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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?

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  • 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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