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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?

  • Jun 20 2013: 1. I wish I had taken a basic course in psychology to have learned how to spot a psychotic as we are all susceptible to becoming unknowing, devastated victims of this deadly disease.
    2. I wish I had been more active in environmental issues as I think we are headed towards destroying our planet.
    3. I wish I had had the humility to comprehend that we are all human animals having the same selfish drives as our 4 legged friends.
    4. I wish I had traveled the world more extensively before settling down to a family life. There is an awful lot to learn globally.
    5. I wish I had had more courage to stand up for what I believed versus what the "consensus" told me to believe. More critical thinking and questioning everything, everyone.
    From someone who is 76 years old.
  • Jun 12 2013: Robert, hello!
    Here are my five...it's a good thing I still remember my senior year in high school....although I'm closer to my senior years in life. lol

    * Procrastination is a bad habit, do what you NEED to do, so you can then do what you WANT to do.

    *Read all kinds of literature........it will open your mind and expose you to things you never even thought of.

    *Converse.......I mean really talk to people....all kinds of people, from all age groups and all walks of life, you will be amazed at what you learn.

    *Listen........other people's thoughts, feelings, and beliefs are just as important as yours, so listen more, and ask questions.

    *Rest and eat well............your body and brain needs it. In your old age, your body and brain will thank you.

    I'm sorry for cheating and putting two in the last line.....oh well, I told you I'm an old timer.
    Will you forgive me?
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      Jun 26 2013: Of course, who wouldn't forgive you.
      I would actually appreciate it if you told more than five useful points to us. You could even write a book and I would read it.

      Thanks for sharing, appreciate your advice Mary.

      And have a nice day and many awesome senior years.
      • Jun 26 2013: Simon Peter, I will have to think about writing that book......thank you for your kind words.

        You know, when I was in school I was so shy.
        I walked around looking down at the floor.
        But, my ears were always open.......listening.......learning......
        And I loved to talk to older adults, still do......there is so much to learn from their years of life.

        Now, I'm the one who is older.
        And, I notice that so many young people reject the companionship of elderly ones, or even the companionship of some of us who just reached our "almost golden years"......

        When you are young, you think you will never grow old, and that you will have the same energy always, and the same good health always.....but that is just not the case.

        We grow old and die............so life is really good if you can glean information from those who have grown old and can give you a heads up on how to take good care of all your life....physical, emotional, spiritual,....etc.....don't you think so?

        I think you are a smart young man Simon..............Be Well, and Live Long!!!!
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          Jul 1 2013: Yes absolutely, the advice elders give us is not always relevant to our times but if it is deduced and calculated after some thought, every thing is useful to us, even to newer generations.

          I'm just 17, will be 18 in a couple month and I can't wait to finally be a legal "adult". There is so much pressure to do well in life, not from others, but from my own self. I wish to create a mark and also do it before I turn 30.

          Generation gaps are unavoidable and specially in this generation where humans have developed in leaps and bounds unlike earlier times which is causing it. I don't blame anyone for it but it is actually effecting us. My granma and me haven't talked a lot recently, I just spoke to her yesterday after many months. She lives in another city far away do its hard for me to communicate. She's also hard of hearing and she has a tough time remembering things. I wish to spend time with her before her time is up.

          And thank you Mary, your blessings and kind thoughts are pleasing to hear.

          Did you know, my mom's name is Mary too and reading what you wrote makes me consider your words equal to my mother's.

          If u like, I would like to know much more about you.
      • Jul 1 2013: You are just beginning your life Simon.

        How terrible that you live so far away from your granma........

        Sending cards in the mail is nice, especially for the elderly.
        They like having something tangible to read and reread.

        Did you see what the Chinese did today to help their elderly population?

        http://news.yahoo.com/law-requires-chinese-visit-aging-parents-063254370.html

        What do you think?
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          Jul 3 2013: After a long thought on this, I have come to the conclusion that the Chinese government are being a good loving parent to its citizen by making sure that the elders are taken care of or at least seen and visited by their own relatives.

          Kudos to China.
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          Jul 3 2013: And I'll make sure to send a letter and a card to my grandma soon.

          I've never sent a hand-written mail through the postal service ever but there's always a first time.
  • Jun 26 2013: Be brave but not foolish
    Know that you are better looking now than you think you are (especially to someone else)
    Travel to Europe...I recommend the Netherlands, or Denmark.
    Remember that 10% extra effort at study, paper writing, building, you name it, will make the result twice as good.
    You don't have all the time in the world, so use it wisely.
    10,000 hours applied to any topic will make you an expert.
    Learn to juggle and or play an instrument...girls like that
    Meditate; if you don't know how, learn.
    Show compassion and generosity ALWAYS.
    Remember that under the skin, most of the people you see are insecure children, peering out at the world, afraid.
    Participate in something like Kiva.
    Never be bribed.
    Fall in love; you'll know it when it happens...way better than drugs.
    Stay fit...walk or ride a bicycle when you can.
    Never believe in the notion of the "transformational purchase" (If only I had that house, car, or iPad my life would be complete)
    Never contort yourself to "fit in."
    Be a continuous learner.
    Do good when you can.
    Avoid religions of all kinds except as an exercise in understanding the past.
    Take the time to look at the stars on dark clear nights, preferably while holding someone's hand.
    Try to do one extraordinary thing.
    Never let an old man like me tell you how to live your life.
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      Jun 27 2013: Great answer!
      Especially "Fall in love; you'll know it when it happens... way better than drugs."

      Ain't that the truth!
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    Jun 23 2013: If I were to have control over my high school and college self, I would make her talk to a psychologist every week. Why? because they're paid to put themselves aside and help you figure out what you really want to do, be, how to deal with other people, judge others and protect yourself without being judgemental.

    I was really lost on which career to choose. Now I realise that career counseling has the wrong name, it should be curiosity counseling. People told me to go with my passion when I didn't feel passionate about anything except going to college parties and getting out from under the adult thumbs. I chose Chemical engineering because it sounded smart and if there was any label I could put on myself, it was 'smart'.

    Well, chemical engineering required too much work for someone who was so smart all her life, she never had to study or work hard. It required more work than I was willing to put into something that I just didn't care that much about. but the college parties were fun.

    If I had paid attention, I might have decided on architecture since, even though I didn't feel this driving passion that smacked me in the face every waking moment, but that when I wasn't daydreaming about boys or travelling, I daydreamed about buildings. not just my dream home, but whatever new place I went to, I dreamt up a building: office, house, stadium, treehouse, whatever that would fit in perfectly with the feel of that place.

    So, my advice is that passion does not always slap you in the face, it might have just been there all along underneath the ego and the raging hormones. Get a college degree in something, anything, but meanwhile, see a psychologist to figure things out. (they do talk therapy not drug therapy)

    No matter what, keep in touch with your friends. and if you make new friends, keep in touch with them too. you dont have to spend all day everyday talking on the phone, but TALK to them at least twice a year. It's good to remember every stage of your life
  • 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.
  • Jun 23 2013: 1. I don't regret staying sober and drug free or choosing not to have sex with the very sweet and cute guy I was dating. I took crap about my decisions once in awhile, but I had good friends who stood by me and even spoke up if someone was harassing me. These choices earned my parents' trust in me, kept me in line with my own personal morals and kept me from a lot of heartbreak. I do regret basing too much of my worth on being validated by having a boyfriend.
    2. If you are being creative in High School with your photography, keep at it. I was in all bands in high school (trumpet), in plays and in show choir. I went to UW-Madison, a large state school in Wisconsin. I played the trumpet for a semester and then dropped it and all other creative outlets. I ended up missing them and the friends made being involved in these groups.
    3. I was raised Athiest. In college, I learned about religion and spirituality more deeply. I am so glad that I did. I am now quite spiritual and have some Buddhist and Unitarian leanings.
    4. I turned down the opportunity to study abroad in Spain for a semester in college because of a relationship and fear. I wish I could go back and do that over. I would go to Spain.
    5. I didn't know much about self compassion and caring for my needs. This is so important to understand. I am getting it slowly, post divorce, at age 45. Learn a lot about you and how to care for you, the inner you...prayer, meditation, exercise, healthy foods, pacing your day, mindfulness.
    One More! 6. Read Pema Chodron, Parker Palmer, poetry, The Dalai Lama, Kabat-Zinn... And love who you are. You are practicing at life. It's ok to mess up. Learn from that. I love that you posed this question! All my best to you! Kristi
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    Jun 22 2013: 1. Consider earning a GED instead of a diploma and starting college early, even if it means initially attending somewhere that's not your first choice (not all colleges accept GEDs). Admittedly this choice is not for everyone but it's the first thing I'd do differently if I could go back in time.
    2. Don't stop playing tennis. Tennis is a great sport that you can play your entire life. It's social too. You'll find as you move to different cities (even when you go to college and will be meeting a lot of people) that tennis clubs/centers/leagues are places you will instantly meet people and make friends- not to mention, it will help you stay in shape.
    3. Get through college as quickly as possible. In many fields, what your degree is in isn't as important as simply having one. Summer classes, intersessions... Get 'er done!
    4. Look for opportunities to study and live abroad. Travel is one of the best educations one can have. Regrettably, the older you get, the harder it is to find time to break away and/or live somewhere else for awhile. Whatever people or places you may not want to leave behind, don't worry about them. They will be there when you return.
    5. Nurture your network. Consider every person you meet as someone of value, assuming one day you may need or want their help (or they, yours). Find meaningful ways to maintain connections.
  • Jun 22 2013: Me, now, talking to myself, as a senior:

    1. Take 2-3 years off after graduating. Travel as much as you can. Then go to college.

    2. Be aware of the fact that Most of what you Now "Do-Say-Think" is NOT a result of unique and original thought.....but societal programming(society Telling you what to do in both obvious and not-obvious ways)......this is not Good or Bad but it IS a fact to be aware of. Awareness of this on the Negative Side leads to despair, depression, hopelessness, etc. Awareness of this fact on the Positive Side leads to incredible things that you cannot now even conceive of. These things bleed through the canvas into your life slowly over time. Get started Now on understanding this most fundamental fact of existence.

    3. All humans feel a lack of Wholeness. We seek a return to this Wholeness. Sometimes we find brief tastes of it in Drugs, Foods, Entertainment, Material Consumption, Egoic Projection, Sex, Achievement in business, etc etc etc. We all have several addictions floating around at one time and we don't really get rid of them but rather swap them out for others. They are all Symptoms of an Addiction that is common to All of Us. If you search for something, search for that Mother of All Addictions. I will not tell you, for you will not believe me. Just see addictions for what they truly are.....Symptoms of something bigger. Seek it. Understand it.

    4. True Power is found in the Valley. Not the Mountain Top.

    5. In life, you may choose to be Right or you may choose to be Free. You cannot choose both though you will think you can for a good long while. Give up completely having to be "Right" in life and Freedom fills the gap. Debate ends. Inquiry begins.
  • Jun 30 2013: Great question. When we are young life seems like a very long time and there is plenty of time to do things and get 'there'. Now that Im over 50 I know we do change as we age, what mattered then seems so unimportant now. Dealing with that disappointment can be crushing. Don't wait to do what pulls you.

    Big lesson: money equals freedom of choice. I grew up in the tv age and everybody seemed to care most about what they had. So I spent what I earned on label items and other stuff. Now I sure wish I had a big savings account. Things don't make you ok or happy, freedom to, live where you want, go on trips and adventures, this adds richness to life that having a 50k car sure wont. So squirrel away funds, even if its only $5. a week and don't touch it. You'll be glad later.

    Don't buy into what the media is telling you. Read Jon Katz blog Bedlam Farm for much more eloquent discussion on this. Fear will kill you faster than anything.

    Do what you enjoy and if you don't know what that is, keep trying new things. I had many careers and jobs over the years till having the self assurance to be self employed. I don't make much money but Im happy and I don't have to deal with office politics or wear pantyhose.

    Be respectful but don't fashion your life on other peoples approval. In the end you have only yourself and how you feel about yourself is crucial.

    Learn good communication skills. Take courses in interpersonal relations and relationships. Getting along with people and having emotional maturity is a skill and can be learned. Don't use tv as an example of what relationships should look like, its the opposite. Learn to fight fair, to speak your heart and be responsive not reactive. Relationships take work, "falling in love" is hormones, and you have to work to create depth and understanding after the thrill wears off. great thought: do people feel better about themselves after being with you? If you strive for that you will have a life rich in love. Cheers!
  • Jun 26 2013: I interview a lot of teenagers who apply to attend my alma mater, and here's some advice, generally geared towards how you present yourself to the world as you grow up and how you can learn to adapt new, more professional behaviors.

    1. It DOES matter how you look, how you dress, how you talk...generally how you present yourself. It matters a lot.
    2. Teachers, authority figures and just about anyone can't always be fair. They will sometimes play favorites, get extremely irritated, or just dislike certain things. You can't control their personal preferences. My best advice is to smile often, formulate your thoughts into sentences before you speak, and to just not worry about the rest.
    3. Be human, be vulnerable. No bigger sign of weakness than an attempt to mask human vulnerability. It will always fail, and it'll always come across terribly.
    4. Be well rounded. No one, and no institution, will like you better for having focused on grades rather than being well-rounded.
    5. Don't respect elders just because of their age. It's unreasonable. Learn from their mistakes, and their experience, but evaluate them. Don't ever blindly credit anyone for anything.
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    Jun 26 2013: Hi Robert,

    Here is what I would have told myself. I hope that it helps you. :)

    1. You will have painful experiences in your life. Just know that those experiences, while no fun to go through, will help shape your character. More importantly, you choose how they shape you.

    2. In time, you will see your experiences (good, bad, and everything in-between) build on each other and allow new doors to open to you. Being aware of this can sometimes help you along.

    3. Let experiences, passionate work, and connections to others be your joy. Material possessions won't bring you the same happiness. Don't waste your time chasing the carrot on a stick.

    4. Take time to show appreciation and love to the people that matter to you. You don't know how long they will be in your life.

    5. Don't be afraid to fail. Just ignore the butterflies/anxiety you might feel and follow your heart. If/when you do fail, appreciate and learn from the experience. See #1 and #2
  • Jun 24 2013: I wish I had known it’s more important to make life-long friends than it is to be ‘a good student’.
    I wish I had known the future holds nothing for me unless I try real hard.
    I wish I had known the fact that after graduating from high school, I’d really miss this period of time in my life.
    I wish I had known the lesson, “now or never’
    I wish I had known that I should be really passionate about what I love doing. Yet, it’s not enough to explain with words.


    I wish I had enjoyed so-called ‘adventures’ at that time.






    When I Was A High school Student………
    • Jun 26 2013: Hi Elizabeth, I enjoyed reading your points.

      You can enjoy adventures at any age Elizabeth.........life is an adventure!!!!
      • Jun 26 2013: Hi Mary~:)
        Good to see you again...
        Indeed…
        But what I miss so much is the taste of enjoying adventures at that very time.

        As you say, we can enjoy adventures at any time.
        However, there are some moments when you particularly wish to have been adventures...

        I'm not sure whether this makes sense to you, but as far as I'm concerned, a grown-up would still miss the time when he dared to do something that others thought to be ‘irrational’ or something.

        He can still enjoy the thrill of adventures, but one day he would say, “Nonetheless, nothing compares to what I did when I was..”

        Simply, particularly, you’d miss those moments of your life.
        What it could have and would have been.
        And what you should have done instead..

        Warm regards~
        Liz



        PS btw, your advice really enourages me a lot(right now), though..
        I should keep that in mind.

        Thanks...:)
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    Jun 23 2013: I wish I knew that I should be myself and not depend on others.
    That the opinion others have of me doesn't define me. All the rejections from my crushes were actually valuable lessons -every experience is a valuable lesson.
    People change, but this doesn't mean I have to change too.
    Being in terms with myself is more important than being "popular".
    And most importantly, that I should never, ever, ever, ever, ever give up.
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    Jun 23 2013: Over confidence will become mind boggling when learning, don't get caught up in yourself. You will get negative responses if you are over confident. Ignore superficial comments, be happy about who you are. The best time for a lady to fall in love with you is when you only have a bus pass and a bicycle! :) The truth will shine bright. Money has nothing to do with the value of life or happiness. Imagine that on a bill board in times square.

    Put all your virtues to use. Explore. Find them and use them throughout your whole life. Become passionate with all of them and not just 1.

    Trust others and help others. Pay it forward.
  • Jun 23 2013: Robert- I'm drawing a bit of a blank on your high school question, but if college enters the picture, I may have something helpful. I'm working on this book about making the most of your college experience, and I just finished my second draft. If you'd like a free pdf copy of the draft, just visit the site and let me know. Thanks. Mike.

    http://carpecollege.com

    In the meantime, my general responses to your questions would center upon following the advice of baseball great, Willie Stargell, who said the trick to hitting a baseball is to 'try easier'. I think that could be the trick to almost anything! I'd follow with 'be yourself' (which you're already doing pretty well) and recognize the wisdom and beauty in others (including parents and EVERY kid in your school). For those who frustrate you or seem to lack your intellect or moral compass, be patient and give them a wide berth. We are all emerging all the time. We are all flawed and fallible and trying to find our way. And we can all be fonts of wisdom. So, in your encounters with others, be both forgiving and truly interested in getting to know them.

