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So it is graduation time, good for you. I have to be honest, graduation scared the hell out of me when my time was approaching. I was thinking back to those days and thought “what would I tell myself ten years later?” “What advice would I share?” Those questions really got me thinking. So here’s the advice I would have given myself when I graduated. Take what you can from it.
1. Your dad made a lot of money. You benefited. Private schools, golf, great vacations to Hilton Head, most of this seemed normal to you. Expectations are pretty high and it’s going to be tough to live like that right out of school. But remember, your dad didn’t get there overnight either. It’s going to take a little time, some career changes, a move or two, and it will be incredibly hard work. But once you settle into everything, you will appreciate all that again, because it gave you a vision for where you want to go.
2. You are about to meet responsibility head on. It comes like a flood. One day you’re partying on the beaches like a frat king, the next you’re staring at a mountain of responsibility. The challenges of a job, living like an adult, paying phone bills, rent, utilities, insurance, feel overwhelming. It might be. But don’t let this scare you. Embrace it. You need this responsibility, you need these challenges. By God, you will grow into a great man, capable of handling much greater things because of the ultimately small challenges you will face out of the gate.
3. You want the dream job right out of school. I wish it was there. While a kid or two might get it, it’s going to take a while for you. Treat this like a marathon. Because that’s what life is, a marathon, not a sprint. You have the dreams and vision, but it’s the slow steps to get there.
4. I hate this one. You are going to have to fail. Everyone talks it up like it’s the secret to success and to embrace it, and yet I still don’t like going through it. But all great success usually comes through learning the hard things the hard ways. Don’t forget, you are one stubborn mule. You learn most things the hard ways, so a little extra is coming your way. But don’t let those define you. Have the courage to keep moving forward. Most people will stop, but keep charging ahead. This is where character comes in, and it refines who you are.
And most importantly, don’t lose your dreams. These can be the first to go. Life has this weird way of coming at you and stealing them away. Don’t let it wear them down. Fight to protect them. I’d rather be an old man with dreams than one who gave up long ago. We live in America, by God. We invented dreams.