This past weekend, I gave a graduation speech at my alma mater, Syracuse University. I'd like to think I touched on some important topics, such as my mom's favorite line "you gotta have balls" and more. Most importantly I told them not to let their college degree get in the way of their education.
A lot of graduates think just because they got a college degree, they think they're smarter than they are. The truth of the matter is I knew much less when I graduated than I do now, and I still don't know everything all these years later.
But I can pass along some advice for those of you about to step across that stage. Here are 10 things every college graduate should know that isn't taught in school:
1. It's not who you know or what you know, but what you know about whom. Networking is a contact sport, but going out and trying to meet new people isn't the answer. Instead, aim to get to know the people you do know even better and build the relationships you do have.
2. The most important thing is the most important thing! You have to respect your closest relationships and nurture them to keep them going strong. You have to know what the most important thing is for the most important people in your life.
3. What the FOCUS are you talking about? The faster you get into focus and are driven to be extraordinary at one thing and not being a jack-of-all-trades, you'll notice you will have a lot more optional work days ahead of you.
4. Two kids just graduate college and are going to a Yankees game. Before they leave, one of the kids' mothers comes running out saying "son, it's going to be really cold at the ballpark, I brought you a jacket." The other kid asks his friend why his mother still is still mothering him, and tells him to grow up. The kid responded saying he couldn't believe his mother still cares about him and wants him to have a good time. Remember, no matter how flat a pancake is, it always has two sides. Every situation has multiple interpretations. It's all about perspective.
5. It's almost impossible not to worry what people think and say about you. Truth is, you're going to care. True? You should listen and should care, but only from the people who trust you and love you the most. Don't give everyone a vote on what you think.
6. If you go to the hospital and ask for a woman's blood, gay blood, white blood, asian blood, or black blood, you're going to get the same thing. At our core, we're all equal. Nobody is better than another. Some may face better circumstances than others, but we all have the same blood.
7. In a world of analytics, I always say that you can't manage what you can't measure. Not everything is measurable. Gut and instincts still count.
8. When you get to where you're going, don't be an asshole and help the next person in line. Helping people is not a burden, it's an opportunity that leads you to sheer joy. You don't have to be a millionaire to be benevolent and help others.
9. If you want to fill yourself, forget yourself. You won't be full if you're not grateful. Gratitude is one of the most important ingredients in being successful in life.
10. A redwood tree was once a seed. Rome wasn't built in a day, but they were working on it every day. Consistency over time equals credibility.
And a few honorable mentions:
Treat your boss like your biggest customer. Your boss controls the most important aspects of your life, money and time. Find out what winning means to your boss and do everything you can for people that can help you win.
Remember the world is a classroom and everyone is a teacher. Some people come into your life as a blessing, and some people come into your life as a lesson. A lot of your growth has to do with your flexibility, not how smart you are.
Sometimes achieving beauty is a painful journey. Ever see a ballerina’s feet?
*My latest book; "Living on Purpose: Stories about Faith, Fortune and Fitness that will lead you to an Extraordinary Life", is NOW available! Click here!*