10 September 2008
The following video was taken in Granby High School in Norfolk, VA. Barack Obama is talking to High School Students and telling them what the three most important things are.
Barack Obama: Number one, I'd say: Set high expectations for yourself. I think that's the most important thing. When I was in high school I think sometimes I didn't push myself very hard. Nobody should higher expectations for yourself than yourself, cause as you get older, nobody is going to be telling you what you have to do. You're going to tell yourself that I want to work a little harder, and read a little more and practice the things I'm not good at. So that's why I think high expectations are really important.
[Second:] Hard work. You got to work hard. These days all of you are going to be competing not just against each other but you're going to be competing against kids in China and India who are studying around the clock and jobs today can go anywhere. So even if you're in an American company and they decide, you know, we want more engineers for our company, they can go and get engineers in China … email whatever it is that they need. They don't have to locate you, so that means that everybody's going to have to work very hard.
The third thing is, I think, having a sense of something larger than yourself, that is not all about you. People who are successful are usually successful because they not just thinking about themselves but also thinking, you know, how can I make this person more successful, how can I make that person do better. Whether it's a coach, whether it's a head of a company, whether it's a political leader. If you're spending sometime not just thinking about yourself, but you're also thinking about how can I make other people more successful, that the definition of a leader. So I think that's really important.