8 Thoughts for Graduating Warriors

Every year I write up a commencement address for new graduates.  This year my alma mater (Wisconsin Lutheran College) asked me to share some thoughts with the warriors graduating this weekend.

Someday I’ll actually give one of these speeches live.

1) Be the Best

You are competing with one billion people in China, another billion in India, and half a billion people in North America.  If you’re average, then you’ll also be poor, miserable, or replaced.  Pure and simple.

To be in demand with this economy, you must be the best at what you do.

It doesn’t matter how you get there. Experience, training, luck, internships, whatever…just be the best.

 

2) Be Yourself When You Grow Up

Role models are great. Teachers are wonderful. However, when it’s time to pick a path in life, the person you need to be is looking at you in the mirror.

There are a couple reasons why you should be you and not someone else.

1)  You’re the best in the world at it.  (see #1)
2)  Being someone else is hard work and you’ll never be good at it.
3)  It wastes a lot of time otherwise.  Everyone with half a brain knows you’re trying to be someone else.
4)  It makes you unique.  You have talents/skills/knowledge that nobody else has. When you be yourself, those unique qualities shine through.

While parents, friends, and others may challenge you to follow someone else’s path, you must resist. Follow your heart. Do what you love.

Be you.

 

3) People First

The world revolves around people.  You won’t be hired by your iPhone.  You won’t be promoted by the laptop you use.  Your car won’t be giving you a raise.

I always hear “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”  That is wrong.

In a hyper-connected world, it’s not who you know, but who you’ve helped. Everyone “knows” everybody, but everybody remembers when someone helps them.

Help as many people as you can.

 

4) Mean It

If you don’t really care about people, they will know.  You’d be better off working with machines or basket weaving.

If you choose to work with people, you need to mean it.  No faking.

If you want to help someone, roll up your sleeves and do it.

 

5) Run or Stay

When you find yourself connected to bad people, run.  They will ruin you.

If you find yourself surrounded by great people, stay.  They will help you grow.

If you want to fail miserably in anything, walk.

Losers walk.

 

6) Don’t Spend Much Time Watching

It’s fashionable to dedicate large amounts of time to watching celebs and popular “experts” to see what they’re doing.  It’s also stupid.

Learning is a good thing, but watching isn’t doing.  Groupies are losers.

Winners do.  Leaders lead.

Followers just watch.

 

7) Don’t Waste Anyone’s Time

In the Attention Era, wasting someone’s time is not only rude, but ineffective as well.

Don’t ask if you don’t care.  Don’t talk if you don’t have anything valuable to say.

Don’t be boring.

 

8) Push Until It Hurts

When it hurts, you’ll know you’re doing it right.

If you care about people, they will hurt you.  If you dedicated yourself to something, it will fail you.  Get ready to cry.

The key is not to fear the pain you might feel, but to fear a path that doesn’t cost anything.  All great things cost something.

You get what you pay for.

 

Graduation isn’t the end.  It’s the beginning.

Let’s get it started tonight,

Aaron @Biebert

__________________________
Want to get the next update? Get future posts by subscribing to “Thoughts from an 8pm Warrior” via email for free.

9 Steps to Succeed in the New World (Commencement Address)

It’s May and that means graduation season.  Right now millions of college graduates are chasing a limited number of jobs. It’s a war out there and the time has come for students to turn into warriors.

Every year, I write a commencement address and here are my notes for 2011.  Please add your tips in the comment section or on the 8pm Warriors Discussion Forum on Facebook.

Here is just one 8pm Warrior’s simplified plan to succeed in the “New World” we all face:

1)  Commit to something bigger than yourself.

It’s harder to quit on something more important than yourself.  Have a goal. Be on a mission. Change the world. Save a life.

If you want to succeed, you must commit yourself to doing something big. Go big or go home.

2) Figure out what you love to do.

I guarantee you will not succeed doing anything you don’t love.  It’s just too hard these days to conquer the challenges you will face if you don’t love your work.

I am convinced that no matter what, if you do what you love, you will find a way to make money.  The internet allows passionate people to make money on niches.

3) Start doing it. Now.

If you don’t love what you’re doing, make a change.  Don’t put it into your 5 year plan.  Start today.  Even if you have to get/keep your day job, get an 8pm Warrior job and then listen, learn, and begin tonight.

4) Meet others who love what you love.

Few people can win alone anymore.  The world is too complex and we need people to pick us up when we’re tired, broken, and failing.  It’s a war out there, and you will fail, fall, and need help.  Find others, learn from them and win.  Together you are stronger.

5)  Be different.

There is too much in this world:  too much information, too many things, too many messages, and too many people.  If you’re a “One in a Million” type of person, that isn’t good enough anymore.  That means there are 6,800 other people just like you out there, and they are all connected on the internet.

You need to stand out, find a niche, and be unique.  You need to be the lone zebra in a stable of horses at the dude ranch.  Guess which one everyone will want to ride. Be the zebra.

6)  Make long-term plans, not short-term ones.

If you’ve committed yourself to something special, keep your eye on it.  Make short-term adjustments, but focus on the big picture.  It’s too easy to get distracted these days, so you need to be working towards long-term goals.  Don’t waste energy on achieving short term goals.  Everything should lead toward the end goal.

7)  Work until you drop.

Once you’ve got a focus, a method, and a plan, you need to work it until you pass out.  Don’t forget about your family, but do forget about long vacations, spa days, and “hanging around the house”.  Tick, tock, tick, tock.  You are getting older, the world is moving forward.  Rest when you make it or you die.

8 )  Don’t be selfish.

You will need to give things, thoughts, and time away before you get anything in return.  I’m not sure exactly why, other than people like nice people and are willing to help them in return.

Give, give, give.

9) Take your magic step.

If you will succeed, there will be one magic step only you will discover.  The very nature of our world is that we cannot all have the same path, the same steps towards our dreams.  You will need to take a unique step along the way, and it will be something that only you will find.

Call it magic or whatever you’d like, but you’ll need it and I can’t tell you what to look for.

It might be like the moment Bill Gates quit college to start Microsoft or when Mark Zuckerberg pushed send to share Facebook for the first time.  We all have a step in life that we will need to take to achieve our dreams.

When you see yours.  Take it!

Let me know if I can help.

Have a great life,

Aaron@Biebert
__________________________
Like this article? Subscribe to “Thoughts from an 8pm Warrior” via email