Monday, May 21, 2012

Welcome to Graduation

I graduated college last Sunday.

It was a long time coming, and honestly during the early parts of the semester I could have cared less about attending the commencement ceremony, but I'm glad I did. 

The address by Clay Mathile was really insightful to me, and looking back, I find myself wishing I had taken notes. His story is awesome, and there are parts of it that align with how I often envision my legacy: rich in experience, love and humility.

He had 4 points that were supposed to be the highlights of his speech, but like always I had to glean my own wealth from his words. His points were:
  1. Dream no little dreams
  2. Be a life long learner
  3. Love what you do
  4. Have faith in people

And while those are great points and certainly inform my life, I found these jewels to be the most poignant:

  1. Hire/work with people smarter than you
  2. The best ideas often come from the "lowest" (in terms of title) places
  3. Pick the job that challenges you the most, not that pays you the most
At times during the speech it felt like he knew my life. Mathile spoke about staying true to roots, loyalty and the value of friendship over the course of life. The first point is something I've heard from other entrepreneurs, but it's stuck with me because it's a mentality that requires quite a bit of selflessness, which in my short experience is rare in business. People who truly live by this mantra don't worry about who gets the credit, just how great the work is.

The second point resonates not just from the humility aspect, but also there's a practicality in seeking out objective perspectives. I always try to give myself enough distance from my work, so that I'm not "too close to the situation" but often it's unavoidable, and it really helps to seek other opinions and especially that of the "man on the street." Not all ideas have to be colloquial, but there's value in simplifying a problem to find a simple solution.

The last part hit home, hard. There's plenty of things I can do now that I've graduated. I'm single, childless  (hehe) and I'm currently subleasing so I can move wherever, whenever. And for the past few years I've seen dozens of my friends and associates graduate and settle into either the jobs that they dreamed of or a job that pays them, and the outcome has always been the best for those in the first category. I have friends who have taken enormous leaps of faith to follow their dreams, and as they've been challenged in their work, their quality of life has improved. I want that. One project I'm working on uses the motto "dream bigger" and that's really where my head is at, as far as seeking employment. I'm a simple dude; I don't need a lot of stuff. But I do need to be challenged.

All in all I'm excited for the rest of my life to start and I can't wait to see what the future holds. 

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