    Sorry this came across more as advice than reflection.... But I hope you can find something of value.
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    Jun 22 2013: I wish I really understood the following values when I was a graduate:
    1. Follow conscience
    If our hearts are true and your goals are just, our gut knows where we should go … follow it.
    2. Nurture empathy
    We need to learn to listen thoughtfully and patiently to others, and put ourselves in their shoes and empathize. The more we feel what others feel, the better we can understand.
    3. Be consistent and committed to our beliefs and values, but…
    We must always be willing to listen to those who may differ with us, and we should be open to a reexamination of our opinions. Ideas must be free to flow to the surface and reveal themselves, and they may never get expressed if we don’t engage with one another.
    4. Remember: Nobody knows everything!
    We need to realize, very early in our lives, that no leader, branch of government or system has a monopoly on knowledge, intelligence, perfection of design or wisdom. We should constantly critique decisions and policies made and recognize that all human beings are fallible, whether a president, supreme court justice or town mayor.
    5. Develop ourselves in every way we can
    The word “commencement” means “to begin,” and we move on to the next phase of learning. Whatever our situation, we should be prepared to never, ever stop learning, growing and expanding our knowledge in every facet, for the rest of our lives.
  • Jun 22 2013: 1. What I want/need is more important than what's possible.
    2. Reality is malleable; it's more a question of interpretation than objectivity.
    3. Anything I have or achieve will have almost no effect on the capacity for happiness that I have right now.
    4. Often the worst things that happen to me will be the best things that happen to me.
    5. I am completely responsible for my life; there is no one else to blame.
    6. Everybody is doing the best they can, including the rate at which they improve.
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    Jun 22 2013: I hated high school years. They were truly the worst years of my life. A big thumbs down to everyone who says they are the best years of your life. Phooey! I wish I knew that the popular kids in high school wouldn't be the popular ones in college the successful ones in life, either. I wish I knew that when I got to college being different would be a good thing! Not so much in high school.

    I loved college from the first day. The freedom! The excitement! All these new people! And the endless possibilities... It was fantastic!

    Girls? Don't waste your time on anyone who doesn't appreciate you for who you really are. Don't put the moves on a girl too soon. It's OK to develop friendships first. My best relationships were with guys I was friends with first.

    You are clearly a thoughtful young man with a variety of cool interests. You should thrive in whatever you choose to do!
  • Jun 20 2013: Robert, thanks for this and your courage in coming forth and asking the question. I just graduated college a few weeks ago and to be honest with you, it went by very fast. High School seems like it was just yesterday and I often find myself wondering what good came from it and what things did I take away. These are things that I wish I had paid attention to when I was a senior in high school:

    1) Talk to your teachers and try to maintain a good relationship with them. This will build your ability to build relationships with different and interesting adults.
    2) Do not take today for granted. The more gratitude we have for each day, the happier we become.
    3) Live. You're an accomplished young adult and have a lot of interests. Act upon them because sometimes work gets in the way of what we really love to do.
    4) Read/Watch/Listen to something new everyday.
    5) The love-life comes as we develop ourselves to live authentically. Being who you are is much more attractive then being just like everyone else (trust me, man. It does not seem like it in high school but it is true).

    You have a great life ahead of you bud and you will figure out what works best for you. The memories I have from high school are not about the leadership roles I had or the grades I received for my work but they were about the friendships I made (hanging out after school in the parking lot or before first period when we had breakfast). Truly it seems that the things that society tells are important end up being the very thing that we forget about it.

    I wish you all the best on your journey my friend.
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    Jun 12 2013: WOW, i'm from China, and i play tennis too.
    I regret not to started reading earlier, so the first i want to tell myself is: read more books.
    And I also hope to beginn with tennis earlier, i started it at 16, kinda late haha, but i never regret to pay much time on this sport even though it influenced my grade at school for almost 2 years.
    And i hope to learn more language, now i'm studying german in Germany and i use free time to learn italian. (i plan to go to italian college too) Well, third thing is also, regret didn't beginn learning more language at younger age.
    and... fourth... I don't know, maybe more social practise.
    Seize your opportunity! Best wishes to you!
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    Jul 6 2013: 1. That love is not a feeling and that feelings should not be our sole guide.
    2. You really really reap what you sow.
    3. Life is short; dont waste time.
    4. Some things are not really as important as they seem.
    5. Patience is important; to be patient is to be blessed.
  • Jul 3 2013: Five? Okay, five.

    1: That she loved me like I loved her.
    2: That she would have married me even if it had meant eloping.
    3: That high school is almost 100% b---s---, and the social aspect is 100% b---s---.
    4: That everybody is a big fish in a small pond.
    5: That there is still time to party even after college--you don't have to fit it all in right after high school.
  • Jul 3 2013: 1. You should become an engineer (LOL JK... i don't want to tell you want to do but this is for myself mostly)
    2. You should not date until you graduate college (again... this is what i would tell ME)
    3. Utilize your summers (don't just sit at home with the comfort of your mom's cooking)
    4. Travel Abroad (via study abroad, internships, visit ur Penpal? LOL)
    5. Move on from High School (Don't linger because there are far greater things waiting for you)

    lemme know if you want me to elaborate on any of those... i am more than willing to share in detail how I came to those suggestions but I don't want to bore people with my long stories (also... I just graduated college fyi.... so if there are older people with wiser advices that contridicts mine... you should probably listen to them LOL)
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    Jul 3 2013: I wish I'd known that science was wonderful! A few things that I did know (and still hold on to) are that being who you are is vital - express yourself, do the things you love and are passionate about, never allow anyone (including yourself) to put you in a box or make you agree to things you are against; know yourself - your beliefs, values and opinions, and hold onto them; mix with people who will boost you, not compare, judge or belittle you.
  • Jun 26 2013: Hi Robert, this is a fantastic question, it's really made me think and look back on my life and what I would have changed if I could. My five things would be:

    1) Stop caring what other people think. I speant years trying to please people, trying to fit in etc. and I can honestly say when I stopped caring and stopped trying that was when I became happy and made great friends.

    2) Put school work first. I was always classed as a "bright" student, but when given the choice between staying in to study or going out, I would inevitaby go out. As much fun as it may seem at the time trust me when I say it's not worth it. Stay in and study, do the homework that needs doing or the course work, and then once that's done then go out.

    3) Do what you want to do. When I started collage I took the subjects that teachers had recomeneded I do as I was good at them but they were not subjects that I was passionate about. I wish more than anything that I had had the courage to make my own path rather than following what others said, as I am still trying now to get back on "my" path.

    4) Quite a few people on here have mentioned meditation, it's not something I would of thought of myself, but I think it's a fantastic idea. When you leave school and start collage/work you can get days when the stress is just crazy. Learning different ways to handle that stress at an earlier age is a great idea.

    5) Never give up! So many times when I was younger I gave up on things because I was too shy or too afraid to fail. Jump at any oppertunity you're given and keep at it no matter how hard it may seem as at the end of it all it will be worth it. (I was to afraid of failing to take a scholarship test . . . boy do I now regret that!)
  • Jun 24 2013: Robert:
    Your questions seem to have wormed their way into my head -- probably because I've been retrospecting my own life a lot lately.

    Anyway, I've been thinking about the difficulty of focusing when one has many varied interests and I think Manishka Windweaver's post right after mine below is right on the nose. Once you find your passion follow it absolutely; but finding that passion (or figuring out how to synergize a couple) may take some definite Paying Attention. Watch yourself as you would someone else. If you see a beautiful piece of land (or building, or space) do you think it would be a great place to take photos, play tennis, make a movie, have a party, or buy as an investment? It works for anything: clothes? Photograph, design, invest? Music: score a video, be the DJ, back the artist? etc., etc., etc... Keep a record for a while and a pattern will probably emerge. The first impulses come from the heart, while the later ones will be your rationalizations. These are the first steps, the baby steps, and then when you make a decision / come to a realization / have an epiphany, however you want to phrase it, DO IT.

    Hope this is more pragmatic, which is, I think, more what you wanted. Oh, and don't confuse natural ability with interest. The two don't always coincide. If you are interested in something you will put in the work to become good at it. Especially when we are young, sometimes well meaning folks will try to push us towards something we're good at, but it turns out it was just the luck of the draw and we don't necessarily like doing that thing and certainly don't want to do it as a career. Does that sound like I'm talking about me? Astute.

    Anyway, good luck, young man. I wish you well and thank you for stimulating this conversation.
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      Jun 25 2013: I do agree and I must admit that I do have a virtue that I do not always like doing. For some reason I only like this virtue about myself when it comes to helping someone else. As far as doing it for myself, I don't like doing it most of the time and I get frustrated easily. It has to be a slow relaxing process with out emergencies or dead lines for me to enjoy it for myself. I believe it has much to do with the reason of feeling valued from others only.
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    Jun 23 2013: #1 Chicks love to hang out with sensitive guys, but they sleep with neanderthals.
    #2 girls like guys with money or the potential for getting lots of it, so study hard
    #3 If your not handsome, don't go on double dates with someone who is.
    #4 Everything is about sex and wanting to be loved, respected, comforted, useful
    #5 You can improve your chances of hooking up by strenuous exercise, weight lifting, careful grooming, and plastic surgery if absolutely necessary.
    #6 Theres 7,000,000,000 different ways to love, be happy, and live a full life. Just get out there and get living.There's someone for everybody. Your own mind is the primary determining factor of your worth, your happiness, and your destiny. Just dive in, and take no prisoners.
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      Jun 30 2013: So be a sensitive neanderthal! lol! It's true that sex is the driving force in dating, which I didn't mention in my comment to Robert. It's said that women know within the first 10 seconds of meeting you whether or not they would sleep with you. I think men are the same, as shallow as that may be, I believe that it's just how we're pre-wired as humans. There are even TED talks regarding the subject.
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        Jun 30 2013: I think most of my comment was intended to be humorous, while still squeezing in a little biological reality, though the most valuable lesson of my life is contained in #6 above. Take a close look at what I said there. Every person has to live their own journey.
  • Jun 23 2013: Robert:

    I just re-read my comment and realized that I'd made a pretty major (and sexist, and biased) assumption when I said, "BTW, kindness, empathy, humor, and the ability to learn are generally qualities women appreciate in a man."

