Quote for teens on secret to success and choosing a career

The secret to success isn’t just doing what you love.
It’s finding something you are interested in, and then working to be good at it."

-- Truth Be Told Quotes

It’s great if you can find the perfect job that lights your interest and comes to you naturally. But realistically, few people have their dream job on day one.

Getting to do what you love in the future starts with finding a balance between your abilities, your interests, and your work ethic. Find something you have the ability to be good at, are interested in doing, and are willing to work for.

It’s like you have adjustment levels… if your ability is low, turn up the work ethic to get better at it. If the work isn’t interesting right now, know that slogging through the boring stuff is turning up your abilities. Eventually you’ll find the sweet spot where ability and interest make it easy to work hard.

Teaching Resources

Quote about the secret to success

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Oftentimes young people hear quotes about the secret to career success such as “If you love what you do you won’t work a day in your life.” Or “You can be anything you want to be.” These quotes are nice in concept, but in reality, there’s a lot of hard work that needs to happen before you get the job you love. There are a lot of people who dream of having a career without considering the work ethic and abilities needed to reach their goal.

As young people explore career options and set goals for themselves, this quote helps bring a bit more realistic goal setting into their decision making process. The quote recommends finding a balance between three factors: interest + ability + work ethic.

Interest- which internal and external influences are driving their career choice? Are their goals driven by internal influences, parents, cultural influences, peers? Success is more likely if they're goals are rooted in internal interest.

Ability- For each person, some skills come easily and some require a lot of effort. This is a time for honest self-awareness and a personal evaluation of realistic limitation vs a growth mindset and how each could affect one's success.

Work Ethic- Throughout the decision making process, teens need to consider the education requirements, the competitive nature of the career, the financial impact of different career options. At the heart of this decision making process includes an honest , realistic evaluation of whether one is willing to do the work necessary to reach the goals they are setting. Choosing a career path for which one is willing to work hard, makes the hard work easier to persevere through.

High School Health Class / Social Emotional Development topics:

Curriculum Topics

  • Goal setting
  • Self-awareness and control
  • Internal and external influences


  • Taking personal responsibility for your own future
  • Be aware of what influences your choices (family, culture, popularity, money)
  • Awareness of the difference between wants and needs
  • Setting long-term and short-term goals
  • Growth Mindset- you can work at becoming more able at different subjects and tasks

Character Traits/Values

  • Perseverance
  • Self-respect
  • Self-Awareness, Self-concept

Self-reflection essay / writing prompts and discussion questions

High school health class and social emotional development lessons

Age Group: High school, young adult.

  1. When you were younger, what did you want to be when you grew up? Have you changed your mind? Why? How do your reasons relate to your interest, abilities, and work ethic?
  2. For the career options you are considering, what characteristics and abilities are needed for success? How strong are your abilities, work ethic, and interest in each key characteristic. How does this formula help you evaluate your options?
  3. Is there anything that you are really good at, but wouldn’t want as a career? Why?
  4. Is there something you’d really like to get better at so you can make it a career?
  5. What are the main factors that are influencing you to choose a career / job? Internal drivers? Family? Money? Flexibility? Impact?
  6. Take an activity in your life and think about how it would be different if you dialed up one of the three factors for success (ability, work ethic, interest).
  7. Has anyone ever told you to reach for the stars? Was it good advice?

Health Class / Social Emotional Development Activities:

Career Planning Activities:

Age Group: High school, young adult

  • Worksheet- Evaluating Career Options- coming soon

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