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Your Mission: Learn To Live

Jackie Gingrich Cushman on

May is graduation month. Students, parents and friends celebrate the end of one process and the start of another. Once we finish with our formal education, we often forget that our learning should not end. Lifelong learning is critical, and I hope that this column will serve as a reminder that we all have something more to learn. Think of this, dear reader, as my spring gift, which applies regardless of whether you are graduating this spring.

You have great value, talents and skills. Somewhere out in the world, there is the perfect fit for your talents and skills, and an opportunity for you to make a difference. Finding that perfect fit might come immediately, or it might take decades, but -- however long it takes -- be certain that you are of great value and that you are here on this earth for a reason. It is your mission to find your perfect fit.

First impressions are important. Look people in their eyes and shake their hands (or, in high-COVID-19 areas, bump fists). Be willing to pitch in and make things happen. When you've finished your tasks, look around and see how you can help others. Don't wait for others to catch up; help them catch up.

Be patient. You might feel pressure to force next steps or an answer, but don't. Wait and see how life unfolds. Be patient; life goes faster than you think.

Understand that a missed opportunity might simply be moving you in another direction. A door shuts, and a window opens. Look for that window.

Be passionate about something. It might be your work, your family or a cause to which you volunteer your time and talents. This passion will bring energy and enthusiasm into all aspects of your life.

 

Work hard at something. Give it your all, and don't be afraid to fail. Failure is the fastest way to learn, eliminating what not to do in the future.

Surround yourself, in both work and play, with people whom you admire. You will become a better person for being around them.

Assume that your emails, texts, Instagrams, Facebook postings, etc., will be printed on the front page of The New York Times. Failure to heed that warning will be to your detriment.

Don't try to manipulate other people. It might work in the short term, but never in the long term.

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