Congratulations, graduate! You did it! Now, you know everything. Well, maybe not. But you do know more than you did a few years ago and for that you should be proud. Still, there’s more to learn. Here are seven tips for the school of life.
1. It’s OK if it doesn’t all turn out the way you planned.
You’re not the same person you were twenty years ago. Or two years ago. Or two weeks ago. You’ll keep changing. And you’ll keep learning more about yourself. So, right now, you may have a vision of a certain spouse, a certain job, a certain number of kids. But ten or fifteen years from now, that vision could sound like your worst nightmare. Still, by all means, plan. Chart it all out. It’s good to have a plan. But, know that there may be twists and turns ahead and the person you were at the beginning of the ride when you fastened your seatbelt and lowered the safety harness is not the same person who will emerge.
2. Never assume others know more than you. If something seems obviously wrong to you at work, at home, on the subway, but no one is talking about it and so you just assume that they must know something you don’t know, stop! Drop. And ask. If they did know more than you, you’ll learn something. If they didn’t, you could save the company money, save the house from burning down, save the train from crashing. You never know.
3. It’s OK if you don’t keep in touch with everyone. You will meet people everywhere. At work, at bars, online, through friends, through friends of friends, through co-workers. Everywhere. Some of them you will connect with in such a way that you cannot imagine how you made it through life up to this point without them. And then, as it goes, once you’ve learned all you were meant to learn from that soul, and vice versa, you’ll live the rest of your life just fine without them. You’ll see. And it’s OK.
4. Never change to please others. You will meet people along the way who don’t like the way you dress, the way you talk, the way you live your life. That’s their problem. As long as the way you dress, talk and live is not affecting your health, don’t change.
5. It’s OK to change to please yourself. If the way you dress, talk and live is affecting your job prospects or love life and it’s affecting your self esteem, it’s OK to tweak, revise or completely overhaul. And when you do and you’re happier, others may have a problem with that. See #4 above.
6. Never believe that you are stuck. You may have a job one day that seems like it will go on forever and you will be old and gray and still in the same cubicle. It won’t. You may find yourself one day unhappy in a relationship that seems inescapable. It’s not. Nothing has to last forever. You are only as stuck as your imagination allows. Always imagine a way out. And go for it.
7. It’s OK to laugh. Hopefully, there will only be happy moments ahead. But, if there are any disappointing ones, remember that they are not only teachable but laughable too. When you can look back at some of the crappier moments you’ve had in life and laugh, you’ve succeeded.