10 Things You Must Leave Behind After High School by Michelle C. Ustaszeski-Hutchinson

So you survived high school and now it’s time to set out into the real world.  Here is a list of 10 things you should probably leave in the dust.

1. The need to impress others. You’ve probably heard that what others think about you is none of your business and at this point in your life, it really needs to sink in. Everyone out here in the “grown up world” is simply doing their best just as you plan to do. This is your time to create your future and it has nothing to do with what others think or feel about you. Aim to know yourself better, without the influence of what others think. Find out what you love to do, what environments you love to be in, what experiences make you happy and aim to make yourself proud, not others.

2. The need for others approval. We all want to make others happy. We all want to be liked and to fit in. Everything you do influences your future. Make sure the decisions you are making are in alignment with what you want to accomplish. Get comfortable saying no to peers or events that will take you off your path. The sooner you learn to be your true original self, the quicker you will find true happiness and success in all aspects of your life.

3. Dwelling on the past. The past made you who you are today. The good and the bad brought you here. Even if you had a difficult past, you prevailed, just as you always will… and with all of that wisdom intact. The good times help us see where we want to go, how we want to act, the types of people we want to be surrounded by and what we want more of. The bad times not only help us appreciate the good times to a greater extent, but they help us realize what experiences to avoid, what types of people to navigate around, and help guide us in the right direction. Without the bad times, we often wander around too long in the wrong environments. Face forward and press on. Create your life, don’t just live it. Grow through life, don’t just go through it.

4. Worrying about your future. It’s certainly normal and scary growing up and going out on your own, but the only thing worry does is drain your energy and keeps your mind focused on worst case scenarios. It truly serves no purpose whatsoever. By definition, a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy is a prediction (or a worry) that directly or indirectly causes itself to become true due to the feedback between belief and behavior. By worrying and expecting something bad to happen, you may act in accordance to that expectation and possibly cause it to happen. You don’t want that. Instead, visualize daily about “what you do want” your future to look like. Create and write down a plan and then take steps daily in order to get there… and then you will. The best way to combat worry is to “take action” toward what you “do” want.

5. Negative self-talk. Be good to yourself. You are about to become your own best friend for the rest of your life. The way you treat yourself is how you will allow others to treat you. Respect yourself. Define your boundaries now. You don’t deserve to be treated unfairly, even if it is by your own thoughts. Stand up for yourself, to yourself. Loving yourself is a gift that will take you very far in life, and you deserve every ounce of it.

6. Limiting beliefs. Have confidence in yourself and know that you are no less than any other human who walked this earth. The most incredible accomplishments in the world were done by people who were no different than you are today. You will be whoever you “decide” and “tell yourself” to be and you really can accomplish anything if the desire and passion is within you. Think big and know that there will be some discomfort as you push forward and upward toward your goals. Expanding your comfort zone is a part of the process. It will be smart to get comfortable with being a little uncomfortable when trying to reach any goal you set in life. Every great individual has felt “not good enough”, “unworthy” and/or “not smart enough”. If you feel “less than” others, you are certainly not alone and may very well feel that way again at some point. Press on anyway and realize that our comfort zones will always try to pull us back into stagnation.

7. Complaining. It serves no purpose other than releasing negative energy. Focusing on the negative aspects of any situation, or about any individual, will only cause you to see more of it down the road or react in ways that will bring more negativity to you. If you need to clear anger over an injustice, don’t bottle it up, but vent to a limited few whom you trust, work on resolving the issues, and then quickly begin finding the silver lining, the bright side, the lesson you learned. By focusing on the positive, your brain will begin to see more positive opportunities (within the negative) and things to be grateful for. Everyday, recall and share mostly the great and funny things that happen to you. Recall and share what you learned and what you are grateful for. Realize that a positive outlook is admirable and much more attractive to the majority of people who can help you to go places and move up in life. You will attract the right people and the result will be a happier and more positive mindset. Steer away from the Negative Neds and Nancys as they will bring you down and keep you focusing on the things you don’t want. It has been said that you are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. Choose who you travel with wisely. You’re in the drivers seat now.

8. The need to be right. When dealing with opinions, beliefs, or lifestyles, there is no such thing as right or wrong, just differences that we all need to accept and learn from. Allow others to enlighten you with their opposing beliefs and differences. We can learn a lot from the opinions and beliefs of others, especially those who disagree with us. Everyone of us is the accumulation of all the experiences we have had up until now. Our pasts, differences and number of apposing beliefs and perspectives are astronomical. Don’t limit yourself to your own experiences. Become wise by hearing what everyone has to say. If you don’t agree after listening, you are still wiser for having learned the perspective of others. Don’t be surprised however, if one day, you learn something that you later become grateful for and that ultimately changes your life for the better… and all you had to do was listen.

9. Resisting change. Change is simply a part of life unless you choose to remain exactly where you are. Change is synonymous with growth. Get comfortable with change. Learn to adapt to each environment rather than react to it. Accept where you are at any given moment and know that it will change once again. Your environments will change, your friends will change, your opinions and beliefs will change. Success only comes to those who know that it is a crucial part of life’s process and necessary for any type of improvement. Change is life in motion.

10. Blaming others. You may have been through some rough times up until now while growing up. We’ve all been through rough times. But now it is time for you to take the wheel and regardless of your past, where you decide to go and what you decide to do now, given all of your experiences, will be your sole responsibility from here on out. Blaming others takes the focus off of you and your own responsibility. By blaming others, you are giving them permission to control you. Decide that you are in control from now on… of your future… of your decisions… and of every emotion that you feel and every situation that you find yourself in. You are the one who decides to say yes or no, this way or that way, now or later. Remember to be true to your own likes and dislikes and keep in mind that you will fall at times and you will mess up many times. We all do, but it’s not necessary to blame anyone, even yourself. It is simply a part of the learning and growing process that we call LIFE.


Get out there, fall on occasion, get back up on your path and make things happen. Change the world if you choose. Know that the past is not where you are going. Know that limiting beliefs are just thoughts, not your reality. Know that worry will not accomplish a thing. Know that you do not need to impress anyone other than yourself and don’t need the approval of anyone to do what makes you happy. Know that complaining is a weight that will keep you down and surround yourself with those who can see the bright side. Know that needing to be right is simply unnecessary and keeps your mind closed to ideas that could change your life for the better. Know that by resisting change, you are resisting a brighter, more successful and happier future. And KNOW that you are the one in control of what you do, where you go, and how you feel.

Take that wheel and drive it as far and as high as you can go!

The world is waiting for you.

MichelleBrickWall2About the Author: Michelle C. Ustaszeski-Hutchinson, B.S., CLC, CMHt. is the Founder and Executive Editor of The Teen Mentor, LLC, based in Coopersburg, Pennsylvania. She is a Personal Development Expert and The Faciliator of Wisdom. As co-author of 101 Great Ways to Improve Your Life, Michelle teamed with some of the top motivational gurus such as Zig Ziglar, Brian Tracy, Jim Rohn, Denis Waitley, and Joe Vitale in order to offer a compilation of self-improvement teachings. She has been quoted as a “Master of Success” among some of the worlds most famous thinkers and published in numerous books and on thousands of websites around the world. Read More…