Careers

Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein shares the advice he would give his 20-year-old self

Lloyd Blankfein
David A. Grogan | CNBC
Lloyd Blankfein

Lloyd Blankfein embodies the American dream.

The CEO and chairman of Goldman Sachs grew up in the projects of Brooklyn before earning degrees at Harvard and amassing a billion-dollar fortune.

While the self-made billionaire has undoubtedly "made it," he recently told a group of Goldman interns that he would give his younger self a blunt piece of advice: "Chill out."

"There's not a sport there's not an activity — in life where if you have a really hard grip, you're actually better," he said. "Whether it's baseball or golf or kicking a ball, the looser you are, the further the thing goes. If you're tight, you're not necessarily better."

Of course, "chilling out" is easier said than done. Blankfein, who dealt with career anxiety in his late 20s, knows from personal experience. He even admitted that if he had the chance to visit his younger self, he probably wouldn't be able to follow his own advice.

Particularly today, he said, young people compare themselves to their friends and the people they read about. They "think that if they haven't dropped out of college and started something when they're 19, they're over the hill," he said.

However, plenty of successful people have failed sometimes multiple times on their way to success, and many didn't have have their breakthroughs until much later in their careers, Blankfein emphasized.

"Remind yourself: All you can do is the best you can do," he advised.