    I think those are qualities most people appreciate in their partners, regardless of gender.
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    Jun 23 2013: Smile , compliment, forgive, keep in touch with nature , family &friends, learn about life, be simple and truthful more.
  • Jun 22 2013: 1. Be yourself. Everyone at high school is scared to be unique and not fit in. The funny thing is everybody just wants to be themselves. Be yourself, embrace those that are and try to be, sooner or later you will have a trend.
    2. Boyfriends & Girlfriends. Make friends with people you are interested in. Find out if you have the same common likes and interests. If you are friends first, all the other good stuff follows because there is a trust factor.
    3. Explore your interests--try selling your photography, try investing, videograph someones wedding or special event. Do not let age, money, or peer pressure keep you from trying things you want to do. Be focused on what you want, you will find the necessary finance and support to do it.
    4. Build your friendships and make memories this year. My high school friends are closer than my college friends, even though I spent more time with my college friends. I communicate more with my hs friends now (30 yrs later). I can't even remember some of my college roommates names to look them up (some I don't care to).
    5. learn Kipling's IF poem- use it as a benchmark to measure your actions by. There are no greater words of advice that anyone can give than what is contained in that poem.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/If-
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    Jun 20 2013: There is no need to hurry to grow up.

    Keep in touch with nature, family and friends.

    Smile more.

    Forgive and forget easily and at the first instant.

    Read and learn more about life and every thing outside your syllabus
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    Jun 19 2013: 1. The love life will come ... no worries.
    2. Eat, breathe and sleep what ever your passions are
    3. Have fun while you can ... and you always can
    4. "Stuff" is not necessary .. the less I have, the happier I am .. you can live happily with almost no possessions.
    5. Don't ever be afraid to jump, tap into "timing"
  • Jun 19 2013: I just graduated from high school less than a month ago. During my senior year of high school I began to question everything that I thought I knew about myself. I have already entered into college. I'm taking classes now and it's a wonderful learning experience. Though much time hasn't passed since I've been a high school senior I would still tell myself a four things, not five.

    1. Don't be so quick to be a people pleaser. You don't always have to make sure everybody is happy if you are not.
    2. Don't just "go with the flow". If you feel something isn't right speak up.
    3. Friendly conversation, here and there, goes a long with. It's okay to talk to some strangers. It's okay to go outside of your comfort zone. It's okay to not have a "connection" with everyone you come in contact with.
    4. Just be YOU! Don't be afraid to say how you feel. Don't be afraid to do anything. Don't try to fit the standard. You are the standard. There's a MUCH bigger world outside of high school where it's okay to be different. Nobody cares what you do because they're all focused on their own agenda.

    I'm trying to live by these lessons today.
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    Jun 19 2013: 1) Money is fake and is man made, it has no true value
    1) Material things are fake and have no true value, 99.999% nothing
    1) No matter what you call it whether you are having fun doing it or not you will always be working
    1) We are prisoners to infinity this is why the rich need to stay rich...until a better system can be created... there is infinity between any 2 numbers (see fractal code) there is infinity between any 2 seconds (see planck time) and there is infinity in any whole object (see quantum physics).
    1) Let there be light.....we have never seen anything other then light...that is all we can see and all we will see as it changes its magnificent form. For light can neither be created or destroyed

    P.S. 2) Numbers don't exist out side of page, there is no 2 and there is no zero or nothing/no thing ....and then when you realize you are in infinity there is no 1 for it could be labeled arbitrarily
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    Jun 17 2013: 1)Everybody's weird and just as hung up as you; so be yourself
    2)Fast food is evil, stay away from it as much as possible
    3)All drinking and drug use leads to nowhere
    4)Confidence is the most sexy attribute a person can project- not looks or cloths
    5)Sex without love is worse than no sex at all
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    Jun 16 2013: Girls, Girls, Girls, Girls, Girls.
    Understanding them is a life long research effort and should you devote your life to this project. Fame and fortune could be yours. Any clarification would at least be awarded the Nobel Prize.

    I was once asked if there was a God. I said yes and He is angry with me. I know this because half of the people in the world are girls..

    But, you are young and have a great understanding of the world and will consider this as the ranting of an old fool that has slipped the surly bounds of rational thought. That's probably true, but mark my words, it's girls.
  • Jun 16 2013: Robert, Ill show you an alternative perspective to the '5 things highly effective' which sound like one of those soup books.

    Be yourself, there is no "right" path, there is only the path you make, and it's the perfect path for you. Don't regret things, because those 'regets' will take you on a path that leads you into others, just as exciting, just as interesting. Just different.

    Remember boredom is in the eye of the beholder. And be glad that life bestows you with many interests, it can be a wonderful world.

    Enjoy the moment, you've had a kiss, and that's all, but remember it with all you heart and soul, and it will sustain you. Love like friendships don't just happen they have to be nurtured, just like a dream that you want to follow.

    Think not of tomorrow, as all you really have is today, and like the if you take care of the pennies the pound will take care of themselves, same is true for today's, as they will forge your tomorrows, so make a good foundation today. Be it study, love, dreaming, or work.

    I dont, and i recommend you dont either, do regret. It leads you to look back, and you can get stuck in a time warp of living in yesterday, remembering the days gone by not the days to come. What ever choices you make, whatever life brings you, revel in it.

    Know, that even if the journey is rocky, and hard, and fraught with mistakes, that's ok. That gives you something to learn from and stories to tell. It makes you an interesting man. Failure can be more educational than success, so dont be afraid to try.

    Be nice to strangers, it's what you'd want from them, and today more than ever, it's a very small world.

    Big changes and preparations for a successful life in the future, oh the plans of mice and men, rather look for a life well lived and deserved, after all it truly was a miracle of nature that you were even born at all, so make the most of it, not only for you - but for others too.
    • Jun 16 2013: Thank you dear sir for your opinion. I would have liked to send you a private message so that I wouldn't spoil that thread but I couldn't find a way. I apologize for that but I just could not have been satisfied without thanking you.
      I think there is some great amount of wisdom in what you say and I really am glad I could have the chance to read your comment.
      Thank you very much, I shall remember your words whenever I feel down. :)
      • Jun 20 2013: Well thank you very much for you kind reply. I really appreciate it Kayne. But even more than my appreciation is that - I'm very glad it helps you.

        I'd add, and like people to remember this too:

        When you feel down, always know the only place to go is up. And because you're down and no matter how bad it gets or it seems, when the change happens, and it will, the up will feel way much better than you can ever imagine. Remember the down will change - it's just a matter of time.
  • Jun 13 2013: Robert,
    First of all, hats off to you for this topic. This is one thing I was not concerned with when I was in high school!!

    My five things? Never underestimate the importance of:
    1 curiosity
    2 self-reflection
    3 expression
    4 empathy
    5 a home-cooked meal!

    The very best of luck to you! By asking this question, you are clearly on the path to ensuring your own success, whatever that may be.
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    W. Ying

    • +1
    Jun 13 2013: .
    My answer:


    “...
    (1) Life Goal
    The goal of human life is to keep one’s own DNA alive or working continuously.
    Without this goal of life, a person shall be wandering absently, no happy, no suffering, depressed, numb ...

    (2) Valid Happiness
    A. Definition
    Valid happiness is the feeling of things being a-step-better for keeping our DNA alive. No matter how large or small the size of the step may be.
    This feeling is valid only when it meets the conditions in which the instincts were formed about 10,000 years ago.
    ...

    (3) Well-Being
    Well-being is the ongoing feeling of things being step-by-step-better for keeping our DNA alive without serious problems.
    ...

    (4) Valid Suffering
    A. Definition
    Valid suffering is the feeling of things being harmful to keeping our DNA alive and calling us to remedy and prevent it.
    This feeling is valid only when it meets the conditions in which the instincts were formed about 10,000 years ago.
    ...

    (5) Soul
    Soul is the spiritual self formed by the computation results of the master data-programs of both human instincts and pre-instincts in the brain.
    The soul runs the brain; and the brain runs the whole physical body.
    A. Composition
    ...”

    (from Be Happy Validly!)
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    Jul 11 2013: .
    5. Make and save money before spending it, this includes money for college.Most of the time, you won't have any idea about what you want to be when you are 17/18. I've changed my mind three times in the past year while applying to graduate school. There is absolutely no shame in taking time to work, save up money and do some research about your career before putting yourself in to debt or wasting a scholarship studying something you'll come to hate.

    4. Listen to people older than you. The older you get, the more you'll realize they were right. So avoid big mistakes now by taking the advice of people who live like you would someday like to.

    3. Learn that failure is part of success, to be humble, and be excited for people who are having good things happen to them...even when you aren't.

    2. Learn to respect each as a person as an individual with their own valuable thoughts and feelings. People are more than just the opposite (or same) sex or friends or classmates. They do not exist to serve a purpose for you. They live, and breathe, and feel, and hurt and you should value them as such.

    1. When you find something that you would want to do even if no one paid you for it...make a career out of it. You'll never work a day in your life.
  • Jul 10 2013: I think it's great that a 17-18 year old like yourself is taking proactive steps to better his future. I've always thought best to learn from someone older since the experiences they've gone through have made them wiser to some extent.

    1- list out your weaknesses and your fears and try to tackle them, graduating as a senior is a stepping milestone in life, wouldnt it feel amazing if youve become a better person once you change yourself in anyway for the better, no ones perfect in life, so take a piece of paper and write down all the flaws then think of solutions, if you need help then consider talking to family and friends
    I know as a teenager I was very ignorant and always thought I was always right about everything, as I've gotten older I'm considerate of others and very open to listening to what everyone has to say

    2- start making a to do list, things get very complex when you have them all in your head, it feels very disorganized, so to feel less stressed out write out all the things you want to get done and once you cross them out it will feel great accomplishing it!

    3- balance I find is key, if your spending too much time doing one thing over the other that's not good. Try doing a bit of everything, like spending time with family, friends, sports, school, hobby, relationship

    4- making time for yourself, I find solitude can help you analyze and reflect, it's when you have the tv on or reading something on the computer that forces you to think what's on there, so instead I feel like you should have free thinking and just be able to have time to think for yourself

    5- focus most on your education and getting done with a degree, choose something that makes you happy in life, and work towards anything that you can see yourself doing for the next 50 years

    This was a compilation between what I've seen my sister do and what I wish I'd done for myself, every part of your life is stressful, take it one day at a time, good luck to you, hope this helped in anyway!
  • Jul 10 2013: Take a big deep dive into the abyss of your passions in everything and don't be afraid. The deeper you go, the more rewarding your life will become.

    That kind of covers the five.
  • Jul 9 2013: You seem pretty on top of you game, concentrate on getting into college first, if that's what you aspire. You have got to focus on what you are willing to commit with. Even if you're interested in those various activities don't get too confident that you know what they're all about from self educating (unless you are really passionate, then I apologize).

    I'm just starting my sophomore year in college and as a fellow confused child I really wished I
    1) focused more on one activity I really enjoyed. I also did a lot of activities and things I can be proud to put on my resume, but I'm kind of a dabbler, good at everything not great at one thing.
    2) developed some sort of passion/motivation.
    3) took the time to learn more about myself in a non-headbanging way.
    4) focused more on school (but I can't lie about the amount of fun I had while not)
    5) developed a deeper relationship with those whom I had worked with, whether it be teachers, supervisors or classmates.Think of every friendship you make as an opportunity, you never know where they may take you later.

    I would multipy these answers by 3 to answer all of your questions.

    To add, if you find yourself to also be a dabbler be it in skill or interest, if you're looking for some sort of guidance on what to focus on I say just loosen up man. Instead of constantly testing shallow waters allow yourself to become obsessed with something. If you're finding yourself having a hard time to become obsessed, Make yourself obsessed. Learn everything you can about it, meet everyone and thing you can that interests you. The road you're looking for is guided by every hand you shake
  • Jul 9 2013: 1. Don't stress about dating/relationships. Successful ones can't be forced. Just be open and friendly to everyone and eventually the right person will come along. Don't settle for cheap imitations of real relationships.
    2. Become a person that you would find fun and intriguing. That will be one of the most winsome things you can do. People are drawn to authenticity. And you will get so wrapped up in experiencing all that fun and excitement that you will forget to worry about it. Make your life an adventure . Do hard things, take chances, push yourself outside your comfort zone occasionally. When you are approaching the horizon is when you will feel most alive.
    3. There are many types of compensation in life, only one of them is money. Respect, appreciation, free time are all forms of compensation - don't discount them. Money is great - it can allow you to pursue many different opportunities, but it cannot make you happy in and of itself. Use it as a tool.
    4. Don't let fear of making a mistake freeze you and prevent you from making intentional decisions. Make the best choices you can, ride both the good ones and the bad ones for as long as you need, and then bail off if you want to. You will learn more about yourself and the world from your mistakes than from your successes. Mistakes are not fun, but they are okay. Allow yourself to make some!
    5. Enjoy who you are right now. You will only be 18 (or 19, or 20) once. Treasure every minute of it, even the moments of doubt and insecurity. It all has value. Make the memories that you think you might want to have to look back on when you are 50.
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    Jul 9 2013: I just graduated not too long ago, starting my sophomore year of university.

    Here goes..
    1. Don't worry excessively about girls. Get your grades up, perhaps get a small job to have some cash, have a good personality. Yea, you can chat up girls and flirt, but don't worry about if they like or not, talk to many girls unless you're ready to have a committed relationship (kinda dumb IMO because you're about to start college soon), and enjoy your time with your friends.

    2. GET YOUR GRADES UP! I don't care if you have a D- average or B+ average, boost them as high as you can. Finish strong as many coaches would say. Your grades are more important than hanging with you friends or talking to females. Of course you can have social time, but study enough so you actually know your work and can perform on test day. Balance my friend...balance.

    3. If you have had any issues with your parents or had a strained relationship, figure out what's causing it and fix it. Once you go to college, you won't be there all the time and you don't want to have a strained relationship with the people who are basically your financiers, but above money, the people who have cared for you and nourished you from day 1.

    4. Be yourself. Being cool with who you are makes it easier to be cool with people in general. From experience when I accepted who I was and what I do and like, I found it easier to talk to other people and make friends from different social groups. I realized that whether they liked me or not, I didn't care about their approval and acceptance of my hobbies and musical tastes, because I liked what I was doing and into.

    5. Learn time management and balance if you haven't. If you need a planner or a notebook or calendar app in your phone, get it. There's nothing like the feeling of being on the ball, on point, like your plan and day are moving like clockwork. You also feel like you have more control in your life.

    Good luck to you sir. Enjoy your last year of HS.
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    Jul 9 2013: TANTRIC YOGA.

    FREEDOM FROM RELIGION.

    RETIREMENT COMES SOONER THAN ENVISAGED.

    FOLLOW YOUR BLISS/PASSIONS.

    LISTEN TO YOUR ELDERS AND THE YOUNG AS WELL
  • Jul 8 2013: Thank you Angel! In case it matters, I'm of the female gender.
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    Jul 7 2013: 'I have too many questions to ask and not many answers'

    1,2,3,4 & 5: Get used to this feeling and nurture it ...
  • Jul 3 2013: Stuff I wish someone had told me when I was graduating high school:
    1. Don't worry too much about the future.
    2. Keep your mind and heart as open as you can and let your current interests draw you to people and places that help you develop as a person.
    3. Your interests will change throughout your life.
    4.Do what feels natural to you.
    5. Being a student will open a lot of doors to you. Don't hesitate to try them out.
    6. Travel abroad, frequently, to as many places as you can.
    7. Read a lot and read broadly.
    8. Read the book 'on the road', and also 'world stomp'.
    9. Whether or not you're going to college, learn to work with your hands. Learn a practical skill.
    10. Spend as much time outdoors recreating/working in the fresh air as you can. It will keep your mind clear, your body healthy, and you'll meet cool people.
    11. Don't expect change to happen immediately. With some things you will start to see change in 2 years, some in 10, others will take a lifetime. Just keep at it.
    12. Everything everyone in this chat has said about communication and interpersonal relationships is true. Be aware of it and work to improve because it's essential and the effort is worth it.
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    Jul 3 2013: 5 things I wish I knew...

    1) That time really does go by fast.
    2) That understanding women is impossible.
    3) That at my 18 ( 1981) I would have it far better than 18year olds 30 years from now.
    4) That the best things I have and would ever learn would come from my parents.
    5) That the most popular kid is not always the best player on the team.

    5 things I offer as advice.....

