If you are one of the millions of young people who are about to graduate from high school, college, or technical school, I have three words of advice for you: Be A Warrior.
There is nothing kind and gentle about the world you are entering, and it will eat you up and spit you out unless you tackle it with the tenacity of an NFL linebacker.
That piece of paper you will be given upon graduation won’t mean a thing when you show it to a prospective employer unless you look them in the eye and prove to them that you are worthy of a chance. Neither that employer, nor the world at large, owes you anything. You have to earn it, just like you had to earn your degree.
You need to grab life by the front of the shirt and shake it. Be a warrior.
This is no place for the timid and shy.
“But I am timid and shy,” you say. If you are, quit using that as an excuse. Many a soldier has entered the battlefield with terror in their heart, but they refused to give into the terror. Rather, they pushed their way through it, and you can, too – if you have the mentality of a warrior.
Do you have goals and aspirations for your future? Then YOU have to make them happen through hard work.
My eight-year-old grandson told me he wants to be an All-Star in Little League baseball. I told him, “Then you have to practice harder and longer than anyone else. You have to try harder than anyone on the field.” He thought about that for a few seconds, and replied, “Oh, so that’s how it works.”
Absolutely, that’s how it works. Even at age eight, he needs to have the heart of a warrior if he wants to get to where he wants to be.
Whatever excuses are lining up in your head about how you can’t get this or achieve that, set them on fire, burn them up, and trample their ashes under your marching feet. Excuses are shackles that keep you imprisoned in the world of “I can’t.” The world doesn’t care one twit about your sorry excuses. The world is looking for warriors.
I’m over sixty years old (yes I’m going to play that card on you), and every commencement speaker I’ve ever heard always talks about “the changing world that you are facing” as if it is something new. Hey, the world is ever-changing. So what? All that means is that opportunities are constantly morphing into something new – but there are still opportunities. What you have to do is to be that warrior who runs them down, pins them to the ground, and demands to be given a chance. Don’t take no for an answer.
So what will it mean if you try and fail? It will mean nothing more than that – you tried and failed. No warrior goes undefeated. But a warrior doesn’t give up and quit just because they fail. They sharpen their sword by looking for lessons to be learned from the experience, and then they eagerly enter the fray again with redoubled zeal.
I congratulate you on your achievement and approaching graduation. But you’re not finished. You’re just getting started. Put on your boots. Strap on your armor.
And be a Warrior!