Future Voices: One little word that tells you what you have to be when you grow up...

Maybe these people have discovered what the special word is.

Maybe these people have discovered what the special word is. - Credit: Getty Images/Hemera

Thousands of 15 and 16-year-old students are throwing all that they have at their GCSE exams – but what happens after the examinations finish?

Today I am going to ask you to cast away your thoughts of societal inadequacy, extinguish the notion that your views are expendable, and throw your idea of what is an 'acceptable' way of life down a deep, deep well.

Today I am going to tell you exactly what you have to be when you grow up – and I am going to do it with one simple, liberating word.

'Happy'.

I am not going to bore you with the latest salary statistics. I am not going to tell you that you need to spend your nights whiling away at a desk, desperate to fulfil other people's expectations. I am going to tell you that the purpose of your life is to be happy.


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Every one of us has only one lifetime to enjoy everything that we possibly can – that is one hell of a time limit. We shouldn't be spending our time in agony and disarray – and although in our lives there will inevitably be agony and disarray, we should find the hope and promise to keep trying throughout the challenges we face.

To paraphrase philosopher Henry David Thoreau: 'We should wish to live deliberately... to live deep and to suck out all the marrow of life.'

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We are all important people, and we all deserve to find the thing that makes us the happiest. - So I say - go out into the world and do something you love.

Climb, hike, swim, cycle, and innovate. Write, draw, create, inspire and solve. Live. Find the things that you love and find the things that you hate, all without giving up.

This is your life, so make it great.

Sarah Betts, 16, Elsing

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