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10 Things We Can All Learn From TIME’s 2014 Most Influential Teens

10 Things We Can All Learn From TIME’s 2014 Most Influential Teens

Each year since 1999, TIME magazine has ranked the world’s most influential people. The list has included heavyweights like Oprah (10 times), Barack Obama (nine times), Nelson Mandela (three times) and the Dalai Lama (three times).

It’s not necessarily political power, wealth or a talk show that make someone influential though. It’s widely acknowledged that “the key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority,” and influence is achievable at any age. Teens often have that fearless courage (or sometimes, worldly naivety) that, combined with easy access to millions via social media, gives them the ability to be incredibly influential too. It might not be as obviously profound as the US President or His Holiness, but there’s often a real and valuable message there, untarnished by jaded decades and mid-life crises.

Here’s what we can all learn – whether we’re 17 or 70 – from TIME’s most influential teens in 2014.

1. Sasha Obama, 13, and Malia Obama, 16: Be true to your own passions

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    Last year, the youngest Obama daughter, Sasha, was photographed wearing a $19 unicorn sweater from ASOS at a university basketball game – it sold out online almost instantaneously. Malia has reportedly dabbled in filmmaking in Hollywood too. These girls are a great reminder to forge your own path and be true to your own passions and style, regardless of what others might expect of you.

    2. Flynn McGarry, 15: Start with what you have, where you are

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      Flynn has proven that culinary genius is not just born in the Michelin restaurants of Paris and New York, and you don’t have to work a lifetime to achieve your own restaurant success. At 12, Flynn started a monthly supper club, Eureka, in the Californian bedroom of his family home. It’s now a pop up restaurant serving eight to 10 courses of “progressive American cuisine” for up to 50 guests. He’s now working with the world’s top chefs in LA and NYC and has appeared on the Today Show and the cover of The New York Times.

      The most common excuse for not pursuing our dreams is that we’re waiting for the ideal tools or circumstances to align. Flynn is a great reminder to ditch the excuses and start with what you have, where you are.

      3. Erik Finman, 15: Stay curious – be an eager learner

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        This teen founded Botangle.com, an online community that connects eager learners with experts and educators for a per minute and/or per hour rate (Botangle takes a 15% cut of the fee). Subjects covered include everything from aviation, architecture and crowd funding, to dance, Mongolian and violin.

        Erik – an eager student and grateful for his own diverse educational opportunities – wanted to make stimulating education easily accessible to everyone, so Botangle uses alternative learning tools such as video tutoring and virtual whiteboards. But that’s not the really impressive part. Erik funded the start up project by investing $1,000 his Grandma gave him at Easter in Bitcoin and turning it into $100,000. Here’s proof that being an eager learner and student of life will always bring a “return on investment” in one way or another.

        4. Salma Kakar, 17: Push the walls of the world you find yourself in

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          Salma is both a patriotic, teenage girl from Afghanistan and the lead rider on the co-ed Afghan National Cycling Team. She says that she is using her bike as a “vehicle for social change” – to show the world how far Afghan women have come from the overly conservative and oppressive traditions of her parent’s generation.

          Whilst many Afghan women cannot get an education, employment or even a driver’s licence, Salma insists that views are changing. And despite the verbal abuse and harassment for being “un-Islamic,” she also receives messages of support from many Afghans, men included. She has a more progressive and supportive family than most – her mother is a pediatrician, her father an engineer and her elder sister a publisher of Afghanistan’s first feminist magazine, Riudad – but she has refused to accept the traditional boundaries of the world she was born into.

          5. Malala Yousafzai, 17: A single defeat is not a final defeat

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            Malala has always been an advocate for girls’ education – at 11 years old, she was speaking out at events and blogging for the BBC on the topic. It earned her both death threats from the Taliban and an International Children’s Peace Prize in 2011.

            On 9 October, 2012, Malala was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen while riding the bus to school. Most would be forgiven for taking a step back from the spotlight and feeling defeated – but not Malala. She has since started the Malala Fund to continue to promote girls’ education, assist Syrian refugee children and raise awareness of the kidnapped Nigerian girls. She has gone on to receive an honorary doctorate in civil law from the University of King’s College in Canada, spoken at the United Nations and is now the youngest ever recipient of a Nobel Peace Prize (October 2014). Her influence is undeniable and her message – “We will speak, no matter how hard it is to do so” – is a reminder that a single defeat is not a final defeat.

