To all the seniors in High School, College, or Graduate School who are graduating this month, I sincerely congratulate you on this milestone. Most of you are between the ages of 18-24 and are both excited, hopefully optimistic, and a little bit stressed about what to do next. The 11 questions below and the included 'recommended reading list', will give you massive momentum in business, life, and whatever is next for you.
I distinctly remember some of the questions that were at the top of my mind the week leading up to when I was graduating undergraduate school. They seem so funny now, but I remember calling my Dad a bit stressed and asking "When do I have to pay my taxes again now that I am in the real world?" also, "What is a mortgage? I know I need one to buy a house, but I don't know what it is or even how to get it. Why didn't they teach me that here, I had 4 years?"
Most of you probably know the answers to those two questions, but I didn't, and I would imagine that in your own world right now, there are questions you feel like you should know the answer to that have you feeling a little nervous or confused about what is next.
20 years later, the best advice I can give you as you start the next phase of your human journey is in the list below. I encourage you to find time after the party to get yourself a notebook and pen (yes go analog for this one...old school) and answer the questions as freely and best you can. I also suggest you put this somewhere safe and open it again in 10 years to see how your answers may have changed and which ones stayed the same.
1) What is it that I value most in life?
2) What are my deal breakers? (in relationships/love, in business, in life-Hint: there will probably only be 1 or 2 when you really get down to it that represent the things you just will not do for any amount of money or put yourself through for any single persons approval)
3) What are the things I wish they had taught me in school that I feel like I should know or be more practically knowledgable in at this moment?
4) If I wasn't constrained by other people's opinions of what I would do next, I would...(list out as many as you can think of-These are your soul's priorities)
5) Do I have any specific goals I want to manifest before I am 30, 35? If yes, what are they? If you aren't sure yet, list out the places in the world you would love to travel to or live for a little while.
6) Which one of these best describes me? 1) The one in my peer group that leads the rest and takes the first leap, or 2) The ultimate support/loyal #2/one who can execute.
7) What expectations have been put on me by others (even if they meant well) that absolutely suck the soul out of me?
8) What sacrifices (material things, experiences, relationships) am I willing to trade, go without, give up, and let go of to get the goals I have?
9) How financially literate am I? (Scale of 1-10; 1 = "what's financial literacy?" and 10 = "Warren Buffet just asked me for my opinion")
10) Who am I willing to spend the next couple of years working for free or next to free for, because I believe they can help me unlock a path to where I want to be by age 30 or 35? What skill can I bring them today (other than my work ethic-which should be a given) that will help their personal brand or business grow?
11) Who am I connected to on LinkedIn that might know them? What day this week (now) will I get on social media and DM them a copy of some or all of these questions and ask for a 10minute call to interview.
When I graduated in 1998, entrepreneurship wasn't a "thing." Social media didn't exist. There weren't communities like Startup Drugz, there wasn't a major or minor in entrepreneurship, and there were zero entrepreneurial centers on my campus.
Mentorship from proven entrepreneurs or venture capitalists wasn't abundantly free on the internet yet and the only answers I could find to help me navigate were in Barnes and Noble for $25 each. Below is a short list of sites that can give you some shortcuts to your ongoing education and books to read within the next 12 months, if you don't want to be one of the struggling, ignorant, unsustainable masses.
Congratulations again and best of luck!
Your learning has just begun. Here are the books to read (or listen to on Audible) over this Summer and before 2020: (This will be like Anabolic Steroids for your awareness, enjoyment, and give you a 10-year headstart amongst your peers in the marketplace.
SUMMER 2019 RECOMMENDED READING LIST FOR GRADS
PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT MONEY AND INVESTING:
The Four Agreements: Don Miguel Ruiz
Cashflow Quadrant: Robert Kiyosaki
Unshakable: Tony Robbins
Wealth Matters Makeover Edition: Chris J Snook (Free download no email req'd)
The Master Key System: Charles Haanel (Free download no email req'd)
The Science of Getting Rich: Wallace D Wattles
MACRO FORCES/TRENDS/HUMANITY/THE FUTURE:
Technology Vs Humanity: Gerd Leonhard
Connectography: Parag Khanna
Trillions: Mickey McManus, Peter Lucas, Joe Ballay
The Creature From Jekyll Island: G. Edward Griffin
The Watchman's Rattle: Rebecca Costa
The Fourth Turning: Neil Howe and William Strauss
The Thank You Economy: Gary Vaynerchuk
The perfect graduation gift to remind yourself you are willing to think outside the box, battle the status quo, and be uniquely different is the tee below...