“Just do your thing, child. Just do your thing, child. Do your thing.” – Chance The Rapper
I have always thought it was a daunting task to enter college knowing what you wanted to prepare to do for the rest of your life. And, as the old saying goes, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” But, dear graduates, you are not without guidance on what to do with the next four years of your life. College is an opportunity to live your life boldly. The Greek scientist Archimedes said, “Give me a firm place to stand, and I will move this earth.” College is your “firm place” and your opportunity to begin to “move this earth”.
As you enter this new season of your life, inflation is taking a toll on the American economy, with everything from gas to groceries to rent seeing a steep price increase. It seems like there is nothing but concerning news in the headlines. It might be easy to hide away for the next few years and hope for a better world when you come out the other end. But what a waste that would be as you are extraordinary. You are the generation we are all counting on to do great things and make your world better having learned from all of our mistakes.
Two most important days
Quoting Chance the Rapper is new for me. Honestly, I did not know of him and his wise words until I was reading our Pastor’s Easter sermon again. “Do your thing” sounds a lot like, “Do what you love and the money will follow.” And, even if the big money does not follow – you will be left with doing what you love. Not a bad payoff.
Mark Twain said that “the two most important days in your life are the day you are born and the day you find out why.” My daughter Amanda is an example of the truth in that statement. She is an Occupational Therapist. She started a clinic with a friend who is a physical therapist over a year ago when they were both without jobs due to the pandemic. Actually, she has several jobs, even today, working in addition to her clinic hours at a hospital to earn income while they grow their new business.
Amanda loves what she does. Even when she was struggling, she radiated the love she had for what she was doing. Nothing compared for her. And, as she assured her worrying mother, it was all worth the struggle and the risks she took working early on in the pandemic in hospitals with Covid, because she just loves what she does.
Amanda clearly has discovered what she was born to do. Many and varied life experiences along the way helped Amanda land where she is today. She lived life with great curiosity that encouraged her to take advantage of opportunities that came her way and a few she sought out. So have patience, graduates. Live life boldly and your day will come. And please – accept nothing less for your life.
“Whatever you are, be a good one.”
These wise words from Abraham Lincoln remind me of something CEO Warren Buffett said at the 2022 Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting. He explained that one of the strongest protections against inflation is sharpening your skills and working to be at the top of your field. Basically, have something worthy to offer that people want to buy.
“The best thing you can do is to be exceptionally good at something,” explained Buffet. Using professions like doctors and lawyers as examples, Buffett said that ”[people] are going to give you some of what they produce in exchange for what you deliver.”
Buffett further explained that skills, unlike currency, are inflation-proof. If you have a skill that is in demand, it will remain in demand no matter what the dollar is worth.
“Whatever abilities you have can’t be taken away from you. They can’t actually be inflated away from you,” he said. “The best investment by far is anything that develops yourself, and it’s not taxed at all.”
Read. Think. Reflect.
Buffett and his partner Charlie Munger credit their success to the fact they are learning machines. Buffett estimates that he spends 80 percent of his working day reading and thinking.
When asked how to get smarter, Buffett once held up stacks of paper and said he “read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge builds up, like compound interest.”
So, dear graduates, READ. Then, take time to THINK and REFLECT. Put your phones down, turn away from your computer, maybe put on some music and think. Reflect. Allow your brain to wander and it just might lead you to that life purpose. You need to process all that has been downloaded onto you so you can shape it to grow your expertise, your knowledge, your world view. Sit with it and listen and hear what reveals itself in the silence.
Do small things with great love.
It took me until age 41 (and several jobs) to understand why I was born. Starting Money Savvy Generation and teaching children the life skill of how to manage the money choices in their lives was and is still today my professional purpose. ( Being a mother my life purpose.) “Not all of us can do great things, said Mother Theresa, “but we can do small things with great love.”
Graduates, this blog is my “small thing”. It is written with “great love” as I truly do love what I do. Use your life as a launch pad for doing what you love. Change course if you are not loving what you do. Don’t be half-hearted in your work life. Have patience with yourself, but stay alert. The reason you were born will reveal itself. Get good – really good – at what you do, and you will succeed. And never stop learning. Do this and you will discover what I have lived: that life – with purpose and love – is extraordinary.