Every year around this time I envy the people who get to make graduation speeches to graduating classes in high schools and colleges. I mean presidents, ambassadors, captains of industry, movie stars? Where are the small business owners, the coaches, and parents? So I am giving my speech to the unfortunate blog reader who tripped over this post. Now have a seat and get ready to throw your hat up in the air at the end.Congratulations. You have reached the threshold of a door that leads to the rest of your life, one of many transitions that you will come to, the results of one of many decisions you have had to make, the result of Herculean efforts you have endured, but a small accomplishment when you consider what lies before you now.
The wisest advice I can provide is to listen to the ones who went before you. No they may not have the technology and advances that you have today, but they have done what they have done in spite of it. They have accomplished so much including the construction of the door you cross through now to advance to the life before you. I have been where you are. I went where you are going. I have tapped the wisdom of those that went with me and those that went before me. I have succeeded, I have failed, and I have learned.
Life does not present itself like a Google search. All information is not readily available at any given time. In fact life is the only class that will provide the test first and the lesson after. You will have to use trial and error and you should embrace failures. Failures tell us at least we tried to succeed and that separates us from 90% of other people who never even have the will to try to win. Understand also that you are young, failures may be commonplace at this stage and that’s OK. Soon, with perseverance, those failures morph into opportunities and those opportunities grow into success. The important thing is that you stay true to yourself. Your character is the guiding framework from which all of your decisions, all of your failures and all of your success will be built.
Look around you. People on either side, in front and in back are in the same boat that you are in. They are thinking, “what now?” Well let me tell you this: you are still expected to be young and immature. Take advantage of that and stop trying to be so grown up so soon. There will be plenty of time for getting “mature” later on. Be young, think differently, be free, make mistakes. It’s ok to be “hurtin for cash” because soon you will be working for cash. Don’t let a position become a job now. Jobs are for putting bread on the table, work is called work because it’s hard. You will have hard work soon enough. For now find passion, find joy in what you do. Then to be truly successful, find a way to get paid for being that happy. Then it will never be just a job. It will be your life and it will be your success and it will be amazing.
In my father’s generation people looked for a job and they worked to make it into a career. In your generation every position is a stepping stone to a better place, a better situation, a new town, a new company, or a new chapter in life. Keep your eyes open for opportunities but never forget that loyalty is a character trait. Look for higher ground but be satisfied with where you are standing.
Understand that life is a pendulum and it’s always in motion. When you experience great failures know that on the other end there will be dynamic success. Keep your celebrations of upswings minimal because you know that life, even as you celebrate, is still in motion and the pendulum may be swinging away. If you celebrate moderately when you are on the high, you will anguish only moderately when you are low. Remember that not everything, except life and death, is a life and death matter. Enjoy life’s high points but don’t go overboard, exalting the wins makes it harder to swallow the losses. And there will be losses because life is in motion.
And lastly, if I may add one more thing on this lovely day before so many proud graduates and even prouder parents, and I am sure your parents will agree on this, money comes and goes, people come into your life and make exits just as easily. But it’s the time we share that matters. My mother used to say “We have noting in life that we can truly give another person beside our time and our word.” And I give you my word today that if you want to make your time matter, then share it with as many people as you can. Give them a minute of your time to listen to them, give them 10 seconds to say hello and shake a hand. Give them a few hours of comfort when they need solace and a few other hours in celebrating when they earned it. And when you spread your time among others, like love, it comes back to you in multitudes. People will always have time for you, and in that time they will be giving you a gift of immeasurable wealth. Be sure to appreciate that.
And as you graduate, move through this door to another stage of life, another chapter in your as yet unwritten book, take your time to live, to learn, to share and to love. Good luck, you are just beginning, congratulations!
When Yuki had to black out teeth at a meet because she lost a bet to me
I dedicate this post to Yuki Matsushima and Mari Schroeder. My two team graduating seniors that have been like my
This picture doesn’t show Mari’s amazing leaps but it’s still pretty darn good.
daughters since they were little girls. The world awaits them and I am sure that it will be made better place by these two brilliant young women: by the strength of their character and the strength of their hearts. Thank you, Yukes and Marz, so much for letting me and Gymfinity be a part of your life’s time. I love you both.