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Leadership

Futures Day: What Advice Would You Give Your 15 Year Old Self?

What advice would you give your fifteen year old self in the lead up to the most important examinations you have ever sat?  If asked to give a fifteen minute inspirational speech, what advice would you give two hundred students at the start of their Futures Day? 

Can anyone help with the attribution of this graphic?

Can anyone help with the attribution of this graphic?

Futures Day is a mock of GCSE Results Day.  Students receive a brown envelope of their predicted results, a set of grades that would dictate their immediate future.  For some it would actually have a much longer term impact on their life.  Futures Day is shadows of what might be, for better or worse, based on our current predictions of what students will achieve this summer.

Start with the End in Mind

What are you trying to achieve and how badly do you want it?

Success doesn’t happen by accident.

Can anyone help with the attribution of this graphic?

Can anyone help with the attribution of this graphic?

Achieving success in this summer’s GCSE will require a great deal of aspiration, perspiration and dedication.

Shortly, you’ll receive an envelope telling you what we are currently predicting your results may be this summer.  These are only shadows of what might be.  You have the opportunity over the next few months to change anything you are not happy with and want to improve or to work and secure the results you are currently being predicted.  These results will be your passport to the next stage of your education or into employment.  There is no gain without pain.

Can anyone help with the attribution of this graphic?

Can anyone help with the attribution of this graphic?

There is a story which tells about how Socrates taught a young man about success.

How much you want to be successful in your examinations this summer will have a huge bearing on how you do.  However, a desire to be successful is just a starting point.

Success is Achievable – Dream It, Believe It, Do It

Carol Dweck’s book on Growth Mindset is a great read.  No amount of goal setting will help you achieve if you simply don’t believe it.  The self-fulfilling prophesy is often talked about in education.  A lack of belief can affect students of all ability, from someone who is often high achieving, who believes s/he is talented but when a difficult challenge comes along gives up too easily.  S/he concludes, “I’m talented but not talented enough to succeed on this occasion.”

It also affects students who use past “failures” to justify not even trying.  Sustained effort and dedication over the medium to long term is required if you are to achieve this summer.

If you develop a growth mindset, a belief that you can learn, a belief that you can become better, then you will:

Can anyone help with the attribution of this graphic?

Can anyone help with the attribution of this graphic?

I’m Not Telling You It’s Going to Be Easy, I’m Telling You It’s Going To Be Worth It

Plan to Succeed

Completing a revision programme is a bit like climbing a mountain.  In fact it is climbing a mountain: a mountain of work; a mountain of hours; a mountain of stress.  Like any mountain you have to take the first step and then the next step even and then the next particularly when the going gets tough.  The mountain mustn’t break you.

Can anyone help with the attribution of this graphic?

Can anyone help with the attribution of this graphic?

Success doesn’t come easily, you have to be prepared to pay the price.  There is a story of a man who emigrated to America:

You need to believe your efforts can make a difference.

You need to understand that to make a difference requires effort. 

The revision won’t do itself.  You need to say, “I will do it!”

Plan for Success

Your beautifully written out revision plan won’t always go according to plan.  If you have a bad day because you don’t get everything done that you want to or things just don’t won’t stick in your memory, don’t lose hope.

Tomorrow might be a good day, it might even be a great day. 

It might be the kind of day where everything seems to stick in your memory and you work all the way through your plan.

Can anyone help with the attribution of this graphic?

Can anyone help with the attribution of this graphic?

Remember you’ll need to sleep well, eat well and exercise regularly.  Revision is part of the process of preparing for examinations but you also need to be mentally, emotionally and physically right as well.  Your revision programme is a marathon not a sprint.

I’m Not Telling You It’s Going to Be Easy, I’m Telling You It’s Going To Be Worth It

 

Can anyone help with the attribution of this graphic?

Can anyone help with the attribution of this graphic?

Success this summer will mean different things to different people.

You’re challenge is to be the best you can be and support others to be the same.

Excuses are easy but if you set yourself a goal, overcome the obstacles including your own self-doubt, embrace the challenge and work hard then success is within your reach.

The mountain of work and revision in front of you may seem impossible but imagine looking back in mid-June and seeing it all done. Then you really will enjoy a great summer.

Remember I’m Not Telling You It’s Going to Be Easy, I’m Telling You It’s Going To Be Worth It.

The Man or Woman on Top of the Mountain Didn’t Fall There, They Chose to Fulfil their Dreams. 

Thanks to all the great people on Twitter who shared these graphics over the past few weeks. Can anyone help with the attribution of this graphic? A Copy of the Presentation is Below.

Thanks to all the great people on Twitter who shared these graphics over the past few weeks.
Can anyone help with the attribution of this graphic?
A Copy of the Presentation is Below.