    1) Do not rely on technology. Go out and meet people. Learn how to talk to and deal with people face to face .
    2) When you are out with a girl / woman always pay the check. Always ! Also, never become her 4:00 am friend. That is when you are called by a girl who would never date you but will call you when she is in need.
    3) Keep in shape and keep clean. Trust me on this one.
    4) Nevr be a second rate anyone else. Always be a first rate you.
    5) Don't rely on anything we tell you. Take your time and learn for yourself.
  • Jul 3 2013: There are quite a few things that I wish I had done in high school, but had I really done those things then I would not have been the person that I am today. Our minds should have clarity, and we must be realistic and yet compassionate towards life in general.
    One of the foremost things that comes to my mind is - I wish I had concentrated more on being an outdoor person back then. I should have played more outdoor games, gone on trekking and hiking etc.
    Secondly, I wish I could fare better in mathematics. I just did not give enough time to the subject.
    Third, I wish I knew the value of time better.
    Fourth, I wish I knew the beauty of poetry while still in school!
    And last but not the least, I wish I knew what was going on in the mind of the guy I had a crush on!!!
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    Jul 3 2013: My advice would be -

    if you have a passion in life(music, sports etc.) follow it, if you fail, dont worry - take it as its meant to be. There are ALWAYS other doors open you just need to explore and find the way to them.. thats probably the hardest part. If you think investing and marketing is your thing, concentrate on it and if it will not work out - take a challenge and do something else, dont be afraid of changes.

    When i was in high school, i thought neuropsychology is my way and ONLY way, when it didnt work out, i thought i failed in life - but then i thought if its meant to be it will happen, so if i cannot find the way to psychology, psychology will find its way to me. And it happened - probably in a way i never expected. but all the knowledge and experience just helped us to find each other.


    Remember, there are so many ways to go, so take it easy - when one way doesnt work out, take another, never stop. And eventually you will find your way. Many of us are still looking - its a life journey.

    Take every challenge as a game, play it and win it, if you lose try again or play another game.

    Life is so much easier, when you start to look at it from different sides in a different ways. Sometimes it reminds me a chess.
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    Jul 1 2013: Self learn and take the initiative to form your own opinions based on your own efforts in learning and understanding life. Do not become a confirmist and live out other peoples ideas, opinions and beliefs.

    30 years ago in the early 80's, thsi was a much different world. Walkman was the coolest gadget, IBM made the first PC, Steve Jobs hadnt released the Apple Macintosh, Cold War the a big threat, berlin wall was still up, and people had really bad hair styles.

    Look at the world today and how different it is. 30 yeasr before the early 80's the world was lot different as well.

    Sp, know that what you know today will be lot different in the future and may also be obselete. And most of us live well over our 60's. Thats two cycles of absolute change. So, do not be to stubborn and rigid to change. Self learn and progress always.
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    Jun 30 2013: Hi Robert. Don't worry about your relationship status. It sounds like your IQ and EQ are beyond those of your current grade level anyway, which may indicate that you are simply too mature for most girls your age. Finding those girls with interest beyond Facebook, Twitter, and Justin Beiber will be a challenge for now, but will get easier in time.

    Most girls of this age group are extremely impressionable and are influenced heavily upon peer pressure. I saw the prettiest girls date the ugliest, most cro-magnon looking guys when I was in high school just because he drove a nice car, was on the football team, or was well respected by his peers through bullying or intimidation.

    My suggestions on dating are; don't give up, be yourself, know your limitations, take care of your appearance and hygiene, exude confidence (yet not cocky and don't come on too strong), be a good listener, show strength in character (have a backbone), be selfless, be romantic and sincere (chivalry is not dead), and last but not least.... learn to accept rejection positively. :-)

    As far as five things I wish I knew, only one really comes to mind. I wish I knew that I was truly capable of more, that I did have the ability achieve careers that to some seem out of reach. I'm currently a Field Service Engineer, which I enjoy to an extent and pays fairly good as well. However, I was an accomplished artist in high school, even having a piece displayed in the St. Louis Museum of Art. Even though I loved art and my teachers thought I should pursue a career in art, I didn't see it supporting me. I now find orthodontics or plastic surgery would have been a career path I would have enjoyed thoroughly, as there is artistic value and great attention to detail in that line of work, not to mention it more than pays the bills. :-)

    It sounds cliche, but you really can do anything that you set your mind to. Best wishes.
  • Jun 30 2013: Hi Robert,

    I wish I knew these things:
    1. Try new things that YOU are interested in even if your friends are not interested in them.
    2. Study hard and not just in the subjects you have to take in school, study things that interest you too.
    3. Hard work will not necessarily lead to fame or fortune but you'll know in your heart you've tried your best.
    4. It is better to be kind than to right all of the time.
    5. Show gratitude whenever possible to others because it will make you a happier person.
  • Jun 28 2013: 1) I wish I had spent a lot more time learning about and practicing social skills, both on an individual level and with community involvements. I think I could have redirected some of my frustrations or disappointments into helpful action and self-improvement rather than feeling sorry for myself at times.

    2) I wish I hadn't bothered trying to follow any sort of peer pressure

    3) I wish I understood the simple psychological principle, that if you are anxious or fearful of something, or if you think you aren't good at something because of your personality, then you can simply practice that thing, and you will become better at it (though not necessarily a pro at it) --but it might take hundreds of hours of practice

    4) I wish I had been more kind and thoughtful to people who were feeling excluded by the majority; and also more kind and thoughtful to others such as my family and friends. I think I took them for granted a lot, and it made me more unhealthily self-absorbed at the time.

    5) I wish I had learned simple facts about nutrition and exercise, and understood the long term benefits for physical and mental health of eating very well, so that I could have taken much better care of myself. (e.g. it's not okay to drink coke, eat donuts, and potato chips regularly!) I think this would have made me healthier, stronger, more confident, and even better-looking!
  • Jun 28 2013: 1) The world does not care how special you THINK you are

    2) You can't get anywhere without working hard... But Remember......

    3) You don't deserve to become "anything" just because you worked hard for it

    4) You're only young for a brief moment, and you can only do things for the first time ONCE.

    5) Don't take stupid chances, but don't play it safe either...... If you're not F'ed up by 29, this will all make sense

    ;)
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    Jun 27 2013: This is a great question!
    I don't know if I have five things, but I do have three.

    1. Don't lower your standards to fit into the crowd! I was raised in a closeted Lebanese Druze community and I maintained a lot of conservative views through high school. When I got to college, I was so excited to become "American" that I betrayed a lot of my beliefs. Sure, in the moment it was a good time, but looking back, I would have been better off clinging to some of those old world views. I didn't know what it meant to really be "American," and I was in such a rush to figure it out - I think it was ultimately a little damaging.

    2. It's not the end of the world if you get a B. I beat myself up over small grade slip-ups - it was a lot of stress that resulted in health issues - hair loss, anxiety, sleeplessness. At the end of the day, it was only a handful of tests, and I got where I wanted to go regardless of the B's and C's.

    3. Be greedy with your trust. I wanted to make friends so bad that I trusted and loved everyone the second I met them. True, it might be a nature thing - I'm still like this to an extent. But when I started college, it was especially trying to meet friends who only spoke to me because they wanted answers to a quiz. So be stingy! Have high standards! Give everyone a chance to be your friend, but only keep those who truly care about you (yes, YOU) close to your heart.
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    Jun 26 2013: About the first one I would strongly consider it, but not necessarily do it (my memory of my discipline at the time is a bit hazy).

    1) Stick to your own schedule: I'd drop out of high school at the start of the final year or the year before that. Instead I would work on my skills intensely, figure out what I want to study and then do a 21+ admission test. I would've studied so much quicker. Note: applies to The Netherlands.

    2) Do meditation or something similar. Anything that makes yourself aware of your body is good. Now I (occasionally) feel that I have a better understanding of what a certain emotion means than everyone else. And at such moments I can spot when people don't really know what they are talking about. Before that I used to not understand a thing of it. And you'll gain a new perspective over time which will become just as big as your scientific and logical perspective, but this one is emotional and intuitive (note: not irrational). Combining those 2 together is just awesome.

    3) You can never know what you want unless you have tried it. After my senior year I traveled and I noticed that my impression of countries was *always* different. I had a certain picture and feeling of Rome and then when I got to Rome it felt different. It still was fun, but it was a lot more fun than I thought! You cannot know all the variables involved beforehand. The same goes for studying and (presumably) for choosing a job.

    4) Learning something in applied way is a lot more fun than in a theoretical way. In this way I learned Italian (in Rome) and statistics (by playing poker) and computer science (by doing stuff on the computers). So if your study program is too theoretical, make sure you find this application outside of your college.

    5) Learn how to cultivate genuine altruism, it will give you a lot of love and self-esteem in return. It's in the book "Search Inside Yourself". It's about meditation but the perspective of altruism deserves its own bullet point.

    I'm 24.
  • Jun 26 2013: I would say, what you learned in school will have little relevance on your life as a whole. While the memories of your school days can be cherished, the learning will not affect other stages of your life. You will evolve and change constantly that even how you view your knowledge will change. You will realize that so much you are taught is opinion and lies. Try to think for yourself!! True knowledge is not learned from a book, but by experiences. So, go into the world and experience as much as possible. But, be wary. The world is not always very nice. Be true to yourself, nonetheless.
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    Jun 25 2013: e,I have never regret about my hight school and senir,after all,everything have its dififferent reason,and at that time,i am not a kid already.so are you.just be yourself,and enjoy you school,everything will be all right,
  • Jun 24 2013: Read The Art of Love by Erich Fromm; life will take of itself.

