What would people advise a (hypothetical) 22-year-old college graduate to do with his or her life?

Originally posted on Quora, answering the question: What would people advise a (hypothetical) 22-year-old college graduate to do with his or her life. Follow me on Quora.

  1. Read. Ferociously. Everything you can get your hands. Join a book club. Imbibe books about personal development, communication, achievement, biographies, leadership, success, marketing, sales, business, entrepreneurship. You’ll do many things you may regret, but you will never ever regret spending time reading. Good sources of reading lists are Quora, blogs (Google 10 best books for …), Amazon (look for recommendations in categories, popular books with high ratings).
  2. Accept uncertainty. This comes from The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams: Deepak Chopra, a must read for getting started out. There’s uncertainty to everything, the sooner you can embrace that the sooner you’ll be able to leverage it. “You must give up the life you have planned in order to have the life that is waiting for you.” – Joseph Campbell
  3. Agree. With everything and everyone. Stop arguing, stop trying to control every scenario, stop trying to prove yourself right. You’ll never change anyone’s opinion through argument, and no one will remember if you’re right. Seek consensus. Groups, teams, life move much better when harmonized than with discord.
  4. Be curious. There’s a vast, fantastic world out there. Foster your curiosity, and it will lead you to amazing places.
  5. Be open minded. Your opinions will change drastically on many, many things. The opinions you hold with absolute conviction may be very different in a few years. Don’t let those opinions get in the way of meeting people and experiencing things.
  6. Learn from adversity. You’ll experience challenges and adversity you can’t imagine right now. You’ll have a choice when you have these experiences, either see it as an obstacle or focus on what you can learn and how you can grow from the experience. It won’t be easy, but choose the later relentlessly, and you’ll grow in ways you can never imagine.
  7. Foster the growth mindset. Watch this:
  1. Get out of your comfort zone. It sounds cliche, but it’s true. If you stay within your limits, you’ll never know what your capable of.
  2. Don’t hold onto the wrong things. Grudges, anger, opinions. Let them go, quickly.
  3. Travel. Get out and explore. Another thing you will never ever regret. Go to places you’d never think you’d go. Max out your vacation time every year. Take a few weeks off between jobs and travel. Save up for a year and take a few months off.
  4. Don’t wait for the right time or the right thing to say. For anything. Most of the time you wait for the right time, you’ll be too late. Those who win in the world are the ones who speak up and take immediate action. You might say a few things you later regret, but you’ll regret more not saying anything.
  5. Don’t look for the perfect scenarios, partner, job. Everyone sees success and wonders how Jobs and Wozniak found each other, the perfect partners. Well, it wasn’t the one in a billion odds they found each other, they made each other the perfect partners, pushed each other’s knowledge and expertise and built Apple on their collective knowledge and energy. The vision of your career might include a high profile company or opportunity (e.g. work at Google, live in San Francisco), don’t get hung up on these. Focus on the motivation behind that scenario rather than that goal.
  6. Provide value in the world. Money and success are common goals but so many people often don’t achieve these in spite of their being a nearly universal goal. Money and success are important, but focus on creating value in the world first. The biggest disrupters didn’t do it because it would lead to money or fame. They did it because they wanted to change things. They saw a different future and created that. Look at Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg built a tool for Harvard students originally. It now has over 1.4 billion users! Wake up and think about what you can do to create value in the world to your friends and family, your company, your coworkers, your country.

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