Simon Cowell is in a reflective mood. The American Idol mogul — who celebrates his 50th birthday on Oct. 7— is looking back at how far he’s come, and penned a letter of sobering advice to his younger, arrogant self.

“One day you are walking through the building for a meeting with one of the bosses,” he writes in the Mail on Sunday newspaper of an incident early in his career. “As you turn the corner towards his office, you hear his temporary PA ask him: ‘What does Simon Cowell do in this company?’ The boss answers, ‘Whatever is s*** in this company that is what Simon Cowell does.’”

The ascerbic Brit may be a multi-millionaire but in the ‘90s his company collapsed and without any money, career or reputation, the champagne-guzzling music executive had to sell the Porsche, move in with his parents and pay off his debts. The disaster, Simon admits, was the making of him.

“Today, on the eve of your 50th birthday you’re much more likely to drink two litres of water a day rather than a gallon of champagne,” he says.

And romance comes second to career. “You never married, but you have no regrets about that. Family life would be a problem now. You almost never stop working, or thinking about work,” he tells young Simon.

On Oct. 3, when he hosts his star-studded birthday bash at England’s Wrotham Park manor house (featured in the movie Gosford Park) the AI judge has another reason to celebrate: his newfound fame. “Your job, Simon, was to make celebrities, not to become one yourself, dear boy.”

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