My graduation speech

If I Could Give a Graduation Speech

Reading Time: 11 minutes

Congratulations senior you made it. This day was 12 years in the making.

The beginning of the beginning

From the time your mom shed a tear because you were excited about kindergarten. To right now you have experienced a lot of firsts. Your first ”A” and the pride you felt by making your parents cheer. To the disappointment, you saw in their eyes when you brought in your first F. You learned a lot about how your actions affected those around you.

Your first friend who was more than a friend. Hold on to that memory. Hold on to the fluttering you felt when you first lock fingers as you held their hand. Remember the events that led to your first kiss. You will never get those sensations back. Yet, they will help to keep you young.

I would say embrace the power and beauty of your youth. Sadly you won’t understand the full power of your youth till one day when you wake up and you see a 40 year old looking back at ya in the mirror. With the odd aches and pain greeting you good morning.

Don’t worry about getting old just yet, because this is only the beginning of the beginning. Whether you are going to some higher learning or you can’t wait to get away from school. That is in reality just fine.

If you only knew

There is going to be a time where you are going to say if I only knew. Well, this old fart is here to dispense with some advice. These are some things you wish you knew or can look forward too.

If you want to go to college. Go to a school you can afford. Don’t rack up $200,000 worth of debt so your parents will be proud of you. Hell, don’t rack up a $10,000 debt in college loans. Why? Because they aren’t worth it.

1+1 equals just as much at the local community college as it does in Stanford. Everything you can learn in an Ivy League school you can learn at your local university or community college without the soul-crushing debt.

If you insist on going to get a 4+ year degree, get a job also. Work through it. Sure you are going to miss several keggers and the occasional panty raid. Yet guess what you’re not missing much. In fact, when you graduate with your masters you will be so many more opportunities ahead of your classmates.

Those partygoers will be realizing that they screwed up. When they wake up from their drunken haze. These Enlighted young adults will find out that they were taken for the largest scam on earth. They incurred debt they have no way to clear other than paying it off dollar for dollar plus interest. These burgeoning debtors will be working at any job they can find so that they will be able to pay off that massive debt they needed for their puppetry degree. You, if you’re smart, will not have your options tied because you won’t be a slave to any lender. If you want to take a year and go work for the Peace Corp guess what. You can.

Now you may be thinking that I am being a little harsh on Colleges, and with that, you may be right. But know that you need to think for yourself. It is surprisingly easy to just follow the crowd. Don’t believe me? How many already have tattoos? How many are thinking of getting a tattoo? Why do you want a tattoo? The most common answer is so that you can be original. Well, I hate to break it to you but you are following the crowd with that “original” Tattoo. That cute butterfly you are going to get on your hip. 4 thousand other people already have that same butterfly on the very same spot. So don’t follow the crowd thinks for yourself. Forge your own trail. You will then be a leader because you have the rare talent of critical thinking.

If you still insist on going to a 4-year college and racking up a student loan debt. Then at least get a marketable skill. Women’s studies and puppetry are not marketable skills. Lawyers, Doctors, CPA’s teacher are marketable degrees. And if you become a doctor then go to the GP area. Ask your parents finding a General Practitioner who is accepting new patients is next to impossible. Yeah, you may get higher pay for a specialist but everybody has to go to the family doctor first.

Also, this is going to be unpopular with the parents but, I will say it anyway. If you don’t want to go to college then don’t. Most if not all parents pressure our kids to go to college for our own selfish pride. If you want to make money and I mean real money. Go to a trade school learning to be a plumber, electrician, or a welder. These trades often make in the excess of a $100,000 a year, and the cost to get this certification is minuscule compared to a college degree.

That brings me to the next point you are only special in your momma’s eyes. You are nowhere near the superstar you were thin you are. Sorry, mom, I know you spend hours each day making sure that he knew he could change the world. Unfortunately, the world is not that easy going. You can accomplish anything you want. The problem you will run into is that it won’t be as easy as you have been lead to believe. Your first job will not be managerial. You may make a manager if you stay in that job for over 5 years.

In other words, you have to put in the time. Yes, I know most young adults hold a position for about 13 months, and that is fine. They get more experience each time they find a new field. These same young adults also talk about how they are never taken seriously. Well, join the club junior. Neither were your parents when they were your age.

One common truth out there is that Students who make A’s make great employees. While B Students become the managers. C student starts new businesses and D students often have buildings dedicated to them. So now that the C and D students feel as good as the A students. The reason this is a quest I will put you on to find out. Don’t be too surprised when on your 25th high school reunion the kids with ADHD have put that cool multitasking gift to work and he is running 4 multimillion dollar businesses.

