Ten Things Highly Successful Women Would Have Done Differently in High School

What lies behind and what lies in front of you pales in comparison to what lies within you” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

About a year ago, I read an article written by someone who was giving advice to his younger self. I found it interesting as I am always interested in learning from my mistakes and the mistakes of others. I am very focused on the success of young women in high school and thought it would be interesting to find out what some of the most successful women in high school would have done differently. High school truly is the springboard to future success and I am always and forever an advocate of hard work and high achievement.

I designed a questionnaire and asked 60 highly successful women what advice they would give to high school girls who also yearn for great success in their lives. My list of successful women included those who had reached the pinnacle of success in their respective fields, such as a Supreme Court Justice, several CEOs and CFOs, professors of law and medicine at the most elite universities in the country, a president, a governor, several senators, a championship-winning athlete, an Academy Award-winning actress, and a Pulitzer Prize-winning author. Although it took me about a year to contact and collect my responses from these women, I was pleasantly surprised by their willingness to share their experiences and advice with me. It was also interesting that many of these women shared similar responses. In my previous research studies, high school girls who successfully took this advice ended up at the most elite colleges in the country. There may not be a scientific correlation at this point, but it’s an interesting result nonetheless. I have posted this in my other articles, which I encourage you to read.

The following are the top ten things these highly successful women would have done differently in high school and some tips they shared, ranked in order of most responses:

1. Never let go of your dreams and dream big– Your dreams become your inspiration to work harder and set high performance goals. These women recounted purposely choosing goals that were difficult to achieve, such as becoming partners in a prestigious law firm or becoming full professors at the age of 35, becoming a Supreme Court justice, and running for governor. and win. Just because a state has never elected a female governor before doesn’t mean it can’t happen. If you believe in yourself, you can achieve it. If you focus, work hard enough, and stay away from the distractions of high school, anything is possible. Many of the women I interviewed told me that high school, in retrospect, is a small part of a larger picture, and they focused on the long term, not the short term. They advised staying away from the drama and negative peer pressure in high school and just going your own unique path.

two. Learn to say no– Do not pretend to be something you are not; be yourself. You do not seek to please the world and you should not do anything that you do not feel comfortable with. “No” is a very powerful word and respondents alluded to it will serve you well in the future if you learn this now. They also commented on whether it is better to excel in some areas than to spread out so much that you can’t excel at anything. They also reiterated that parents are often right, so listen to them and don’t dismiss their advice and opinions because experience does matter.

3. Success and money really are the result of hard work, courage and determination.– Sorry to burst your bubble, but there really is no free ride or luck that gets you to the top. It’s about hard work, determination and dedication. These women stayed focused on the bottom line and worked longer hours and connected more than their peers. They were willing to take risks, work harder, and aspire to higher levels of education. An interesting point was that all these women sacrificed something today for a higher return tomorrow. Respondents linked their exceptionalism and drive to continue to achieve as drivers of their success.

Four. Stay away from people who tell you that you can’t.– The overwhelming advice at this point was to not let others judge you. It doesn’t matter what others think of you, it’s what you think of yourself that makes the difference. It is this strong sense of self that will point you in the direction and the choices you will eventually have to make to determine your future projects. Keeping toxic people out of your life allows you to be successful and focus on achieving your goals. They also advised not to give up something you are passionate about. Many told me that they regret giving up playing the piano or another musical instrument and that today they cannot afford the time to learn it. Time is precious and they advised sticking to a hobby or passion as it will enrich your life in the future.

5. Grudges will never get you anywhere, let them go– It is important to understand that everyone has an opinion or belief that may differ from yours and should be the basis for discussion and learning, not for resentment and avoidance. The ability to forgive has produced great leaders, such as Nelson Mandela and Mahatma Gandhi, who recognized that by forgiving the people who hold you back, who have managed to hurt you, and by forgiving yourself for the people you have hurt, you relieve toxicity. that robs your energy, ambition and self-confidence. Essentially, it diminishes your leadership ability. Learn from the past and embrace the future.

6. take care now– Studies continue to emerge showing that what we do when we are younger can have dire consequences for us when we get older. Now is the time to make healthy lifestyle changes. Exercising and eating healthy, along with the determination not to smoke, use drugs, or abuse alcohol, are essential to leading a longer, happier, and more successful life. Get at least seven hours of sleep a night and try to avoid car travel. Respondents said that these bad habits will appear between the ages of 30 and 40 and that prevention is the key.

7. Be curious and take risks– “You cannot cross the sea just by standing and looking at the water”, is a famous quote by Rabindranath Tagore. Each reaction requires an action. You will never achieve your goals if you don’t take risks. With every decision comes risk, but you just need to win more than not. The fact is that you are not even in the game without taking the risk of intervening. Take the road less travelled: These respondents said it made a big difference in their lives.

8. Failure is inevitable, but it can make you stronger– One thing these women had in common is that they were rejected by something they strongly wanted at least once. Each took it as a sign to work even harder and that is what they attribute to their great success. Each of your failures is charting a path for your eventual success. Considered the greatest basketball player in history, Michael Jordan was cut from his varsity team numerous times, saying, “I’ve failed over and over again in my life. And that’s why I’m successful.” How do you really know what success is if you haven’t experienced failure? These women advised accepting failure and working harder for an even better result.

9. Study, study and study– Quit video games and reality shows and spend time improving your grades. With all the social media, it’s hard not to let it invade your life, but you have to. The difference between a valedictorian and a salutatorian can usually be narrowed down to one grade in high school. Colleges love to brag about the number of valedictorians and often provide higher scholarships and admissions. Students who work hard and do well in high school learn to develop high expectations and demand stellar results of themselves, which, in turn, become lifelong characteristics. As Socrates so eloquently said, “Wisdom begins in wonder,” so begin to contemplate and study.

10 Get into the college you really want to attend– According to Vanderbilt law and economics professor Joni Hersch, who has researched and published on this topic, students who attend low-tier undergraduate institutions rarely make the transition to top-tier graduate schools. Even more discouraging are those who do, rarely achieving the earning power of their peers who attended elite universities. Women have it much harder: A lower-tier college graduate who attended a top-tier law school, for example, earns only about 60 percent of the salary of a lawyer with a bachelor’s degree from an elite-level university. . Christopher Avery, a professor of public policy at the Harvard John F. Kennedy School of Government, has published and researched college as a mode of social mobility. Students who earn a degree from an elite university, even those with mediocre grades and test scores, are way ahead of those who don’t, which is why they will never catch up. The networks, resources, and teaching at elite schools are often unable to compete with other universities and set the path to success in motion. The most elite recruiters go to the most elite universities. Recruiters often like to select candidates from the elite universities they attended. The important thing here is to work hard and get into the best university you can. It will make a difference, according to respondents and research.

This was an interesting and stimulating project for me personally. As a high school sophomore with two high-achieving sisters currently attending elite universities, I have seen firsthand how the right decisions in high school can affect options for future success. I hope this list helps guide you towards a life full of opportunities.

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