1. From Never Been Kissed: Life is bigger than high school. No matter who you may have been in high school, you don't have to let those four years define you. Yes, you may have been Josie Grossie for four miserable years (although, hopefully, no one threw eggs at you on the night of your prom). But instead of letting that rule your sense of confidence and self-worth for the rest of your life, find people who support you unconditionally, both at work and in your personal life. Like Josie says at prom, "All of you people, there is a big world out there...bigger than prom, bigger than high school, and it won't matter if you were the prom queen, the quarterback of the football team, or the biggest nerd in school. Find out who you are, and try not to be afraid of it."
2. From She's All That: Put your heart into what you do. From her painting that represents the "pain of the riot in Mogadishu" to her "Be Silent, Be Still" performance art with Mitch the Underwear Guy, Laney Boggs has the whole eccentric-artist thing down. But it's not until her art teacher questions how her art represents her that she's able to achieve greatness. Okay, so Freddie Prinze Jr. helped a little bit too. At the end of the movie, the same teacher tells Laney, "Your final project, that picture of your mother, is extremely moving. It may be the best piece that I have seen all year from anyone. At least, that's what I told all of your art schools when I faxed them last Monday." Proof that if you care about your work, it will be stronger.
3. From 10 Things I Hate About You: Don't hold yourself back. Bad boy Patrick (Heath Ledger in his prime) offers Cameron (an adorable Joseph Gordon-Levitt) some indispensable life advice that's basically the '90s equivalent to Eleanor Roosevelt's "Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent" when he says, "Don't let anyone ever make you feel like you don't deserve what you want. Go for it." Any time you feel down, remind yourself that you deserve what you want, and the only person who can hold you back is you.
4. From Drive Me Crazy: Be bold. Both in your career and in your personal life, you have to take risks to make an impression. As Nicole tells Chase, "To make an impact, you have to go to extremes." Sure, she's referring to an extreme makeover, courtesy of Gap, but step outside your own comfort zone and speak up and share your brilliant idea in that big meeting or introduce yourself to a cute guy at a bar. Maybe you'll have an ending as happily-ever-after as Nicole and Chase's.
5. From Can't Hardly Wait: Make things happen. Be proactive about your future. What would have happened to Preston and Amanda if the Angel Stripper hadn't said to him: "The thing is, you never know. Like, had I had at least maybe said something...you never know. But anyway, the point is I totally realized that, you know? Fate. There is fate. But it only takes you so far, because once you're there, it's up to you to make it happen?" Besides a really horrible ending, I mean.
6. From Clueless: Being nice will take you far. Whether you know it as, "You catch more flies with honey than with vinegar" or as Cher Horowitz put it, "It's like that book I read in the 9th grade that said, 'Tis a far, far better thing doing stuff for other people," the bottom line is still true: Being kind and generous will not only help you further your goals, but you'll also feel better about yourself as a result. Karma is real.
7. From Cruel Intentions: Take chances. You don't want to look back on your life in 10 years and wonder, what if? Yes, it's a cliché, but life is short. Make the most of every experience, even if taking a chance on something scares you. Spoiler alert: Sebastian ultimately dies, but at least he and Annette were able to have an amazing love story, and all because she took the risk after he wrote her, "You spend all your time preaching about waiting for love. Well, here it is. Right in front of you, and you're going to turn your back on it. So I guess we're just fucked. I'll move on. But you are going to have to live the rest of your life knowing that you've turned your back on love. And that makes you a hypocrite. Have a nice life."
8. From Varsity Blues: Give it your all. No matter how scary or intimidating something is, you should always give your all. Just like Mox tells the Coyotes: "If we go out and half-ass it 'cause we're scared, then we'll always wonder if we were really good enough. But if we go out there and give it all we've got... that's heroic. You guys wanna be heroes?" So, take it from Mox: Give one hundred percent in all that you do and be your own hero(ine).
9. From Empire Records: You are special. Surround yourself with people who know how special you are and remind you of it constantly. It's important to have people who will advocate for you, whether it's a mentor at work when you're up for a promotion or your best friend after some guy ghosted after a few great dates. Remember what Corey told A.J.: "You're so special and you're so talented and you have everything it takes! You have more than everything it takes and you're really stupid because you don't know that…. And if you don't understand how special you are, then you know nothing!" Remind yourself daily how special you are, and never let anyone tell you otherwise.
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