            6. Rachel Fox, 18: Look past the stereotypes

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              Don’t be fooled by the stereotypes of Hollywood’s teen actresses. She’s starred in TV shows like Desperate Housewives and Private Practice, but Rachel Fox is also an avid day trader – and a successful one at that! Now she’s started a blog, Fox on Stocks, to demystify finance and investments for teens. She also tracks the influence of pop culture on stock trading – everything from Gagnam Style to Justin Bieber – and lists the top 20 companies teens love to buy from on a “MyGenLoves Index,” which includes Netflix and Urban Outfitters.

              7. Rico Rodriguez, 16: Let your personality shine (quirks and all)

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                So, Mum wasn’t lying when she said personality always wins! Better known as Manny in Modern Family, Rico Rodriguez is one of the youngest and richest teen actors of the moment. And it’s not because he’s a typical Hollywood heartthrob. Rodriguez is a young comedic genius and has a lot to say as well – in 2012, he published a book called Reel Life Lessons…So Far. His character in Modern Family is brimming with personality and is a testament to embracing your own uniqueness – he has influenced the masses with his character’s confident vulnerability and dramatic flair. If Modern Family continues into Season Eight, he’ll be earning around $115,000 per episode too. As Beatrix Potter said, “I hold that a strongly marked personality can influence descendants for generations.”

                8. Lorde, 17: True beauty is in the imperfections

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                  Two Grammy Awards, a platinum album, an MTV Video Music Award and selected to curate the Hunger Games soundtrack – this girl has well and truly earned the spotlight. But rather than twerking her way to the top, Lorde has let her natural talent shine and has used her influence to do something else for the sisterhood – promote body love, in all its flawed glory. Earlier this year, she posted two photos on Twitter – one Photoshopped and one au naturel – to remind her fans (or 1.3 million Twitter followers) that “flaws are OK.” Well done Lorde – let’s keep it real #nofilter.

                  9. Joshua Wong, 18: Speak up – every voice counts

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                    Most 18-year-olds are barely able to legally vote in their own countries and would rather spend the Saturday morning in bed than at the polls, but Joshua Wong is leading a pro-democracy movement in Hong Kong (via a student activist group called Scholarism) to scrap mandatory “patriotic education” and demand that the people be able to elect their leader. He’s led demonstrations, sit-ins and petitions around the country and managed to convince the Chief Executive to meet with him to discuss his requests – undeniably the influence that TIME picked up on. Wong is a reminder to us all that our voice and vote counts – don’t take it for granted.

                    10. Jazz Jennings, 14: See the rainbow in the world – it’s not all black and white

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                      Since the age of two, Jazz has identified as a girl despite the body she was given. She’s now an advocate for transgender teens and has written a book and reflective memoir, I am Jazz, to help kids understand what it means to be transgender: “I have a girl brain but a boy body … I was born this way.” She made The Advocate‘s 40 Under 40 in 2012 and was the youngest person ever featured on the Out 100 in 2013. This girl has a magnetic sparkle and an unwavering commitment to live her truth that makes her a powerful and beautiful inspiration to many – so much so, that Bill Clinton and JLaw insisted on meeting her! She’s earned a well-deserving spot on TIME’s most influential teens list for sure.

                      According to TIME, “Teens today might have a mixed reputation, but there’s no denying their influence.” The rise of social media has undoubtedly played a big role in that, but these teens have achieved more than most and have a message worth spreading. The rest of the world can just sit back, and have greatness thrust upon them.

                      Featured photo credit: Wikimedia via upload.wikimedia.org

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                      Last Updated on January 13, 2020

                      50 Motivational Quotes for Work to Inspire Success

                      50 Motivational Quotes for Work to Inspire Success

                      Let’s face it – no matter how excited you are about a new project or priority in your life, there will always be days when your motivation lags. Days when – despite all the progress you’ve made in the past – it just sounds easier to sit on the couch playing video games than to buckle down and crank out the work needed to meet your goals.

                      In order to be successful, you must be able to motivate yourself past these humps. Whenever you feel your drive and determination lagging, turn to these motivational quotes for work to provide the extra spark of passion needed to keep you on track.

                      Quotes about Goal Setting

                      Whether you’re still in the planning phases of your business or whether you’re plotting a plan of attack to bring about your long-range vision, setting good goals is a critical part of succeeding in business.

