Graduating from high school is a big time in your life. It’s typically one of the most interesting times in a person’s life. It’s a time of dramatic change and, for almost all practical purposes, it’s the moment people start to consider someone an adult.
When you graduate from high school the world starts to expect certain things from you. People suddenly start expecting you to support yourself in different ways. Of course, this expectation varies from person to person. Some people will be expected to move out of their parent’s house and get a job. Other people will just be expected to do their own laundry once in awhile.
Most of these changes aren’t all that consistent but in almost all cases some major changes start taking place.
It can be a challenging time for a person for any of a number of reasons:
- You could be going to work.
- You could be going to college.
- You could be moving.
- You could be taking on more responsibilities.
- You could suddenly have a lot of free time on your hands.
With all that in mind, I think it’s a good time for you to learn one important thing about life.
It’s a simple idea but I often find the most simple ideas gel the best with changing the way you think. People will often give lists of advice for you to try and learn from. In those lists they inevitably miss some important points. I wanted to keep this simple so it would be as easy to apply as possible.
This one lesson can change your life in multiple ways. It can make you more successful. It can make you more happy. It can help you make a bigger impact on the world. If I could teach you one thing graduating from high school it would be this idea:
No One Owes You Anything
This may not sound like the most pleasant lesson to learn but I promise you, it’s one of the most amazing things you can ever learn.
Many students graduating from high school make the mistake of expecting the world to give them things. They start expecting:
- Help paying for college
- Time with their friends
These are all things that people regularly compete for. Getting a job isn’t as easy as showing up with your high school diploma. It isn’t as easy as showing up with a college degree either.
Sure… your friends may have parents paying for their college but that doesn’t mean your parents should pay for yours. What makes your education their responsibility? They supported you for nearly two decades.
This goes for loans too. These people giving loans and scholarships don’t have unlimited money to hand out. They have their own responsibilities. You may have scored high or you may be in need but that doesn’t entitle you to anything.
This can look like a really negative thing at first.
What is this? Is it some kind of dog eat dog world we’re living in? (Even though that makes no biological sense.)
Not exactly. It’s kind of the opposite. No one is taking anything. If you were entitled to something then it would have to be taken from someone else. If you convince someone to do something for you then you’re both winning. They only are doing it because they find it beneficial (maybe it just makes them feel good.) If someone is forced or required to do something for you then only you’re winning.
If you want something from someone, earn it. Convince them. Make it useful for them too. When you want your teachers to help you in class, it doesn’t matter if it’s their responsibility or not. You can’t count on that. You need to win them over. This applies to everyone you deal with.
Once you get your perspective in line it all begins to make a whole lot more sense.
Everything Is A Gift
If someone does give you what you’re hoping for, it’s not because they owe you anything. It’s because they’re giving you a gift.
When that employer does give you a shot at a job, they’re giving you a gift.
When your parent does help with college, they’re giving you a gift.
When the world gives you the shot that you once thought your were entitled to, you’re being given a gift.
This even goes for promises people made to you.
Imagine your parents promised to pay for college after you graduate from high school. (I use this example only because I think it’s one that most of you can relate to.) When that promise was made, it’s highly doubtful that you expected your parents to pay for college no matter what. (If so then you need to be careful in the future.)
If your parents suddenly lost their jobs and started living on the streets, would you expect them to pay for your college with the spare change people drop in their coffee cup while they go hungry. Of course not!
Promises are not magic. No one can make them with 100% certainty. They’re just statements that every practical effort will be made to follow through with them (if they’re done honestly.)
Now… imagine your parents had absolutely no good reason at all for reneging on their promise to pay for your college. This is unlikely to ever happen but imagine it. Let’s say they just change their mind for no reason at all. They just don’t want to pay for your college anymore.
Where does that leave you?
If you expected them to help you then you’d (rightfully) be upset. Someone broke a promise to you. You might even get angry with them. You may yell and scream. You may just stop talking to them. Odds are, every conversation you have with them about it will be emotional and completely unproductive.
Imagine you assume that no one owes you anything. You won’t be as upset. You might be a little disappointed but nothing severe. You definitely would have no reason to be angry.
In this situation, you’re dramatically happier. Not only that but you can avoid your instantaneous emotional reaction. You may be able to discuss it with your parents in a way that doesn’t lead to an argument. In fact, you’re dramatically more likely to convince them to change their mind if you have a handle on your emotions about it. (People are much more interested in giving gifts to people that don’t act desperate to get them.)
A Gift For Graduating From High School
You may not completely appreciate it at this moment but this is a graduation gift that can change your life.
You will be more successful if you learn it.
No one likes someone that comes into a job or career expecting everything to be given to them. Your bosses or clients or whomever you’re trying to impress will appreciate when you go in willing to earn everything you deserve. (When you go in with that kind of an attitude you’ll find people are beating down your door trying to work with you.)
You will be happier if you learn it.
When you stop expecting other people to give you what you want you can appreciate what they do give you more. Not only that but, instead of expecting things, you learn how to earn things. (You’re learning to fish instead of getting a fish.) This will constantly be giving you more and more opportunities to earn. That, of course, can help you give to others in the future more.
No one owes you anything now that you’re graduating from high school. (No one ever did. They’ve all been gifts.) The joy that comes from realizing how many gifts you’re given in life is something that’s worth more than anything anyone could buy for you.
If you’re looking for a few more important things to learn while graduating from high school you might want to read 5 Other Things You Should Know Graduating From High School. That is an article in our subscriber exclusive section. Be sure to subscribe for free if you’re interested.
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