Reaching Your Potential


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In today’s pressured world, many teens are afraid to fail—and even—afraid to succeed. They don’t want to stick out, whether for good or bad. They want to be accepted, and just ‘fit in. ’ This type of mentality will lead you nowhere but the path to mediocrity—and that is nothing to be proud of or content with. As Douglas Malloch so aptly wrote:

If you can't be a highway then just be a trail,
If you can't be the sun be a star;
It isn't by size that you win or you fail-
Be the best of whatever you are!

Each of us have different talents and different abilities, so don’t get me wrong—it’s not about being the best—but rather about being the best YOU can personally become. The hockey great Wayne Gretzky has said “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. ” Think about that. If you don’t try, you have a 0% chance of success! But if you put all your heart into something, and work hard, you can and will succeed in whatever you will. And if it turns out your best wasn’t good enough—then at least you tried—and will have no regrets and no wonders of ‘what could have been. ’ The only way to discover the limits of the possible is to go beyond them, into the impossible.

With that in mind, let me share with you what basketball legend Michael Jordan has said:

“I have missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot. . . and missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why. . . I succeed. ”

So from one teen to another: I encourage you to do today what others won’t, to have tomorrow what others never will…And never be afraid to fail!

Jeff Hagen is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief of , a leading online community for teens. His vision has inspired many-and is labeled as one of the most powerful teen speakers on the subject of Teen Leadership. Please contact him at for approval of re-distribution.


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