Life Lessons for New Grads (or Anyone for That Matter)

June 4th, 2019
By: Heather McMillen

Life Lessons for New Grads (or Anyone for that Matter)

During this time of year, new grads are receiving a ton of career advice from all directions and medium. Personally, I feel the best advice comes from life lessons and experiences which can easily translate over to your career and professional journey.

Just as the Earth orbits around the Sun, we enter into different seasons throughout our lives. While one can be calm and refreshing, another may be stormy and relentless; but they all pass and move us into another phase. I have saved some of the life advice and quotes that have resonated with me throughout my experiences and have helped me get through some trying times. It also allows me to appreciate the better times and reminds me to live in the moment and enjoy.

In no particular order…

“Someone else’s opinion of you is none of your business.”Rachel Hollis, Girl, Wash Your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are so You Can Become Who You Were Meant to Be

“My favorite things in life don't cost any money. It's really clear that the most precious resource we all have is time.” —Steve Jobs

Listen to Baz Luhrmann’s Everybody’s Free To Wear Sunscreen and you’ll start contemplating life real fast or read the essay in which the lyrics were penned by Mary Schmich of the Chicago Tribune.

From Lolly Daskal, President, and CEO, Lead From Within I love her entire list and refer to it often but my favorite are:

Your thoughts are like boomerangs. What you pass along to others is what will come back to you.

Your education is never complete. Determine to live fully and continually learn. Prepare for what life has to teach by being open to the lessons in everything you do and experience.

Don't allow the voice of your fears to be louder than the other voices in your head. Make sure the voice of reason, the voice of belief, the voice of confidence are all strong enough to drown it out.

A good reputation is more valuable than money. Your reputation is built on the foundation of your character; it entails the words you speak and the actions you take. Take care of your character above all other things and your reputation will take care of itself.

Defeat isn't bitter if you're smart enough not to swallow it. At one time or another, we will all experience failure. In fact, the more we are willing to risk, the more we will fail. The trick is to think of failure not as the end but as part of the process.

Forgiveness benefits two people--the giver and receiver. The bravest and the smartest thing you can do in a bad situation is to forgive and move on. Don't allow grudges and grievances to add to the weight you carry on the road to your own success.

Be grateful every day, because that's the source of true power. The most important power lies in a grateful heart. Practice turning your thoughts toward appreciation and thanksgiving, because that is where you will find your gifts, strength, and power.


Things gather dust. Time and money spent accumulating material things will one day irritate you. You have to clean, maintain, store, and move stuff. The less stuff you have, the freer you are. Purchase mindfully. Simplify. Declutter your life.

Prioritize experiences. The pleasure and positive memories afforded by great experiences far outweigh material things. If you're trying to decide between the new sofa or the family trip, take the trip every time.

Anger isn't worth it. The feel-good release of anger lasts a few minutes. The repercussions last far longer. Regret, stress, and unhappiness are the byproducts of angry outbursts. Learn healthier ways to communicate your feelings, and when anger arises, step away until it dissipates.

Grudges cause pain. Holding on to a grudge is like injecting poison into your body every day. Forgive and let go. There's no other way. If your ego is preventing you from forgiving and letting something go, then tell your ego to take a hike. It's getting in the way of your happiness and well-being.

It will pass. Whatever is causing you worry or pain right now won't cause you worry and pain forever. Time heals. Things change. It will pass.

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