The Teenager’s Guide to the Galaxy

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The Teenager’s Guide to the Galaxy

Some days it’s easier to believe your parents hail from a far-flung planet in a different galaxy than it is to accept that you share the same genetic material, because how could they be so uncool?

So okay, that being said, you’re probably wondering how you could survive this fast-changing world.

In this time where information is just a click away, it is so easy to get distracted. Too many things tend to happen at once. It then becomes a huge challenge to focus on your goals and dreams, as well as make sense out of everything around you. It can be pretty overwhelming, but issues are issues no matter what age you are, so let’s deal with three major ones piece by piece here:

“I Don’t Know What To Do With My Life”

Well, guess what, there are thirty-year-olds who still can’t figure out what to do with their lives, and that’s something you’d want to avoid, so it’s best to have an early head start.

Some surefire suggestions:

  1. Find a role model. Turn to news features, articles, documentaries, or literature and find a hero you identify with. Modern-day heroes of all ages are aplenty, and they all try to make the world a better place in their own way, and you can draw inspiration from them. What would you like to be? Well-loved nation leader? Versatile musician? World-class chef? Innovative engineer? Ultra-popular YouTube artist? There are outstanding examples in each field—people who are very good at what they do—and it would serve you well to follow in their footsteps. After all, one principle of Neuro-Linguistic Programming is: “Possible in the world, possible for me.” That’s just another way of saying that if others can, so can you!
  2. Set a SMART goal. Have a very clear vision of what you’d like to be in the future. To guide you with that, remember to keep it SMART. Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Time-bound. It isn’t enough to just say “I want to be successful someday.” Try to be as specific as when best-selling author John Green asked Cara DeLevigne what she wants to be when she grows up, and she replied with this:

“Alien-fighting Princess Peach with a steroid-injecting angel gun with wings. On a unicorn. Multi-colored. With golden eyes.”

Very specific, indeed, but it doesn’t meet the other criteria so opt for this simple formula:

I want to (goal) in (time frame) by (action to be taken).

Here’s a shining example:

SMART Goal: To raise my Math grade from last year’s C on the first semester report card to a B on the second semester report card, and an A on the second semester report card by attending tutoring sessions and studying an extra two hours each week.

  1. Take action. One of the core tenets of NLP is this: Your thoughts influence your words, and your words influence your actions. Therefore, we must think positive thoughts so as to say positive words which will then lead to positive actions.

“I am No Good”

News flash: That’s a limiting belief. Say, what?

Going back to one of the most basic NLP principle:

This entails that whatever you believe about yourself will show in what you say and do. If you believe that you are trouble, you will be. If you believe you won’t amount to anything, then it won’t be long before it comes true.

This goes without saying that the inverse is also true. If you believe you can, then no matter how difficult the task may be, you will tell yourself to do it, and then actually do it.

Now this is easier said than done, because beliefs are ingrained, after all, and are very hard to change. For example, would you believe that Charles the VI of France believed he was made of glass? Because of this belief he refused to let people touch him, and he wore padded clothing to protect himself. He was not alone in this predicament. This was an unusual psychiatric disorder that swept through Europe during the late Medieval period. Many people came to believe they were made of glass “and therefore likely to shatter into pieces.” Historians call this the Glass Delusion. (

See how limiting beliefs can stop you from achieving your goals, let alone from functioning properly?

Start shattering those false ideas about yourself, then! Here are three steps:

  1. Be open to change. Nothing will change unless you are willing to change it.
  2. Identify your limiting belief. If this was a battle, you gotta know who or what your enemy is. Ask yourself, “What is stopping me from doing what I want to do?”
  3. Change your next steps. When you find yourself in that situation that you fear (like speaking in public), vary your actions from what you usually do (if you usually refuse, this time, prepare to conquer that stage).

Take it from one man who kept it positive through and through and did not let limiting beliefs get in the way. “All our dreams can come true – if we have the courage to pursue them,” he said. He went on to build a magnanimous empire, and his legacy lives on. His name was Walt Disney.

A limiting belief—which is what it is upfront—it is your belief about yourself or the world which keep you from getting what you want.

“Nobody Understands Me”

Kid, don’t fret: Relationships are tough. If you’re learning that know, there will be more lessons to come. Between peer pressure, and your parents seemingly originating from an alien race (because (1) you don’t speak the same language and (2) you can’t agree on anything), it may certainly seem like finding one other person who gets you is like, as the idiom goes, trying to look for a needle in a haystack.

It doesn’t have to be that hard. For starters, have you looked in the closest place possible—your own self?

What is it that you want to say?

Communication is very important in building better relationships, so express yourself. Express your thoughts. Express your feelings. Express it to the people who need to hear it. Whether it’s the overwhelming expectations of your parents that you feel you can’t live up to, or the fact that you don’t really feel comfortable with your friends’ plans of underage drinking for the weekend. Say it, because they need to hear it so they can act on it. People—young or old—will not understand fully if they have to guess.

One other scenario that might propel you to think no one understands is a fight. Again, it won’t be a bad idea to look into yourself.

A quote by Victoria Schwab, author of Young Adult novels, supports this: When no one understands, that’s usually a good sign that you’re wrong.

Conflicts, disputes, arguments—these are all part of life. We can’t all be in agreement with each other, but the more important question is, how do we deal with it? If the fights happen much too often, if you feel like everyone is against you, then it’s an opportunity to do a self-inspection: Am I doing what’s right? Am I considering others apart from myself? Have I tried putting myself in their shoes?

This brings us back to communication. Communication doesn’t just involve one person. It takes two, sometimes even more. Communication isn’t just about getting your side out, it’s also about listening to the other end.

So there you go. We’ve covered three major issues that could hold back your spaceship from moving forward into this galaxy—this Milky Way of dreams, fears, emotions, decisions, relationships, and much, much more.

Sure, it can be pretty overwhelming. American writer E.A. Bucchianeri says this about the teenage years: “…definitely one of the most bizarre periods in a person’s life. How anyone can come through that time well-adjusted on any level is an absolute miracle.”

Tell you what. I’ve always believed in the power of miracles. 🙂

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