Quinn’s Commands – Dear 18- year-old

DEAR 18-YEAR-OLD: You may be better educated and more intelligent than me. You may have more potential. But for sure you don’t have more experience. I have 60 years on you, so—as hard as it may be—take my advice:

  1. There are no guarantees in life. You have to make of it what you will. Never give up.
  2. You will have obstacles placed before you. You will be treated unfairly. You will have to deal with less-than-honorable individuals. You will be slighted and overlooked at times. Get over it and move on.
  3. A college education gives you what you put into it. Obtaining a degree means nothing if you got that piece of paper simply by getting by.
  4. Once you’re hired for your first job, where you went to college is meaningless. It’s up to you to prove your value to your first and subsequent employers.
  5. Political rhetoric about inequality is irrelevant to you. There are as many opportunities today as there have ever been, perhaps more. If money is your goal, there’s no reason you can’t make it. But it will take drive, creativity, effort, dedication and perseverance. Look within, not without.
  6. If you seek a career that isn’t about money, but rather about things more important to you—service to others, the arts—that’s fine. Just know there’s a price to be paid. Don’t envy others or expect more financial reward than your choices can deliver.
  7. The system is always rigged by some people and for some people. No denying it, it’s harder for some folks to get ahead. That’s always been the case and always will be. Ignore it.
  8. Eschew seeking what you feel you’re entitled to, rather than what you earned. All you’re entitled to is stated in the Declaration of Independence.
  9. Take responsibility for your actions and choices. Keep a mirror handy.
  10. Be prudent with money. Always save first before you spend a single cent. Live within or below your means. Never pay credit-card interest. Avoid the accumulation of unnecessary stuff.
  11. Be aware. Pay attention to what’s happening in the world so you’re better prepared to separate fact from opinion.
  12. Plan ahead. Think long term. The future is not as far away as you may think.

Source: Quinn’s Commands – HumbleDollar

6 comments

  1. That is a very good list but a bit long. My list would be:
    1) Life is not Fair.
    2) The world does not revolve around you.
    3) You are responsible for yourself.

    We can all add to the list but until these three sink in, nobody will listen to all the other wise advice that we learned through the school of hard knocks.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Excellent advice.

    One minor quibble, if I may: while mostly true, in some professions the college can make a difference… the old boy network, et. al.

    In a meritocracy however, you’re correct.

    Like

  3. Timeless advice. Thank you for sharing it. Forwarding on to my teenagers, because I don’t want to wait until they are 18 years old to have this discussion. There are many variables in life we can’t control, but we can make a conscientious choice about how to live our own lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Great Advice, Richard. I would add the following (from a talk that I gave to college students).
      1. LEAVE HOME, BUT BE SURE TO COME BACK TO YOUR ROOTS
      It is important to leave home to establish yourself as an individual who can function independently. You need to find out who you are, and you can only do that by leaving your security behind. However, once you become secure in who you are, be sure to return to your roots. Develop a new and better relationship with your family based upon adult to adult interactions.
      2. LEARN TO LOVE (AND LIKE) YOURSELF
      Theodore Roosevelt said “I care not what others think of what I do, but I care very much about what I think of what I do! That is character!” You need to be confident in your values and stick to them. You are the only person who can make yourself happy. Do not dwell on your mistakes, and do not dwell on your circumstances.
      3. FIND A SOULMATE, SOMEONE TO SHARE YOUR LIFE WITH
      There is nothing to compare to sharing one’s life with another person in total commitment. This may happen when you are 18 or it may happen when you are 80. Having someone with whom you have total trust, and who is always there for you, will enrich your life in a way that nothing else can.
      4. BE A MENSCH
      Leo Rosten in his 1968 book called The Joys of Yiddish defined a mensch as “someone to admire and emulate, someone of noble character. The key to being ‘a real mensch,’” he says, “is nothing less than character, rectitude, dignity, a sense of what is right, responsible, decorous.” Have integrity and honor. Do your best with whatever task you have. Help people who cannot help you and who cannot fight back. Mohammed is quoted as saying that “A person’s true wealth is the good he or she does in the world.”
      5. FIND A PASSION
      It is important to have something that you are passionate about other than your daily work. It can be art music, sports, hiking, reading, a political cause. It doesn’t matter, but you need something. Being able to lose yourself in an activity provides a true break from everyday stress. The regenerative power of this should not be ignored.
      6. DO NOT BE AFRAID TO LEAVE YOUR COMFORT ZONE
      Do not simply continue doing what you are doing because you did it yesterday. Periodically review your life and decide whether you wish to continue on the path you are on or whether you wish to change. Act, do not react! Take chances. To quote Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Don’t be too timid and squeamish about your actions. All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.”
      7. MAKE TIME TO PLAY
      This is probably a strange thing to tell a bunch of 18 – 22 year olds, because as a group you certainly know this. However, when we get older, the tendency is to become too serious and to forget that life is supposed to be fun. Don’t let that happen to you. Respect the importance of fun and laughter in your life.
      8. PREPARE FOR THE FUTURE
      If you don’t have it, don’t spend it! Understand the difference between what you want and what you need, and have some patience in acquiring what you want. Save some money each month. Do not carry a balance on your credit cards. Take free money when it is offered by the government. No one else will offer it to you. 457b, 401k,403b, Roth IRAs etc. are the best deal around. Don’t miss out on free money.
      9. GROW OLD GRACEFULLY
      Take a look at the old people that you know (or young people, for that matter). Some of them are cheerful, others are crotchety. Which ones do you want to be with? Which ones are enjoying life? Attitude is everything. Learn to accept what you cannot change.
      10. And finally, I leave you with this thought, courtesy of Jim Croce, a singer from the 1960s and early 1970s.
      IF YOU DIG IT, DO IT! IF YOU REALLY DIG IT, DO IT TWICE!!

      Liked by 2 people

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