All new graduates want to live the good life, don’t they? Remember the Monster.com commercials that aired several years ago with kids saying things like, “When I grow up, I want to file all day.” and “I want to claw my way up to middle management” and finally “I want to be paid less to do more.” I loved this commercial because it reminded us of the dreams we had when we were kids. Often, our lives don’t turn out the way we imagined simply because we didn’t take the right actions to make it so. I have some do’s and don’ts that I’d like to share with recent graduates to help them get started now making the right kinds of decisions to lead a life of success, prosperity, and fulfillment.
The common thinking after graduation is a myth.
I remember when I graduated. I was walking on air. The whole world laid at my feet. However, I also remember the common thinking at the time. Everyone seemed to think the same thing and I bought into it. I thought that I needed to hurry up and get a job before all the good ones got snatched up by someone else. I felt that the great opportunities were limited. Along with this, I just knew that I needed to get to work before my skills got stale and I lost the few valuable connections I had. Soon after I got going, I started to feel like I needed to hurry up and get married. I needed to get on with my life. I rushed from one major thing to the next in a frenzy to build a life.
The problem with this thinking is that it is mostly wrong. It was all based on a scarcity mentality. Great opportunities open up every day usually when you least expect them. Whose to say what is the proper timing? When one door closes in your life, oftentimes another opens up. I wanted to travel and live in another country, but I thought I should get a job, a paycheck, and some benefits first. As I said, I then thought I should grow up and get married. Now don’t get me wrong, I love my wife and we have a great family that I wouldn’t trade for the world, but in hindsight I realize that there was no reason to hurry. With a job and marriage comes responsibility. We bought a house. We put down roots. As a result, I never have fulfilled that desire of living in another country.
5 do’s and don’ts to help you live the good life.
Here are some suggestions that debunk the myths about what one should pursue after graduation. I hope these help you to live the fullest and most fulfilling life possible!
1. Don’t be in a hurry to grow up.
There is no rush to grow up. Your parents might think so, but deep down inside, they will probably agree with me. You should stay young as long as possible. I’m not advocating being irresponsible. I’m just saying that you shouldn’t feel pressure to get too serious too soon. Take your time. Explore what life has to offer. Don’t pressure yourself to start a career or a family. School can be demanding so, take some time to relax. I think this applies to every area of your life. It seems that people think that if you don’t get married and settle down by the time you are 25, then you are getting old. I laugh at that. Enjoy your twenties! There will be plenty of time in your 30s and 40s to get serious, but the freedom you have now is fleeting. Don’t waste it!
2. Do pursue your dreams.
What have you dreamed of doing with your life? Take the time to stop and think about this. What do you want your life to look like ten or twenty years from now? Have you always wanted to run your own business? Do you want to travel the world? Do you have a cause that you are passionate about? It is much easier to try these things when you are young. Right now, you only have yourself to be responsible for. You are used to living frugally. It is likely that you will never again be in a better position to go for it than you are right now. You have less to lose. No one is depending on you to earn a living and pay the bills. I would encourage you to pursue your greatest dreams. What better way is there to start your life?
3. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or fail.
Fear of failure or of making mistakes is what holds most people back from living life to the fullest. Don’t sweat it! Mistakes are just the stepping stones to greater success. Age doesn’t matter. Some people will tell you that you are too young to do this or that. Ignore them! Work at what you love most. The money and success will come. When you are passionate about what you do, you are more likely to be successful. Take risks today. Later in life, you may not have the luxury you do today to try risky ventures. I have often avoided situations where I thought I might fail. My regret usually comes from the things I did not try, not from trying and failing.
4. Do travel and see the world.
I love to travel. Seeing other cultures, meeting people in foreign countries, and observing the beauty around this planet are passions of mine. I think traveling is a life experience that teaches us a wealth of lessons about relationships and getting along with a diversity of people. This broader view of the world will serve you well in future endeavors. It will make you a better, wiser person. Take a big adventure. Take two or three or ten! Do it now before you put down roots that make it much harder to leave. Go for a month, a year, or more. As I said earlier, I wanted to experience living in another country. I could have fresh out of school, but I chickened out. I regret that to an extent now. Even if this hasn’t been one of your dreams, I still encourage you to take at least a short trip to another country to see how life is in another place. It will broaden your horizons and you’ll never forget it.
5. Don’t try to live the lifestyle that your parents enjoy.
It seems that many young people today think that they should immediately start out with a lifestyle equal to or better than that which their parents enjoy. As a result, they immediately go out and accumulate a lot of debt. They buy a house, charge furniture on a credit card, and take out a loan for a luxury automobile or SUV. These quickly become chains that bind you instead of being things that make you happy. Debt limits the choices you can make. When you have financial obligations like this, you can’t take that dream job that pays a little less when it comes along. Avoid this kind of mistake. Your parents probably spent 20 or 30 years building up to where they are at today. I doubt it will take you as long so, just exercise a little patience. There is nothing wrong with having some nice things, but don’t let them become your master.
These suggestions are the fast track to the good life.
Live it up while you are young! Guard your freedom. Wait to seriously start your career and drink deeply from the cup of life. There is a whole, fascinating world out there to explore and conquer. It is beckoning you. Heed its calling!
What advice would you share with a recent graduate for living the good life? Leave a comment and let me know. I hope to share these in a future post.
Photo by m00by
This was the final installment of a week-long series from the Life Skills Network. Here are the other articles for your enjoyment: