Continuing our series of Letters to my younger self, where influential people in the rural sector put their thoughts down on paper about what advice they would give their 16-year-old self, with the benefit of hindsight.

Here we have The Scottish Farmer editor, Ken Fletcher's thoughts.

Letter to Ken Fletcher, aged 16½.

Dear young man, here’s the deal. Fearlessly wear those dodgy flares and hair long, it’ll give you something to laugh about in later years.

Don’t worry too much about what other people think. Make sure that what YOU think is substantive, rational and important enough to say, occasionally.

Apply yourself and things will turn out OK, you might even get to the top. But, whatever you do, work hard and listen more than you talk.

Important advice: Don’t worry about shorthand when doing interviews … write as fast as you can, but do not miss how things are said. That’s really important. You can miss so much if you are too busy writing to actually understand what’s being told to you … take a recording device if you must (you will have one of those new-fangled cassette ones!).

Two things to keep in mind. Never turn down anything and make a point of doing something that you really don’t want to do.

If you have a question, ask it, no matter how daft you might think it makes you look – you will only look dafter if you get something wrong.

Socially, go to more live concerts. You really can’t be stuck in the 1970s with Don McLean – even if you know all the words to America Pie (though getting them in the right order is always a struggle the older you get).

You should embrace the Young Farmers more than I did. They are a great stepping-stone to making friends and will help you professionally in later life. It’ll be hard to fit in, as you will travel a lot with your job, but make more time for YFs – it will pay off.

You might occasionally become frustrated. Take on board that most of life is frustrating and learn to live with it. Control the things you can, but leave the things you definitely can’t to others who can.

However, you will learn from your rugby playing days that, on many occasions, it is teamwork that pays off.

The friends you make from that game will remain melded to you throughout life – as in playing the game, they will be there for you, if you are there for them, both off the park and in later life.

Use your wit as a foil, but try not to let it pigeon-hole you into being viewed as a lightweight. You will encounter everything from Lords and Ladies, to Royalty, and from farm hands to estate owners. Treat them all the same.

You will find that sometimes the hottest tips come from the oddest places. Use this information, but don’t abuse it.

Most of all enjoy your job. Put a lot in … and you will get a lot out.