What I Wish I Knew When I Was 20

“What did you wish you had known at age 20?” is the question we recently posed to FutureLab mentors. Our mentors were generous with their answer and many of their responses focused on the importance of maximising strengths, working hard, and focusing on a bigger picture.

We rounded up 5 answers from all the answers we received. See what some of the most influential mentors of FutureLab wish they had known at age 20:


1. Edmond Yap, Founder of EduNation Malaysia

 “Life is beyond me. I wish I understood that my life was not about me. It was about championing the impossible and empowering others to do the same. At 20, my biggest concerns were my hair, my clothing fit, and what others said. It was all about me, me and me. If you think only about ‘I’, you will never be happy. We all constantly have something to be unhappy when we think of ourselves. I wish I understood then the secret to my happiness was living a meaningful life by making the world a better place; being the voice of the voiceless and the hands of the handless. It is never about what car I drive or what someone thinks of me, my life is beyond me and in my world there is a lot more that exists in it than just me.”

Learn more from Edmond here

2. Zoe Victoria, Co-Founder at Biji Biji Design

“You can build a successful career in almost anything but it requires hard work. If you are aiming to be an engineer/doctor/lawyer, you will face tough years in university, long working hours and a maybe a competitive workplace. However, if you are looking to take the less trodden path, for example yoga teacher, game designer, artist or bicycle maker- you can still make it big! Today, every industry can be a global one, and even the most unlikely of choices holds opportunity. Whatever you wish to do, make sure you have the determination and willpower to work on it tirelessly for at least a good few years. Success does not often come easily and it will take your commitment to make your choice work. Do not be dissuaded by slow progress- keep on believing in yourself and you will get there!”

Learn more from Zoe here


3. Tarminder Singh, Strategic Planning & Development at International Medical University (IMU)

Work on your strengths. Arguably, Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo would not have been some of the greatest living athletes had they been playing basketball or even tennis. This is because their strength lies in football. At university, a common advice I received was not an advice, but a plan. As an accounting and finance student, I was informed about the importance of working for the Big 4 Accounting Firm. Upon setting foot in into a reputable company, to gain professional membership and then to become a manager. I took it up but eventually realised that I will never be great at it. That is because I was not working on my strengths. I chose to then work on my strengths by applying to become a Management Consultant. I looked out for a career that played to my strengths. The lesson here is to realise the importance of knowing your strengths. Learn what you are good at, ask those around you what you are good at, or get a mentor who is in your field of interest! If are looking for a job, find something that plays to your strengths and then be amazed by how you evolve!”

Learn more from Tarminder here


4. Sirhajwan Idek, Teach at Keningau Vocational College

“Believe in yourself. Nothing is more satisfying than pursuit your true passion. At 20, I doubted myself. I barely participated in competition, community work or even tried out anything new despite the desire. I did not think I would have been successful if I followed my passion. At 25, my teaching job required me to mentor students to develop their potential. I gained inspiration from watching my students develop through challenges. I thought if they could do something they never imagined to find success in, I could too. It was then I started pursuing my passions – I wrote, did runs, and took up projects. Many years down the line, I have a wealth of experience, knowledge, skills and I love what I do. I feel successful and accomplished, but only because I dared to believe in myself”

Learn from Sirhajwan here

5. Pietro Felix, Head of Global Community at Migme Pte Ltd

“Change is inevitable. At 20, I did not know I was going to have a diversified career. Had you told me this then, I would have been scared at every crossroad. I started in the music industry aiming to be Simon Cowell. I wanted to sign the biggest global artist and make music for the world. But then, I became a radio DJ, Consultant, Sports Presenter and now I  work on digitial app productions with a telecommunication company. I never imagined any of this. I was once music mogul who now makes digital changes in the telecommunication industry, that too in Malaysia’s Best. The lesson I have learned is that change is inevitable. As an individual, you will continuously grow and change too. Embrace it by looking at it as an oppurtunity to learn, taking those lessons and moving on. Everything that happens is a blessing. It leads you to where you are supposed to be. Speak and listen to others. There is room for change in that too. Learn from their mistakes. Learn them, grow from them and keep them in mind, because that could be you. See every living moment of yours as an opportunity to learn, grow and develop because change is really inevitable.”

Learn from Pietro here