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Blake Henegan

Optimus Learning Services

Managing Director

Read more from Blake Henegan

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What would be the one piece of advice…

default-16x9 would give to yourself when you were 20 which you wish you had received?

Recently I posted a discussion onto a Learning and Development group on LinkedIn with the above title. Due to the overwhelming response I received I decided to sum up the key points that arose from the discussion.


The most popular advice given throughout the discussion was confidence. It seems that many people were short of confidence as a 20 year old and wish they had done things then that they were too afraid to do at the time. Confidence is a massive part of our lives and will regularly have a huge bearing on our actions. Unfortunately, for those of us not naturally blessed with it, it usually takes success to build it – however without it you will tend not to put yourself in positions to achieve this success. This creates a vicious circle. However the advice to come out of the discussion is to accept that we only live once and the consequences of failure are nearly never as bad as we think they are. So when an opportunity arises whether in a professional or personal context – take a deep breath and go for it as even failure feels better than regret.

Continual Learning

As we are in Learning and Development the next piece of advice that was common was fairly obvious – always continue to learn. Often when we leave school or university we feel we know everything there is to know however this is never the case. Often it is better to act on the belief that you actually know nothing. Absorb things like a sponge for your entire life as it will help you develop both as a person and an asset. Our ’15 minutes of learning everyday’ blog has advice on how you can keep learning.

Total Commitment

The next large theme to come from the discussion was the idea of doing the very best that you can in everything you do. As mentioned before, regret is painful. Think back to some of the disappointments in your life – how much better did you feel afterwards if you really gave it your all rather than holding back or being lazy? The answer is probably a lot better. If something is worth doing it is worth doing properly so always look to stretch yourself as it will keep you ahead of the rest and continually make life more interesting.


The final large theme is very simply – enjoy life and stop worrying about everything. Worrying achieves nothing. It stresses you out leading to all kinds of health issues and will only make you less productive. If your job is causing you substantial stress than maybe it is time for a career change. You only live once so make sure you enjoy it.

There were a lot of pieces of advice we couldn’t fit into the blog so you can read them all here but we feel confidence, continual learning, total commitment and enjoyment were the best. Here are a few of our personal favourites directly from the discussion –

Tara Hesson - Don't take yourself too seriously. Have confidence. Find and use your voice. Soar to the heights you are meant to fly to!

Trudi Lowry - Drive my passions; do not let life circumstances drive me.

Manjit Handa - At 20 you don't know your own talent. The only way to find your capabilities and limitations is to stretch yourself. The only way to stretch yourself is to hitch your wagon to the high-achievers. Avoid slackers.

Joseph Connaughton - Take risks and make your own way. It's easier to get forgiveness than permission. You are your best mentor in developing your professional career.

Dave Pina - I was giving this advice and it kept me young: Never worry...Worrying is like a rocking chair, you’re doing something but going nowhere! Got a problem, fix it. It’s up to you!

Blake Henegan - Director at  Optimus Learning Services

2 Responses

  1. definitely worry less and

    definitely worry less and have as much fun as you can – not only are you happier but so are the people around you!

  2. Advice

    Don't take things too personally – and keep smiling when it gets tough (oh, and don't take yourself too seriously!).

Author Profile Picture
Blake Henegan

Managing Director

Read more from Blake Henegan

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