Kobe Bryant wrote a letter to his 17-year-old self. We thought we’d take a swing at it. Enjoy.
Dear 17-year-old self,
When your writing dream comes true, sort of, in about a decade, you need to figure out a way to invest. This sounds simple, and you make think it’s a no-brainer, but take some time to think on it further.
I said INVEST.
Let me explain.
Purely giving material things, benefits, and job security to people performing labor may appear to be the right decision. But, that Internet thing you dial up to will completely undercut the print advertising model. You will be creating “content” to entertain the true heroes out there “ideate-ing.”
You get a degree from a prestigious university. You obtain a graduate degree. You perform an unpaid internship. You think you’re investing in your success and all that comes with it. You’ll be able to afford a car, to put a down payment on a modest house, to pay your bills month to month, and to live a solid, tolerable life, right?
But the day will come when you realize that as much as you believed you were doing the right thing, you should have put down the protracted history tomes and gone into computer engineering.
You will come to understand that you were expressing your thoughts on paper because it made YOU feel good, it made YOU happy to have friends and family tell you how talented you were – and that was extremely selfish of you. While you were feeling satisfied with yourself, you were slowly eating away at your future offspring’s dreams and ambitions of attending college, bumming around Europe for a bit afterward, and enjoying that debt-free existence.
Understand that you are about to enter the on-demand economy, which is code for working you longer and harder while paying you less for it.
Invest. Trust me. Take all of that graduation money, beg your Dad for some more, and buy Apple stock. Invest. In Apple.
Use your success, wealth, and influence to not have to ponder notions of your true purpose. Don’t hold to the same level of hard work and dedication that it took for you to get where you are now. You can and are going to have to work much, much harder.
There’s plenty more I could write to you, but at 17 you don’t need to know Oasis isn’t the best band ever, growing your hair down to your shoulders freshman year won’t turn you into Robert Plant, and you’ll one day live in a world where Donald Trump (yes, that one) has a realistic chance to become President.
I’ll keep writing to you for a bit longer, though, to get this up to acceptable column length.
The next time I write to you, I may touch on how you’re going to be able to listen to any music, read any book, stream high definition video, and access the entirety of collected human knowledge from a smaller device than the high-tech piece of equipment you play snake on. I’ll explain what social media is and how that will suck the joy out of it.
The most important advice I can give you is to make sure your parents remain PARENTS. They love you. They care about you. They have and will continue to take much time away from living beautifully in the coming years figuring out the right budget for YOU and trying to set YOU up for long term success. Stop being such a dick.
Your life is about to change, and things are about to come at you very fast. But just let this sink in a bit when you lay down at night after a nine-hour Civilization III binge.
Ty (your friends will start calling you that)
P.S. Sell the Apple stock in 2015. Bet it all on Leicester City to win the English Premier League in 2015-16. You have no idea what this means yet. Trust me. Invest.
P.S.S. You’ll meet an amazing, wonderful person shortly before your 21st birthday. Talk to her. Don’t f*ck it up.