Jennifer O'Sullivan

Jennifer offers quick-fire tips on cutting yourself slack, setting boundaries, and more.

Dear Jennifer

I spent a week thinking about this, so you better listen carefully.

  • As best you can, apply the following advice in your day to day. You like sticking quotes up on the bathroom mirror, and you will continue to do that. This is a longer version of the standard sticky note.
  • Be more selfish.
  • Be less afraid.
  • Take care of your body and your mind. They’re with you for life.
  • There's no such thing as perfection.
  • Have a sense of humour.
  • Practice discipline daily through ritual. 
  • Read philosophy, psychology, sociology, history and practice your violin. You’ll understand later.
  • I know you’re obsessed with knowing the law, but knowing yourself is even more important (even Socrates said it). 
  • Cycle everywhere, it's healthy and no one cares if you look slightly sweaty when you arrive.
  • Eat well. 
  • Forgive quicker. 
  • Listen more. 
  • Wear those short skirts.
  • Spend more time in nature. Nature doesn’t discriminate. Realise how insignificant you are. 
  • Worry less about what people think. 
  • Be kinder to people (even the nasty ones!); they won't be around forever.
  • Looking out, you'll see people who seem to have it all figured out with their smiling faces, who seems always "fine". The problem is that we know other people from what we see, yet we spend all our time with ourselves and think that we are the ones with all the problems. Lean into your vulnerabilities. Share those awkward parts of you, you'll be surprised how many more people share those traits too.
  • You’ll realise that society is based on merit and merit is equated with success. True success however is the progressive realisation of a worthy ideal (Nightingale). Therefore, there is more to life than merit, and although that might not seem like the case now, it will later. After all, remember what Dumbledore said: "It is not our abilities that show who we truly are, it is our choices".
  • Take care of your psychological health. Do this practically by meditating, saying no, and following your bliss.
  • Don’t search for meaning, this is a human trap. We attach meaning subjectively based on our experiences. There is no objective meaning. So live in the moment and be present. The human experience is meaning in itself.
  • Your work is a reflection of you, and you will continue to enjoy the intellectual challenge of it. But you will learn to have boundaries. So don’t worry. It will all work out.
  • Finally, there will be a thing called a pandemic which will change the world in a few years. It is a death and a reborn all at once. Enjoy hugging people while you can, and the thrill of racing! You'll see what I mean eventually.

Love Jennifer
Jennifer O'Sullivan
Senior Associate at Depfa Bank