Today’s Brilliance from Jason O’Neill

After having my business for five years, my life is definitely different than most kids my age. The one thing that hasn’t changed, though, is that I still get to be a regular kid. My parents believe kids should be kids first and that childhood goes by too quickly so we all work to keep things balanced.

In 500 words, I can’t begin to write all of the things I have learned from the experiences and opportunities I have had. Here are just a few life lessons I want to share with you now.

Success does not equal wealth and it is not always about the money. Even if you are wealthy, it is more important what you do with the money than how much you have. The same goes for donating to a charity. Some people think that how much they give is more important than what they do. Even the smallest effort can make a difference in someone else’s life. The important thing is that we all do something.

While having a goal is good in theory, sometimes people get so stuck on one goal that they forget to look around and see other opportunities that might pop up right beside them. Then if they don’t reach their goal, they feel like they failed.

It’s important to remember that goals CAN be changed because life is about opportunities and options and sometimes the road getting to the goal is more fun than actually reaching it. There is a reason for everything and if you are open to possibilities, things may happen that are better than you could have ever planned.

Another important lesson I have learned is that you have to make things happen but it’s not good to force things to happen.

When asked what advice I would give to parents, I simply tell them, “Listen to your kids’ ideas and support them. No one can do it alone, especially kids.” I tell kids, “If you have an idea, try it and don’t be quick to give up. You can make a difference in this world!”

Being a young entrepreneur hasn’t always been easy but then what really is? I have had my share of challenges and times that I have wanted to quit. The best thing to do is take time to see the options and try to make the best decision on the information you have at this point. No one has a crystal ball so sometimes you might make the wrong decision but that’s life.


Jason O'Neill

In 2005 at the age of nine, Jason became an entrepreneur with his business, Pencil Bugs, after coming up with his handcrafted pencil topper to sell at a craft fair. The eight different colorful, bug-like characters were soon seen on bookmarks, greeting cards, as well as t-shirts, hats, and other products. By age ten, Jason was public speaking, sharing his story with people of all ages at schools, community organizations, and conferences. He is also a philanthropist supporting Rady Children's Hospital in San Diego, California. In addition to his donations, Jason has held an annual fundraiser to give teddy bears to the kids in the hospital for Christmas. By age eleven, Jason had already received a Young Philanthropist Award and became the youngest person to win the Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award. At twelve, Forbes named him on their first Top 10 List of Role Models 18 & Under. He has also enjoyed a lot of media acclaim in newspapers, magazines, TV/radio, as well as being featured in other author's books. In 2010, Jason added published author to his list of credits with his first book, Bitten by the Business Bug: Common Sense Tips for Business and Life from a Teen Entrepreneur. "This opportunity has been amazing but it's important to recognize when to change directions," Jason says. After much consideration, Pencil Bugs will be extinct as of December 31, 2011. This also means that Christmas 2011 will be his last sponsored Teddy Bear Fundraiser for Rady Children's Hospital. What's next for Jason? He always keeps his options open and looks for opportunities wherever they may pop up. For now, he's focusing on high school with graduation in 2014 and plans to get a Computer Science degree with a focus on video game design. For more information, to purchase products, or to donate to his hospital fundraiser, please visit

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