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Words of advice for you graduating seniors


May 13, 2014
Understand the words opportunity and advancement. It is almost certain that your early opportunities in life for advancement will come from the lowest of jobs. Perform these menial tasks with a vigor and enthusiasm that impresses yourself. Because at the end of the day, if you have impressed yourself and have given your full measure of worth, you will be light years ahead of any of your competitors.

Never try to misrepresent yourself as an expert. Those that have experience will see through that, and you will lose their trust. Instead, readily admit that you don't know something with a simple statement, "I don't know the answer to that, but I will find out for you and be back to you today." Humility and integrity go a long way in this life.

It is natural to build a box around yourself and stay comfortably within its confines. For most of us, the box is small, and the ventures outside of the box are not that scary. Go outside the box! (That crystallized for me in a sermon this year from a 14-year-old during his spring break Sermon on the Beach. He is way outside any box.)

Almost every person you encounter has something to offer. Find it and decide if you want to be like that yourself. If you do, adopt it.

Common courtesy and respect are becoming rarer these days, but are still cornerstones in life. They will be integrated into the fabric of the highest decision-makers, and they will recognize and appreciate it in a young person.

Malcolm Gladwell wrote in his book "Outliers" that 10,000 hours is the magic number to really become proficient in a particular area. He cited Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and the Beatles as examples. Find what you love and put in 10,000 hours in as short a time as possible and become an expert. For he who gets there first, has an open highway.

You ain't learning nothing when you're talking. The smartest people you'll meet are most often the quietest in the room. If you're smart, be smart enough to not show it off.

And one last piece of advice – marry well! Life is one rough and tough road to haul. There will be more challenges and angst than you can possibly imagine. A true soul mate will make the journey through all of those trials and tribulations pure joy!

– Randy Vaught and his family live in Milton.

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