Mojo Moments Cheat Sheet #1 | Advice You Wished You Had At 16 cover image
Listen to this special episode of the Mojo Moments podcast to find out what advice every guest of Season 1 would give to their 16-year-old self.
Thane Calder
Thane Calder

Hi everyone and welcome to Mojo Moments, I’m your host Thane Calder. 

 

As we are wrapping up the first season of Mojo Moments, and with kids and parents entering an incredibly challenging back-to-school season during this COVID pandemic, we felt it was a good moment to compile our guests’ answers on the one question that I ask everyone: what advice would you give to your 16 year old self. 

 

Now, it’s a selfish question as I have a 16-year-old son, and I essentially can steal these answers from other wise souls to share at home.

 

So here, in order are those answers from Andy Nulman, Christiane Germain, Bernard Mariette, Mitch Joel, Helen Antoniou, Amy Black and Julian Giacomelli. 

 

Listen up!

Andy Nulman

Thane
Thane

So just in case you believe in reincarnation, if you could give one piece of advice that you could tell yourself, to your 16 year old self. What would it be?

Andy Nulman
Andy Nulman

You know, I just re-lived my 16 year old self, and, in the end, I guess if I had to give, it's advice that I give all the time to everyone. And that is, you know, it sounds trite, but it's - it's also a catch phrase from the movie Meatballs, but, "It just doesn't matter." It just doesn't matter. What I mean by that is I can go back and let me tell you, I looked at all those date books and looked at all the highs and the lows, and you get by it. You get, you know, time has this wonderful effect of putting layers of comfort over raw open wounds.

And, there are very few things that I did, very few mistakes I made, very few - not to say I didn't make, I made tons of, but there are very few that really had a lasting effect, that I wasn't able to get over it. But you think at the time, “Oh my God, it's the end of the world,” but it's not the end of world. The only – not even COVID 19 is the end of the world. It's as close as most of us will ever get, let me tell you. But, nothing really is the end of the world.

I used to tell, always the people at Just for Laughs, I don't know if you were there, Thane, when I gave this speech, but I gave it every year and I would tell the employees, particularly the young summer employees, "Guys, nothing you can do will kill this. You cannot kill- this event is too big for you to kill. Nothing you can do will kill this. Take your shot, do something different. Take a risk. Do what you think is best. Don't be stupid, but even if you are stupid, you're still not going to kill this. Nothing you're going to do is going to kill this. So be brave. Be brave and realize that today's horror story is something that you're all going to laugh at, you know, over drinks in the bar one day when they open up bars again." But, that really is the advice. It just doesn't matter.

Thane
Thane

That is a huge closing to this. And when we're quoting Meatballs, to feel good in a very meaningful way, about the COVID period...

Christiane Germain

Thane
Thane

So, Christiane, here's our wrap up question. What would be the one piece of advice you would give yourself, back in 1988? That you know now, but if you could talk to you starting out in 1988, what would be the one advice you'd give yourself? 

Christiane Germain
Christiane Germain

I think I would tell... I would tell myself to spend a little more time getting to know myself. And try not to please everyone. I started this business and I started working very young cause I didn't go to, I didn't like going to school. So, you know, I didn't study for too long. So I started working young, started this company when I was young. I did everything when I was young and... I had a lot of energy. I wanted to be successful- not successful, but I wanted to be able to earn my own money, to be independent. That was very important.

But I didn't spend too much, I didn't spend time getting to know myself, to really understand what I wanted to be, who I wanted to be. It was not about me. It was just about, everything else but me and, it was just like making sure everybody was happy, pleasing everybody and yadada... And it's fine. You know, it's... but today going back, if I, yeah, spend a little bit more time getting to know yourself, what you really want and, uh...

Thane
Thane

Yeah. No, but that's really interesting. That's really interesting. I sometimes wonder if, can someone just do that? Or it's through the process of doing all the things that they get to know themselves at the same time? You know, like it's a...

Christiane Germain
Christiane Germain

Yeah. But it wasn't, you know, going back, I don't know how many years ago, but it was not, you couldn't do that. It was just... especially, and I have to say it, especially as a woman, you couldn't do that. You know, getting to know yourself a little bit more, understanding who you are, understanding, no, you couldn't do that! It was just go go go, and, you know, make sure it works.

