“Do not go where the path may lead;
go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Today as you walk across that stage and complete this important phase of your life, I’ll be sitting in the stands cheering for every moment we’ve shared together over the last 18 years and for all I’ve seen you accomplish.
Graduation is a stepping stone to another phase in your life. And in this case, it’s going to be a very big step. We’ve always been together as a family, minus a few school trips here and there. We have our schedule. We have our routine. And after 18 years, its time for us to separate and develop new routines. You’ll be off 1,000 miles away, discovering new things and going on new adventures. We’ll be discovering who we are as a couple, no longer a daily family of three.
Though we talk every week at great length about “things”, you know my opinion on every subject imaginable, and I love our deep philosophical conversations we have on a continual basis, I thought I would offer one more piece of advice that will always be here, waiting for you when you need it the most. Its what I’ve discovered in my own life along the way, as a daughter, sister, wife, mother, friend and of course as a woman, college graduate, traveler, business owner and philanthropist.
Everyone on Earth only has 24 hours in the day. Yet some people end up billionaires in control of very large businesses, and some end up homeless. Why is that? I think it’s the size of their dreams. Never be afraid to dream BIG. Trust your passions. Eliminate all of the “can I really do this” questions. And learn from your fears and your “no’s”. The more no’s you have, the more you bump up against things that scare you and lead to the great unknown, the more you’ll discover who you really are. Always keep your eye on what you truly want out of this life, and never be afraid to bypass some things to move forward and get to where you truly want to go.
And if things don’t work out the first time, try it again. That’s what helps you turn into the person you are truly meant to be.
I grew up in the heart of the American dream. We were taught – and therefore lived – in a world where bigger is better, more is the only way to go.
Except that isn’t quite true.
You get a job, get a car, buy a house, fill it with stuff. Then you get a better job, buy a better car, get a bigger house, fill it with more stuff. Family comes along – bigger car, bigger house, more stuff. And on and on it goes until you discover the stuff really isn’t worth that much.
We’ve watched it many times before, and I hope you’ll hold onto this concept every time you think of stuff.
Always continue to be frugal when it comes to spending on things that aren’t important. But don’t be afraid to spend on things that make you better. And of course only you can decide what those things truly are.
Build Your Library
I’ve taught you to respect books from the time you were an infant. We didn’t throw them, drop them, chew on them. They were valuable and we respected them. Now whether you have them in physical format, or on your Kindle app, they are equally as valuable. Always remember that your library is priceless.. Fill it with everything that can lead you to a brighter future. If you buy a book for $10 and you gain a $10,000 idea, it was an incredible investment.
Save All You Can In Your 20s and 30s
When you’re young, you hear the phrase “time goes so fast” over and over again. And you never really understand how true it is … until you find yourself in a situation looking back wishing you had done things differently.
When you’re young, you have a lifetime ahead of you. You can take a little more risk because you have more time to recover in the event something doesn’t go the way you’ve planned. So try a little bit of everything – stocks, precious metals, off shore accounts, other currencies, tangible assets. As you make more money through promotions and new positions, don’t spend the increase, save it instead.
If you save for a good number of years when you’re on the uphill climb, you’ll have much more flexibility in your 30s, 40s and 50s when you’re interested in making changes and living with a growing and changing family life.
Wait For Kids
Life is a series of phases. For a while, school is everything. Then career is everything. And finally family becomes everything.
In today’s world, if the average person can truly expect to make it to 100, having a child in your early 20s is like having a child in your infant stage. You’re still figuring out who you are and who you’ll become.
Instead, if you wait until your 30s, you become more complacent with who you are and the lifestyle you’ve developed. You’ll be more settled in your career, your direction, and with who you are as a person. Which will give you more time and patience to spend where it matters the most – your kid (s). And yes, raising an only, I can definitely recommend an only to you too. I loved having an only!
You traveled more by the time you were 5 than when I was 25. We’ve opened you up to travel to many lands, different cultures, and new experiences. Travel is the foundation of your soul. It helps you realize your place in the world and what your job is as a human here on Earth.
I hope you take advantage of every travel opportunity that opens up in your life. Jump at the study abroad program in college. Look for opportunities that will allow you to spend more time over seas, both in college, in your masters program, and in the first few years of your career. Then continue it for as long as you live. Exploration will truly set you apart from the “averages”.
Trust Yourself Exclusively
No matter what you do, doubt always creeps in. “Maybe I’m not good enough.” “I really don’t have the experience.” “I’m afraid to do that.” “They don’t think I can accomplish that.”
Doubt is the killer of every potential “good” in your life. When doubt creeps in, ask yourself what is holding you back. If it’s based on what others think, step aside and do it anyway. While you should always trust your internal instincts, if doubt holds you back because of what others may think, that’s all the more reason to push forward and do it anyway.
Entrepreneurship Is A Way Of Life
We have countless conversations on the benefits of entrepreneurship. You’ve seen us build businesses, you’ve seen us struggle with businesses, and you’ve seen us have huge successes too. That’s a part of blazing your own path.
Over one hundred years ago, most humans set out as entrepreneurs – they were farmers and support businesses in which they worked on their own. Then the industrialized community set in, and everyone moved into “job” mentality. Today we still raise people in “job” mode, yet I believe the next 25 years will see a huge switch back to entrepreneurial mode. You are in charge of your career. You are in charge of what you will do in this life. If you can’t find what you want, make it. Even if you work for someone else, you’ll still have to have the entrepreneurial skill set to get where you want to go.
Live In Your 20s How You Want To Live In Your 90s
The big focus of today is on healthcare and Social Security. People live on the edge in their early years, only to hit troubled times in their 40s, 50s and beyond because they didn’t plan for the future. They expected things to be there – be the same – once they hit a future age.
Unfortunately that’s not true.
If you don’t take care of you – your health – from your 20s on, you’ll lose it as time marches by. You can’t recover once its lost. You can’t overeat, overindulge, and not expect it to catch up with you.
Life is a pattern, a habit. Once you are trained to do things a certain way, you’ll always do them that way … or experience hardship trying to turn things around.
So start the pattern out right. You’re already one of the healthiest, most food conscious people I know. Continue living and eating the way you do today, and you’ll never be one of the statistics found in today’s America (and throughout many of the westernized cultures).
The only way to be a healthy 90 year old is to be a healthy 20 year old. And that means mind, body and spirit. Nurture yourself first and you’ll have much to give and share with the world.
And I know you’ll have much to give the world … because you already do.