It’s graduation season and I’m sharing a blog I wrote last year when my own son was graduating high school. One year later, I asked him what 3 pieces of advice he would give his past self – his answers are at the bottom.
My son is graduating from high school. I’ve raised him the best I knew up to this point, but on the threshold of manhood, I felt that he needed some male advice, in addition to whatever wisdom I’ve shared thus far.
So I did what I always do when I need advice, help and support. I go to my clients. My clients are so amazing, that if I had to pay them (instead of the fortunate reverse), there wouldn’t be enough dollars in the world to match the value of their wisdom and heart.
I asked my male clients this question, “If you could travel back in time but knew what you know now, what is the number one piece of advice you would give to your 19 year old self?” Every response was deep, touching and human. Volumes could be written about each. But today I want to share the one that resonates most for me, and I wish someone had laid it on me when I was 19 and trying to figure out who I wanted to be.
“Don’t be a dick! That’s my Golden Rule for life. Every other rule falls under this one. Basically, if you follow this one rule, you don’t have to remember any others.”
Ron V. is an entirely self made tech giant – a success by any standard you choose to value. Ron is an inspiration and a fountain of education. This is a man who has created a life of quiet purpose; one that is prosperous as well as meaningful. He says that the Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you want done to you.” is not such a great rule. We are all different, with varying desires, standards and expectations. So how one person wants to be treated can’t be assumed as a universal standard. But “don’t be a dick” doesn’t leave much room for vagueness, and it applies to all of us regardless of gender. Being a dick is not a personality trait, genetic disposition or tendency. It’s a decision. The choice not to be one is also a decision.
Adam’s 3 pieces of advice to his graduating self:
1. Choose one path at a time. In the words of Lucius Annaeus Seneca, “To be everywhere, is to be nowhere”.
2. Make sure you have someone that you trust, to hold you accountable for showing up as your best self.
3. Regardless of how much money you have available, the earlier you invest it, the longer it’ll have to grow – don’t wait.