Did you catch President Obama’s speech to students at Wakefield High School in Arlington, VA?
Love him or loathe him, you can’t deny that President Obama is an excellent speaker and motivator, and his speech writers equally skilled.
He basically said that students have to take personal responsibility for their education, set goals, persevere through the inevitable failures and setbacks that occur on the road to success, and continue to believe in themselves and their abilities.
I think this message is so important for students who are preparing for the SAT that I want to share some excerpts with you here.
“I’ve given a lot of speeches about education. And I’ve talked a lot about responsibility.
I’ve talked about your teachers’ responsibility… I’ve talked about your parents’ responsibility… I’ve talked a lot about your government’s responsibility…
But at the end of the day, we can have the most dedicated teachers, the most supportive parents, and the best schools in the world – and none of it will matter unless all of you fulfill your responsibilities…
That’s what I want to focus on today: the responsibility each of you has for your education…
And this isn’t just important for your own life and your own future. What you make of your education will decide nothing less than the future of this country…
We need every single one of you to develop your talents, skills and intellect so you can help solve our most difficult problems…
At the end of the day, the circumstances of your life – that’s no excuse for neglecting your homework or having a bad attitude… That’s no excuse for not trying.
That’s why today, I’m calling on each of you to set your own goals for your education – and to do everything you can to meet them. Your goal can be something as simple as doing all your homework, paying attention in class, or spending time each day reading a book… Whatever you resolve to do, I want you to commit to it. I want you to really work at it.
You won’t necessarily succeed at everything the first time you try. That’s OK. Some of the most successful people in the world are the ones who’ve had the most failures.
Michael Jordan was cut from his high school basketball team, and he lost hundreds of games and missed thousands of shots during his career. But he once said, ‘I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.’
These people succeeded because they understand that you can’t let your failures define you – you have to let them teach you. You have to let them show you what to do differently next time… If you get a bad grade, that doesn’t mean you’re stupid, it just means you need to spend more time studying.
No one’s born being good at things, you become good at things through hard work… You’ve got to practice. It’s the same with your schoolwork. You might have to do a math problem a few times before you get it right, or read something a few times before you understand it, or do a few drafts of a paper before it’s good enough to hand in.
And even when you’re struggling, even when you’re discouraged, and you feel like other people have given up on you – don’t ever give up on yourself.”
He might not have meant to, but President Obama gave the recipe for success on the SAT. It’s the inner game mindset for scoring much higher than you ever thought possible.
It’s in fact a recipe for success in life, a good reminder to us all.