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In Year 12? What if it all goes wrong?


There can be a lot of pressure at this time in your life. It is a lot to take on and it can be totally overwhelming.  As you make the transition to life after school these pressures will increase.

There are the thoughts of what if I chose the wrong path? What if I don’t get the marks I need? What if I don’t get into uni and what if I can’t get a job? What if I get the courage to ask out the person I like and they say no? A lot of what ifs aren’t there?

The reality is things are going to go wrong and your plans won’t turn out exactly as you would like. You will face rejection and disappointment. Right now you’re probably thinking who let this article through?  Don’t worry there is an upside to this.

The good news is that there are things that you can do to make sure that when the wheels do fall off that you’re resilient and optimistic to see the opportunity in an otherwise negative situation. Resilience is the difference between believing that it is all too hard and giving up or looking for what you can learn from it and use to your advantage.

First thing to do is find the right support.  Notice I said “right” support.  Be sure to have people in your life who will encourage and inspire you to keep following your dreams even in the darkest times.  You become the average of the 5 people you spend most time with so take a moment to think about who those 5 people are.  Think about the person you want to become – do the people you are around most have the qualities and lifestyles that you want to have?  If not it is time to upgrade!  It doesn’t just have to be the people you physically spend time with.  It can be the books you read, what you watch or what you listen to. Respect yourself and make sure that everything you take in is of high quality. The better your input the better results you will see.

Second thing is to take personal responsibility for your life and where you want it to lead.  You are the master of your destiny – step up and accept the role. Make “if it is to be, it is up to me” your mantra. Have faith and belief in your ability to be the best person to take direction of your life.  It is so much easier to blame others of have a sense that the world is unfair and owes us something. It doesn’t. You owe it to yourself and your future to take control rather than sit back and let things happen to you. There may have been things happen in your life that you feel gives you an excuse for not succeeding. Excuses are lies that we tell ourselves.  Look for reasons to succeed rather than excuses for not.

Third thing you need to be resilient and succeed in spite of adversity is to find purpose and inspiration in your life.  Too often we feel that we’re just one little person and that what possible difference could we make. Take a moment to think about the people you admire and what they have achieved. They too were just one person who at some point they felt they were too insignificant to make a difference too but they got started. Think about what is happening around you that upsets you.  It could be animals being treated badly, it could be young people who are living on the streets or it could be seeing your elderly neighbour struggling to mow their lawn.  There is something you can do with very little of your time to make a difference in these situations. Helping others is the quickest way to get out of feeling hopeless about your own situation.

The reality is while it would be easier to go through life without challenge and adversity the longer you do this the harder you are going to fall when something does go wrong. Whereas going through life with regular challenges and setbacks is setting a firmer foundation for your success so that when something major does go wrong you’re equipped to deal with it.  As Charles Darwin said “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”


Stacey Copas,  Author of “How To Be Resilient”, is Australia’s #1 Keynote Speaker and Facilitator on Turning Adversity Into An Asset.  She has worked with large organisations such as Telstra, CSIRO and SACA, helping their leaders be their best in challenging times. Stacey has also been featured in national media including ABC, Financial Review and The Australian for her insights on resilience in the workplace.  

More recently, Stacey has started speaking to high school students on having a resilient, positive and determined mindset.  



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