Last week I had the honor to speak to the graduating 5th grade class at Grand Oak Elementary school in Charlotte. Connor Joyce gave me the best intro ever! He is a very impressive young man!

Here is the essence of what I shared…

Raise your hand if you’ve ever played Musical Chairs? Do you know the main premise?

There are always more people than there are chairs.

That’s why you have a minor panic attack when the music stops – you aren’t sure you are gonna get a chair!

Life after 5th grade is exactly like Musical Chairs.

You want to make the soccer team? There are a lot more kids trying out than there are spots on the team.

You want to go to Harvard? There are a lot more applicants than there are those they get accepted.

You want to create the next Fortnite? Or record the next Old Town Road?

Do you have any idea how many kids your age – around the world – want to do the same thing? And there aren’t near as many opportunities available.

Now that is a HUGE game of Musical Chairs!

I don’t say that to discourage you in any way. All of those things are within your reach if you deserve them and earn them.

How do you do that? How do you increase your chance of ‘getting a chair’? How do you improve the odds that you will make the soccer team, go to Harvard or accomplish any of those other things?

Since you are going into 6th grade, I figured I’d share 6 habits and standards you need to develop. These habits and standards will not guarantee you will be successful… but not doing them guarantees you won’t be successful

  1. Be coachable: Listen with your eyes. You hear with your ears, you listen with your eyes. Be open to feedback and make a commitment to being a life long learner.
  2. Be a good teammate: Be an energy giver. Fill other people’s buckets. Be kind. Be respectful. Show people you care. Be the type of teammate you want to play with.
  3. Do your best: Working hard is a choice. It’s the most fundamental decision you make each morning. You put your signature on everything you do with your effort.
  4. Have fun: Find what you love. Find what you are good at. Find where those two things intersect. Spend as much time there as you can!
  5. Take care of your body: You only get one. Eat healthy foods. Move around. Find activities you enjoy. This is not about looking a certain way – it’s about feeling a certain way (your best).
  6. Make good decisions: Your life is the summation and accumulation of every decision you make. If you want a good life, make good decisions. Takes years to build trust and a moment to ruin it. Do more of what works and less of what doesn’t.

If you can do those 6 things consistently… you will increase your chances of getting what you want from life.

But that is only Phase 1.

Phase 2 is about helping others get a chair. It’s living a life of service. It’s about filling other people’s bucket. It’s about encouraging and empowering those around you to do those same 6 things.

The ability to get other people better is arguably the most valuable skill set you can have.

That is how to live a happy, fulfilling and significant life.

And you don’t just do it when you want to or when it’s convenient or when you feel like it.

You do it every single day.

You do it until it becomes a habit.

Because the habits you have today determine who you will be tomorrow!