    J
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    Jun 24 2013: Robert,
    You have gotten a ton of responses on life about health, and wealth and success. All of that is good, but only a few have talked about.... girls. Understanding them will make all that other stuff worthwhile. I can list a thousand men, who are wealthy, well educated, successful in business or in the arts and are miserable when it comes to their relationships.
    Now, they don't give out text books on this subject. There are magazines that have articles on how to treat girls. Mostly, are no help at all and could get you in real trouble.
    My suggestion:
    Find old Cary Grant movies. He was an actor in the 40s to 60s who really portrayed the best ways to engage girls.
    Although scripted, his movies are "the" text book every young man should know.
    I personally used his techniques and inspite of my handicaps and appearance, I successfully engaged a beautiful young lady and she is still with me 50 years later. I rest my case.
  • Jun 24 2013: im just a new member here,so this is my first comment on this website. :)
    and i just finished high school,being busy with seeking universities to attend.ur article just captuer me to make a conclusion of my passed high school life.
    i used to be an asistance of my head teacher and in charge of the morning reading.that is what im prond of so far.hum i was a part of the school magazine and a part to be one of the charity group of our school to help someone in need in our province.im so happy when i recall thoes days.
    mmmm as for the things i regret.
    hahahah i refused a boy's love letter.i should have received it and read,because im curious ,hahahha
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    Jun 24 2013: Happy
    Caring
    Learner
    Creative
    Respect
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    Jun 24 2013: Opportunity comes once in a life time.
    Hey Palsey,
    I loved your article. It brings back memories of my school days. Alright rather than write a story, I'm gonna answer your questions by order.
    Where should I focus my attention to best prepare me for the future?
    Well when I was in school, I totally didn't know what to do with my life man. I was just living in the present then. "Come what may!" Kind of an attitude. So I happen to write an Engineering Entrance Exam in India and I end up in an Architecture College. Btw I never thought of studying Architecture till I got my results. I'm living a pretty weird life right now but I'm just pulling myself together trying to get through and finish this course.

    What five things that you know now looking back would you tell me?
    I should have started P90X when I was in school so that I could have edged out my peers in sports and all. I should have asked out the hottest chick in school. I shouldn't have been a shy guy. I should have spoken up in class and asked them bum teachers me doubts. I should have lost my virginity. I should have found my love for chess (I just found it recently)

    What five things do you regret doing or not doing looking back?
    1)Singing a song with a bunch of friends in front of a large audience and then all of a sudden start laughing in front of the audience for no particular reason.
    2)I regret joining St.John's High School when I had the chance to join DPS South Bangalore or even BIshop Cottons for that matter. Yes I didn't like the school studied in.
    3)I should have read a lot of books but I didn't have any kind of support at home or at school to encourage me. Reading books widen your horizon.
    4)I shouldn't have watched a lot of TV. (TV destroys lives man)
    5)I should have set my goals back then.

    Which aspects of your life do you wish you had focused on?
    1)Chess
    2)Bodybuilding
    3)Pick up lines & memorizing jokes
    4)Center of attraction at a party or something
    5)To Become a Billionaire(or atleast Mill
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      Jun 24 2013: "3)Pick up lines & memorizing jokes
      4)Center of attraction at a party or something
      5)To Become a Billionaire(or atleast Mill"

      Wow if everyone was driven towards those goals the world would be even more fucked and corrupt than it already is. Im sorry but those are really shallow goals. Goal #3 implies you want to present yourself as someone else and not be true to your own qualities; merely learning scripts of someone else. Goal #4 means that you are quite vain. Goal #5 means that you are a shallow money hungry person. The last one is the worst IMO. That is to follow the dream we are sold in education; to be capitalists, and that this is what success is. In reality it is this perspective that has left the world intertwined heavily in tyranny from banks and politicians. We are told that material produce makes the world better. When in fact it often enslaves foreigners who produce these in factories via forced labour, pollutes the planet, causes disconnection/division and forces ourselves to work because we have got ourselves in debt though greed. What about trying to do something that makes you happy first. You only get one life and money is a very superficial objective. See the "top regrets of the dying" which was a guardian article showing the things the elderly on death bed wished they had really pursued.

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2012/feb/01/top-five-regrets-of-the-dying
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        Jun 24 2013: Lol!!! true true man!! but the main reason I type in all that stuff is because I haven't been laid man. I mean I'm 20 already dude!!
        I just want to be financially free man. I'm not material minded man but I'm keen on making some money to buy me self at least an Harley Davidson man.

        Your reply was very interesting, insightful and enlightening. I think I'll dwell on them and focus more on improving me & the environment around me rather than go for them low life things.
        Thanks again!!

        But I sure as hell will focus on bodybuilding and chess!!
        These are two things that can set you free in today's world!! (According to me bro)
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          Jun 24 2013: Sorry for sounding condescending. To be fair a lot of them goals were similar to mine before I began to understand more about how the world operates. I am only 3 years older. You will get laid just work on honourable qualities which you would like a girl to be attracted to. E.g. if you attract a girl though money you will get a superficial gal who is less about important things and more concerned with money. Getting identity capital through experience and knowledge is a good way to go I guess. It took me a long time to "get laid"! Sex is great and all but being in a relationship is probably better for your mentality than random sex; which is very detached from emotion. One night stands often involve drink and a lack of intimacy. Sex is not what is is portraid to be in the "movies" either. Once in a relationship it is totally different, so be careful for what draws you in. And when it comes to capitalism - wanting lots of money. I can see why you think this is good. It gives you comfort/security. Thing is - capitalism, it is for the use of consumerism: buying more and more. Working more and more. I dont believe necessarily in god but if there is a path to hell consumerism must surely be it. This is where we sacrifice the hours of our life in work to have some new shiny product; which more often than not - adds little meaning or value to our lives. As opposed to ways that an experience such as exploring might. We become detached, brain washed and forget the problems in our world. People love their products so much that they dont care about revealed scandals which highlight ethical atrocities in their devise. Such as chinese ipad makers who sign non-suicide pledges following all of the work related suicides. Or the way that nintendo's produce has been created by men, women and children held at gunpoint. We were sold a hollow promise that technology and commerce does good for people fo the world: it enslaves, distracts and pollutes.
  • Jun 23 2013: First, great questions.....and great responses.
    Travel for as long as you can before entering college (if you intend to go)....and keep exploring your entire life.
    Don't take a desk job....our bodies were not meant for it.
    Limit your relationship with corporate life.
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    Jun 23 2013: To let my attention focus on whatever its focussing on - Live fully now, that way I'll be prepared to do so in the future.
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    Jun 23 2013: Oh and another thing that confused me back then was this whole thing about how true friends are there for each other.... don't try to help anybody. you're a person, s/he's a person, just talk and accept them, whatever they are. and if they're drug addicts or thieves or child molesters or preachers or famous givers or homeless, you don't have to open your house or wallet, or give up your own life to help them. Just talk to them like people, connect them to the appropriate resource, and protect yourself.
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    Jun 23 2013: Love someone for who they are and not who they supposed to become. Your partner should understand this as well. I say this because if I knew this a long time ago I most likely could have saved myself and others at times heart aching pain.

    I should have focused more on philosophy at a younger age, I was caught up in focusing on what I thought was best for myself too often and not thinking about society as a whole, as one.

    I do not regret being straight edge in high school. Therefor, I was always the designated driver among my friends at the time.

    Don't follow the sheep that are walking off a cliff. :)

    Everything in moderation.

    Never stop learning and teaching others what you have learned.

    Be honest (keeping it real) :)
  • Jun 23 2013: 1. Never stop learning
    2. do not be afraid to say I do not know and no
    3. step out of your comfort zone, hanging with friends is great but think about expanding like going to a school none of your friends will go to that is great for what you want to learn
    4. learn to think,question, most high schools never teach this
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    Jun 23 2013: I wish everyone learns early that it helps....

    To be simple and truthful, and

    To give and seek life full of love.
  • Jun 22 2013: I wish I could have repeated high school--college was so foreign, and Viet Nam was so "hot".
    Do what you like, even if it's making roller skates--if you are dedicated, the money will come.
    Be yourself and the right girl will arrive in your life. Be what you are not and the wrong girl will find you.
    Remember the Bible says three score and 10 is all you get. Don't waste your days, they are precious.
    Honesty and Ethics are rarely taught, but will be your moral compass, so pay attention.
    Truth will always lead to a better outcome than lying, plus truth is easier to remember.
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    Jun 22 2013: Robert,
    All this great advice... stick to figuring out girls. Do that and all this other stuff will come or not, but you won't care.
  • Jun 22 2013: 1. That most religions are based on ignorance and have become big businesses that seek power and profit first and serve people a distant second.
    2. That 4 billion is the max # of people the planet can decently care for.
    3. That capitalism is a tremendous engine for progress - and greed.
    4. That the poor will share what little they have, but the rich don't give damn.
    5. That our dependence on fossil fuels and our refusal to convert to THORIUM nuclear power, which emits no CO2 and is far cheaper and safer than uranium, will put millions of lives at risk from human-caused Climate Change.
  • Jun 21 2013: 1.be yourself and do the things that you love. It will save you a lot of time in the end
    2. get out and enjoy life more. there is no need stressing over anything
    3. life doesn't always go as planned and that is okay
    4. love and laugh more
    5. always put in maximum effort in everything you do and even if you fail you have succeeded.
  • Jun 21 2013: Hi Robert!

