Whether you’re a recent college graduate embarking on an adventure into “the real world,” or a high school graduate preparing to move on to college, the military, or that same world yourself, I’d like to offer you some advice as you move into the next chapter of your life. That advice: be wary of advice.
Are you confused yet? Welcome to life! It’s filled with paradoxes and contradictions. Fortunately, this isn’t one of them. In fact, my advice to be wary of advice is grounded in the very simple logic that there are no “once size fits all” solutions to anything in life. What works for me might be a disaster to you, because slight nuances in circumstances can change everything. For example: I quit multi-tasking five years ago, when I realized that I work more efficiently (and made fewer mistakes) when I focus on one thing at a time, and grouped like tasks together. This works well for me in both my professional and personal life. However, Rick can’t do this. His work in technology means he has a number of things coming at him at all times, and sometimes that means that several things have to be in motion at a time for everything to work together. Forsaking multitasking makes me more effective, but it’s impossible for him.
Unfortunately, not everybody understands how differing circumstances can change things, so a lot of people will offer you advice and not realize that they’re leading you down a wrong path because they’re in contradiction to things they don’t know (or maybe even you don’t fully realize at the time). They mean well, but they’re wrong. And then there are people that have an opinion about everything, but they’re full of crap. They’re talking about things they know nothing about, but they don’t care because they like the sound of their own voice so much that they use every opportunity to spout out their encyclopedia of opinions anywhere and everywhere.
You’ve gained a tremendous accomplishment in building a solid foundation with your education, and it will serve you well in the future. However, there’s one thing that no school, curriculum, or even any other human being can actively teach you, and that’s discernment. This is, simply stated, being able to take stock of people, situations, and circumstances, and use wisdom to figure out the best way to handle things. It’s an elusive thing, and one that can only be gained and fine-tuned through experience. It’s also a lifelong lesson. Gaining wisdom and building discernment is something you never graduate from, because you never fully “get it” in this life. In fact, a wise person is committed to continuing to learn and grow from every relationship and experience they have. Sorry folks, but you aren’t done learning. You never will be in this life.
If you need something more concrete, I’ll put it the way my first boss out of college put it: when you’re new to a place or a situation, it’s wise to keep your eyes and ears open and your mouth shut until you get the “lay of the land.” Relationships, situations, circumstances, alliances, connections, cliques, and how what’s happened in the past (sometimes the recent past) affects what’s happening now often aren’t immediately apparent, and it takes observation to figure out how and where you fit in best. That’s been valuable guidance in building the very thing I’m talking about for me through the years. You’d be amazed at what your eyes and ears can tell you that peoples’ mouths won’t say.
But if you really are looking for advice, then I can tell you another gem of wisdom that Dad gave me: don’t do stupid things, and don’t listen to people who are doing stupid things. It sounds simple, but I’ve found that, for me, that covers just about everything.
Congratulations on your exciting achievement. This is a truly exciting time when the world is full of potential and open doors, so enjoy it to the fullest. I pray for and wish you the best of luck now and forever. Of course, you’re still welcome to come by here any time you wish for more real life fun and shenanagins, and I hope you will!
That’s all today. Take care. Have a Happy Friday and a wonderful (long) weekend.