Mov­ing For­ward: Ad­vice and Guid­ance for the New Grad­u­ate

Trillions - - Contents - By Dr. Chance T. Ea­ton

It is grad­u­a­tion sea­son, and I’ve been for­tu­nate to at­tend sev­eral cel­e­bra­tions this year. I find grad­u­a­tions – whether high school or higher ed­u­ca­tion – fun to ob­serve as the new grad­u­ates re­flect on their suc­cesses and re­la­tion­ships and imag­ine what the fu­ture holds for them. In­cluded in these events are a va­ri­ety of peo­ple pro­vid­ing ad­vice and guid­ance, shar­ing their per­sonal mis­takes and suc­cesses and hop­ing to cre­ate pos­i­tive mo­men­tum for the next gen­er­a­tion.

Even though this abun­dance of guid­ance may be an­noy­ing – or even sound cheesy when it comes from an un­cle who feels the need to say some­thing like “the world is your oys­ter” – it is still im­por­tant. So I can’t help my­self and would like to con­trib­ute to the thou­sands of oth­ers of­fer­ing ad­vice and guid­ance to our next gen­er­a­tion at this time of cel­e­bra­tion.

Prac­tice re­spon­si­bil­ity. One of the most amaz­ing things about our species is our abil­ity to choose. Be­tween ev­ery stim­u­lus and our re­sponse is a gap, and this gap is where free will ex­ists. We have the power to choose from mo­ment to mo­ment. When we fail to choose and don’t take re­spon­si­bil­ity for our ac­tions, we be­come vic­tims to our sit­u­a­tion, our past and other peo­ple.

Whether you care or not, this life is de­signed by you through the choices you make. No one can ar­tic­u­late this con­cept as well as Dr. Vik­tor Frankl, who was a pris­oner in the con­cen­tra­tion camps. De­spite hav­ing lost his loved ones and hav­ing been con­tained within the hell of the camps, he said, “Ev­ery­thing can be taken from man but one thing, the last of the hu­man free­doms: to choose one’s at­ti­tude in any given set of cir­cum­stances – to choose one’s own way.”

Prac­tice in­ten­tion­al­ity. Life con­tains a nat­u­ral chaos and ran­dom­ness. Es­pe­cially in this day and age, we are faced with in­creas­ing un­cer­tainty, volatil­ity, com­plex­ity and am­bi­gu­ity. The one in­gre­di­ent that will help you sim­plify the noise is to have a pur­pose­ful vi­sion in your life. Hu­mans have the abil­ity to look for­ward in time and set the in­ten­tion for how they want to live. This means hav­ing a goal-ori­ented mind and con­sid­er­ing where we want to be and how we want to get there. Whether it be work, health, re­la­tion­ships or self-worth, we are re­spon­si­ble for set­ting the di­rec­tion of our lives. When we fail to have an in­ten­tion, we col­lapse back into the chaos of life and re­play the same habits over and over again, won­der­ing why noth­ing gets bet­ter. To break the cy­cle and drive a wedge into the field of chaos, set your in­ten­tion for who you want to be­come.

Prac­tice strength-based fol­low-through. Re­spon­si­bil­ity and in­ten­tion­al­ity sound good in the­ory, but one’s abil­ity to drive for­ward with motivation is key. The amaz­ing thing about motivation is that ev­ery per­son has been gifted with unique tal­ents, and when they are ac­ti­vated, we feel stronger to drive for­ward. You know you are in­trin­si­cally mo­ti­vated to­ward some­thing when the fol­low­ing oc­cur: (1) Be­fore – you are ea­ger and nat­u­rally at­tracted to some­thing, (2) Dur­ing – you ex­pe­ri­ence a state of flow and glimpse of ex­cel­lence, and (3) Af­ter – you feel re­ju­ve­nated and stronger. Learn to iden­tify what these ac­tiv­i­ties are be­cause they are signs to your nat­u­ral in­trin­sic motivation. Rec­og­niz­ing that you, and you alone, are re­spon­si­ble for the choices you make, learn to make your in­ten­tions re­al­ity by flex­ing into your strength zones.

