Recently I was asked to speak to a student assembly at my high school alma mater, St. Cloud Technical High School in St. Cloud Minnesota. Go Tigers! Although I lecture to college students everyday, I suddenly was fearful I had nothing of worth to say to high school students. I decided to tell them what I wish I would of known in high school. So here are 5 things I came up with:
1. High school is not the “best time of your life”, this is a marketing gimmick used to sell class rings. High school for some can be a painful time of puberty, hazing, bullying, isolation, identity crisis, friendship and romantic relationship turmoil, mental health issues, and trying on new ideas to name a few. The best days of your life are ahead!
2. Follow your passion. Listen to yourself and follow your instincts to do what you love. Life is too short to do something, whether it be a sport, job, or relationship, you are not happy doing. Follow your positive energy. A book I’m excited to read over winter break is The Energy Bus. One idea in this book is to think about is be your own CEO–Chief Energy Officer. Think “I get to do…” rather than “I have to do.” Many things we do in our lives, it is a privilege, but we often start to feel negative or obligated. Reframe your thinking to “I get to” and see if it doesn’t make a difference in how you feel.
3. Learn from everyone you encounter. Take the best from that person and make it your own …or remember what you don’t like and promise never to do or be THAT person.
4. When things get tough,hard, sad, scary or frustrating–and they will–remember that this too shall pass.
5. Use your passion and energy to create change, do good and make a difference. One person CAN make a difference. Be THAT person.
What would you tell high school students?