    1. Confidence is the hottest trait a guy (or girl) can possess.
    2. Don't beat yourself up about not knowing what you want to do or anything else for that matter. It's pointless.
    3. Beware of fast food and GMO's. If it says "All Natural"...it's probably not.
    4. Do not ignore your inner voice. It will catch up to you.
    5. Give without the intention of receiving something in return. You'll be a better person for it.

    Cheers!
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    Jun 21 2013: Those are the things I consider of interest to learn (or to teach):

    1. To speak with wisdom so that without raising the voice, the noise suddenly cease to give way to our ideas
    2. To feel from the depths of the heart, a gentle but intense force which make us one with the rest of the people, their problems and their successes.
    3. To love and respect deep and intensely Earth and Universe, our Home.
    4. To give others only the best of our personality.
    5. To fight tirelessly in the pursuitt of knowledge.

    It's not an easy job. May be it last a lifetime. Let's do it trying our best.
  • Jun 21 2013: To embrace your talent (what is it you are most interested in...writing, speaking, science, teaching, etc.) and go after your dream and do not let anyone tell you otherwise. Don't attach your dream to money, don't choose your dream for others because you feel that it will be more acceptable and therefore you will be accepted...choose your dream because it is your passion, and your passion will keep you motivated to persevere when you are challenged, follow your heart and listen to your instincts and don't be afraid to modify your dream and to make it better for you so that you could fulfill your life's purpose. I had a dream and it was taken away from me due to economic, political and social reasons and I did not know any better, I did not know how to stick up for myself and I thought someone else knew what was better for me. I let someone else define who I was when I was 18 and applying to college... based on their stereotypes of my ethnicity, my social and economic standing, etc.
  • Jun 20 2013: nice.............
  • Jun 19 2013: Number 1 and most important, don't sweat the women or the sex, they will come. Take your time enjoy.
    2 don't sweat school unless you are sure about where you want to be
    3 dive into activities, sailing, diving, biking, hiking, and so on, enjoy youth while you still have it.
    4 listen to everybody telling you not to worry about having stuff, most of it is junk anyway.
    5 Krista is right, timing is everything, learn when to make the move in everything, and then dive in!
  • Jun 18 2013: 1.) NO COLLEGE LOANS THEYRE A TRAP
    2.) I wish I knew more about the UCC Redemption process (I still do)
    3.) I wish I would have paid attention to history more ( the stuff they teach you in public school is crap)
    4.) I wish I knew more about what was really going on around me as far as events, movements, politics, etc
    5.) I wish I didnt feel it so necessary to grow up so fast
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    Jun 17 2013: 1) I wish I knew how to have an dialog with my teachers without feeling intimidated
    2) I wish How to ask coaches to help me set up an exercise program to maximize my development for football
    3) I wish I was more confident to converse with the ladies and develop an expanded social life
    4) I wish I knew that teachers were really there to help you if you just ask
    5) I wish I knew that history was more than just a subject, that it was the story of the world and worth knowing, regardless of being tested on it or not.
  • Jun 17 2013: She wasn't the one. I met *her* after I graduated! (20 years married this August! 23 years together!)

    Following some dreams means other dreams take a backseat.

    To be more financially astute.

    Pay less attention what *what* my teachers were trying to teach me, and learn to appreciate the art of learning!

    Walk in Truth and the Light of The Lord Jesus with confidence and conviction!

    (By my senior year, I'd already learned that I don't have to impress people that I didn't know and that didn't know me.)
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    Jun 17 2013: Oh my, this is a though one...

    I wish a had learned at an earlier age the power that vulnerability has, after I learned it all my relationships (and every aspect of them) have been way more successful (that includes girls). http://www.ted.com/talks/brene_brown_on_vulnerability.html

    Hmm, can't think of any more right now... Just explore everything, thirst for knowledge, develop your personality to the one you want to become (if your not already it). Make lots of friends, have fun, make others have fun. Think, reflect, make others do that too...
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    Jun 16 2013: 1) I would like to have met with people who did the things that I wanted to do, then I would have had a better understanding of what all was entailed in a career path. Even better would be to do some work for a person who does what I wanted to do, then I could see first hand what it was like.
    2) I wish I had known that you had to be at least 30 minutes early the first day of class to college, otherwise all of the parking spots were taken.
    3) I wish I had dedicated more time to making art. I tended to only work on it when it was assigned to me to do, but I loved it.
    4) I would probably have focused less on my social life and more on my goals. Now is a really great time to focus on your goals because when you are younger people tend to be more supportive of that kind of thing. As you get older it is still possible but there is less support. Support can really help to motivate you. It sounds like you are doing good with an organization that you volunteer for, so just keep being the smart young person you are:)
    5)When you are younger your love life can feel so overwhelming and significant, especially when you first fall in love. I wish I had kept better perspective about developing myself as a whole person and not becoming wrapped up completely in a romantic relationship as my world.
  • Jun 16 2013: I just wish I could have gone to the high school I wanted to. A family member intervened and talked me and my folks out of it and into what would become "Drug Haven" Catholic high school where I was totally unmotivated for the duration. It wasn't that my choice was an automatic win, it was that it would have been my first major life decision and I would have been driving it. There would have been impetus on me by me to make it add up. Instead I was a caboose on someone else's dumb runaway train. That was probably the place I went wrong in my life. The only things I did well in high school on were subjects in which the teacher had a constant reflection method as to how I was doing. If I got tested every day I couldn't stand seeing poor grades, so I fixed that by getting good ones. But there were a lot of incompetent nincompoops who didn't give a test for weeks and you could drift way too easily into failure--especially when there's weed.
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    Jun 14 2013: this is such a hard question. The way I think about life is that it's hard to separate the good things from the bad things, in other words I often think that if the bad things hadn't happened the good ones wouldn't have either.

    things I would change in high school if I could keep the present good things: I wouldn't masturbate. I would ask more girls out. I would talk to a greater variety of people, make a wider variety of friends.

    To me it sounds like you are doing great.
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    Jun 14 2013: Robert, let me share my secret with you. As a senior in high school I wished to know many things. I shall give you the best 5 in retrospect.
    1. Why girls have the capability of laying explosives ticking in your brain?
    2. How to be a champ in sports and a math geek simultaneously?
    3. What will I do with the billionth rupee of my earning?
    4. How can I speak without sounding rude?
    5. Is it normal to hate one's own dad?
  • Jun 13 2013: What's wrong with having a mind and interesting activities. Okay, so the monkeys aren't impressed by nerds - Are you impressed by them? People have different personalities. Keirsey may not be a Promethian , but he was a Marine Fighter pilot in WWII and a psychology prof. Hopefully he is happy and semi-retired. He wrote a book which has been augmented You Don't Understand Me Sounds nerdy enough for any of us. It's about Myers-Briggs, and you can learn so much about yourself and who you want to be around.
    Secondly, and this is enough homework. Read some of the better NLP books. Start with Boothman and Michael Brooks. Each have several good books. That may be all you want to read, but if you want more success in communication and selling yourself there is so much more. I would be careful in choosing a trainer as you probably don't want to be a therapist. That's enough homework. Of course, you can always contact Merlin in Wales at Crown House. Okay, they have a facility in America. I haven't looked at the book yet, but they do have an emotional intelligence meets NLP book All their books are excellent.
    • Jun 14 2013: The only Keirsey book I can find is Please Understand Me.
      Thanks for the reading list!
      • Jun 14 2013: It is very dry but helpful. Two others Go to alibris.com and look for authors Nicholas
        Boothman and Michael Brooks. Also, look at www.nicholasboothman.com That's a start Crown House is available on the net too. as is Rintu Basu. Cheers.
  • Jun 12 2013: 1) If your decide what you want to do in life and go after it with enough diligence, work ethic and the right attitude, you can usually achieve your dreams.

    2) Nobody owes you anything. You need to earn what you get. If someone is giving you something, and you do not understand why, you should be suspicious.

    3) Character is defined by what you do when no one is looking. Do not worry about what others think of you, or for a reason to justify doing what you know to be the right thing...relative to others and yourself.

    4) Stay in shape. Develop good exercise habits that focus on long-term goals rather than short time spurts of activity.

    5) Everything you learn is intended to build on what you already know. Try and relate new material to past experiences and knowledge. Keep working at something until you understand it. Getting a bad grade because you did not learn it once is unfortunate. Not knowing it for the final exam or before leaving the class is a lost opportunity. Your teachers, in High School and College, are suppose to be on your side to help you learn material. After college, you are competing with others that usually care very little about you for the same wages. Learn how to learn and teach yourself! Read the chapter before going to class.