Prac­tice trust. Prac­tic­ing re­spon­si­bil­ity, in­ten­tion­al­ity and strength-based fol­low-through will aid you in be­com­ing a more ef­fec­tive per­son. But an­other unique as­pect of be­ing hu­man is that we are a so­cial species; we do bet­ter to­gether than alone. We seek out friends, life part­ners, men­tors, teams and com­mu­ni­ties. The rea­son we do bet­ter to­gether than alone is be­cause of our so­cial DNA; it has helped us sur­vive for 200,000 years and con­tin­ues to pro­vide a sense of part­ner­ship, com­radery and be­long­ing. To build not just a good life but a great life, we need peo­ple around us who help make our lives bet­ter. Good re­la­tion­ships all be­gin with trust – the be­lief in an­other per­son’s char­ac­ter and com­pe­tence. Ex­am­ples of trust be­hav­iors in­clude in­clu­sion, keep­ing your prom­ises, be­ing cour­te­ous and kind, speak­ing your thoughts and feel­ings, for­giv­ing the past and prac­tic­ing em­pa­thy and per­spec­tive.

Prac­tice com­mu­ni­ca­tion. Qual­ity com­mu­ni­ca­tion is trust in ac­tion. When trust ex­ists, com­mu­ni­ca­tion is easy; even when you dis­agree with some­one, the other per­son gets your mean­ing. To pic­ture what good com­mu­ni­ca­tion looks like, visu­al­ize di­a­logue as a form of catch be­tween two or more peo­ple. Just like play­ing real catch, we have to learn to be mind­ful in how we de­liver and par­tic­i­pate in the process. Learn to have a healthy back-and-forth ex­change, throw with tar­geted clar­ity, throw with the right amount of force and be sure that ev­ery­one who is part of the di­a­logue trans­ac­tion is in­cluded in play­ing catch. Fi­nally, learn the art of full pres­ence dur­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tion: (1) eyes – be present with eye con­tact when you are with an­other per­son, (2) ears – lis­ten for un­der­stand­ing be­fore be­ing un­der­stood, and (3) mouth – speak to an­other per­son in the right “lan­guage” (the way they want to be spo­ken to).

Prac­tice self-care. My last piece of ad­vice is that you need to take care of your­self. Sta­tus-quo liv­ing doesn’t take much en­ergy, but if you want great liv­ing, it takes tremen­dous en­ergy to be re­spon­si­ble, be in­ten­tional in your di­rec­tion, fol­low through with in­trin­sic motivation, build trust with oth­ers and com­mu­ni­cate with clar­ity. To keep your en­ergy and build re­silience, you have to care for your­self. This in­cludes tak­ing care of your phys­i­cal self: eat­ing right, get­ting rest, ex­er­cis­ing and re­lax­ing. It also re­quires that you take care of your spir­i­tual self: com­mit­ting to your value sys­tems, ex­plor­ing your phi­los­o­phy for mean­ing and con­nect­ing to your source. Take care of your men­tal-emo­tional self: Learn and grow through read­ing, writ­ing, med­i­ta­tion, re­flec­tion and per­sonal chal­lenge. Fi­nally, take care of your so­cial self: In­vest in your re­la­tion­ships with your spouse, par­ents, chil­dren, col­leagues and dear friends.

Most peo­ple live in the past, stuck in their old habits of liv­ing that are stored in their sub­con­scious mind. They live the safe life, one of pre­dictabil­ity and nor­malcy. But life has the po­ten­tial to be pur­pose­ful, in­vig­o­rat­ing and BIG! Like all good things in life, we must ex­ert ef­fort. In the case of great liv­ing, we must ex­ert (1) re­spon­si­bil­ity, (2) in­ten­tion­al­ity, (3) in­trin­si­cally mo­ti­vated fol­low-through, (4) trust in oth­ers, (5) healthy com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and (6) self-care. Leave yes­ter­day in the past and build “your” life on pur­pose – start­ing to­day.

Dr. Chance Ea­ton has over a decade’s worth of ex­pe­ri­ence work­ing in the field of learn­ing and or­ga­ni­za­tional de­vel­op­ment. Due to his unique ed­u­ca­tional and work ex­pe­ri­ences in fi­nance, psy­chol­ogy, lead­er­ship and man­age­ment, ed­u­ca­tion, noetic sciences and agri­cul­ture, Dr. Ea­ton pro­vides his clients with rel­e­vant busi­ness so­lu­tions grounded in the­ory and re­search. To learn more about Dr. Ea­ton’s ser­vices, visit Hc­sin­

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