                      Check out these quotes for extra inspiration on how to turn your dreams into reality:

                      quote-Benjamin-E.-Mays-the-tragedy-in-life-doesnt-lie-in-106113

                        “The tragedy in life doesn’t lie in not reaching your goal. The tragedy lies in having no goal to reach.”– Benjamin Mays


                        “By recording your dreams and goals on paper, you set in motion the process of becoming the person you most want to be. Put your future in good hands — your own.”–Mark Victor Hansen


                        “Give yourself an even greater challenge than the one you are trying to master and you will develop the powers necessary to overcome the original difficulty.”–William J. Bennett – The Book of Virtues


                        “The entrepreneur is essentially a visualizer and actualizer… He can visualize something, and when he visualizes it he sees exactly how to make it happen.”–Robert L. Schwartz

                        Quotes about Achieving Excellence in Work

                        Once you’ve got your goals together, you’ll need to put in 110% of your effort in order to transform these visions into reality. To increase your motivation to work at a consistently high level, take a look at the following words of wisdom:

                        “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit.”–Aristotle


                        “If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in little matters. Excellence is not an exception, it is a prevailing attitude.”–Charles R. Swindoll

                        Desire is the key to motivation

                          “Desire is the key to motivation, but it’s determination and commitment to an unrelenting pursuit of your goal — a commitment to excellence — that will enable you to attain the success you seek.”–Mario Andretti


                          “The secret of joy in work is contained in one word – excellence. To know how to do something well is to enjoy it.”–Pearl Buck


                          “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor.”–Vince Lombardi

                          Quotes about Determination and Persistence

                          Since every business or other endeavor is bound to hit some rough patches, it’s often a person’s level of determination and patience that brings about either success or failure. These positive quotes give you an extra boost of encouragement:

                          “Enter every activity without giving mental recognition to the possibility of defeat. Concentrate on your strengths, instead of your weaknesses… on your powers, instead of your problems.”–Paul J. Meyer


                          “Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.”–Hal Borland


                          “Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan ‘Press On’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”–Calvin Coolidge

                          quote-Thomas-Fuller-an-invincible-determination-can-accomplish-almost-anything-92190

                            “An invincible determination can accomplish almost anything and in this lies the great distinction between great men and little men.”–Thomas Fuller

                            Quotes about Leadership

                            Whether you use it to engage your employees, to encourage teamwork or motivate others to follow your unique way of thinking, leadership is crucial. Take your leadership cues from these renowned leaders’ famous sayings:

                            “The most dangerous leadership myth is that leaders are born — that there is a genetic factor to leadership. This myth asserts that people simply either have certain charismatic qualities or not. That’s nonsense; in fact, the opposite is true. Leaders are made rather than born.” –Warren G. Bennis


                            “All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.”–John Kenneth Galbraith

                            Leadership is not magnetic personality

                              “Leadership is not magnetic personality — that can just as well be a glib tongue. It is not ‘making friends and influencing people’ — that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.”–Peter F. Drucker


                              “The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people, but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already.”–John Buchan


                              “High sentiments always win in the end. The leaders who offer blood, toil, tears and sweat always get more out of their followers than those who offer safety and a good time. When it comes to the pinch, human beings are heroic.”–George Orwell

                              Quotes for Success

                              Think of success as a holistic process – one which results from the combination of goal-setting, excellence, patience, determination and leadership you prioritize throughout your career. These highly successful people provide you with an excellent source of motivation:

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                              “Be patient with yourself. Self-growth is tender; it’s holy ground. There’s no greater investment.”–Stephen Covey


                              “Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.”–Norman Vincent Peale

                              Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.

                                “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”–Winston Churchill


                                “Successful and unsuccessful people do not vary greatly in their abilities. They vary in their desires to reach their potential.”–John Maxwell


                                “Would you like me to give you a formula for success? It’s quite simple, really. Double your rate of failure. You are thinking of failure as the enemy of success. But it isn’t at all. You can be discouraged by failure or you can learn from it, So go ahead and make mistakes. Make all you can. Because remember that’s where you will find success.”– Thomas J. Watson


                                “The great successful men of the world have used their imagination.  They think ahead and create their mental picture in all its details, filling in here, adding a little there, altering this a bit and that a bit, but steadily building – steadily building.”–Robert Collier


