TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

What were 5 things you wish you knew as a senior in high school?

I am just now a rising senior in high school. I have too many questions to ask and not many answers, but I realize now that I am at a golden opportunity (not many responsibilities) in my life to make big changes and preparations for a successful life in the future. How can we avid teenagers reasy to take on the future better prepare for life?

My love life has been less than exciting. Despite putting in an inordinate amount of effort, I have, only this year gotten my first kiss, an endeavor which ultimately ended the first inklet of a relationship I ever had.

I have taken many leadership roles for clubs and a nonprofit organization that is working on a penpal program between China and the US.

I enjoy investing and learning about the stock market.

I play tennis and rock climb.

I enjoy Photography and Videography.

I enjoy hanging out with my friends.

The point of this whole description really was to express the diversity of my interests-- and presumably the diversity of everyone's interests--and to express my dilemma. Where should I focus my attention to best prepare me for the future? What five things that you know now looking back would you tell me? What five things do you regret doing or not doing looking back? Which aspects of your life do you wish you had focused on?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • Jun 23 2013: I wish I'd known or understood so early in my life:

    1) That humans don't learn anything when they're right or in their comfort zone, so it's a good thing to be wrong and to take risks. Being wrong doesn't make anyone stupid or less-than, it just means they're learning.

    2) How important taking good care of myself when my body was young and malleable would be later on, especially teeth and bones, rather than taking them for granted. Good genes only get you so far; you've gotta work for the rest both physically and mentally.

    3) That excellence and expertise come from being passionate about and truly absorbed in something, whether other people get it or not; and how to allow that passion to guide what I did and the direction I followed. Be yourself (no one else is better qualified). I wish I'd been wise enough to find that passion *and a mentor I respected* -- and the earlier the better. I realize now that all true experts get that way because they allow their thirst for knowledge about something to guide their curiosity & learning.

    4) How dealing with what is, **no matter what that is**, is preferable to "woulda, shoulda, coulda, if- only, but", or any other form of whining, regret, or energy sucking negativity. In other words, take care of the small things when they need to be cared for and there will be no big things to worry about.

    5) As far as straight up advice? Cultivate (in yourself) kindness, empathy, and a genuine interest in others; always try to suspend judgment unless and until it's absolutely required. The former will help you to develop a true support network of friends and colleagues while the latter will keep you from jumping the gun or onto anybody's band wagon. Think for yourself.

    BTW, kindness, empathy, humor, and the ability to learn are generally qualities women appreciate in a man. Don't let being a "late bloomer" get you down, just know who you are and love what you do. Confidence is very sexy.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.