This may not be particularly writing-related, but I felt like I needed to address it. As a teenager myself, I see evidence of teens settling for mediocrity in their lives all around me. It seems to be part of our culture. And that greatly saddens me.
There’s a general stereotype of teens – that we’re all disrespectful, wild, rebellious partiers who drink, smoke, and do drugs. But if we think about it, and I mean really think on it, what have we been doing to prove those assumptions wrong? What have we been doing to show that we’re more than what people think?
Teenagers nowadays chase empty desires with a selfish mentality. They choose to be barely adequate in everything – school, familial/friend relationships, even life in general. This do-nothing attitude is harmful and tragic.
This is why teenagers (including you!) should stop settling for mediocrity.
1. You have potential. Do you know what word we see in potential? Potent. That word means “powerful”. Having potential means that you have the ability to be a powerful force in the world. You can do so much more than mediocrity. You can achieve greatness! You could be the one to find the cure for a disease or to save an endangered species; you could become an Olympian athlete or a world leader. But you’ll never know if you don’t try! Neither you nor anyone else knows what’s in your future. Don’t count yourself out just because you don’t think you can do it. Not applying yourself won’t get you anywhere, so strive to do your best!
2. Because YOLO. You probably know that YOLO is an acronym that stands for “You Only Live Once”. I see it differently from others. Most people use it in a sense of “you only live once, so do whatever you want”. But since you only have one life to live, why waste it on meaningless things? Once you reach the end of your life, there’s no second chance. No do-overs. Do you want to have spent your life on things that you regret? Investing in genuine relationships and in education for your life are important things that many teens forgo. Trust me, the teens that invest in nothing but partying, addictions, and flimsy relationships will regret it later on. Work for a life that will have more meaning, because it’s the only life you have. You only live once, so make it count.
3. You are the next generation. We’re the next generations of doctors, lawyers, dancers, artists, writers, philosophers, teachers, politicians, scientists, business leaders and revolutionary thinkers. The adults we see now that work and help the world to run in different ways were once a generation of teens. Someday, all of us that are teens now will be the ones who will be running the world. If all we do is shirk any sort of responsibility and purpose, who will be left to keep everything running? The adults of today need the teens that will be the adults of tomorrow. We’re the next generation that can instigate change. We need to act like it.
4. You were handmade by God. You may have different beliefs than me, but I firmly believe that there is a God who created you, loves you, and has a plan for your life. You have a purpose – and that isn’t to squander your life in wordly pleasures. You’re alive, you’re here, and you matter. You were designed to do something great – so why don’t you? Chasing empty desires will ultimately leave you feeling hollow and miserable, but God offers something greater. He offers a life filled with purpose and direction. You’re not just randomly here, living for no apparent reason. You’re here because God wants you here. Since there’s a bigger plan for your life, there’s a reason to act accordingly. And how exciting is it to think that your life is being mapped out? There are so many cool things that can happen, but you have to create opportunities by living your life in a responsible way.
Teens can do amazing things when they set their minds to it. They can raise awareness, provide clean water for people in third-world countries, be political activists, save endangered species, and change the world. We’re wrong when we think we have no voice. We have the power to make things better; we have the power to help. There are so many ways we can make a difference right where we are. Make the choice to make something more of your life. You’re worth more than mediocrity, so don’t make yourself into that!
Go out. Make a change. Don’t try to pass for extra ordinary. Be extraordinary.
Check out The Rebelution, a movement started by teens that’s described as “rebelling against low expectations”. It encourages teenagers to do big things to help others – to think ambitiously, serve freely, and love others fiercely. Now that’s a rebellion that I can get behind.