Michael Bond

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You are always learning and discovering new things that will allow you to continue on the path of success. Everyone is always in motion at some time in their life. They are either going up and getting better, or they can be falling back on bad habits. Nobody is ever standing still in life. That is because the world is always changing and if you don’t improve you will be left behind. Not only is the world always changing, but so are you. You are not the same person that you were last year, last month, or even yesterday. You have changed, even if it has been very little. Just by reading this article you will have changed by just gaining some knowledge and insight about yourself.

Are you going up or down in your life? You have that choice in your life, but sometimes you don’t realize it. Your teenage years are the best for determining the direction of your life. Once you are older it is harder to make a big change due to lack of time and freedom. Now is the time to go after what you want in life and acquire the skills to make it happen.

Taking advantage of opportunities

For teens and youth, continuous learning means taking advantage of opportunities that you create or that present themselves. What are you doing this summer to get better at a sport that you play during the year? Will you take advantage of the summertime to prepare for the upcoming year by taking one to two hours per week to study up on that tough math course? During spring break and summer vacation how many books will you read? People who are successful use downtime to increase their knowledge. Reading is the best way to stay on the continuous learning habit. Read 10 pages of a book every day so that you always start your day off right.

Take advantage of internships in your community. The local chamber of commerce is a great way to learn about business and get experience working with business owners. It also looks great on a college transcript when it comes time to apply for college. You can even apply what you may have learned in high school and create projects that can benefit the organization and it will give you great experience in marketing, organizing or event planning. The chamber of commerce in Ahwatukee has used interns and local high school students for projects to create websites and mobile apps. This is excellent experience for them to interact with business owners and gain valuable exposure for possible larger projects.

Get a team on your side

If you are going to succeed as a teen, you will need help. It’s much easier to do something with a team behind you than by yourself. People tend to have this “do-it-yourself,” “I-don’t-need-anyone” attitude nowadays. Doing things by yourself is not only unnecessary, but it also wastes time and energy. Just imagine if you tried to build a house by yourself. It would take you forever and you wouldn’t know what to do. That is why it takes teams of people to build a house. There are many different skills needed to build a house and no one person can do it all by themselves. The same applies to you and your life. If you want to get better and improve you need people around you to help and guide you. So how do you get this help that you need?

Everyone needs someone to confide and talk to about their challenges. Someone who can give good advice when you need and want it.

The best support is a mentor. They are someone who you respect, and someone that will not give up on you when you may make a mistake. They are always there to support you and help you become a better young adult. A mentor is someone who knows what you need to do in order to reach your goals. Your mentor is someone who has achieved very similar goals. Someone who has “been there and done that.” Your mentor keeps you accountable to your promises. You mentor is someone that can motivate you so that you feel with him/her behind you, anything is possible.

Whatever goals you aspire to achieve, seek out adults that have the same interests. Most successful adults even have mentors. That is because they know that it is much easier to learn from someone who has done it before rather than trying to figure it out alone.

Think about it — what kind of support do you need in your life right now? Is there someone you can talk to that will help you and support you?

Always adjust your course

When you drive a car, you are always making small adjustments and corrections while going in directions you are headed. That constant adjustment becomes very familiar and eventually you don’t even realize that you are making these adjustments. This is because the road is not always totally smooth and straight. The same goes for your goals and your life. There will always be small bumps in the road of life and you will always need to make adjustments to reach your goals.

If one of your goals in school is to achieve a certain GPA, you may encounter outside influences that may steer you away from that goal. You may have a family situation that distracts you for a few weeks. Your friends may distract you from your studies. You may get injured in a sport you are playing that distracts you from being the top player. These are all examples where you need to make adjustments in order to achieve your goal. Having a team around you or a mentor can help you make those adjustments and motivate you since they have probably been in your situation before.

Think about it — are there times when you had to “adjust your course?” What did you do? Is there something that can force you to “adjust your course” right now?

• Ahwatukee Foothills resident Michael Bond is the owner of Ahwatukee-based 1st Place Tutoring. His company assists students in grades K-12 with math, reading and science, and has SAT/ACT test preparation classes for high school students. Reach him at (602) 751-3594, mbond@1stplacetutoringaz.com or www.1stplacetutoringaz.com.

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