Seven years ago I was just finishing of my studies at upper secondary school. Even though the school system in Finland is among the best ones in the whole world, I feel there is a lot of room for improvements. In Finland, you can do extremely well in school, if you just stay quiet, listen to the teacher and do everything by the book. You are programmed to solve predefined problems and there is not too much room for creativity. In addition, I think that we should encourage the most talented students a lot more. I figured this all out just a few years ago and I hope somebody had told me the following lessons when I was 15.
1. Fail and learn. It is really important to understand failing is fine. You can learn a lot more from your failures than from things that work out. If you are trying to hide your failures, it is likely that you are not able to learn from your mistakes. Furthermore, no one else can learn from your mistakes. Check out The National Day of Failure (In Finnish), I co-organized with other Entrepreneurship Society actives last fall.
2. Hang out with people who are smarter than you. When you are in a situation where people around you are better, faster and smarter than you must push yourself a lot more. And when you are pushing yourself you learn the most.
3. Do not listen what people around you say listen to yourself! I have been in a situation where my parent/relatives/friends have said to me that I should not do anything risky or things that differ from the status quo. If you do things the same everyone else does, you will never end up doing anything spectacular.
4. Get really good at something. It might be coding, ice hockey, poker, maths or something else, but pick up only one thing you want to get really good at. It is hard to figure out the one thing you want to nail, but you should try to find out as early as possible. When you are young, you do not have much to loose. If you fail, you can go back to school.
5. Try out many things. You do not probably know what you want. When I was 18 years old, I though I knew what I wanted to study. Few years later I figured out that my assumptions were wrong.
6. Do not focus on school, if you have found something you like and you have proven yourself that you are really good at it. It is a lot harder to try out new things, if you have a family and car & house loans already.
If you are in your twenties already, you should check out Tina Seelig’s book: What I wish I knew when I was 20