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What I Told 1,400 Students Last Week

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What I Told 1,400 Students Last Week

If you had the opportunity to speak to 1,400 brilliant, enthusiastic and very attentive young minds, what would you say during the first week of 2010?

That is the challenge I faced during the first week of 2010.  To me, that was a privilege as well as a challenge! Personally, I love this type of challenges.

To me, each one of those students represented the future. It was an opportunity I did not want to miss to engage, encourage and edutain them. Who knows?  These young people are the ones who will teach my daughter tomorrow.

At Fernley High School, I talked about how their choices and relationships can make or break. At Pine Middle School, I focused on how they can face adversity with audacity.

Though the purpose of each presentation was different, I did set out not only to share some ideas with them, but also to equally inspire them to face life courageously. My message thus, based on five themes: goal-setting, trials, distractions, relationships and triumphs.

Setting goals or starting with a clear destination

I encouraged the students to set goals and have dreams because life is like a journey with multiple stops and scenes. Research indicates that when we have a destination or a goal in mind we tend to push ourselves a little more. A person without a goal is like a missile without a target. How far can it fly? Where will it land?

Taking the road less traveled

Due to the fact that everyone is searching, the roads are often very crowded. Everyone is following the bandwagon. The only way to get some visibility, space and ample room to enjoy your ride is by taking the road with less traffic. Once you can identify that route, you can go as far as possible.

Asking for help from lifelines

To achieve a goal, it takes resources and good supporters who care about you. Without people who trust you, without “lifelines” in times of distress, the ability to keep focused on the journey can be undermined by any disruptions. Thus, the challenge for every traveler is to find a lifeline, a friend, a mentor or someone who can help you out.

Negotiating and taking ownership

The best way to solve a problem (arrive at destination) is not to abandon they journey when you have a flat tire. The best way is to negotiate for a new tire that you can use to complete the journey. Once you’ve have had one, don’t look back; stay focused.

Don’t mess with fire along the way

On every single journey of life, you will meet with distractions like stopping to view the lake, zoo or museums. The question is, will you stop and view or will you continue? Such distractions are like burning campfire. If you stop for too long, you will finish last.

Understand the terrain

Before setting out on any journey it is good to do an appreciation of situation (AOS). By doing this, you get to be familiar with the weather; road conditions and what have detours. Whether you are Google map, Word of Mouth (WOM), it is important that you know what tools you will need to complete the journey.

Prepare, prepare prepare!

Just as it is important to understand the challenges that lie ahead, it is equally important to identify and prepare physically and mentally for the journey. Without such preparation, the journey will be far more challenging to you than it is for other travelers.

Gideon F. For-mukwai, MA, CEM, CRF

Preparedness Champion