Tips For Grads “Success is not the key to by sparrowjacc


									Tips For Grads

“Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what
you are doing, you will be successful.”
– Dr. Albert Schweitzer (who really knows what he’s talking about)

It’s graduation time; spirits are high and the winds of change are strong. Soon enough
high school students and their parents will be wondering what the future holds. For some
of you, university or college is the immediate plan. For others, a full or part-time job is on
the agenda, even if only for a year or so. Given the high degree of uncertainty about the
next few years; OK, the high degree of uncertainty about life in general! Here are a few
tips for teens to help you and your family, retain at least a semblance of sanity during this
time of adjustment.

School levers should envision where they want to go and create an action plan for their
future. This, of course, does not mean that everything will happen according to plan. In
fact, it is very likely that not everything will go absolutely according to plan. However
learning organization and diligence are extremely important in life. You will also have
had the enjoyment of making plans and telling all your friends and family; showing them
how organized and success-oriented you are. The task of planning is a great motivational
tool, which will help you throughout life.

To create your plan, look down the road toward the goals you hope to achieve in six
months, a year, five years and so on, and then figure out the actions needed to get there;
in essence, a ‘to do’ list. Don’t worry if you come up with 62 different paths to one goal –
this is normal. Just decide which path to follow for now and off you go!

While you should set your sights high, be realistic when it comes to goal-setting.
Becoming a multimillionaire real estate tycoon by age 21 may be an admirable aim; as
Donald Trump says, “If you’re going to be thinking, you may as well think big.”However
you have to know what sort of education and experience you will need to break into that
field. Most goals require sacrifices, so decide what you can live without or what can be
put on the back burner until a later date. When making your decisions, weigh your
options and don’t take unnecessary risks; In other words, never draw to an inside straight.

Remember, no education is ever wasted. Don’t worry if, after a year of university or
college, you change your major or even decide to opt out, at least for now. What you
have learned in the meantime has already opened your eyes to new possibilities and
understandings, including that you don’t want to go to college right now – you never
would have known that if you hadn’t tried. We must learn from all our misjudgments and
always try something out before dismissing it as unachievable. Changing your direction
is not failure; it is simply changing your direction.
You are not alone if you do not know what you want to do. Many of your peers’ and a lot
of older people too, are in the same boat. In order to narrow the search of where you want
your life’s path to lead, pursue your passions (unless, of course, your passion is to be a
high-end art thief – that could cause issues!). You need to experience as many things as
you can to find out what you are passionate about, so yes, that six-month backpacking
trip around Europe, or the summer wakeboarding camp, or even the job as an attendant
are valuable experiences. Volunteering is also a great way to gain skills, help you decide
what you enjoy and offer experience – it looks good on a résumé and it makes a huge
difference in the community, as well.

Identify the challenges and obstacles which may arise and determine ways to overcome
them. Just remember not to get too frustrated. When you come up against an obstacle, sit
back, take a deep breath and consider how best to adjust your plans to fit the new
situation. Remember, even ‘failures’ are learning opportunities.

Keep a positive attitude. Rather than saying, “I can’t”, say “I choose not to put all my
time and energy into this.” Admittedly, life can really throw you off your stride. At these
times, it’s OK to occasionally wallow in self-pity for a short period of time. A good
wallow never really hurt anyone, but you have to know when to pull yourself out of it and
continue on.

Save, save, save your money and be wise with those purchases you do make. Most goals
will entail a certain amount of funding, be it tuition or business startup costs, and you will
need to have your finances in order. You will probably have to accept that at this stage in
life you really don’t need a Lamborghini Murcielago or a Ferrari 599 to get around and
the money could be put to better purposes. Say no to the credit card (difficult, maybe, but
possible). Despite what you may have heard, a credit card is NOT free money.

Don’t fall into the trap of trying to live up to everyone else’s expectations — whatever
you believe those expectations to be. That is truly the road to unhappiness. Take into
account what your family and friends have to say and the advice that they have to give;
evaluate it and apply it to your life if it applies. If not, appreciate that the people who love
you only want the best for you; however, that doesn’t mean that you always have to agree
with them. And remember, asking your parents for advice is not a sign of weakness. It
demonstrates your good sense when you run into an unfamiliar situation (and it helps
your parents feel appreciated for their wit and wisdom).

Face life with a good sense of humour. There are situations in life that are serious and
should be taken as such, but the other 95 per cent of life is good for a laugh. You might
just find that things are a bit easier when you can laugh at the absurdities and, most
especially, at yourself.

Cherish the moment. Each time of life is unique. Don’t get so busy trying to get ahead
that you miss what’s important right now. You don’t want to get to age 95, look back and
think, “I wish I had appreciated that at the time” or “I missed so much and now it’s too
For now, with high school behind you, the world is your oyster (whatever that means).
You can choose what direction to go in, but that does mean taking responsibility and
making choices.

Good things don’t come to those who wait, but to those who do.

Deciding what you want is the first step. You also need to remember that you deserve the
good that comes from hard work and perseverance. Decide what goal you hope to
achieve, that you can have it, and then focus your energy towards it. Of course, energy
isn’t enough – you do have to actively participate in your own life.

With your plan in mind and a positive attitude, you are now free to create your world, to
determine your path through life. Your journey may be off the beaten path or it may be
just what you and everyone else thought would happen, but it is all yours. Enjoy!

Faith Wood is the owner of Inspiring Minds Consulting Ltd. As a dynamic speaker, trainer and
coach, she works with large corporations, government departments and small companies alike,
providing the building blocks for teamwork, communication and productivity. When people need
to perform at their very best, they call Faith. For more information, visit her website at or email

To top