the advice I’ve weaned from the hundreds of people I bump into every
year of my life. When one interviews up to five people a day five days
a week, you’re bound to learn something that you can take home and
use. Here are some thoughts for recent graduates.
Find something that you like to do and do it with a passion. Today’s
college graduates will have 14 to 20 jobs before they are 38 years of
age. What’s with that? I’ve worked for one entity for over forty
years. I guess this makes me a dinosaur, but I’m a happy dinosaur with
a gold watch and a pension.
Whatever you do, persistence will succeed. Keep score in life. How
long is it reasonable for your child to spend in first grade? One
year, right? Make measurable progress in a reasonable period of time.
Develop a reputation for integrity and dependability. That starts with
being prepared to work 12-14 hour days at least for the first 5-10
years of your career. You must prove yourself.
Face the important before you tackle the urgent.
Value your reputation, be it as a businessman, a pipe fitter or a
dress maker. No matter what you do, be it medicine or medal making, do
it with pride. Be the best medal maker that ever existed.
How you handle yourself on bad days will determine your success on the
good days. In life, we have more bad days than good. It’s a fact so
understand it and deal with it. The baseball hitter who leads the
majors with a .400 average is failing six out of ten times that he
goes to the plate.
The highest paid people in society today are problem solvers. Find a
hole and fill it. Solve another’s problem and you make yourself
Successful people are “other-person-centered.” You don’t need to tell
someone how good you are; let them catch you at it.
Don’t risk your integrity because it’s too hard to regain. Remember,
the deposit window is also the withdrawal window.
People don’t fail in business; they simply quit trying. Einstein
suggested that he wasn’t smarter; he simple would not quit sooner than
the next guy.
The sweetness of low price is soon forgotten, but the bitterness of
low quality lingers on. Don’t sell yourself short; it waters down your
quality. In the end, it pays to be the best in the beginning.
Find something that’s hard to do. There will be fewer competitors to
deal with. You’ll never know you’re in competition until you lose to a
The size of your potential is determined by the space between your
ears. Just because you’ve graduated doesn’t mean you’re educated. A
Degree opens the door; continuing education moves you to the top. If
you’re not expandable, you’re expendable.
The most important thing in any line of work is service. Remember this
truth: “It’s the Customer, Stupid!”
Ad-libbing is for amateurs. Join Toastmasters… yesterday! Go every
week. Become a better communicator. Above all, remember that the key
ingredient to any speech recipe is shortening.
The nearest to perfection most people ever come is during an
introduction or when they write up their own resume.
All you have with others is trust. Trust, once violated, negates a
relationship. Don’t be digging holes in life for someone else to put
in a pool. Build trust before you do anything else.
The person with all the answers is usually doing the least amount of
talking and the most amount of listening. God gave you two ears and
one mouth. There must have been a reason.
Fear is but an absence of knowledge. You only fear the unknown and
your own personal prejudices.
Happiness is your responsibility, not others. Don’t waste your life in
search of ultimate satisfaction. Find pleasure each moment you live
and satisfaction with each breath you take. Decide to be happy. One
day it will be your last breath.
Never look for bargains in parachutes or brain surgeons. Life’s costs
are like air conditioning in your car. They aren’t tax-deductable but
it’s nice to ride in comfort.
Learn to save money. People who spare now won’t despair later.
Michael Aun is a syndicated columnist and writes a weekly column for
this newspaper. To contact Michael Aun, email him at