10 Pieces of Advice for Graduates

Key takeaways

  • It’s that time of year—graduations and commencement ceremonies are happening everywhere.
  • Keynote speakers at graduation ceremonies often share stories and advice to help graduates tackle their next stage in life.
  • Even if you graduated long ago, it might do you some good to take another look at advice like this each year.

You may have recently come back from one or more graduation ceremonies where you heard a graduate speaker talk about the rules they’ve had in life, the road ahead, or whatever it happens to be. That comes up a lot this time of year, so it’s a good time to take a deeper look into how this advice works.

I’m going to share my top 10 pieces of advice relative to this. Some of this is my own advice and wisdom and some is taken from other articles I’ve read.

  1. Don’t be afraid to fail. I have to say that this is number one because it’s the most important. We experience failures for our entire lives—over and over. We tend to forget this as we get older. We think that somehow, some way, we now no longer fail. We have to fail as quickly as possible on a continual basis because that’s how we learn.
  2. Don’t gauge yourself by social media. Most of the people you see on social media, showing off this phenomenal life, have a whole different side they aren’t showing. It’s like two sides of the same coin: what’s shown to the public versus what’s really going on. Don’t compare yourself to others. It doesn’t make any sense. That hasn’t changed; it’s just that we now have social media added to the mix.
  3. Experience trumps everything. I don’t care what degree you have. I don’t care how much you’ve studied various books or disciplines. Until you experience how it works in a practical, real-life situation, you’re not worth anything to yourself or anybody else. It’s very important to understand this.
  4. Seek out people to up your game. Lots of people around us know a lot more than we do. There are people out there who can do things much better than we can. So, wherever you’re focusing your efforts, seek out others to help you along the way. They’ll be very happy to help and mentor you, which leads into number 5.
  5. Ask for help all the time. Again, as we get older, we don’t ask for help. Always ask for help. It makes getting through life a lot easier. We know so little and so many others know so much more than we do. Asking for their help can make life way simpler.
  6. Volunteer for everything. I say this to young people entering the military because they’re actually told the opposite. But those who volunteer for things get significantly more opportunities. It’s just how life works.
  7. Always be learning. Always stay open to learning. It’s through learning that we see new things and new ways to go forward. We get further on in life. Learning allows us to see the next place we’re headed and the best way to get there.
  8. Rejuvenate periodically. You can’t keep going nonstop. You will wear down. You will wear out. The human body can only take so much until all sorts of problems start to come up. You need to have an off switch and use it periodically to recharge your batteries.
  9. Be true to you. Be you because everybody else is already taken. Enough said.
  10. Have fun. This is the other most important thing along with #1. Have fun no matter where you are or what you’re doing. When people are smiling and happy around each other, it makes everything better. It’s fun to work. It’s fun to play. Everything is more fun this way. We have all of these freedoms in this country. Let’s have some fun together.

I hope these 10 pieces of advice will help you out a little, no matter where you are in life. Even if you graduated many years ago, taking another look at these each year at this time might help. It may help you re-evaluate where you are, where you’re going, what you’re trying to do, and your mindset around these 10 very important areas. Until next time, enjoy.


Gary Klaben is in our Glenview, IL office and serves our clients who are now located all over the country.  He has over 30 years of experience and is the author of Changing the Conversation, Wealth of Everything and co-author of The Business BattlefieldWhether advising his clients, mentoring his team, or coaching entrepreneurs, he is always simplifying complexity and motivating others to take the next action that’s right for them.

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