We rounded up 100 of the most successful people and asked for their advice to their younger selves

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A few years ago I was full of self-doubt and thought I wasn’t good enough. I lacked confidence, had many limiting beliefs and was paralyzed by my fears. Furthermore, I didn’t know what I wanted to do after college and how to make a success of myself.

However, my life began to change after reading some brilliant books and implementing their lessons in my personal life. I am now a 22-year-old entrepreneur, author, and show host. I can say I have experienced early “success” relative to my age.

I see so many young people with untapped potential who can offer so much more to the world. I want to take them with me and give them a Head Start in life. This gave me the crazy and audacious idea to ask the world’s most successful people to give their best advice to their younger selves.

I started reaching out to all the people who I deeply admired and who impacted my life. I’m quite the nerd and I’ve read and kept up to date on many people (I don’t Facebook stalk, I LinkedIn stalk).

After 600+ emails and 30+ hours of research, I didn’t expect much of a response. However, to my surprise, I started getting replies!

I got answers from over 100 people, including New York Times and international bestselling authors, 2 Nobel Prize winners (casual), media moguls, billionaires, CEO’s of the world’s largest organizations, leading investors, someone who was knighted and some of the world’s greatest leaders.

I was both shocked and excited when they responded. I would have uncontrollable outbursts and shout, “YES! Arianna Huffington replied to my email!”

I couldn’t be more excited to share this with you but before we get to the main event it’s important to take note of the following:

  1. This post is really long. If you’re looking for advice of particular person feel free to use the jump links below to take you directly to their advice.
  2. Be sure to use the “Back to top” button on the bottom right-hand side, as this post is enormous!
  3. I highly advise you read every single piece of advice from these amazing game-changers. There’s no rush, so feel free to bookmark this page for future reference.


After getting insights from over 100 world-changers it is my mission to share them with as many young people as possible. Without further ado, here is the advice that they would give to their younger selves in order to provide you with a Head Start in life (drumroll please).



Adam Braun

CEO of MissionU & Founder of Pencils of Promise


“Believe that big dreams are possible, as long as you surround yourself with incredible people and focus on listening more than speaking.”

SHIVAD’S CHEEKY COMMENT: Well, that’s a good way to start this post! Luckily, his first name starts with an “A.” The stars were aligned!

MORE ABOUT THIS AWESOME PERSON: Adam Braun is the Founder & CEO of MissionU, a one-year program that gives you the skills and experience needed to launch a successful career. He was previously Founder & CEO of Pencils of Promise, the award-winning organization that has built nearly 400 schools around the world. He is a New York Times bestselling author of The Promise of a Pencil: How an Ordinary Person Can Create Extraordinary Change.

He has been featured as a speaker at The White House, the United Nations and the Clinton Global Initiative. He has also been named to Business Insider’s 40 Under 40, Wired Magazine‘s 50 People Who Are Changing the World, and was selected as one of the World Economic Forum’s original ten Global Shapers.

Aicha Evans

Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer at Intel Corporation


“Enjoy failing fast rather than spending so much time figuring out how to be perfect or even worse being paralyzed by fear of being perfect.”

MORE ABOUT THIS AWESOME PERSON: Aicha Evans is a Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer at Intel Corporation. She is responsible for driving Intel’s long-term strategy to transform from a PC-centric company to a data-centric company, as well as leading rapid decision-making and company-wide execution of the strategy. Previously Evans was general manager of the Communication and Devices Group, responsible for driving wireless engineering for multi-comm products and Intel platforms. She was elected to the Anita Borg Institute board of trustees in 2016.

Alfred Lin

Partner at Sequoia Capital


“Live your life. Pursue your vision of the future, your passions, your version of success. Along the way, you might accomplish your wildest dream. Even if you don't, you'll learn some of the most valuable lessons in life. It is far better to put your blood, sweat, tears, and heart on the line, risk everything, and walk away with absolutely nothing than play it safe. At the very least, you will gain the knowledge that you gave it your all, you survived the struggle, and you are a better person for staring into the abyss and are able come out the other side. Life is what you make of it and it can be many things, but “safe” isn't one of them.”

SHIVAD’S CHEEKY COMMENT: This advice needs to be sent to every Asian and Indian Parent. By the way, Alfred, does your mom still want you to do your PhD?


MORE ABOUT THIS AWESOME PERSON: Alfred Lin is a businessman and venture capitalist at Sequoia Capital. He currently sits on the boards of Achievers, Houzz, Humble Bundle and Stella & Dot. Alfred focuses on consumer internet, enterprise and mobile companies. While at Harvard Lin met Tony Hsiesh the future CEO of Zappos. In 1996 Lin dropped out of a Ph.D program in Stanford to join Hsieh as CFO of LinkExchange, the company sold 18 months later to Microsoft for $265 million. Prior to Sequoia Capital, Alfred was the Chairman, COO, and CFO of Zappos.com which was acquired by Amazon for $85O million. Previously, Alfred was the VP of Finance and Business Development of Tellme Networks and co-founded Venture Frogs.


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