[A Speech to 250 High School Students] Get SET For Life

Cham Tang square image with blurred background

(Thank you to Principal Mr David Deitz and Mr Narinder Parmar from Smiths Hill selective High School in Wollongong for inviting me to speak to your Yr 11 & 12 students)

Smith's Hill High School crestThis was the first time I have ever been given the opportunity to give a motivational speech to high school students to help improve their lives at such an early age and it was indeed a privilege.

There was so much I wish I’d love to say in 30 minutes or so… and judging from the 100+ Facebook comments I got when I asked people “What did you wish you could have learned in high school?” it seems many people feel the same way.

That’s because teenagers are asked to make some huge decisions in life… as if the pressure of fitting in and getting into uni wasn’t enough! That’s why I decided to focus my talk on the topic of their career path in life.

Cham Tang’s Motivational Speech To High School Students blog image

Summary Of The Talk, “Get SET For Life”


  • When I first started high school, it was a very long time ago.
  • I remember all I wanted to be was that guy with the briefcase and if I could make $100 a day that would be awesome. My life didn’t turn out that way at all though.
  • That's why when I was invited to do this talk, I jumped at the chance. I hope I can help even a handful of people save a lot of time, energy and money
  • We’ll talk about the 3 major actions you need to master in life, career, money, relationships, health or any life goal… and it’s about the heart, head and hand.

#1 - Search For A Goal That Inspires YOU (Heart)

  • I got bad marks in school even though I went to a selective school, Fort St High School
  • A selective high school just means you’re smart in year 7!
  • My marks were good in years 7 and 8, but in Year 9 I thought I was a smarty pants
  • I started slacking of and had no reason to study
  • I got bad marks and repeated year 12, even started smoking and gambling. I didn't have an inspiring goal
  • When it comes to goals, “copy first, create later”. Find a model you can be inspired by
  • People were telling me what to do:
  • Parents said to be a doctor or a lawyer
  • School – University admissions book said my life must be somewhere in the book
  • Friends - Being cool and fitting in (your struggles create your strengths)

#2 - Educate Yourself (Head)

  • I was treading water with my career and life
  • Is this what life is about? Was searching for answers
  • Started listening to Tony Robbins and personal development
  • What if? Other people have rich and successful lives, must be possible (despite the stigma of personal development I felt at the time)
  • “Formal education will make you a living; self-education will make you a fortune.” – Jim Rohn
  • Readers are leaders. Someone asked Elon Musk, “How did you become so smart?” He said, “I read books.”
  • Education gives you more options in life

#3 - Take Action Despite "Failure" (Hand)Cham Tang giving a motivational speech to high school students at Smiths Hill High School

  • All the job "failures" I've had
  • McDonald's (and having to interview twice for it!)
  • A “checkout chick” for 1 week at Flemings supermarket
  • Factory that manufactured brake pads for cars
  • National Australia Bank, St George Bank
  • Casino as a cocktail server
  • Computer programmer
  • Sales
  • Personal trainer
  • Network marketing / Multi-level marketing
  • Business development (fancy word for sales)
  • Tried share trading for a living
  • Authentic Education
  • Failure is a good thing
  • Failure is feedback
  • “Failure is a checkpoint on the path to success” – Cham Tang
  • Failure is success in progress – Einstein
  • Don't be afraid to fail
  • Be less concerned with short-term failure, and more concerned with long-term success
  • Your career is a marathon, not a sprint. So if you're not off to a fast start, don't sweat it. Your HSC is where your career starts, but it's where it ends that counts
  • See the benefits in not getting the mark you want (when one door closes, another door opens)
  • You get real-world work experience (and get paid!) much faster
  • You get to try different careers instead of being locked into one path for the next 3 years at university
  • It's character building. We learn much more from our challenges than our successes

Summary Of The Get SET For Life Motivational Speech To High School Students

  • Search for a goal that inspires YOU (not anyone else)
  • Educate yourself with self-education (which pays a fortune)
  • Take action (despite “failures”)

Also, please check out my new podcast, "Marketing Made Easy Podcast with Cham Tang", here.

Read more about: Mindset

Cham is the CEO and Head of Marketing at Authentic Education since co-founding it in 2009. He is passionate about productivity, empowering people, marketing and is creator of Digital Marketing Made Easy.

He has worked for Anthony Robbins, Chris Howard and Dr John Demartini from "The Secret" and has been featured in BRW magazine, News.com.au and newspapers such as Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.