Liz Pryor from Studio City, Calif., is a finalist in the Dear GMA Advice Guru Contest. Read her response to a viewer-submitted question below!
Question from Charles in Shenandoah, W.V.: "I've recently graduated from high school and my entire life is ahead of me. I'm not quite sure what I want to do in life. Can you tell me what you see as the key ingredients to success in life?"
I would remind you first and foremost, to make sure that your definition of success … is your own.
Now that you've finished school, all of your choices can be driven by you. Grab a hold of how cool that is, and how long you've waited for it, and then believe you can and will do what is right for your life. I think the better you know yourself, the easier your choices will feel. People are drawn to those who are easy in their own skin, so pay attention to getting there with yourself.
From my view, one of the most important components for success is understanding the role that failure plays in our lives. You've heard it before, but you have to believe it now. Few people experience success without many failures first. Try and see every unsuccessful attempt at something, as getting that much closer to where you want to be. Emotionally, professionally, physically, in love -- it applies across the board.
My dad had a plaque on his office desk that faced outward. Every time I went in to see him throughout my childhood I read, "SUCCESS----- Is taking advantage of the opportunity presented before you." It's a good one and I've never forgotten it. Many of the old pearls of wisdom are annoyingly true. All the things our parents and grandparents and teachers tell us along the way are dead on target; we just don't know until we get older.
So let me jar you memory. Look people square in the eye, do what you love, the money will come. It's impossible to learn while you're talking. Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. Good things happen to good people. Push through the pain. Don't be afraid of hard work, and roll up your sleeves. Try everything, and always own a good pair of shoes.
The stuff you really need to help guide you where you want to go in life is free, Charles. Study yourself honestly, know your frailties, your passions, your skills, and your mind.
The truth is, if you can find your way to believing one hundred percent in yourself, life will find its way to believing in you, and that is where you'll find success.