What’s the best preparation to run for president?
President Obama Tuesday told a student the first step is watching what your Facebook posts, and another is to not be a politician who thinks about re-election and “never get anything done.”
Appearing at a Washington, D.C., area high school in a nationally televised speech to urge kids to study hard. the President also took some questions from students including, one from a student named Jesse.
“When I grow up, I would like to have your job, OK? Is there any advice you can give me or career paths that I — things I need to know?” said the student.
The President, to some laughter, said he wanted to offer “some very practical tips.”
“First of all, I want everybody here to be careful about what you post on Facebook, because in the YouTube age whatever you do, it will be pulled up again later somewhere in your life. And when you’re young, you know, you make mistakes and you do some stupid stuff.
“And I’ve been hearing a lot about young people who, you know, they’re posting stuff on Facebook, and then suddenly they go apply for a job, and … somebody’s done a search and, you know — so, that’s some practical political advice for you right there.
“That’s number one,” said the President.
“Number two, doing well in school is hugely important, especially, you know, if you don’t come from some political family where they’ve got you all hooked up,” he said, again drawing laughter.
“You know, if you’re going to succeed, it’s because people are going to think that they have confidence that you can do the job.
So really excelling in education is important.
“Number three, find something that you’re passionate about and do that well.
“There are a lot of people who decide to go into politics just because they want to be important or they like the idea of having their name up in lights, or what have you.
“The truth is that I think the people who are the best elected officials are the people who — they found something they’re good at; they get really — whether it’s they’re a really good lawyer; they’re a really good teacher; they’re a good business person. They’ve built a career and learned something about how to organize people and how to motivate people, and then they go into politics because they think that they can take those skills to do some more good, as opposed to just wanting to get elected just for the sake of getting elected.
“And we have a lot of — I’ll be honest with you, I mean, there are a lot of politicians like that who all they’re thinking about is just, ‘How do I get reelected?’ And so that they actually never get anything done.
“But that’s not just true in politics. That’s true in life. I think even if you didn’t want to be president, if you wanted to be a successful — successful in business, most of the most successful businesspeople I know are people who — they were passionate about some idea about a product or a service and they really got into that, and then the money was a byproduct.
“The money came because you really did something good, as opposed to you just thinking about, ‘How do I make money?’
“You talk to somebody like — like a Bill Gates. That guy was just fascinated with computers, and that’s everything he was thinking about. Now, he got so good at it that he then ended up being a very good businessman as well.
“But his focus was on, ‘How do I create something that actually helps people or is useful to them?’
“And I think you should have that same attitude whatever it is that you decide to do.”