What advice were you given about striving to have the best life when you were a teenager? Who had the most influence on you with their thoughts? What have you remembered? What 5 tips would you share with a teenager?
I have been spending time reflecting on the interactions I have been having with a variety of people in recent months. Thoughts and ideas spring to mind. As adolescents journey to adulthood and their brains are still developing, here are 30 tips which will assist them to become the best they can be – come to think of it, they should probably be called 30 Tips for the Best Life, as they can probably be adapted to the lives of adults as well.
30 Tips for the BEST life
There will be many more tips than these, so regard this list as a start.
Attitude – never ever forget that you choose your attitude and how you respond to all that life throws at you. Live in hope and work hard at taking a positive, constructive attitude into everything you do and into all your meaningful relationships.
Ask – never stop asking questions no matter how trivial you might think they are. When others share their stories with you, you will gain knowledge which could significantly impact your life decisions.
Apologise – no-one is perfect. When you make a mistake, say the wrong thing, forget to do something you promised to do … whatever it might be, front up and be genuinely sorry.
Celebrate – celebrate the small and large victories; the times you achieve a relatively simple goal or achieve a long-term, major goal or when you successfully make it through a tough challenge. Never lose your sense of humour. Laugh often. Have fun.
Communicate – work consistently hard at developing and improving your communication skills. Become a brilliant listener, a motivator, encourager and inspiration to others. Develop a positive vocabulary, watch your body language and radiate care, compassion and unconditional love towards others. Show empathy, be genuine and respectful and people will value your contributions to their lives.
Conflict – conflict is part of life. Learn to how turn every conflict into a positive learning and growth experience. Deal with it without violating another’s rights and don’t run away from it. Develop mediation skills. Become a healer where there is tension, pain, misunderstanding and suffering. Be a peacemaker ALWAYS!
Failure – don’t fear failure. Move out of your comfort zone if the challenge is not life-threatening. Life lessons are learnt when you give something a go. The key is to learn from the experience.
Finish well – whatever you do, give it your best shot until you finish, even if this is simply completing something only you know about. Whatever you start, even when you decide it’s not something you wish to pursue, finish well. Those who finish well find more windows of opportunities opening and they will soar on eagle’s wings.
Goal-getting – be a goal getter, which is more than just being a goal-setter. Experiment with different methods of reaching your goal/s until you find the best method for you. Draw up a clear action plan and take small steps initially. Research suggests that those who set goals achieve much.
Humility – stay grounded so you do not allow your achievements to go to your head. Be proud of all you achieve, always remaining humble. Humble people take attention away from themselves and place it where it belongs, on others and for the greater good of their communities.
Integrity and Forgiveness – be a person of integrity, someone who keeps their word and who others can trust and depend on. Be respectful of yourself and others. Be quick to sincerely forgive those who wrong you, even when you battle to forget.
Learning – never ever stop learning and acquiring knowledge. Knowledge feeds the soul and helps you to become an effective change-agent in your local and wider community. Research, read widely, consult others and explore the works, ideas and opinions of others.
Listen – always listen to the opinions and ideas of others. Older people have more life experiences and their stories can assist your personal growth. They also were adolescents. Through listening, you have the opportunity to discern information you would like to use and store or discard.
Mirror Talk – love the person you see in the mirror each day. Remember you are unique and special and no-one else has your specific gifts and talents. It’s a fact – never forget that. Ignore those who tell you otherwise.
Money – avoid making money your God. It won’t and never can be. While it’s wonderful to have sufficient money to feed, clothe, house and educate ourselves, later to raise a family in a safe and secure environment, money will not buy you happiness, nor will owning the biggest and best TV, mobile phone, ipod or latest digital device etc. Seriously consider how you can contribute financially to end global poverty and, as you do so, it’s likely you will be making a positive contribution towards climate change issues as well.
Opportunities – engrave into your Being that every obstacle can be turned into an opportunity if you are prepared to think creatively, seek the guidance and wisdom of others and have the patience to work towards something, rather than expect a quick-fix solution or instant gratification.
Passion/s – identify your passion or passions. If you could do anything you wanted today and had all the qualifications you needed, what would you choose to do? That’s your passion – do something with it! Chase it!
Persevere – don’t quit! Go the extra mile even if you have to sweat a little, make some sacrifices (of social life) or commit yourself to something for a little longer. You will amaze yourself at what can be achieved when you do this.
Positive Peers – when you surround yourself with positive peers you will have a greater chance of becoming the best you can be. Positive peers know right from wrong – always choose your friends carefully and let trust develop over time.
Reflect – take time out each day to think about how you are doing, what you are doing, why you are doing it and what lessons can be learnt. Pray, meditate and be still for a few minutes each day.
Relationships – keep building your relationships and networks with peers, family, other adults (teachers, coaches etc.), employers and, most important, with God – that’s a challenge, but the soul needs to be nurtured.
Self-discipline – build a disciplined lifestyle into all you do eg, 9 hours sleep a night (don’t make excuses about that!); a balanced lifestyle (at least 30 minutes of exercise every second day); manage your time well (time to work, time to study, time to eat, time to socialise and relax, time to exercise, time to follow an interest or hobby, time to sleep); say ‘no’ to drugs and alcohol abuse (so you don’t damage your brain during crucial developmental times), cigarettes and inappropriate sexual behaviour.
Service – give of yourself to others expecting nothing in return. Get involved in outreach programs. Through reaching out to others, you will discover many more positive qualities about yourself. Sometimes a friendly smile directed at a stranger or a peer can change their day. The world needs servant leaders – become one.
Share – share your ideals, passions and goals with at least one adult you trust and respect, in addition to your parent/s (optional). This is the person who can guide and encourage you non-judgmentally towards achieving your dreams. This experience teaches you how to be vulnerable with others in a safe and secure environment, a necessary life skill.
Stay focused – keep your eyes on your personal photograph at all times (see Visualisation below). That will get you through the tough and challenging times. There are no quick-fix, easy solutions. Success takes consistently hard work, careful planning and perseverance.
Take ownership – write down in the present tense ie, as if you were achieving your goal/s today, how you are feeling eg, I feel …because …” Take ownership of your picture.
Teamwork – always seek to be a team player, a sure way to develop positive peer relationships, have role models in your life, be an encouragement to others, turn obstacles into opportunities and reach out to those in need.
Thanks – always express your genuine thanks to all who share their gold nuggets of wisdom and experience with you or offer you a helping hand.
Visualise – create an imaginary photo (or a real one!) of yourself achieving whatever it is you would like to achieve ie, as though you have already achieved it. Note your body language, your facial expression, your positive thoughts – never let go of it.
What tips would you add?
About the author: Robin Cox has been a School Principal, sports coach to National Under 19 Level, Youth Symposium Organizer, developer of Youth Mentoring Programs in New Zealand and Australia, Churchill Fellow and author of books linked to youth mentoring, Peer Mentoring and the development of adolescents to become the best they can be. He has trained over 1,000 volunteer adult mentors, run workshops for teachers promoting the Spirit of Mentoring and personally mentored over 1,000 adolescents. Still an idealist, a cancer survivor of 50+ years, married with two adult children, Robin lives in New Zealand and shares a passion with anyone wanting to make a positive difference in the global community. You can see his short daily mentoring tips on Facebook or contact him through his Mentoring Matters website Robin’s free Mentoring Minutes daily podcasts (each podcast between 1.5 and 3 minutes), containing hundreds of tips for anyone working with young people, are available here. About 45 blogs have been converted to short video clips, all of which are linked to encouraging youth to reach their potential. These are available on YouTube https://www.youtube.