Thane
Thane

Definitely for women entrepreneurs, there's that reality of having to always prove a little more...

Christiane Germain
Christiane Germain

Oh my God. It was all about showing that you can do it, you know? 

Thane
Thane

Yeah. 

Christiane Germain
Christiane Germain

Showing, I mean, you have to show you can do it, and you can do it. And you have a family, but you can do it all, go, go, go. You know, so there was nothing about me, what I really wanted, and so yeah, if I was going back, I would take a little bit more time understanding myself. Yeah. 

Bernard Mariette

Thane
Thane

So, Bernard, one little last little territory I'd like to explore with you. If you were to give yourself, say the 20 year, kid that was apple picking… give that Bernard apple-picking kid advice, based on what you know now, like what would you say?

Bernard Mariette
Bernard Mariette

It's very interesting because what I know is that I truly don't know anything. Before, you know, I would have said, well, do an MBA and do this and do that. But now I honestly don't know what I would tell him.

I mean, one thing I will tell him is be yourself. Don't try to copy somebody because you've seen them on Instagram. Don't try to copy somebody because he's making tons of money. Be yourself. Try to be really, really good with people... Avoid being selfish. And by the way, when I'm telling you that, this is things I'm telling myself. That's what I would tell him, be yourself and don't worry about if you're not in the path.

Thane
Thane

That is awesome.

Bernard Mariette
Bernard Mariette

Thank you.

Mitch Joel

Thane
Thane

So, the last question - I like doing this mainly cause I have a, my eldest son is 16 and I guess next year it'll have to be 17, but anyway, I like ending off with this question cause I'm trying to find advice to give him, he's sort of leading the pack with the kids of trying to get on the right path.

And so if you could meet you, your 16 year old you, Mitch, what's the one piece of advice that you would tell yourself?

Mitch Joel
Mitch Joel

So it'll be two things. One is, I would definitely tell myself to be braver. Like, ask that person out. Don't stay in your head. Be braver, because this path that you seem very unsure about when you look at others is an excellent path. Keep at it, you know? So be braver in your own self awareness. That would be one thing. 

And I think the breakdown of it is something that I tell my kids every day. And if you pull them in here, even my youngest who's in kindergarten will say, before you go to school, what does dad say? And I always say to them to go in with a positive attitude, to ask great questions and to pay attention.

And I think that if I could go back and I couldn't talk about just stay the path, cause you don't want to break the whole time-space continuum thing by telling me that I'll do it, it's like a Back to the Future moment.

Thane
Thane

Only you would worry about that. But anyway, go ahead. 

Mitch Joel
Mitch Joel

I would probably just say, you know, positive attitude, ask great questions and pay attention. I mean, that's the secret of life. 

Thane
Thane

I'm writing this down.

Mitch Joel
Mitch Joel

I say it to myself every day, right? Cause it's really easy to not go in with a positive attitude. And when I say ask great questions, I didn't say ask questions. Cause "ask great questions" forces you to think like, is this a great question? And paying attention is like, we talked about listening, using your eyes, body, letting people talk, letting them finishing their sentence, hearing things... Like, I mean, would you be where you were, would I be where I am, if we weren't paying a lot of attention? I don't think so.

Thane
Thane

So the Mitch three-step program here is this yours, or did this come from some other inspired person? 

Mitch Joel
Mitch Joel

No, I don't know. I just know that I say to my kids, it's the point where I'll say to them "guys, remember..." they go, “go in with a positive attitude, ask great questions, pay attention." And I go, I don't care if that's all they remember from me, that’s fine.

Thane
Thane

You know, there's going to be a period where they're going to do the exact opposite of that.

Mitch Joel
Mitch Joel

Oh it's starting.

Thane
Thane

But they'll be like, you know what, I'm going in with the negative attitude. I'm not going to ask questions and I'm just going to be spaced out here just, to you know, piss off dad. 

Mitch Joel
Mitch Joel

They're going hardcore at that right now, actually.

Thane
Thane

Well, I can understand, man. It's... unique times.

Helen Antoniou

Thane
Thane

And here's the last question. And I realized why we might have put this up, cause I have a 16 year old, my eldest son is 16. And I'm seeking advice indirectly. So, you know, if you could give your own 16 year old self, if you could give that 16 year old advice, what would that be?

