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12 Things Adults Wish They Knew When They Were Teens

No one ever said that growing up is easy. We know that being a teen can be fun, exciting, and adventurous. But we also know that it can be tough to straddle that line between childhood and adulthood. And while no one can see into the future and tell you exactly what to do now, we can offer you some advice from adults. Because all adults were teens once! 

One thing grownups love to do is think about the things they wish they could tell their teen selves. Lucky for you, we’ve collected some of those words of wisdom – and how they apply to young entrepreneurs like you – below.  

1. DO WHAT YOU LOVE. 

Love gaming? You can make a career out of that. Have a fondness for taking care of animals? You can do that, too. Whatever your passion, you can find a way to turn it into a career that you love. Not every day will be full of sunshine and happiness but following a path that starts with your heart will make tough days a little bit easier to handle. 

2. START SAVING MONEY. 

The sooner you start, the more you’ll have as you grow up. As you build your small business empire, remember to put some of that profit into a savings account. Better yet: teach yourself the basics of investing and get a head start on your future wealth! 

3. YOU LOOK FINE. 

Yes, the teen years are full of all kinds of strange and sometimes surprising changes. Remember that everyone goes through them, sooner or later, more or less. You look fine. You are beautiful. Don’t hurt yourself just to fit in. Your body is strong and capable of so many things!  

4. MAKE FRIENDS WITH YOUR SIBLINGS. 

Who else fully understands the unique weirdness of your family than the people who are right there with you? Friends may come and go in life, but siblings are forever. As you grow up together, you’ll need one another. Sometimes you’ll just need another person who was actually there to say, “No, you’re not imagining things, our parents really were like that.” 

5. THERE’S MORE TO THE WORLD THAN SCHOOL. 

There’s never been a better time to learn things outside of school. Make no mistake – school is important, especially for college-bound young entrepreneurs. But school isn’t the end of learning. While you’re online, check out educational videos about the things you love. Read books. Reach out to adults who work in the field you intend to pursue. Stay curious. 

6. SEE THE WORLD. 

While you’re learning outside of school, see as much of the world as you can. Whether it’s a study abroad program or a day trip to another county, go now. Travel is one of the best forms of education there is. Eat different food, meet different people, maybe learn a new language! See how teens who aren’t part of your community live, work, and play. 

7. YOUR HOPES AND DREAMS MATTER. 

We know that sometimes adults like to talk down to teenagers. Everyone thinks they know what’s best for you, right? And while they usually (probably) mean well when they suggest you give up your dream for something more realistic, the fact is this can come across as condescending or patronizing. Without being rude, remind yourself that your hopes and dreams are just as valid and real as anyone else’s. 

8. REACH OUT TO YOUR GRANDPARENTS. 

If you’re lucky enough to have living grandparents, give them a call (don’t text; they’re old) or a visit once in a while. They’ve experienced things in this world you can’t possibly imagine. And they won’t be here forever.  

9. EVERYONE ELSE IS NERVOUS, TOO. 

No matter how confident your peers may seem, the truth is that everyone is worried about how they look, sound, and behave. We promise this one is true! So before you keep yourself up all night dissecting everything you said that day, remember that everyone else is doing that, too. They’re more concerned with how they came across to you than with whatever mistake you think you made. Don’t compare your behind-the-scenes to everyone else’s highlight reels.  

10. YOUR PARENTS AND TEACHERS AREN’T THERE TO MAKE YOU MISERABLE. 

While they might not always be right – parents and teachers are only human, after all – odds are they aren’t out to get you. Most rules exist for very good reasons, and they are under zero obligation to justify all of them to you. Your health, safety, and happiness matter to the adults around you. Try not to give them a hard time over every little perceived injustice, such as curfews or chores. 

11. YOU’LL NEVER PLEASE ALL PEOPLE ALL OF THE TIME. 

So stop trying. Everyone has to live with disappointment. Don’t let anyone take theirs out on you just because you did what felt right at the time. Make the best decision you can for the moment. 

12. MIND YOUR MANNERS. 

Beyond “please” and “thank you,” get into the habit of being a polite person. Open doors for others. Hold elevators. Smile. Return texts and emails. Even when someone is being a total nightmare to you, take the higher road without allowing yourself to be abused. Sometimes that means politely excusing yourself from a situation. Good manners will get you much farther in life than you might realize. 

Bonus: YOUR TEEN YEARS AREN’T FOREVER. 

This, too, shall pass. Make the most of the positive parts and don’t sweat the negative stuff. 

You – yes, YOU – are more amazing, smart, strong, and beautiful than you realize, and you have a right to happiness. Take it from those who’ve been there! 

Young entrepreneurs who attend high school in Florida may be eligible for a Kantner Foundation college scholarship. Click here to learn about what we offer and how to apply.


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