Congratulations, new grad! Now what…?

10 non-hacks I wish I understood earlier.

​It’s graduation time! So many bright and shiny faces pumped to live out dreams, build successful lives and contribute to the society. Someone asked me, “what advice would you give to new graduates?” Where should I start, there are so many life hacks already out there:

  • “Once you do this, you’ll be amazeballs”
  • “This is what you’ve been missing your entire life”
  • “This is the one tip no one ever tells you about being happy”
  • “Your successful friends will never tell you this”
  • “Your psych professor never shared this brain hack”
  • “Shift your thinking about this one thing and it will change your life”
  • “This is the simple change you need to make if you’re looking to be loved”

Timeout. How did reading the above headlines make you feel? Were you intrigued? Motivated? Inspired? If you’re like most people, you felt anxious. Fueled by a sense of missing out. Maybe you felt it confirmed your suspicion that you’re lacking something. You might have even felt anger, for being left in the dark for so long. The intriguing thing is that these headlines hook into our fears and sense of lack on a subconscious level… and many of us would click on that bait.

The notion that someone else can answer our life’s deepest questions is appealing. Especially when we are recent graduates, we want to feel like we’re set up for success. For the overachievers amongst us, not only do we want to feel prepared, but often we want a leg-up in the game of life. Why be good, when you can be phenomenal? Why be successful when you can set a new record? Why be like everyone else, when you can be the unique magnificent individual that you are (cue rainbows, butterflies and unicorns)?!

Graduate, you will hear a lot of messages in the next decade that will create anxiety, allow you to believe you are not enough, distract you from what you already know to be true. Many of these messages are tied to other people’s agendas that have nothing to do with you. Often times those messages do not serve you. This is what I call noise. There is so much around us and many of us will let noise into our lives for different reasons, and likely, you will too. That’s ok, it’s a part of life and we all learn and grow from our experiences.


​​So, new graduate, while I have no specific advice for you because I believe everyone is on their own unique journey, I can share with you what I would have benefited knowing (about two decades) sooner for myself. You can decide how my experience applies to you.

You will have a lot of information coming at you from all directions. The sooner you realize you already have everything you need to be successful, the better off you will be. You don’t need a “hack” or a short cut. In fact, most of the time, they don’t exist or work.

What I’m about to share is the opposite of a shortcut. In fact, it can take quite a bit of time to experience and requires a lot of self-reflection. It’s one thing to know them in your head and altogether something else to experience it. I call these 10 magical life experiences I learned to be true:

  1. You are on a unique journey with a unique purpose
  2. Your mission is to identify the core of the purpose — fulfilling your purpose will bring you a sense of deep joy
  3. To find answers to your life’s greater questions, you must go within
  4. You will benefit in every area of your life the sooner you get to know yourself
  5. You are the driver of your life — make deliberate choices (big or small)
  6. Learn to tap into your intuition
  7. Appreciate the present moment — it’s the only real moment of happiness
  8. Turn off the inner critic narrative — it’s not real and it’s not serving you
  9. Find your practice of stillness
  10. If you are unhappy with a situation, take action or speak your truth, or learn to accept it by changing your perspective

The sooner you realize the secret to living a “successful” life, is to find your own unique path to fulfill your unique purpose through everything you already know and have, the sooner you will be the phenomenal, magnificent guy / gal living a life you love (and who knows, it may even include setting that new record)!

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Originally published at www.mybreathingmind.com.