Graduation, what an exciting time in life!

First, let me congratulate you on a job well done.  It's no easy task to graduate, it shows dedication and hard work.  It also tells the world that you've accomplished something and are prepared for the next step in life.

I look back on my graduation days from high school and college and think about how different each was. They were both satisfying but in different ways.  You see, my path to higher education was different than most, and let's just say that there were some bumps along the way and a lot of lessons learned.

If I might, I would like to pass along a few things that I have learned that may help you as you move forward.

Serious female student holding hand out with cardboard sign

Failure Builds Character

Don't be afraid to fail. I know, I know, many of us live in a world where everyone wins.  Everyone gets a trophy, everyone's a champion.  Here's the problem with that theory, that isn't how the real world works.

The real world will kick you in the teeth every chance it gets and people you depend on will let you down. There will be times that you feel alone, and those times suck, However, those are the times that you find out who you are and what you're made of.  Trust me on this one, when those times come, keep going. It won't seem like it at the moment, but those are the times that you will look back on later in life and say "I'm so grateful that happened, I learned so much from it."

I've failed in life lots of times. In jobs, in relationships, and in school. Here's the thing with that though and I'm going to share a secret with you, for most of us, before any great success, comes failure. Failure isn't a bad thing, in fact, it's one of the best things that can happen to us if we deal with it the right way.

Some of the greatest human beings in the history of the world have failed. Micheal Jordan got kicked off the varsity team and put on JV in his High School before he would go on to become "Air Jordan". Abraham Lincoln failed in business, politics, and had a nervous breakdown before he would go on to be considered one of the greatest Presidents of the United States. Henry Ford's first two car companies get the picture.

Close-up of a Report Card on a desktop with a mechanical pencil and text book.

No Shortcuts

This was a hard lesson for me to learn and it took a couple of decades being an "adult" before I figured it out. I mean, who doesn't love a good shortcut right? Be it traveling, or in life, most of us will take that opportunity every time. In my experience, shortcuts in life rarely work and they usually come at someone else's or our own expense.

Think about it like this, part of the "journey" of life is the actual journey. The things that we see, the people that we meet, the experiences that we have.  When we deny ourselves of those things by cutting corners or taking shortcuts, we deny ourselves lessons learned, friendships made, and possibilities and opportunities for growth both professionally and personally.

One of my favorite sayings is "it's hard to soar like an eagle if you're surrounded by turkeys".  For you to soar as high as you can, you must spread your wings to the fullest. You can't do that when you take shortcuts.

Graduates wear a black hat to stand for congratulations on graduation

Never Settle On The Big Things

I can't tell you how many people I've met in life that didn't get to where they wanted to be because they settled. Let's just say that the list is long.  However, never settling means different things for different people and that's totally ok because the principle is the same.

Some of you may dream of a high-paying job in a big city, others might want to marry and start a family.  Some might want to go back to their hometown and start a business, teach at their alma mater, or go work on the family ranch.  Each of our dreams is different, however, the one thing that is the same is we can't reach them if we settle.

So how do you avoid settling?

By knowing who you are and what you're worth. What does knowing who you are mean? Well, what are your values? What is acceptable to you? What is non-acceptable? What are your principles? The answers to those questions will tell you who you are and what you're worth and when you know those things, there's no reason to settle.

So to recap, it's ok to fail, all of us do. Remember not to take shortcuts in life, because the journey is part of the learning process, and know your worth and refuse to settle. So are these the only 3 steps of advice you need? Of course not, but if you follow these 3 steps, life will end up turning out just fine. Good luck to you and I wish each of you the greatest success.

KEEP READING: Scroll to see what the big headlines were the year you were born

CHECK IT OUT: The best county to live in for each state

More From KISS FM