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Let me take this moment to wholeheartedly congratulate each and every one of you today. I’m going to tell about two or three stories. I’m going to keep it really short. I remember my graduation speaker got up there and went on forever, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So I’m going to keep it short.
NUMBER ONE: PUT GOD FIRST.
Put God first in everything you do. Everything that you think you see in me, everything that I’ve accomplished, everything that you think I have – and I have a few things. Everything that I have is by the grace of God. Understand that. It’s a gift.
Forty years ago, I was flunking out of college. I had a 1.7 grade point average. I was sitting in my mother’s beauty parlor. I was looking in the mirror and I saw behind me a woman under the dryer. Every time I looked up, she was looking at me. She was looking me in the eye. I didn’t know who she was and she said, “Somebody, give me a pen, give me a pencil. I have a prophecy.”
She said, “Boy, you are going to travel the world and speak to millions of people.”
Well, I have traveled the world and I have spoken to millions of people, but that’s not the most important thing – the success that I had. The most important thing is that what she told me that day has stayed with me since.
I’ve been protected. I’ve been directed. I’ve been corrected. I’ve kept God in my life and it’s kept me humble. I didn’t always stick with Him but He always stuck with me.
So stick with Him in everything you do. If you think you want to do what you think I’ve done, then do what I’ve done and stick with God.
NUMBER TWO: FAIL BIG.
That’s right. Fail big. Today is the beginning of the rest of your life, and it’s going to be very frightening. It’s a new world out there. It’s a mean world out there. But you only live once, so do what you feel passionate about.
Take chances professionally. Don’t be afraid to fail. There’s an old IQ test that was nine dots and you had to draw four lines with a pencil within these nine dots without lifting the pencil.
The only way to do it was to go outside the box. So don’t be afraid to go outside the box. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Don’t be afraid to fail big, to dream big. But remember: dreams without goals are just dreams, and they ultimately fuel disappointment.
So have dreams, but have goals: life goals, yearly goals, monthly goals, daily goals. And understand that to achieve these goals, you must apply discipline and consistency. In order to achieve your goals, you must apply discipline, which you’ve already done, and consistency every day, not just one Tuesday and miss a few days. You have to work at it every day. You have to plan every day. You’ve heard the saying, “We don’t plan to fail; we fail to plan.”
Hard work works. Working really hard is what successful people do. And in this text, tweet, twerk world that you’ve grown up in, remember: just because you’re doing a lot more doesn’t mean you’re getting a lot more done. Remember that. Just because you’re doing a lot more doesn’t mean you’re getting a lot more done.
Don’t confuse movement with progress. My mother said, “Yeah, because you can run in place all the time and never get anywhere.” So continue to strive. Continue to have goals. Continue to progress.
NUMBER THREE: YOU’LL NEVER SEE A U-HAUL BEHIND A HEARSE.
I don’t care how much money you make; you can’t take it with you. It’s not how much you have ― it’s what you do with what you have. We all have different talents ― some of you will be doctors, some lawyers, some scientists, some educators, some nurses, some teachers, some preachers.
The most selfish thing you can do in this world is help someone else. Why is this selfish? Because the gratification, the goodness that comes to you, the good feeling, the good feeling that I get from helping others, nothing’s better than that. That’s where the joy is: in helping others. That’s where the success is: in helping others.
Finally, I pray that you put your slippers way under the bed tonight, so that when you wake up in the morning, you have to get on your knees to reach them.
And while you’re down there, say thank you for grace, thank you for mercy, thank you for understanding, thank you for wisdom, thank you for parents, thank you for love, thank you for kindness, thank you for humility, thank you for peace, thank you for prosperity.
Say “thank you” in advance for what’s already yours.
That’s how I live my life. That’s one of the reasons why I am the person I am today.
Say “thank you” in advance for what is already yours.
True desire in the heart for anything good is God’s proof to you sent beforehand to indicate that it’s yours already.
Anything you want, good, you can have, so claim it. Work hard to get it. When you get it, reach back, pull someone else up. Each one, teach one.
Don’t just aspire to make a living. Aspire to make a difference.