Advice for graduates

In bestselling author Matthew Kelly’s book, “Resisting Happiness,” his research included talking to hospice nurses about the regrets the terminally ill spoke about before passing. At the top of the list was: “I wish I would have had the courage to just be myself.”

Believe me, I cannot tell you how important this is in life. I don’t even feel like I was born until 21 years ago. (I didn’t deal the cards; believe me, if I would have been dealing the cards of life they would have been different.)

You will often hear people say how short life is. Barring illness, accidents, etc., life is not short.

As the philosopher Seneca stated: “Life is long if you know how to use it.”

It is, if most of life is used productively and positively. Eliminate wasted time and you will find this to be so.

The head football coach of the University of Minnesota, P.J. Fleck, sells his program to recruits with one simple message: “If you want to be the best person you can be academically, athletically, emotionally and spiritually, join my program.”

I sent him a letter thanking him for teaching this to young men and how I wish I had incorporated this philosophy into my life when I was younger, instead of later.

I also mentioned the part of not feeling born ’til 21 years ago. (Are you going to slip and fall? Of course you are. You’re human. The key is to get up and move forward each time.)

This is what he wrote me back:

“Jerry, keep being you. Nobody ever made a difference by being like everybody else. Be the REAL you.”

For graduates, be the REAL you.

Remember, when you care what others think, you are letting them run your life. As long as what you are doing is productive and good, keep striving.

The journey of life itself will be your pot of gold and reward.

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