Helen Antoniou
Helen Antoniou

I guess it is to really try to take advantage of every phase of your life and not try to fast forward and not try to regret or rewind. It's more of the... try every single phase, even if it's a hard one. Because, it serves something. If it's a hard one, it serves your growth, and if it's a good one, then you should be grateful and thankful. You know, everyone talks about mindfulness or whatever, but it's not that. It's really to appreciate where you're at right now. And every single phase has something to contribute to your growth.

Thane
Thane

That's awesome. Actually, you know, when I'm watching my own kids in this period, I feel they're being rock stars generally. 

Helen Antoniou
Helen Antoniou

Yeah, yeah.

Thane
Thane

Making the most of it.

Amy Black

Thane
Thane

Question number five. I usually ask the question, you know, advice you would give yourself when you're 16, but since we're on the book expert theme here, what advice would you give someone to encourage their 16 year old to keep on reading, or to read it all?

Amy Black
Amy Black

I mean, I think that truly what happens, why kids stop reading is it stops having social currency. Like you don't talk to your friends anymore about, "Did you read this great book?" I mean, that happens up to a certain age, like 11, 12, maybe. And especially, I've heard a lot of this said by people who work at libraries or our sales group who talks a lot to our kids retailers, that for boys, that's especially true. It just doesn't have any cachet after a certain point. 

So I think the best thing you can do is to read a lot yourself, to be seen reading or talk about books. I mean, make them seem as relevant as they are, and also to not dwell on books as being stuffy or vehicles for self improvement. I mean, they can be silly or they can be funny or they can be, I mean, you know, books don't have to sort of have this air of pretention.

Thane
Thane

Or work. They can't feel like schoolwork.

Amy Black
Amy Black

Yeah. I mean, you know, for example, my son does read books about people in sports that he likes. And so that is like one area where, you know, we found some common ground in our respective interests, but I think having books around having books available, having books in the general atmosphere, is great. I do think that people come back to books, even if they leave them for a while in those years. And I think the last thing you want to do is kind of prescribe it, like it's bitter medicine. So...

Thane
Thane

So I just realized I did a trick based on what you're saying indirectly. So the reason why I always ask about 16, cause my eldest child is 16 and I'm like, I need tips.

So the school gave them the old reading list for the summer. And when we're choosing the books, my wife said like "you're..." my wife's Francophone, so, I'm Anglophone, "you're in charge of the English books." So I spotted the ones I wanted to read. And one of them I want to reread is Liar's Poker. So when it arrived, I just grabbed it.

I was like, I want to start reading this cause it's been a long time. So he actually grabbed it back and is digging into it and asked me a lot of questions - it's all about wall street, back in the heyday of wall-streetness, so we're kind of riffing on that. That's kind of fun. So I did it, you know, by accident.

Amy Black
Amy Black

Well, it was genuine. And I think that's really, I think kids, if you can call a 16 year old kid, they respond to that. I mean, I think anyone does, like, if you have somebody that is saying something with sincerity, it's really, it can be hard to resist. So I think that's a perfect example. You know, it was a natural born enthusiasm that you...

Thane
Thane

Channeled.

Amy Black
Amy Black

You chaneled it.

Thane
Thane

I had my good dad moment.

Amy Black
Amy Black

Well done.

Thane
Thane

Well done. Thank you.

Julian Giacomelli

Thane
Thane

So you meet up with the 16 year old Julian, you. What's the advice you're giving you?

Julian Giacomelli
Julian Giacomelli

Oh, God. Easy. I mean, try to start figuring out what really matters to you. I was very motivated by what others thought I was meant to be doing. And so I think I was quite late to develop a sense of self-knowledge.

And I know that that's... To a 16 year old, I wouldn't phrase it quite that way, but I would be, definitely encourage young Julian to be not afraid to honor the things that felt a bit different about what was interesting to me. And I think that I, it took me a long time to get a step out of that, like, "How do I need to be classically successful?" 

And I think there's something to be said, and then I'm increasingly - I don't have any kids of my own, but my amazing girlfriend has two boys, three and five. And I think that somehow finding a way to tap into our individual kind of gifts earlier is important.

