Wednesday, February 15, 2012

How to Handle Success

WhitneyIn It Seems Easier to Be a Great Person After Death Than Before. from PrincipalsPage The Blog, Michael Smith talks about the death of Whitney Houston and mentions,

“An adult’s life (for a variety of reasons) has a traumatic effect on their children.  You can just see the kids being set up for a more complicated life than any of us can imagine.”

I remember hearing her songs and watching her in the movie The Bodyguard and I loved her. She was beautiful and had a beautiful voice. As she went through the trouble of her marriage to Bobby Brown and her fight with drugs, I felt sorry for her. Here was someone who, in my eyes, had the world, and she didn’t seem happy. What a waste of a wonderful career and magnificent talent. Now she is dead and what good was all that fame and fortune?

Maybe that is something we need to teach our students. Fame and fortune isn’t all cracked up to what it seems to be.

The head varsity basketball coach used to be my paraprofessional for a few years. I was able to listen in as he talked to many of the basketball players during the day. It impressed me that he was trying to get them to realize that basketball fame did not happen to every basketball player so it was important not to put all their eggs in one basket. He encouraged them to study and work hard in their classes. After talking about possible injuries in the future, he mentioned how important it was to have a backup plan. Some parents even got upset about this because of course, they wanted their child to be a famous star!

I realize now that we prepare our students to some of the what-ifs for the future but we never prepare them for the what-if if they do well. Here are some of the things I think I need to do better:

· Learn to say no. When you are tired or overwhelmed, it is time to stop and reflect. You might choose to go forward or you might not but don’t rush into decision making. I have always felt that rush decisions don’t get me anywhere.

· Learn to make wise decisions. Look at the pros and cons to your options. Choose the best one that meets your needs but don’t let others talk you into something. Many people are looking out for their own best interests and not yours. If necessary, find an impartial person who won’t benefit from your decision one way or the other and ask for their input.

Learn how to invest money. Too many famous people seem to squander their money or trust the wrong people who squander their money. They need to learn and understand investments so that they can be in control.

· Learn how to spend money wisely. Too many famous people don’t budget their money so that it lasts longer. I have read of many movie stars who go bankrupt because their agents or family have spent all their money.

· Learn to manage time. When I watch interviews with successful people, it seems like the ones with the problems are usually the ones who can’t seem to manage their time. They let others control their time and it is important that a person is in charge of their own time and not others.

· Learn to plan for the what-ifs. What if they are no longer successful? What if they are injured? Who will take care of them? How will they pay their bills when money isn’t coming in?

· Be a real person. Don’t let popularity or fame go to your head. I know that some of the successful people that I have had contact with and remember are the ones who were real people. They didn’t put on airs or act like they were better than me. They didn’t seem to brag or show off because they had a lot of money.

· Watch out for those people who offer you drugs and other things to help you get through the day. That leads to nowhere but a dead-end. There are many examples of people who died to early in their promising career.

What advice would you give your students about achieving success in the future? Please share.

Image: 'Whitney Houston in New Jersey 1986'

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