To the class of 2018,
Woo! You did it! … Now what? We remember. We were you … ok, sure, many moons ago. It feels like you’re entering “real life” at a time of uncertainty in the world. But you know what? It’s always a time of uncertainty. That’s the only certainty in the world. So we got to thinking about what words of wisdom would have been helpful to us back when we graduated. Sure, you should follow your dreams and #neverquit, but there are some other things that are worth mentioning.
Be kind. It costs nothing, but these days, it seems to be a luxury that most don’t splurge on. A compliment is the cheapest investment with the highest return.
There will come moments in your career where you will find yourself utterly lost, unsure which decision will be the most fruitful. It may sound hokey, but truly, you already know the answer. Tune out the noise and be guided by your principles. When you die, people will remember you for the type of person you were and how you yielded your power when given the opportunity.
Spend time getting your hands dirty.
Actively choose happiness, every day. And if you find it hard to be happy, then make someone else happy.
If you dread going to work most days, make a plan to change where you’re going to work for most of your days.
Don’t feel ashamed to ask for help when you need it. If you’re surrounding yourself with the right people, they want you to succeed. Your true character is revealed when you make yourself vulnerable, and strong souls can admit they are struggling and need assistance.
Put your shoes away. Make your bed. Wipe the crumbs off the counter. Keep your car clean.
Think twice before tweeting/hitting send/posting that picture. Once it’s out there, it’s out there. In three months, do you still want that tied to your name? What about in three years?
You don’t know why your doctor was running late. You don’t know why that cashier was grumpy, or why the person on the phone was rude. Remember that you never know what another person is up against. Empathy is not a virtue; it is a skill we must work hard at.
If you have means to travel, do it. People want you to know more about them and their lives.
If you can provide for yourself and your family, you’ve succeeded. Excess is messy and rarely handled well.
Stay vigilant. Stay passionate. Take your failures and learn from them. Then teach someone else so yours wasn’t in vain. Show compassion to children and listen to the elderly. Learn from those who are differently-abled. Play. Laugh. Never stop learning. Read. Challenge yourself. Never become complacent.
Don’t worry about finding the answers to life. You’ll be lucky if you get the questions right.
And finally: Work Hard. Never Quit. Help your Neighbor.