The High School Butterfly Effect

5 Nov

photo by carre23 at

I was listening to a business webinar on Wednesday and a lot of what the speaker, Marie Forleo, said was incredibly applicable to students who are hacking their high school career.

The Butterfly Effect

The “butterfly effect” is the idea that a butterfly can flap its wings and eventually it will cause a tornado: basically, small changes have huge effects.

Some of the smallest and most effective changes you can make are all in your head: they are the decisions you make and the mindset you have. Decide that you want to succeed in high school. Decide that you want your hacked education to be so successful that you get into any college you want or get your dream job or are prepared for an extraordinary life. As Marie Forleo said, “Small decisions can make you unstoppable.”

Change of Mind

The most spectacular part of the webinar was a question that sparked a framework shift (what your parents would call a changed attitude). Ask yourself: how would I behave if I were the best in the world at what I do? The best student, perhaps? The best college candidate? The best high school hacker?

What would you do differently in life? Would you study more? Would you aim higher? Apply to more prestigious or interesting colleges? I know I wanted to apply to Harvard, but didn’t think I was good enough, so I never did.

Who would you get to know if you were the best? Presumably everyone would want to know you if they knew you were the best–they’d want to interview you for the news, they’d want to be your friends, they’d want you in their college or employed at their company.

Act Like It

Okay, so act like it. Act like you are the best. No, don’t go be arrogant and all “I’m better than you.” No. But if you were legitimately the best student in the world, what would you be doing with your time? Go do that.

You need to act, and the time to act is NOW.

Hack your education. Even if it’s just one thing you do differently, do it now. Maybe you spend half an hour watching a YouTube video on game theory instead of watching TV. Whatever you do, start now and you’ll watch yourself really become the best in the world at what you do.


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