Here are some tidbits of wisdom that I imparted to the Laramie County Community College graduates this past week
“Tidbits of Wisdom”
Tidbit #1: Be consistent—People know you by the choices you make, no matter what they are. My counsel to you is to be consistent in making good choices. Yes, I know it is difficult to make the right choice all the time. But your consistency will ultimately define you.
Tidbit #2: Practice constant vigilance—Mad-Eye Moody consistently said to Harry Potter, “Constant vigilance, Potter.” Tonight I say, “Constant vigilance, graduates.” You have to be constantly vigilant and watchful that you might avoid the pitfalls that people tend to place, inadvertently or advertently, in your way. When we are not vigilant, we tend to be the reed that blows constantly in the wind, not knowing where we are being blown.
Tidbit #3: Seek good friends and colleagues—One of the most important decisions you will ever make is to seek good friends and colleagues, the ones that will help you rise above the challenges that you face and then help you move forward along a successful career. So-called friends who continually tear you down tell you that you cannot ever succeed, or create a contentious environment are not your friends and probably never will be your friends. Good friends will buoy you up, strive to help you when in need, and will create an environment where you will succeed.
Tidbit # 4: Be kind, gracious, and understanding—Somehow over the past several decades, the ability to be kind, gracious, and/or understanding has become submerged in the “mean-girls-and-mean-boys” syndrome. People seem to want to destroy others in order to gain some semblance of something. Those who espouse this philosophy ultimately end up alone, estranged from all those who loved them, estranged from their jobs, and, unfortunately, estranged from themselves. But being kind and gracious to others will create the environment wherein all succeed.
Tidbit #5: Rise above the froth of life and don’t become entangled in the underbrush—In today’s ever-more negative society, it is easy to be sucked into doing and saying things you never intended on saying and doing and being someone that you never planned on being. To stay above the froth of life, you must have the vision and the character to do the right thing at the right time and eschew that which does not uplift, enhance, or create an environment of positive change.
Tidbit #6: Celebrate successes, no matter how big or small—We need to celebrate even the tiniest success. We are here to celebrate success; we are here to celebrate life and all of its trappings, good and bad; we are here to celebrate learning; we are here to celebrate your bright futures; we are here to celebrate your choice to be here and to have accomplished what you have accomplished. A positive celebration now and then is not a bad thing.
Tidbit #7: Learn something new every day—Ah, yes, you have earned your degree. Now what? Learning never stops unless you choose to let it stop. Lifelong learning should become one thing that remains active in your arsenal for living large. Remember: You either progress or retrogress. There is no such thing as stagnation.
Tidbit #8: Do your homework—Yes, school is done—at least for now anyway. But doing your homework should never end. Before opining about this or that, be sure to research both sides of the issue. Just because so and so said X does not mean that what so and so said is totally and completely true. Jumping to conclusions without all of the facts will ultimately damage your reputation for having integrity.
Tidbit #9: Understand you are the puppeteer of your own life—One of the largest challenges in life is finally understanding that you control your life. You make the choices; you are accountable for what you do. When you allow someone else to dangle your strings, you will never be free, you will never accept total responsibility, and your life will never be yours. Ultimately, your life depends on the choices you make.
Tidbit #10: Always stay focused on the goal and the mission—I was reminded the other day by a former Base Commander that we will have fewer problems, encounter fewer challenges, and be more successful if we stay the course and focus constantly on our goals and mission. Yes, there will be the 10% to 30%--and maybe even more, maybe less—who will attempt to throw you off by placing varying sizes of problematic boulders/ problems in your path. But if you focus on your goals and mission and plow forward to meet them, you will be able to push or pulverize the boulders that lie menacingly along the path.