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Food for thought for all of our graduates
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Last year a newspaper magazine article suggested that no one needed the latest class of graduates. The writer's point was that after spending a ton of money on a quality education, many college graduates may not find jobs that pay the big bucks.

Absolutely the world needs graduates - they are the future of our world. But it's true that we live in a world that is definitely changing.

I, do, however, have some advice for graduates entering the world that still applies in a changing society.

• No one is going to make it happen for you. If you want something in life, you must be intentional and as focussed as a laser beam. And trust me, there is a world of distraction ready to break your concentration.

• It's time to grow up. You like playing video games but I don't know anybody who makes money doing it. And you may think it's cool to invest hundreds of dollars in body piercings and tattoos out to look cool, but they don't impress those who are doing all the hiring.

• It's not all about you. Sorry to say but you have not arrived. It's quite rare for any of us to end up as a Bill Gates or a Walt Disney type. Humble yourself and picture yourself merely joining the end of a long line of soldiers who've been marching along, with those at the head of the line dropping off to the side, tired and dying.

• Be a person of your word. Do what you say you will do. And does anyone really have to tell you that you need to show up for work when you're scheduled to? Really? Yes, even if all your friends are going to the lake on Saturday and you're scheduled to work that day? You'll stand out among a generation of promise breakers and people will take notice. Take responsibility and you'll be given responsibility. Do your best. If you work at Wal-Mart, work as if you owned the company. And honestly, you'll feel better about yourself if you do your best, no matter if you feel you're underpaid for the work you do.

• Don't let others think for you. Challenge what your teachers tell you.

• Seek some spiritual aspect to your life. God if you haven't already. The Bible is full of wisdom for life, not just preparation for the afterlife. He who dies with the most toys still dies.

• Take care of your body; it's the only one you'll get. Seems like a no-brainer for a twenty-something but take a look around and see how many people who two or three decades later are pathetic physical specimens because of smoking, drug use, lack of exercise, lousy food choices and sleep deprivation.

• Practice physical and mental disciplines. Practice the art of denying yourself at least once a day.

• Do something every now and then that challenges your comfort zone. Routine is the enemy of creativity.

• Be respectful of others. Ever hear of the Golden Rule?

• Appreciate what you've got. Studies reveal that happy people tend to be grateful for the little things in life. Smile. Have a personality that people want to be around. Don't live life so fast that you fail to smile when a child bats bashful eyes at you. Or that you fail to see flowers along the side of the road. And it goes without saying that you should - no must - say "I love you" to family and close friends. Live without regrets.

• Get outside of yourself. We live in a world of people who only love themselves. Trouble is they don't love others. Volunteer for a worthy cause. You'll be amazed at how your open eyes - and heart - will see need and want to help others.

• Consider yourself blessed for the opportunity you have in the U.S. Whenever you feel sorry about your position in life, realize you're wealthy by world standards.

• Know what's going on in the world and take a stand.

Here's someone else's thoughts. A poster I saw in a sandwich shop in Springfield, Illinois, titled, "Food for Thought," is worthy of required reading for graduates.

RULE 1 - Life is not fair - get used to it.

RULE 2 - The world won't care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

RULE 3 - You will NOT make $40,000 a year right out of high school. You won't be a vice president with car phone, until you earn both.

RULE 4 - If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss. He doesn't have tenure.

RULE 5 - Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your grandparents had a different word for burger flipping they called it Opportunity.

RULE 6 - If you mess up, it's not your parents' fault, so don't whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

RULE 7 - Before you were born, your parents weren't as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you are. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent's generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

RULE 8 - Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not. In some schools they have abolished failing grades and they'll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. This doesn't bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

RULE 9 - Life is not divided into semesters. You don't get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you find yourself. Do that on your own time.

RULE 10 - Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

RULE 11 - Be nice to nerds. Chances are you'll end up working for one.

How do you feel? Let Jeff by e-mailing him at