19 Things Knowmads Taught Me at 19 by Emily Vierthaler
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19 Things Knowmads Taught Me at 19 by Emily Vierthaler

Since some guy already did 19 Things I learned Before I was 19 and I feel I’ve had more than a lifetime of learning thrown my way during just nine months of being 19 itself (and especially during 6 months at Knowmads), I decided in his honor to do 19 Things Knowmads Taught Me at 19.

I shared this during my final presentation and it was the crystallization of my learning journey here. In addition to both hard and soft skills in business and communication, I learned a lot about my own existence. It wasn’t exactly informational learning on the cognitive level: rather, a gentle, quiet dawning of awareness, a knowing, that I am worth taking a spot in the world as a fellow human and I can make my life whatever I want it to be.

Many of my Knowmads learnings center around being humble, open, and observant enough to learn from every situation, no matter how ordinary it appears. Our existence is all about perceiving the world, so let the information you take in nourish your personal growth. And let the lack of answers also nourish you: Feel wonder when you look at nature, at life; at things that cannot be explained. This intentional way of perceiving and moving through the world shapes a person who can not only survive hardship but also continually evolve on all levels of personhood: emotionally, intellectually, physically, empathetically. This constant state of growth (an oxymoronic term, to be sure) is the state to be in that I believe develops a successful person.

19 Things Knowmads Taught Me at 19

  1. Take a big risk to begin your real adult life. Turn it upside down and learn to land on your feet. See the world from a different perspective.
  2. Listen long and hard. Everyone you meet is a teacher. And keep listening. It is only human nature for the other to fill the silence, and your mind, with their musings, wisdom, opinions, and experience.
  3. Take everything with a grain of salt, including your own fiercely-defended beliefs. Dig up what you really believe; dust it off; see if it still serves you.
  4. Open your mind, your heart, and your hands. Be completely willing.
  5. Work on learning a language every day.
  6. Work out and stretch in your room before bed every day.
  7. In the same vein: Replace unproductive habits with ones that will serve you.
  8. Practice in little gaps of time afforded to you by a delayed bus, a slow shower-taker; a stoplight.
  9. Be conscious of your thoughts. They shape you and the external world in ways you cannot yet see.
  10. Be humble by being yourself. It’s not egotistical to express yourself and use your talents.
  11. Tell the truth, always.
  12. Don’t care what people think. News flash: it’s also a form of egotism to think that people constantly care about how you look and act.
  13. Explore in the spirit of spontaneity. Turn down that alleyway because it intrigues you.
  14. Sit by the water. Put pen to paper. Don’t think.
  15. Feel gratitude for everything. The way you move through the world should be a living, breathing exercise in gratitude.
  16. Call your family. They miss you. And you miss them. Celebrate that they are there for you, and be there for them.
  17. Believe in serendipity. Ask for help.
  18. Work hard but know you can’t control the outcome. Accept it.
  19. And finally, you are not your physical age or form. You are a timeless being just like all the other life forms here on Earth. Embrace it. Embrace the oneness. Your circumstances, your physical form, does not amount to the vastness of your soul. SO BE IT.

(AND because a list of 19 things couldn’t contain the most important ones):

  1. Do something unexpected to help someone out. Buy that homeless man a steak. I bet he hasn’t had one in years.
  2. That bad haircut WILL grow out.
  3. YOU DON’T KNOW ANYTHING. But keep going, friend.

Written by Emily Vierthaler – Tribe 15

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