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How to make sure your high school student is successful

The Life-long Success Equation for High School Students

Innovations in technology means changes in the paths our children may take in the world. Work requiring a human touch is becoming more select. Yesterday’s jobs – and the security that came with them – are rapidly being replaced by either algorithms or creative thinkers who cannot only predict innovation, but drive it.

Innovation is the currency of modern success, and innovation is driven from within.

But this isn’t another story about innovation, per se. This article, is about success, and the attributes we can instill in our children and teens to ensure they achieve it.

This article is about the lifelong success equation.

The components of success have changed dramatically since we entered the world. It used to be that as soon as you found a good job, you gained the keys to the rest of your life. Keep your nose to the grindstone and remember where your bread is buttered and you’d never want for at least the basics.

There was a simple equation: Hard work + patience = success

That is not the world we live in today.

Today, the only job options that allow you to keep under the radar will not come close to providing for an equitable lifestyle. Professional career options across the spectrum expect new employees to get in the fray with new ideas and lateral communication before they get a chance to decorate their new open-office desk space.

The new function of success looks quite a bit different:


(Curiosity + Courage) – (Opportunity / Hard work) * WHY = Success(100)


A little more complicated, right? So, what does it mean?

Think of each attribute in this equation as having two values. The first value is clear, it is the conceptual value of the word. The second value is numerical, which operates to help predict the likelihood of success based on the presence of a value on a scale from 0-1.

Are you still with me? Here’s what that looks like.

Curiosity. Curiosity is the driver of innovation. And that’s important, because more than money, innovation is the currency of today.

Curiosity is the insatiable drive to find answers. Curiosity drives Waldorf graduates to observe, investigate, and understand on a deep level, driving innovation and long-term progress.

In industry, curiosity is the catalyst of systemic growth. It’s what makes start-ups rise to the top of the heap in years or even months, and it’s what keeps established organizations from drowning in the torrential sea of change.

This value may be any number between 0 where there is no curiosity and 1 where curiosity is high.

Courage. Without the courage to ask the hard questions, find the answers, present those answers, break out of the mold and challenge the status quo, ability cannot manifest into results.

In the modern corporate world, everyone must be a leader. And leadership takes courage – namely, the courage to build trust within a team and express ideas. Without courage, the product of one’s curiosity will never be brought to light.

This value may be any number between 1 where courage is present, 0 if it is not.

Opportunity. This is where honesty comes into play. Once an individual has followed their curiosity to a new idea, and voiced that idea to their peers, they must assess opportunity.

Opportunity describes the barriers to bringing a new idea into the world. In a company or organization, those barriers could involve revenue or research & development costs. Barriers could involve market share or commonality with what the company already produces. Personally, those barriers could be fear, experience, and the strength to move forward.

The numerical value for opportunity can be any number from 0 to 1. Ultimately, the true value of opportunity will be determined by hard work.

Hard Work. Hard work and opportunity go hand in hand. One may have a great idea and high opportunity score, but if without hard work the idea will never take root in the world.

Give this value any number between 1 for very hard work and 0 for no work at all.

WHY. Here is the defining piece. Is it worth it? Your “WHY” or purpose is the measure of the meaning behind what you do. If the expected results of an opportunity served by hard work does not serve an individual’s purpose, the meaning behind the activity is lost, and the value with it.

Give WHY a value of either 1 if there’s a fit, or 0 if there is not.

Ok, let’s practice:


(Curiosity + Courage) – (Opportunity * Hard work) * WHY = Success(100)

is represented as

(.8 +.6) – (.4/.8)*1=0.9(100)=90%


Want to see this equation in action? Schedule a visit to our high school!