Futures Day – Be Inspired PowerPoint

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Discussion

14 thoughts on “Futures Day: What Advice Would You Give Your 15 Year Old Self?

  1. Steve Jobs, a while after he had been diagnosed with cancer, said the following…

    “For the last 33 years of my life I have looked in the mirror and asked myself, if today was the last day of my life would I want to do what I am about to do today?

    And whenever the answer has been no too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.”

    I would advise my 15 year old self do do just this. Life really is too short. There is more to life than education and all it brings. Study things you enjoy not thing that will earn you a good job with lots of money unless lots of money is what you enjoy. Having advised myself thus I would add that maybe it would be a good idea to take advantage of the fact that you have no choice but to come to school and study, make the most of it. Once the education system sets you free, you should ask yourself the question every day. Change something as often as you need to.

    Posted by bt0558 | April 9, 2014, 7:38 pm
    • It’s great advice but possibly easier once you’ve earn your first few million ☺

      My advice to students was more deferred gratification. Revise now and you’ll enjoy the summer so much better.

      Posted by ExecutiveHT | April 9, 2014, 8:08 pm
      • I understand where you are coming from 100% and sage advice for some I think.

        However, I think it is more difficult once you have made your first million. I also think that making you first million is one of the saddest life goals one could suggest to a potential free spirit. There really is more to life than money, and I think thats what we need to tell kids.

        Interesting issue. Thanks

        Posted by bt0558 | April 9, 2014, 8:17 pm
  2. “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”

    Posted by bt0558 | April 9, 2014, 8:19 pm
  3. Thanks for this, Stephen. I’ve been thinking about my 15 year old self quite a bit recently, as I decided to start reading my 1974 diary, as I write my 2014 diary entry. I was 15 in 1974, had just done my mocks and, over Easter, started revising for my summer exams (‘O’ levels in those days).

    My 15 year old self is an interesting creature! She’s still recognizably me, but, of course, a ‘me’ not yet shaped by the events and experiences of the last forty years. These are four pieces of advice I would give her:

    1. That jumper you bought from C & A does NOT make you look fat and you DON’T need to go on a diet.

    2. The time you’re spending investing in friends is well worth it – the people your diary is full of in 1974 will continue to be important, and supportive, forty years later.

    3. You’re pretty obsessed with boys (which feature MUCH more than school/schoolwork/exam preparation in your diary entries) but be patient. You WILL meet the love of your life (and, actually, quite soon) and will have an amazing marriage.

    4. Working for your ‘O’ levels (and, in due course, ‘A’ levels and degree) will certainly be time well-spent, as they will lead to a fulfilling career. Keep going!

    Posted by Jill Berry | April 12, 2014, 5:51 pm
    • This is really quite beautiful Jill. Thanks for adding it to the post. I think we worry about so much in life, including when we are 15 yo, that we can forget to enjoy the moment. That moment never comes back.

      Posted by ExecutiveHT | April 12, 2014, 6:25 pm
  4. What an excellent question.
    I would say seek out great teachers across all aspects of life. Everyone you come across has something to teach you, so never stop being interested in people, listening to them and asking questions. Wisdom is often found in the places you least expect.
    Also, always take advice from those who know you and care for you, but follow your heart. Listen to yourself as carefully as you do others.
    Life is shorter than you imagine, and a fulfilling life is about finding a healthy balance between hard work and enjoying time spent with the people and the world around us. Work hard, have fun & create memories!
    I hope I’ve managed most of that so far!

    Posted by Michael Pain | April 13, 2014, 11:39 am
  5. Bored of giving the same advice year on year, I asked some of my former successful students the same question. Here are a few of the responses:
    “I guess what motivates me is that if I work hard enough I can get those A and A*s. And I know that seeing those grades at the end is Really Satisfying.”
    ” Your GCSE results will be something that follows you for the rest of your life, or at least, the earlier part of your adult life….work hard and give it your best shot. At the end, no matter what results you get, you know you’ve tried your best.”
    “Suffer now and enjoy yourself later” and “making my teachers and family proud”
    “Different techniques work for everyone when it comes to motivation – it’s up to you to find something that works.”
    “Exam time is show time! Show them what you have got and how clever you are and how many skills you have.”
    “Not only results but the habits of work/revision stay with you…my revision techniques are still with me as an undergraduate.”
    Looking back on these there is a mixture of the classic adult advice, and the personal. The “it’s up to you to find something that works” is the best piece of advice. After all, we all have to take responsibility for ourselves at some point, and the earlier the better.

    Posted by Mark Williams | April 16, 2014, 2:10 pm

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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