When I said I was speaking at a high school, my friends were curious. What will you say to high school students? But adults ask this mainly as ready player one essay conversation starter.
I was in high school. And it is synonymous with disaster. What they really mean is, don’t get demoralized. Which is an uncomfortable thought. I’m not saying there’s no such thing as genius. But it needs to be cut still further. I think the solution is to work in the other direction.
This is what most successful people actually do anyway. I do now to get there? Flying a glider is a good metaphor here. How do you do that, though? Well, you don’t, and that’s what you need to find out. The best protection is always to be working on hard problems. There has to be suspense.
Well, this seems a grim view of the world, you may think. It’s exhilarating to overcome worries. I’m not saying this is the only way to be happy. In practice, “stay upwind” reduces to “work on hard problems.
Most people like to be good at what they do. I did be satisfied by merely doing well in school. Making a living is only a small part of it. Far more important is to take intellectual responsibility for oneself. I don’t mean that I’d slack in school.