5 Things I Wish I Knew 5 Years Ago

January 23, 2012

This month five years ago, I graduated from Temple University with an undergraduate degree in music education. I guess you could say it was a long time coming. I took a few years off after high school because I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life and then took a year off halfway through when Claudia and I got married.

That person I was back then feels very different from the person I am today. Here are five things I wish I knew back then.

1. You won’t get far if you care so much about what others think.

Honestly, this is something I still battle and is the reason why Claudia and I started the IDC Project. It became so ingrained in me being raised conservative Mennonite where legalism was very prevalent. Too often in the past I’ve found myself complacently spinning in circles trying to do what was right and expected.

2. There’s a whole world out there, dream big!

When I graduated with my music education degree, I thought that was the one thing I had to do. I had to get a job teaching music in a school. I didn’t really think about whether or not it was what I really wanted in life, it was just the path I had chosen and was what I was going to do.

3. Reading would change my life.

I never knew to what extent someone could become a better person and change their life simply by reading and learning. I think before, I always associated reading with academia, not with personal application and something I enjoy. It was reading that changed my thinking; well, got me thinking.

4. If something is not working, change it up.

Too often the frustration of something not working clouded my head with this fog that immobilized me. I let that frustration fester thinking that things would turn around. They didn’t. I now am more proactive and take different angles. I get out and move around. Literally. This helps me be more optimistic and creative.

5. Starting a family is going to be the best thing that ever happened to you.

While there had been some good things leading up to starting a family like learning lots from great books and podcasts, it was when we found out that Claudia was pregnant that we really gained forward momentum. We started dreaming, thinking, planning, and talking more. And not only that, we started acting on those dreams and plans too.

What about you? Would do you wish you knew five years ago?

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  • Reply Stephen Krow January 24, 2012 at 12:49 pm

    Excellent! It amazing what great things can be accomplished by living those out. I wish I had learned those earlier on too.

    • Reply Michael Good January 24, 2012 at 1:42 pm

      Hey, thanks for the input. I agree, if we can live some of these out, we probably wouldn’t get as frustrated. I know that’s how it’s been for me.

  • Reply Vickie Smith January 25, 2012 at 12:19 am

    Yep! Kids will change everything in a very good way 🙂

    • Reply Michael Good January 25, 2012 at 7:34 am

      Yeah Vickie,
      We knew starting a family was going to be great but not how great. I think we would have done it earlier if we knew.

  • Reply Justin Lukasavige January 25, 2012 at 12:37 pm

    Wow, this is great advice. I especially love #1 and I need the continual reminder.

    • Reply Michael Good January 25, 2012 at 2:16 pm

      Thanks, Justin. I wonder how many great things were never created or done because of the fear of what others may think.

  • Reply Kent Julian January 26, 2012 at 11:01 am

    #3 is so true! And this coming from a guy who couldn’t read as a kid and never read a book until he was 18 years old. Now, I devour books! What a difference.

    One thing I wished I knew 5 years ago…how fast things move once your kids get into elementary school. Wow, in 2 years my son is off to college and in 4 years our twin girls will be heading off as well. It’s going crazy fast! I “knew” it would go fast, but I didn’t realize how fast “crazy fast” actually is.

    • Reply Michael Good January 26, 2012 at 3:40 pm

      Kent, thank you, brother, for your thoughts. That’s one of the things that scares me as a parent. Everyone says it goes so fast, I want to cherish this time and be present when I’m present. Also, it sounds like you have quite a story. I’d love to hear more of it sometime.

  • Reply Mike Hirst January 26, 2012 at 11:03 am

    I’ve always dreamed big, never cared what people thought, and skipped college so I could get a fast start 🙂 BUT, for me, the biggest one on this list is #3. The people you surround yourself with and the books you read shape who you’ll become.

    • Reply Michael Good January 26, 2012 at 3:42 pm

      Hey Mike, thanks for the input! I love that you dreamed big and didn’t care what others thought. Way to go.

  • Reply Char January 27, 2012 at 7:17 am

    Right there with you! Love this post.:)

  • Reply Ryan Ash January 28, 2012 at 10:27 pm


    This is really great! Looking back at what I wish I had known 5 years ago is a pretty long list! I would have to say that one of the biggest things I wish I would have understood that long ago was how time is so much more important than things! I was working to obtain things back then whereas now I work to obtain time! It’s so much more valuable!

    • Reply Michael Good January 29, 2012 at 9:58 am

      Ryan, that’s one that I’m realizing more and more. And, it’s so countercultural.

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