You will quickly find out that all of those honor rolls you were on did not do anything for your real life other than show that you know how to be a good little employee.

You are not as special as your momma told you

One thing you will find out is that life is the great equalizer. You have just as much opportunity to succeed as the next guy. This isn’t about being fair. To make the world fair. Is to make the world unequal. There is nothing wrong with that. The item that will hold you back from having everything you want isn’t some large multinational conglomerate. Nor will it be the local businessman who has the large mansion in town. The object that will hold you back is your mind. IF you catch yourself blaming someone else for your woes means you are not wanting to face the truth that your shortcoming is the cause, not Mr. Money bags.

Find a mastermind and get help changing your mindset. Because the limiting beliefs and scarcity mindsets are the biggest bogeymen you will ever face.

Know that as you try you will fail, and when you fail, and you will fail, a lot, Get up and try again. Failure is life preparing you for success. The only time you will truly fail is when you give up.

Aim for your dreams but make sure they are realistic. Write those goals down figure out how to accomplish that goal. Dedicate yourself to do one thing each day to get closer to your goal.

Do one thing each day that scares you. This could be parachuting, or it could be joining Toastmasters. Don’t get too comfortable. You grow when you are out of your comfort zone. Stay in that comfort zone and you will curse yourself to a life of mediocrity.

Don’t stay in your hometown

Travel when you can. This doesn’t’ mean you have to have a nomadic lifestyle, but maybe that is a trip a month to a national monument. Go camping for a week. Anything but doesn’t stay in one place. You might look at living in Northern California for a time. Just leave before you become too soft.

After a while, you find a girl you love and want to settle down and have kids then if you want to move back to your hometown then do so. Make sure those grandbabies are close to your parents.

Be aware of who your friends are. Because if you want to success remember what Jim Rohn said. You are the sum of your 5 closest friends. Or as I would tell my kids Show me your friends and I will show you your future. If you hang around people who are not motivated to fix their situation. You have a very little chance of succeeding either. It isn’t because they don’t like you it is because their limitations will be imposed upon you too.

Live a life of service. Everything you do should be in the line of service for your fellow man. As the great Zig Ziglar famously stated you can get everything in life you want if you help enough people get what they want. They

There is the story of a young man just about to venture out into his life and he stops and talks to the oldest man on the block. The young man asked, “Sir, how did you get to be so smart?”

The old man replied, “Well that is because I have good judgment.”

“Ok” noted the boy “So, how do I get this good judgment?”

The old man said, “that comes from Experience and experience comes from poor judgment.”

In other words, don’t think you know it all because you don’t you will figure life out as you go through it. Eventually, you will be the wise man.

There is a huge world out there waiting for you. So, walk the Comino De Santiago, Hike the Appalachian Trail. Get out and experience life. Don’t be afraid to go explore because you will regret it.


One lie that you have been told is that you have to have a credit card. If you want to rent a car or buy a plane ticket. That is a specially crafted lie created by the credit card companies. You don’t need a credit card and if you listen you will find that you are happier with your life when you get rid of that card.

Using a credit card is easy. Just whip it out and on you go. You only have to pay for it later. The best thing, you don’t have to pay all of it at once! You can make payments! How can I be going against everything your economic teacher has been telling you! Because there is this little thing called interest. That hamburger you are making minimum payments on will turn that 5 dollar burger into a $35 burger. Again the debtor is a slave to the lender. You have all your money tied up into paying off your cards instead of having financial freedom. So get a debit card and your credit limit is how much you have in the bank. Not as fun but you really don’t need those Jordan’s.

Time to Make the Doughnuts

Once you are out on your own you will have to find a job if for the reason that you don’t want to be homeless. Don’t stay with your parents. That makes you look like a loser and dating prospects don’t find grown adults living in their parent’s basement that good of a catch.

So, find a job any job to start with. But start asking yourself some hard questions. What do you like to do? You will find that most people don’t have a very clear answer for that. Still, ask yourself that question. Keep asking yourself. What do I like to do? Ask your parents, your best friend, your roommate. Keep asking that question. Other questions you should have your friends and close coworkers answer are.

  1. What are my 3 unique abilities?
  2. What value do you get from connecting with me?
  3. What do you think my professional strength is?
  4. What do you think my personal strength is?
  5. What tribute is unique to me and separates me from others?
  6. What is one quality that I seem to undervalue that you think should be bolder about sharing?

