Survival Manual, For Teens Only (Yes, the world is out to get you!)

Survival Manual, For Teens Only (Yes, the world is out to get you!)

Your teen world is a minefield. A series of traps, waiting to catch you and your friends. The world is out to get you, and if it doesn’t, you might even do it yourself.

It's not paranoia, if the world's really out to get you.--- R.D. Laing

Like, the star of your school’s basketball team. He was being scouted by D-1 coaches, everybody was sure he’d be drafted. A full ride at a good school. And he was no dummy, he meant to trade his talent on the court for a good education.

Secretly you were so envious of him. But wasn’t everybody? The night the state championship was won, he was on top of the world. Everyone was his new best friend. The world was his for the taking.

On his way to a party that night, he felt an incredible relief from the pressure of his championship season… laughing with the girl (his love, the one he meant to spend the rest of his life with). Driving fast, out through the suburbs on winding roads, cuddling with one arm around her, he dreamed of his future in the NBA. He laughed and kissed her… and a fuzzy little dog ran across the road. He saw its eyes light up red in his headlights.

He swung his mini pickup too wide and hard into a sharp turn. He lost it, the truck got sideways, it swapped ends. They had no time even to scream… skidding into a tree.

Car accident with firefighters and paramedics on scene.

The firemen worked for over half an hour to cut open the front half of the smoking twisted wreckage. The high school star lived, with a broken back that ended his college dream. And as his life hung in the balance, another ended. Horrific injuries killed the girl he loved, a talented singer with higher education dreams of her own.

You couldn’t believe it. But it happened. Now your envy has become pity.

And the teen minefield has so many variations.

Like, your best friend. Closer than a sister. You and she had each other’s backs from elementary school. Tight all through the weirdness of growing up.

Yes, she was going to be the first in her family to graduate from college. Then there was the day she told you she was pregnant, and you remember how her eyes shone with tears as she told you. How she said motherhood trumps everything else.

So, the minefield got her. She’ll be getting married and they will move in with her parents. Her teen husband’s college plans are over, just like hers are. All their dreams are deferred. They are parents.

Reading this, you know those people. Or you know someone who knows them.

The so-called adult world is waiting for you out there. Traps are set everywhere to stop you from climbing higher, from reaching higher.

Think of this minefield like a video game: “Destroy all teenagers before they can compete!”

So let’s try to map out this terrifying minefield.

Let’s chart the worst traps. Let’s scope out the worst dangers to your survival…

Accidental death. Unintentional injuries or accidents are consistently the number one killer of teens.

And what about intentional death? The second and third leading reasons for teen deaths are homicide and suicide. Teens are killing each other.

But worse, since 2004, suicide has outranked homicide in teen deaths. Teens are killing themselves, in record numbers.

Number one future earnings dream-killer— Percent of teens who are high school dropouts. Lack of a high school education condemns teens to slave-like futures, or outright homelessness.

Number one success dream-killer, failure to achieve a college degree. This is foundational!

Job success in the 21st Century requires education beyond high school. Failing to complete high school virtually ensures future failure in the job market.

Teen Birth Rate: delaying becoming a parent (until you’ve graduated from college and gotten married, gives you and your children incredibly more opportunities in life.

Now, let’s look at some positives. Instead of looking at the minefield, at what to avoid, let’s be pro-active.

What are the strongest things you can do to achieve a survivable future?

Do your interests and abilities draw you to a field like acting, journalism, law, piloting, or some other competitive occupation? Accept the challenges!

An informed career choice will pay big dividends throughout your coming life. Choosing and planning a career is huge.

Girl sitting at a computer.

Take advantage of your computer skills. Computer proficiency will give you an edge from teens onward.

Learning by doing. Internships, part-time jobs, and volunteer work. Get hands-on experience now.

Never stop upgrading your skills, any way you can. Build your chances for success by increasing the odds on your side.

Finish high school. Do we need to even say this? Compared to college grads, high school dropouts work then lowest-level jobs, if they can find one.

Learn how to market your skills. Good resume preparation and job search techniques.

Raise your personal job value with knowledge. The more education you get, the higher your earnings can become.

High school grads earn more than high school dropouts. And higher education grads earn more than high school dropouts and graduates.

Plan your career. Create goals for your life. Set the bar high. Do the work. Keep your goals moving forward in time.

You won’t be a teen much longer.

SURVIVE your way forward, into a fully satisfying adulthood. Create a momentum of personal success, with evolving goals.

Do this by making your way through the teen minefield.

Keep improving your chances all the way to your set of life goals!

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