A Cowen Hamilton Secondary student takes over the floor to the delight of his schoolmates and cyclist Michael Phillips who gave a motivational speech during a stop on the Making a Difference School Tour on Tuesday. Photo: Tony Howell
By Cori Baynes
His life would have been meaningless if he had not set goals for himself, cyclist and artist Michael Phillips told Cowen Hamilton Secondary Students, as he urged them to map out a plan for their future.
He said this while giving a motivational talk to the students of Cowen Hamilton Secondary on Tuesday, during the Making a Difference School Tour, part of the Guardian in Education project.
Phillips, an accomplished artist and PRO of Beacon Insurance Co Ltd, who also represented T&T at various cycling events, including the Commonwealth Games and the CAC Games, said in the pursuit of their goals, students should not be bitter and instead should strive to be the type of person people can be comfortable with.
If you have a goal, whatever it may be, the next step is planning. And by just learning how to be pleasant, doors open, he said.
There is nothing more satisfying than being able to do something that you love and be able to earn a living from it.
He also encouraged the teenagers to ask questions and seek advice about their particular goals to avoid repeating the mistakes of other people.
None of the things that you want to achieve is possible without asking questions, he said.
There is no move I would ever make without asking somebody that I thought would have gone through the whole experience before, or would have made mistakes in the direction that I would want to go.
Noting that one of his biggest mistakes was allowing people to get the better of him and change his game plan, Phillips stressed the importance of being self-confident and self-reliant.
Coming from a junior secondary school, Phillips added that he had to overcome many stigmas associated with the institution.
He said his determination and focus eventually enabled him to become a success.
When you have other people influencing you to change your game plan, its not a recipe for success, he said.
The ideal thing to do is to have respect for the people around you. If you are doing well in a particular area, that does not mean that you will take the opportunity to belittle other people around you.
Touching on student delinquency and peer pressure, Phillips said many students who didnt understand lessons taught in the classroom often focused on looking cool instead of concentrating on education.
He urged them to take pride in their overall appearance and conduct so they would become progressive members of society.
Set the goal of learning at least one thing. Learning does not end when you finish school. Learning continues way beyond that. When you stop learning is because you dead, he said.
You have the ability to set your goals, to ask the questions, to be able to get the answers, to be able to achieve those goals.
One of the things you have to develop is self-confidence. Having the information, applying the information, more importantly, is just the foundation rule in starting to become successful.
Also among the celebrities touring the nations schools are Olympic track and field medallist Ato Boldon, Miss Universe 1998 Wendy Fitzwilliam, West Indies cricket captain Brian Lara and Olympic bronze medallist George Bovell III.