When you are sure you know the answer you are ready to really take on the world. This is also why I am hard on the college route. Most people don’t know what they like in life till they have racked up an incredible amount of debt. Then they find out that the fire that drives them is in the opposite direction. So people feel that they are stuck till they are debt free. When you find what you like and what drives you. Then you can start perusing it and use that gift to help others. When you help people by using your gift don’t forget to charge people. It is virtuous to make money, don’t believe one second that making money is bad. God wants you to be rich. Your parents want you to be successful too. Passion without profit doesn’t work.

When you do get paid. Pay yourself first. Set aside $50 place it in the bank. If you are running your own business do the same take your 3% profit before you pay any bills. You will far more successful than many multimillion dollar tech firms who are still not showing a profit. That is because like Parkinson’s Law any unallocated money you have will be spent. So tuck the profit aside first.

Other pieces of advice

Get a Blog. Use it as a brag board for your accomplishments. Share the struggles you are experiencing. Your personal brand will hold great power when you are older. All you have to do is invest a little in time and little in money. Have your own domain name. Just don’t get too cute with it. Then direct that domain name to a WordPress blog or even a Tumblr blog. Where you post doesn’t matter just post and share.

You will be surprised when you actually use algebra.

Never ever make a decision when you are emotional. That is the worst time to decide. Don’t believe me? Look at the news. What you see on the news is people acting on emotion not reason. Use a quality that is not taught in schools nor college Learn how to think critically. As Thomas Jefferson said.

Fix reason firmly in her seat, and call to her tribunal every fact, every opinion. Question with boldness even the existence of a god; because, if there be one, he must more approve the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear

When you have a roommate. Write down an agreement. Express what you are expecting from them and that way you know what they are expecting from you. You are going to pay the cable bill and John will pay the internet bill. While both will go in halves for the rent. People have idiosyncrasies. How are the dishes going to be handled? Write out the agreement. And then each week or month have a sit-down and air out your frustrations. More people lose close friendships because they didn’t have anything written down and they didn’t talk they just let the problems fester like a big nasty boil.

Emotions are good for connecting with people not making decisions. If you find you are about to make a knee-jerk reaction. Stop. Wait 24-48 hours before you respond. You will have a better grip on responding and those responses will better.

Buy the best house your money can buy. And Buy the cheapest car you can afford. Cars value instantly drops while the value of a house goes up. The majority of millionaires buy a 2-year-old car. They let the broke people take the financial hickey of having an expensive purchase drop half of the value the moment they sign their name.

Have a hobby. Whether it is video games or wooden boat building. Find something that will occupy your mind. The experience will come in handy one day.

Be kind to your knees. You will miss them when they are gone.

Don’t stop learning. The time you stop growing as a person is a time you start dying. Read books. Technology today allows for you to not even have to read those books. You can listen to audiobooks. Just don’t have all fiction books nor nonfiction. Moderation

Good list of books to read is

How to Win Friends and Influence People*

7 habits of highly effective people*

Think and Grow Rich.*

Rich Dad Poor Dad*

The Magic of Thinking Big*

See you at the Top*

Selling 101*

The Big Leap*

And lastly get plenty of Sun. The effects of allowing the sun to touch your skin far out weights the bad. Sunlight is needed for you to get Vitamin D and vitamin D is used to give you energy. So if you feel down and lethargic it could be because you have not spent any time out in the sun.

Also, there are emotional effects of being in the sun. Light lamps don’t cut it they help but the power and benefits of our sun are the best man can get. So walk with your significant other.

I know a lot of this speech may have sounded like I am a Debbie Downer, but it is because I want you to know what to expect and though I will never be able to cover everything that needs to be covered. In summary, embrace each day. Often called Carpe Diem. Live your life to the fullest. Gather tales you can share with your old friends and family. Your grandkids will want to hear the time you went hiking in the desert and you got lost. Tell the harrowing tales along with the funny anecdotes.

Life is what you make of it. If you know what to expect so you can navigate them you will find that despite what the news anchors are telling you the world is full of good. Laughter reigns and men do amazing things to help their fellow men.





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About Bryan Goodwin

I like being able to help people find their "why" and achieve the personal freedom they desire. Besides writing for Relaxed Male I also am a life coach. By helping men find the leader that is found in each and every one of us. I do this by encouraging men to get outdoors and find the balance they are missing. Realize that they need to be in contact with the outside as often as they can. It is not only good for them but for their families and relationships.

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