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Sometimes you have a special interaction with someone and in the moment you know it is special, but you don’t know why.

He Sat Down Next to me and Just Started Talking

 He looked like he was in his 30s, with calm and confident look, and he was coming directly toward me. To my surprise, he sat right next to me and looked me straight in the eyes and just started talking. Somehow it wasn’t strange and I immediately began paying attention to his words.

It was like he knew my fears and worries. I don’t remember all that he said but everything was helpful or I knew it would be.  After our interaction I was a bit overwhelmed and knew I needed to think about what he said.

I’m Not Sure Who He Was

I’m not sure who he was but for some reason I trusted him, I knew what he said was important and important for me, specifically. He knew what was in my heart and encouraged me in so many ways. This was special and I knew it, so I wanted to pay attention and take advantage of the opportunity to talk with him.

Nobody seemed to notice how deep and real our conversation got. After a few minutes, I finally got the courage to ask him a question.

I Asked Him What Should I do Different

After some time I got up the courage to ask him. What should I do different? I knew he would have answers for me, answers that I would need then and later in life. His response to my simple question was a list for me to think about.

  • Talk less and listen more
  • Find things you can do with your hands, learn from these and ask others to teach you.
  • Pay attention in math and english classes.
  • Seek wisdom from people older than you.
  • Don’t let girls derail you.
  • Don’t worry about what others think of you.
  • Then he threw me off a bit, he said, “trust Jesus with your heart.”

Why would I trust Jesus? Where was this coming from? I didn’t have any interest in God. Then he simply explained that my life will never be the same if I do. He told me to pray and trust my heart to my Heavenly Father and he left it at that for me to ponder.

Spend Time with your Dad

Sitting there a little confused but deep down knowing I needed to explore this, he started talking about my dad. He explained that just like my relationship with my Heavenly Father, that I should spend time with my dad. I thought I spent enough time with my dad already.

I didn’t understand what he meant, so I asked him what he meant. He said, “your father loves you and wants time with you, he wants to teach you and give you wisdom. Give him time to do that, remember what I said about talk less and listen more.” He said to start spending time with him doing the things I am passionate about but to learn about his too.

Follow Your Passions in Life

He asked me, “are you passionate about sports?” Of course I was it was and is a huge part of my life, I explained. Then he told me to follow my passion for sports, it would help define my life. Then he looked me in the eyes and said, “you will change people’s lives if you follow your passions.” I looked at him and I believed him, but I was afraid I would fail if I followed my passions.

Don’t Be Afraid to Fail

Then he told me to not be afraid to fail, some of my greatest success in life would be born out of failure. These failures would be the catalyst for my future successes and I could use them to help others. He said to not be afraid to fail in that which you are passionate about and then he told me don’t be afraid to try new stuff, even if you don’t know how and could fail.

At this point, I was beginning to understand this man was telling me about my future if I chose to change my ways and that I had to get over the fears I was experiencing. He was touching on the important things in my life and things I hadn’t even thought of before. It was a serious conversation, but it wasn’t too serious and he ended our talk with an encouragement to find fun stuff to do with other people.

Do Fun Stuff

He told me when I overcome these fears of failure I need to just do fun stuff. This was weird to hear but he explained it more. He told me to get outside my box of the things I knew and try new and different things. This is where my relationships would begin. Just do fun stuff and you’ll find things and people you are passionate about.

The adventures would come and so would the learning, but I had to remember the  follow through on the things he said and especially to trust my heart to God. After this he got up and walked away, no goodbye, no my name is, gone. Somehow I knew I would see him again.

The Story

This is how I envision an encounter with my future self, if I were go into the past and give myself encouraging words and advice. There are so many things I would tell myself if I could go back, many mistakes I would want to stop myself from making. But I think the most effective advice I could give myself would be simple like these and without detail so I would have to explore them myself.

What would your future self tell you when you were a freshman in high school?