Dear graduates, today I come to you to talk about an important phase of your life that you are about to embark on. While this could or technically should be about whether or not college is right for you, I have already written enough about that. Instead, I would rather chat about the importance of understanding why things happen, something especially important at this stage of your life as you undertake the change of adulthood.
Regardless if you choose to go to college or not, there is one thing that you must keep in the back of your mind. No matter what you do in life, you only have one opportunity to live your 20s and therefore can choose how you use the energy you have today that you will never have again. You can either use that energy to push yourself forward or use it to enjoy your time standing still.
When I graduated high school I had already started a business washing cars, worked a job that made me $2,500 a week, bought my first house, and owned three cars I really wanted: a 1998 Trans Am, a 2001 Camaro SS, and a 2000 Roush Mustang (I know many of you thought I only enjoyed exotics haha, and not American muscle).
While it may have seemed like I knew what I wanted in life or the direction to take, the reality was that I had no idea. I didn’t know if I should continue working or go to college to make my mom happy. I didn’t know what I wanted to even do as a career, and I certainly sucked at school to the point where I knew I had no future, even if I decided to become a doctor.
I later realized that I didn’t have to know what to do in order to move forward. While it seemed like I knew what I wanted, I was actually lost within my own confusion. One thing was absolutely clear for me then, and I am sure everyone will want the same thing today as you embark on your journey: I didn’t want to be poor.
I was born poor. I had some success early on, but I was far from the idea that I would never be poor again. I knew I would never let that happen again.
If you feel lost today and are still confused about your future, just know that many people your age are and were as well; myself included.
I did learn a few things that helped me go from being lost to a place in my life where I felt in control. These three ways of thinking will help you move forward in your life, almost guarantee you a higher level of success in your 30s, and possibly even the opportunity to enjoy an early retirement.
The World Has Too Many Average People: Whatever you do, regardless if you clean shit or work at McDonalds, will require dedication and hard work.
You may wonder why working hard at a place without a future is a necessity, you should consider that being average is not a habit you want to form early on. Many of the things you do later in life will require you to work harder than most and show a higher level of dedication. This isn’t purely based on belief, but the habits you form early on.
I recommend that you do not take this rule lightly as even the smallest of jobs, the ugliest, and dirtiest of jobs can give birth to some of the greatest fortunes. You never know whom you serve, who you interact with, and the opportunities that may lie ahead should a single person notice your efforts. Everyone interacts with average people, but talent recognizes talent and hard work is a scarce talent these days.
While working hard today may not get you paid what you want, it will pave the way to your future learning and earnings, while being average won’t ever get you paid.
Keep an Open Mind to Learning, but Act Cautiously: Curiosity is the key to growth as I break down in Third Circle Theory, but it doesn’t mean you have to immediately take new directions in life based on what you learn. The biggest mistake you can make is to take in poor information in today’s age where information comes from everywhere.
Understand that self-education is the key to long-term growth and to follow up on things you are curious about. It also means to make sure you investigate the information you receive without emotion.
In a digital age everyone has opinions, but none of them will be there with you when you win or fail. Therefore, you are responsible for investigating and understanding the information you receive, so that you can make the right decisions for you at that very moment in time.
The key is to make sure you understand why you chose the path you took and how to ensure you never create two similar negative outcomes by making the same mistake twice.
Fear the Lack of Failure, not Failure Itself: Fears are present in all of us. Those who learn to harness theirs the fastest will earn the most and enjoy life the most. Being paralyzed by fear has never led anyone anywhere. Don’t be scared to try things because they may not work, do not fear asking someone out because there is a chance they might turn you down, and don’t be afraid to ask people to believe in you, in business or in life, even if all odds are against you.
Some of today’s greatest minds became who they are with much opposition and even more failure before they found their success. You too have every opportunity available to you, but you will have to learn to accept failure and minimize its impact on your life.
I hope you pay attention to these rules as they are the same that carried me in my 20s and allowed me to find my path: founded two successful business, kickstarted my entrepreneurial journey, and authored ten books.
Many of the things I have accomplished happened as a result of following and adapting to these three rules, which I only realized after the fact of course.
The last thing I’ll leave you with is this one revelation I had about being a millionaire. I always wanted to be one, and when I did officially become one at 23 (in assets) and then 27 (in cash), I realized that the real day I had become one wasn’t either one of those days, but the day I stopped fearing the loss of money. The day I realized money was only the by-product of the work put in was the day my finances headed straight to that goal.
I wish you the best in your journey and want you to remember that every step of the way is one step closer to fulfilling your purpose. The one thing you can always count on is that moving forward beats standing still everyday of the week.