences is our origin. “Where do we come from?” it is perhaps one of the most structuring questions for all of us. The values that have been handed down to us in the family and in the places we have lived, the values we like like those that fundamentally disturb us, must be clear to make a selection from time to time. Very often we are pushed in different directions and whatever we think we do we feel that “we are betraying” something or someone. Choosing with awareness is the only way to live without regrets: sometimes we will act in one direction, another time in in another but we will know that we have acted by popping the best arrow we had in our bow.
    Everyone’s personality is in this case a real creative act that we carry out continuously: we are and we all feel a bit like artists, actors, criminals, guardians, courageous, proud, fearful, confused … and sometimes all together! Awareness is what can keep us anchored to one meaning: where we come from … where we go. If we are aware we will be able to choose the best ways to relate to others and use our best qualities appropriate to the specific context we are experiencing.
    With a thorough knowledge of ourselves and the elements listed so far we are ready for our small revolution: we are ready to replace the “must do” and “must be” with “I can do, I can be” … or better: “I choose to do, I choose to be “what is interesting and useful for me. In this sense, being in balance with oneself also means bringing balance to the environment around us and therefore also to those close to us who are dearer to us. If I change, change the world around me.

  11. Thank you for asking these questions, Dennis. Here’s some of what I would say: It will be safe one day to tell your story of rising strong and overcoming what was heinous and unspeakable in your past. The words and behaviors of others, even those closest to you, are not about you, even though they kept telling you it was you. Their words and deeds only reveal the pain they are struggling with and you will see this fully as you continue to heal and transform your life. You will become the embodiment of transformations and a bright light that can inspire many others. You are magnificent and a miracle. Your life is such a precious gift. You have gifts, talents, joys, and skills uniquely yours.

    Even though people couldn’t hear your truth when you bravely spoke it as a child, keep sharing your experiences because there are those who will listen, hear you fully, and still love and accept you. You are not ever alone. You can forgive the past and find profound compassion inside your heart and soul. You will be celebrated and you have an immense capacity to celebrate others. Your life matters to our world.

    Everything that’s happened to you has happened for you to rise with vulnerability, courage, humility, grace, and strength, to support you in becoming your True Self, your Essential Self filled with love, a being that your future self and God/Source/Universe will be proud of. You are bigger than anything that ever happened to you. You will create a life you love living in service to others with joy and generosity.

    • Persistence and resilience in the face of life-challenges, Laura. Remember your strength, remember your integrity and always remain true to the one person in the world you can always count on- yourself. Thanks for sharing!

  12. Life isn’t always fair and people aren’t always nice. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t strive to be both. You might get ahead with opportunity and luck, but you’ll grow the most from your missteps and mistakes. Embrace them. Learn from them. Let them root you in humility and the continual quest to be better.

  13. Never be afraid to see things as they are. Never dull your shine. Take each lesson that life hands to you and learn it. Incorporate it into the fabric of your soul and know that someday, you will use them to help others. Never doubt your place in this world. Just remember it is completely up to you to make it. Be strong. Live first for yourself. Be right with you. Then be there for others. Second-guessing yourself gets you nowhere. Trust your gut, trust your instincts. Never lose your fight. Be strong. You will get to exactly where you need to be. Trust in that. … And always, and I mean always – do the right thing.