Ahh, graduation. It’s that time of year once again. A time to close another chapter of one’s life… a season ending.
It is during this time when parents listlessly ask, Where have the days gone? How did my child grow up so fast? Is he ready for the real world? While the students probably think to themselves, What is in store for me? What will life offer? Am I ready?
Don’t we sometimes wish that life comes with a guide book where we can find solutions to our problems or directions to follow so we can avoid getting into trouble or sticky and hurtful situations? Unfortunately, there’s no “Manual for an Easy and Perfect Life” available.
We learn from our own experiences. We also learn from our peers. More so, we learn from our elders. We gain wisdom from the ones who went before us, simply because they have “been there” and yes, they have “done that.”
To the graduating students who are just about to go out into the real world, allow me to share some insights on life. These are learnings that I have gathered through my years of having been there and having done that.
Hopefully, these nuggets of wisdom can help guide you in this journey called real life…
Friendships do not happen overnight. We all know that. It took days, maybe even months and years, for you to form a bond with your childhood, high school and college friends. I believe the same thing goes with people you will meet in the work place – or in the great ‘out there.’ Remember: Trust is earned.
Hold on to your old friends. You will meet new people. You will have new and exciting relationships. You may even not see your old friends for years. Yet neither time nor distance can erase real friendships. Value the ones who were there when you were young, pure and innocent. They will remind you of who you really are, no pretensions needed, and they will love you just the same.
True friends are those who stick by you through thick or thin.
Not everyone can be your friend. So, you are Mr. or Ms. Congeniality… and yet there is someone who rubs you the wrong way. Or maybe you rub them the wrong way. It’s okay. You don’t have to be friends with everybody. But be nice.
On Dealing with People
People are not always appreciative so don’t expect them to be. You don’t have to please everybody.
You cannot expect everybody to always agree with you or think the way you do. You don’t always have to agree with someone else’s opinion, but you can learn from the differences. Besides, life will be boring if we all think the same way.
There will always be people who have a lot to say. The “know-it-alls.” They have something to say about you, about the government, about other people, about the weather. If you think and feel that what they say doesn’t do you any good, then by all means, shut them out. Constructive criticism is different from just plain criticism. Don’t let the negativity get to you.
Stay away from toxic, negative people. They will suck the energy out of you. And check yourself, too.
You cannot please everybody, help everybody, make everybody happy. But being one person’s hero is enough. Be that hero.
On Being the Best You
A person’s true character is revealed during difficult or trying times… not when things are good. The same applies to yourself, too.
You cannot buy breeding. Nor can you buy character.
Keep evolving. Is there a skill you want to learn? A hobby you want to begin? Then go for it. One is never too old to learn something new. You’ll be surprised at what you can actually accomplish if you just put your heart and mind to it. Don’t be afraid to surprise yourself.
Respect. Yourself. People. Their Belongings. Don’t be rude and self-absorbed. The amount of respect you expect from others is commensurate to the respect that you give.
It’s all about perspective. When you feel like the world is closing in on you, step back a little. Find a better view. Breathe. You may not be able to change the situation, but you can change your outlook.
Learn to forgive yourself. We all make mistakes. Sometimes we make small slip-ups, sometimes we do major tumbles and fall hard. When you do, don’t wallow nor condemn yourself. Own up to your faults, dust yourself off, then move on.
Learn to apologize. Know when to say sorry and know when to forgive. Be the bigger person.
Stick to your non-negotiables. They define who you are.
Be kind. A little kindness, a heartfelt smile, a generous act, selfless actions go a long way. Some people need to see light shining on them. Be that light.
In everything, give thanks.
Lastly, share yourself, share your wisdom. Share what you know. Allow others to learn from you.
As you get older you will realize that one of the best compliments that you will ever receive is when people say how proud and fortunate they are that you are in their lives and that you are indeed a blessing to them.
So, go and be that blessing.