12 Life Lessons

April 15, 2011

Tonight I gave the graduation speech at the Leadership Triangle College Edition graduation that nineteen amazing local college students from Duke, UNC, NC State, NCCU, Shaw, Meredith, St. Augustine’s, and Peace college have participated in. In preparation for the speech I wrote down “12 Life Lessons” I’ve learned in the last ten years. I only mentioned a handful of them during the actual speech, but here are the prep notes…

  1. Surround yourself with people you like and admire. You are who you surround yourself with. It pays to choose the people you surround yourself with carefully.
  2. Put positive thoughts into your head. The internal message that you tell yourself over and over becomes reality. Thoughts become things. Don’t be insecure. Be confident. YOU ARE AMAZING! You are all here because you are brilliant. Life is a wonderful opportunity. Believe in your power to do good.
  3. Laughter is the best medicine for stress. Laugh at yourself often. Find what is funny in whatever situation you’re in.
  4. Take time to think about and write down your goals and frame them!!! Set bigger goals than you think are actually possible to achieve and try to hit about 50% of them. If you’re hitting more than 50% of your goals, they’re not ambitious enough!
  5. Don’t worry about what other people think about you. Just be yourself.
  6. Travel the world at every opportunity you get. Take an interest in what’s going on in the world. Know about the tremendous opportunities in Asia, Africa, Central America, and South America.
  7. Build authentic relationships in which you give. Don’t build fake relationships.
  8. To find a job, stop sending resumes out blindly! Just find 5 people who you want to be in 20 years who have accomplished what you want to accomplish and build an authentic relationship with them at least a year before you need a “job”. Start by offering to take them to coffee or lunch and keep asking 1x per month until they say yes :-) .
  9. Don’t take a normal job. Only take a job working with great people doing something you really enjoy doing.
  10. Find something you’re passionate about that you love doing that you enter the “flow state” when you do it, then figure out how you can create value (and maybe make money) doing that!
  11. Save and invest money whenever you can and never ever go into debt for something you don’t need. Make your money work for you.
  12. Spend more hours reading than you do watching TV! Book recommendations: Think and Grow Rich, Rich Dad Poor Dad, and How to Win Friends and Influence People.

What do you think?? What key life lessons have you learned in the last ten years?