Over the last twelve months I’ve spent a lot of time in Australian schools, running sessions on mindset for the students.
I love it.
Working with teenagers is one of the most amazing parts of the work I do. Every time I leave a high school, I take away a fresh sense of excitement about the future of these students I work with.
There is so much talent in these teenagers.
At the end of my presentations, I always spend a little time doing questions and answers with the students I’ve just spoken with.
Teenagers ask the best questions.
Some are funny.
Some are random.
Some are deep.
They always keep me on my toes.
One question that always seems to come up when we’re chatting is this:
“If you could tell your teenage self something, what would it be”?
It’s such a good question.
And honestly, there are so many things I would tell myself.
I did some thinking over the last week about what the major things I would tell myself were.
This is what they look like.
- Your grades don’t dictate your future Sure, some of the most amazing people do really well at school, and that's great. But some of the most amazing people don't do well at school, and that's fine too. If you're still in school, do the best you can, learn as much as you can. Try as hard as you can. But don't stress about your results. You may leave school with the realisation that you won't be able to go straight into the course you wanted to, but that's not the end. Find other ways to get into that course, think about whether there are better options. One door closes, another opens.
- It won't all go exactly as you plan, but you'll be grateful If you had of told me as a teenager I wouldn't run in the Olympics, I would have felt like I had failed. What I didn't realise was the pursuit of that dream was going to teach me some of the greatest lessons I would ever learn. This gives me huge confidence to dream big for the rest of my life, because I've already fallen short in something I was so passionate about. Now I'm grateful for it. Commit to what it is you want to achieve, and however it goes, it will be a great teacher.
- Work on your mindset Your mindset is your best friend or your worst enemy. When I was younger I didn't realise that I had the capacity to really make a big change in the way I used my mind. It's never what you look at that matters, but what you see. Learn to see the opportunity in trial, find clarity through confusion and develop confidence in something that can't be taken from you. Some of the most difficult things you're going through right now are going to provide you with a platform to help others who go through it later.
- Learn to budget money I was taught how to try and get into a job that pays good money, but was never taught how to use that money. For a few years when I started earning money, I had no idea what to do with it. It took a lot of trial and error before I felt as though the way I was using my money was effective.
- Read about things you love I thought I hated reading in high school. What I didn’t realise at that time was that I actually loved reading, I just didn't love the books I had to read for school. Rather than giving up on reading because you've had to read a few books you don't like, go and choose some books on things you love, and read those.
- It’s okay to ask questions Despite being a fairly confident kid at school, I always got really nervous if I wanted to ask a question about something we were being taught. I was worried that the other students would think it was taking me too long to learn, I was scared that what I was asking about was actually easy and people would laugh that I didn't understand it already. But here's the thing, whenever I asked a question, it always guaranteed me more of a chance to understand it.
- Stop following the crowd Just because everyone is doing it doesn't make it the right decision. What inspires you? What are you passionate about? Don't worry too much about the criticism from the crowd. Eventually you will inspire those who criticise you, and if not, don't worry, at least you're being genuine to yourself.
- Speak to people who are doing what you want to do Success leaves clues. Don't guess your way through. There are people right now who are doing what you want to do, are at least something similar. Ask them about how they did it. If you don't know how to get in contact with them, read their books, watch their videos, listen to their podcast. Don't reinvent the wheel, start with the things that worked for others.