                                “It is a paradoxical but profoundly true and important principle of life that the most likely way to reach a goal is to be aiming not at that goal itself but at some more ambitious goal beyond it.”–Arnold Toynbee

                                Sports Quotes for Athletes

                                You don’t need to be a Michael Jordan-caliber athlete to draw inspiration from the following quotes. Even if you’re just a recreational player or someone who’s using sports as a means to get back in shape after long periods of inactivity, the following motivational sports quotes will encourage you:

                                “My attitude is that if you push me towards something that you think is a weakness, then I will turn that perceived weakness into a strength.”–Michael Jordan


                                “Pain is temporary. It may last a minute, or an hour, or a day, or a year, but eventually it will subside and something else will take its place. If I quit, however, it lasts forever.”–Lance Armstrong

                                Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths.

                                  “Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.”–Arnold Schwarzenegger


                                  “I know what I have to do, and I’m going to do whatever it takes. If I do it, I’ll come out a winner, and it doesn’t matter what anyone else does.”–Florence Griffith Joyner


                                  “Every time you stay out late; every time you sleep in; every time you miss a workout; every time you don’t give 100% – You make it that much easier for me to beat you.”–Unknown


                                  “If you are hurt, whether in mind or body, don’t nurse your bruises. Get up and light-heartedly, courageously, good temperedly get ready for the next encounter. This is the only way to take life – this is also ‘playing’ the game!”–Emily Post


                                  “We must train from the inside out. Using our strengths to attack and nullify any weaknesses. It’s not about denying a weakness may exist but about denying its right to persist.”–Vince McConnell

                                  Quotes to Motivate Learning

                                  Committing yourself to pursuing knowledge in a single area is a tremendous endeavor – one that often seems overwhelming given the depth and breadth of information that’s available today. Keep the following motivational quotes in mind if you’re learning:

                                  “How far you go in life depends on your being tender with the young, compassionate with the aged, sympathetic with the striving and tolerant of the weak and the strong. Because someday in life you will have been all of these.”–George Washington Carver

                                  quote-William-Arthur-Ward-if-you-can-imagine-it-you-can-36189

                                    “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it; if you can dream it, you can become it.”–William Arthur Ward


                                    “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”– Aristotle


                                    “Success is not the key to happiness.Happiness is the key to success.If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.”–Albert Schweitzer


                                    “Wear your learning, like your watch, in a private pocket: and do not pull it out and strike it, merely to show that you have one.”–Philip Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield


                                    “He who asks is a fool for five minutes, but he who does not ask remains a fool forever.”–Chinese Proverb


                                    “Study while others are sleeping; work while others are loafing; prepare while others are playing; and dream while others are wishing.”–William Arthur Ward


                                    “Books can be dangerous. The best ones should be labeled ‘This could change your life’.”–Helen Exley


                                    “A book is like a garden carried in the pocket.”–Chinese Proverb

                                    All-Time Favorite Positive Quotes

                                    Finally, whatever your goals are in life, you can’t go wrong by taking the advice of the following famous motivational quotes:

                                    “Change your thoughts and you change your world.”–Norman Vincent Peale


                                    “Your time is limited, don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living the result of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinion drowned your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition, they somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”–Steve Jobs


                                    “Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.”–Maria Robinson


                                    “Out of clutter, find Simplicity. From discord, find Harmony. In the middle of difficulty lies Opportunity.”–Albert Einstein


                                    “Yesterday is not ours to recover, but tomorrow is ours to win or lose.”–Lyndon Johnson

                                    If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves.

                                      “If we did all the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.”–Thomas Edison


                                      “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”–Wayne Gretzky


                                      “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”–Winston Churchill


                                      “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.”–Ralph Waldo Emerson

                                      Final Thoughts

                                      To use these motivational quotes effectively, find the one that speaks to you. Although all of the phrases listed above can be considered “motivational,” only you can decide which one resonates with you most directly.

                                      Next, take the quote you’ve settled on and copy it onto small index cards or other pieces of paper that can be stored around your home and workspace.

                                      If you’re creative, you can create inspiration boards, signs or other decorative displays featuring your favorite motivational quotes – really, though, the most important thing is that your chosen phrase be accessible in a variety of different places. This will make it easy to access and review whenever you feel your motivation slipping away.

                                      More Inspiring Quotes

                                      Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

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