From the Principal’s Desk – 13 April, 2017

Dear Parents,

I wanted to share with the entire parent body a summary of my speech given at the IGCSE Prizegiving yesterday. An article in the Huffington post highlighted numerous life lessons, we can all do with reminding sometimes as we navigate the road called life:

When things aren’t going quite the way you’d like them to, it’s often because you’ve lost focus on what really matters. But focusing on life’s fundamental truths can be difficult, especially when they remind you that you’re heading in the wrong direction. The best things in life don’t come easily, and failing to observe yourself carefully is a sure path to mediocrity. I believe that Socrates said it best:

“The unexamined life isn’t worth living.”

You should be asking yourself regularly if you’re headed in the right direction. Many of life’s essential truths need repeating. We need reminders that help us to stay focused on them. Keep these truths are handy and they’re sure to give you a much-needed boost.

1. Great success is often preceded by failure

You will never experience true success until you learn to embrace failure. Your mistakes pave the way for you to succeed by revealing when you’re on the wrong path. Success takes patience and the ability to maintain a good attitude even while suffering for what you believe in.

2. Being busy does not equal being productive

Success doesn’t come from movement and activity. It comes from focus—from ensuring that your time is used efficiently and productively. You get the same number of hours in the day as everyone else. Use yours wisely. After all, you’re the product of your output, not your effort. Make certain your efforts are dedicated to tasks that get results.

3. You’re only as good as those you associate with

You should strive to surround yourself with people who inspire you, people who make you want to be better. And you probably do. But what about the people who drag you down? Why do you allow them to be a part of your life? Anyone who makes you feel worthless, anxious, or uninspired is wasting your time and, quite possibly, making you more like them. Life is too short to associate with people like this. Cut them loose.

4. You’re living the life you’ve created

You are not a victim of circumstance. No one can force you to make decisions and take actions that run contrary to your values and aspirations. The circumstances you’re living in today are your own—you created them. Likewise, your future is entirely up to you. If you’re feeling stuck, it’s probably because you’re afraid to take the risks necessary to achieve your goals and live your dreams.

5. Fear is the #1 source of regret

When all is said and done, you will lament the chances you didn’t take far more than you will your failures. Don’t be afraid to take risks. I often hear people say, “What’s the worst thing that can happen to you? Will it kill you?” Yet, death isn’t the worst thing that can happen to you. The worst thing that can happen to you is allowing yourself to die inside while you’re still alive.

6. You don’t have to wait for an apology to forgive

Life goes a lot smoother once you let go of grudges and forgive even those who never said they were sorry. Grudges let negative events from your past ruin today’s happiness. Hate and anger are emotional parasites that destroy your joy in life. When you forgive someone, it doesn’t condone their actions; it simply frees you from being their eternal victim.

7. Live in the moment

You can’t reach your full potential until you learn to live your life in the present. No amount of guilt can change the past, and no amount of anxiety can change the future. It’s impossible to be happy if you’re constantly somewhere else, unable to fully embrace the reality (good or bad) of this very moment.

8. Your self-worth must come from within

When your sense of pleasure and satisfaction are derived from comparing yourself to others, you are no longer the master of your own destiny. When you feel good about something that you’ve done, don’t allow anyone’s opinions or accomplishments to take that away from you. No matter what other people are thinking or doing, your self-worth comes from within.

9. Life is short

None of us are guaranteed a tomorrow. Yet, when someone dies unexpectedly it causes us to take stock of our own life: what’s really important is how we spend our time, and how we treat other people. Loss is a raw, visceral reminder of the frailty of life. Remind yourself every morning when you wake up that each day is a gift and you’re bound to make the most of the blessing you’ve been given.

10. Change is inevitable—embrace it

Only when you embrace change can you find the good in it. You need to have an open mind and open arms if you’re going to recognize, and capitalize on, the opportunities that change creates. You’re bound to fail when you keep doing the same things you always have in the hope that ignoring change will make it go away. After all, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.

Life doesn’t stop for anyone. When things are going well, appreciate them and enjoy them, as they are bound to change. If you are always searching for something more, something better, that you think is going to make you happy, you’ll never be present enough to enjoy the great moments before they’re gone.

Kind regards,

Grant Ruskovich