ideacity: What Advice Would You Give to Your 16-Year-Old Self?

Here, 5 ideacity speakers on what they’d tell their 16-year-old selves.

Ideacity marks its 16th birthday bash this week with a guest list of cultural heavyweights, three nights of revelry and, unlike most Sweet 16’s, booze. And how many 16-year-olds blow out their birthday candles at an exclusive gala at Casa Loma?

Distinguished guests including Margaret Atwood, Peter C. Newman, Deepak Chopra and Robert Kennedy Jr. have spoken at “Canada’s Premier Meeting of the Minds” over the last 15 years, but this year we asked our ideacity speakers what advice they would give their 16-year-old self. We’ve included five of our favourite responses below:

“Merit will only get you so far. After that, it’s pretty much ‘I, Claudius.’ Until you loosen your grip on ambition, and then it’s all about love.” – Patricia Pearson, internationally acclaimed journalist and author, speaking at ideacity on “Opening Heaven’s Door” (Day 1, Session 2, Topic: The God Pod)

“You have no boundaries – don’t be afraid to take chances.” – Dr. Charles Cantor, founder of SEQUENOM, Inc., a genetics discovery company working to determine the medical impact of genes and genetic variations, speaking at ideacity on “The Oxygen Paradox” (Day 1, Session 4, Topic: Forever Young)

“You’ll come out all right, but you must learn to listen to your gut.” – Liz Primeauwriter and editor for many Canadian magazines over the past 30 years, and former host of HGTV’s Canadian Gardening Television, speaking at ideacity on “The Myths and Magic of Garlic” (Day 2, Session 8, Topic: Food for Thought)

“The winter of your discontent will eventually become your glorious summer.” – Tim Clark, one of the faces and voices of The Old Farmer’s Almanac since 1979, speaking at ideacity on “The Old Farmer’s Almanac” (Day 2, Session 6, Topic: The Weather)

“Everything will be ok. I turned 16 just two months after the accident that left me a paraplegic and was in the hospital undergoing a long and challenging recovery. I would tell myself that it’s hard to believe now, but your accident was the best thing that ever happened to you.” – Rick Hansen, CEO of the Rick Hansen Foundation and passionate advocate for people with disabilities, speaking at ideacity on “Visible and Invisible Barriers to Success” (Day 2, Session 7, Topic: Oh Canada)

In celebration of ideacity’s upcoming birthday, we want to know: if you could go back in time and give yourself a piece of advice on your Sweet 16, what would you say? Let us know on Facebook or Twitter or tweet the author at @MikeCrisolago.

This year’s ideacity conference will be held at Toronto’s Koerner Hall on June 17-19, 2015. For more information or tickets visit the ideacity website – or if you can’t make it in person, check out the webcast here.