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It’s graduation time from a variety of educational institutions. Kindergarten, Grade 6, Grade 8 or 9, high school, college or university. Sure, some people call them ‘farewells’ but truly, students are graduating onto something else, whether it is another school, another grade or into a career.
This post showcases some of my thoughts as I reflect on my own high school graduation (it’s an anniversary year for it – not telling you the years, though!), but also a reflective piece looking back on what I’ve accomplished, learned, and am still learning.
My continued influencers are my Mom and Dad, a retired teacher and both business owners, they ensured that my home, academic, and extra-curricular life was full and diversified. There are also my brother, friends, and classmates who continue to influence and share their world with me. As well as the colleagues who I work, meet and connect with throughout the school year. (Yes, I loved learning, so I became a teacher, went into Administration and now work at Division Office.) I am thankful to whomever I meet.
Enough about me and onto the ‘speech’:
To all 2016 Graduates, wherever you are in your life, I have four significant thoughts to share with you.
- PASSION CAN BE FOUND AND ACTED UPON
As Plumeri said, although, “you can Google for an answer. You can Google for a mate. You can Google for a career. But you can’t Google to find what’s in your heart, the passion that lifts you skyward”. If you haven’t yet found your Passion, then go looking for it. You can even try what Stephen Robinson (52skillz) is doing by trying one skill each week. Find something that excites you and just do it! Whatever it is, well, as long as it’s legal! Write things down that you like, brainstorm, have a journal or sketchbook and write keywords, draw out ideas. Think about every leader or person that you’ve ever admired, everything that you’ve accomplished. Take action and make that choice to be your own active hero of your own life. Don’t wait for others to pull you along.
2. PATHS CAN BE DEFINED
Steve Jobs is well known for his unforgettable remarks, and one comes to mind regarding your path into the next phase of your life.
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice.
As soon as we are born into this world we have a time counter attached to ourselves. We don’t exactly know how much time we are given in this realm, but we should work to make it better or different. Go out and explore, ask questions, connect with others, listen to music, read, draw, create, imagine and have fun! Create your own path, take your Passion reflections and formulate a plan of action. And review that plan often since it most likely will change with your experiences and new ideas that you capture.
3. PERSIST, PERSEVERE
Don’t give up! Your path may not be easily walked on. Experiences, people, and/or ideas may provide obstacles or temporary barricades. I think of all the inventors, athletes and entrepreneurs who tried thousands of times to get something of relevance right. Basketballer extraordinaire, Michael Jordan, was cut from his Junior High BB squad, so he practiced and put more time in and become a successful NBA player. Vacuum inventor, James Dyson, took five years and set up his own manufacturing company (since no other vacuum company wanted to handle his product). Media mogul, Oprah Winfrey, was publicly fired from her first TV anchor job in Baltimore for getting ‘to emotionally invested in her stories’. Movie director, Steven Spielberg was rejected by the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts multiple times. And author, J.K. Rowling, was a single mom living off welfare when she began writing the first Harry Potter novel. This goes to show you that each of these ordinary people found their Passion, worked on their Path and Persevered to achieve their ultimate goal.
4. PHILANTROPY IS WHERE ITS AT
Give, give, give! Give your time, your hear, your voice and if have some, your money to specific causes, organizations and/or people that you believe are making a difference in their community. Knowing that you sacrificed something in order to help others in need gives you a sense of purpose in life or work. You have the opportunity to build your social circles while reaping the physical, mental and spiritual benefits from however you have contributed to the cause. And, seeing a smile on someone’s face, makes you smile too – that’s is always a good thing!
Take these concepts of PASSION, PATHS, PERSEVERANCE and PHILANTHROPY and make your life into something that you are PROUD of. I wish each and every graduate all the best!
I leave you with this original and fantastic Graduation song: