Your biggest opportunity may be right where you are now.
I hope The Superstar Curriculum positively changes your approach to learning and life. Did you know that you invest over ten thousand hours in school by the time you graduate? That’s a tremendous commitment of precious time. Over the past eleven years as a teacher, I’ve seen too many students view their time in school as an obligation rather than an opportunity, and I could no longer merely watch this happen. Your life is too valuable. I wrote this book because I want you to receive maximum benefit from the significant number of hours you invest.
Education should focus more on growth than grades, yet every year there are graduates, including the highest achievers, who finish school still unaware of specific skills, habits, or attitudes that need further development—ones that would significantly improve their lives and futures. When school systems are preoccupied with assessing academic curricular content, valuable lessons about everyday success principles too often go unaddressed. The most exceptional qualities and habits you can develop in school are often not explicitly taught in class, but the opportunities to develop them are abundant. The fundamental skills highlighted in this book will help you stand out in an increasingly competitive world.
If you choose to adopt the concepts of this curriculum, a multitude of development opportunities beyond actual schoolwork will begin to blossom in front of you each day. Much like hockey legend Wayne Gretzky’s ability to see scoring chances develop before anyone else on the ice, after reading this book, you will see opportunities in school where others may not. These opportunities, once seized, will set you up for a lifetime of personal growth and fulfillment. And, like Gretzky, not only will your ability to recognize and embrace such moments lead to your own success, but your efforts will help strengthen those around you. You’ll be become a leader through your actions.
If you glance in the mirror right now, you should already see twinkles of superstardom in your eyes. Various chapters will reinforce remarkable traits that you already possess, while others will highlight areas for improvement. The goal is to develop the full package. There are optional Reflection and Self-Awareness opportunities at the end of each chapter. Answering the questions will help you tailor the book’s advice to your life. Purposeful reflection prompts your thinking; your thinking ignites action; your actions create habits; and your habits deliver results. Self-awareness is critical to this book and vital to your progress. Each chapter should challenge your mind and encourage you to evaluate past actions, recognize future opportunities, and provoke positive change.
Although some of the chapters are interconnected, you can read this book any which way—front to back, back to front, or starting in the middle. All sections are short (I know how busy teenagers are these days). You could tackle one chapter per day, taking roughly ten minutes, and change your life in less than a month. I tried to write the book I wish I could’ve had as a teenager. While I am an optimist, I am also a realist. I do not expect that every teenager will take the time and effort to read this book and employ its teachings, which further reinforces my decision to title it The Superstar Curriculum. Superstars are willing to do what most won’t. Here is a chance for you to launch yourself into rare air. Success takes time, and your time starts now.
You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
—A. A. Milne
Christopher Robin said the above to his beloved furry friend Winnie-the-Pooh; those two timeless characters brought out the best in each other. They were superstars in each other’s lives. Take a moment to think deeply about the most prominent superstar in your life. Do you have someone in mind?
The first time I performed this exercise with a group of students, I was surprised when not one person envisioned a celebrity as the biggest superstar. Parents, siblings, relatives, friends, teachers, and coaches made up much of the list. While famous people can definitely serve as incredible sources of inspiration, the results of this activity emphasized the profound power we have to influence those around us on a daily basis. True superstars live everywhere. In fact, you are a superstar; you just might not know it…yet.
Forget fortune and fame—the world’s most respected people, no matter their craft and notoriety, share a common attribute that I call the superstar mindset: a genuine desire to develop and contribute. Whether you speak of Mother Teresa or Michael Jordan, family members or friends, or musicians or mechanics, those who seek to better themselves and help in meaningful ways will see positive results, gain respect, and become sources of inspiration in life. So cool, so admirable, and best of all, so possible.
Schools are filled with superstar potential but are not filled with superstars, which is a big problem that this little book can solve. The ideas presented in this book will help you cultivate qualities that put you in high demand and even higher regard. You will sharpen your skill set and brighten each room you enter. Once you adopt the superstar mindset, more and more you will create moments in your life where you are living kindly, learning continuously, and contributing meaningfully. The more of these moments you create, the better your life will become, both now and in the future.
Come graduation night, when you walk across the stage to accept your diploma, people will be thinking, “That person is going to wow people wherever he or she goes in life.” Superstars are in the business of wowing people, and, in turn, people love rooting for and connecting with superstars. Once you have a genuine desire to develop and contribute, new windows of opportunity will begin flying open for you. Are you ready? It’s time to transform from student to superstar.
A genuine desire to develop and contribute