I mean, you're a father. You know, we - I think we, this is simultaneously like you, you want them to be happy and successful, so you sort of push someone away, but it's like really honoring the uniqueness and what it is that they're all about. Cause I feel like that was starved in me, not - it was my own choice. No one beat me over the head. I was just so motivated by all those great schools to be like...

Thane
Thane

So let's go, can we go down this rabbit hole for a second? Because actually the one question we ask in every one of our podcasts is this one question. It's the only one that's a repeat for sure. Sometimes we do repeat things, but this one has always been there, it's our last question. My eldest son is 16. And so I'm essentially stealing this for helping me giving sound advice. What you just shared is actually pretty much a common theme. The question I've never asked is how does a 16 year old get a sense of that self-awareness?

Julian Giacomelli
Julian Giacomelli

Yeah.

Thane
Thane

Cause it's a weird age, you know, because there's so many pressures...

Julian Giacomelli
Julian Giacomelli

Sixteen might be... I wouldn't say it's too early, you know, I guess it's like, we all saw the Dead Poets Society, where you have the teacher or the influencer, who's not your parents, who encourages you to just hold on to crazy ideas.

So I don't know, I guess maybe more relevant to be thinking about that in your early twenties. I think at 16, 17 years, you're grappling with so much of like, what's it like to be a teenager? And... It's a great question. How do you do it? Because asking a couple of questions, won't do it. You're so driven by the pressure of peers and what's happening at home.

Maybe one of the ways, and it's one of the things that I I believe is to try to get out on some kind of - again, I wouldn't call it a vision quest because at that age you have no idea what that means, but to get out of those... to go and do a month long trip of some kind to get out of the zones where you're buffeted by and driven by, you know, like not the soccer camp that your dad wanted you to go to. Like, that may be it, but, you know, so whether it's a workaway thing or, I had this place in Fredericksburg out in the townships. And I was like, I want to run a summer school where you're not telling them "That's what it's all about." Like you don't, there's no theory. Cause it's not that. 

It's more just like letting them come out of all of the programming that comes from day to day life, which is normal. You need schools, you need - all this guidance comes from caregivers and comes in a good way, but to take them out of that and let them explore that a little bit more, with activities and projects. And develop that - it's sort of like, I would say that it's developing a confidence, that ideas that come up that might be different or that fly in the face of what mom, dad, and the school teachers say, are okay to entertain.

Some kids have that, right? You had those kids in your class that were like, "F you I'm going to be a rockstar.

Thane
Thane

Oh, there's very few. I'd say like there's...

Julian Giacomelli
Julian Giacomelli

Yeah. And a lot of the time that's misguided, but it's as those ideas come up is to listen and honor them and to not just throw them out and try to step in line and do, not something everyone else is doing.

Like we weren't told to be all the same, but being guided by these really general, like "Here's what you should do, what you couldn't do." And I think that would have been fun for me to have some way to build more of that in my sort of late teens, early twenties...

Thane
Thane

Yeah. And a lot of the time that's misguided, but it's as those ideas come up is to listen and honor them and to not just throw them out and try to step in line and do, not something everyone else is doing.

Like we weren't told to be all the same, but being guided by these really general, like "Here's what you should do, what you couldn't do." And I think that would have been fun for me to have some way to build more of that in my sort of late teens, early twenties...

Julian Giacomelli
Julian Giacomelli

Yeah, we're stewards. I mean, you said it, those are the words, you know, what you learn about living systems is we create the conditions for growth. You don't look at the plant and pull it out of the ground.

So we create the conditions, we're aware, and then you just let nature take itself and you can guide and work a little bit on it, but you don't... you know, too much of it is driven by our ideas of what things should be, and... but of course that requires our own self awareness. And if you don't have it as parent, then it's harder to even know what that means, right?

Thane
Thane

And that’s a wrap! You can spot some common elements here, and for sure all of this is way easier said than done, particularly if you’re trying to convince a 16 year old … 

But it starts with finding what inspires and motivates you and being prepared for that to change over time. 

Then there’s being brave in pursuing your objectives and trusting yourself and your ideas. This too gets easier the more experience you have.

So, we hope you enjoyed this discussion, and good luck with your 16 year old.

Thanks again to Chris Velan for taking us away, make sure to subscribe to the podcast, share it around you, and give it a five star rating on Apple Podcasts. 

Take care, speak soon.

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