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8 Lessons Every College Graduate Needs to Learn About the “Real World”

8 Lessons Every College Graduate Needs to Learn About the “Real World”

Being a new college graduate is as exciting as it is scary. For the first time you are face to face with the real world and charged with making something of yourself. School is out and it is up to you to take what you have learned and find your way in the world. It is easy to lose sight of the things that really matter along the way, so as you try to find your way through the tangled jungle of the “real world,” take these eight lessons along with you to make the most of your life.

1. Focus on Happiness

It is easy to confuse money and happiness. Money can buy you comfort and remove a lot of the stress that goes along with struggling to pay the bills. The thing people often forget, however, is that once you have enough money to pay for a nice life and put a little savings away each month, every dollar you earn brings you less and less happiness. Instead of driving yourself towards your next promotion or next big career move, spend time with friends and family enjoying the simple things and relaxing. Happiness is worth a lot more than money.

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2. Prioritize People

Whenever scientists go off in search of what makes people happy they always find the same thing: family and friends. In the words of Harvard psychologist and happiness researcher Daniel Gilbert, “We are happy when we have family, we are happy when we have friends and almost all the other things we think make us happy are actually just ways of getting more family and friends.” Put people ahead of money. They are the only thing in your life that really matters.

3. Think Critically, Always

Don’t do something or believe something just because a lot of people have done it or believed it for a long time. Question everything and have reasons to back up the way you act. The moment you give up examining the world is the moment you will fall into the crowd and lose your individuality.

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4. Time is Valuable

Nothing is as valuable as your time. You can’t save it or expand it. Time will always pass at the same rate no matter how much money you have or how successful you are. Make sure you use it in ways that will maximize your enjoyment of life. Every moment you spend doing something you hate is a moment you will never get back. Value every second.

bensonk42
    bensonk42 via flickr

    5. Beware Bureaucracy

    When you are starting out in your career it might be tempting to go work for a large organization that can offer you a lot of perks and opportunity for advancement. The problem with companies like that is the only way to hold them together is to have lots of systems and rules in place with very little flexibility. The bigger the company, the less room there generally is for creative, outside-the-box thinking, which is exactly what young people are good at.

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    6. Networking Is Important

    Everyone says it, but they say it for a reason. As you move through your career the best opportunities will present themselves through people you have met. Odds are you won’t find a life-changing path to follow on a job board, it will pop up in a conversation.

    7. Pursue Health

    Don’t undervalue your personal health. The only way you will have the energy to pursue the relationships and experiences that will make you happy is to be in reasonably good shape. Adding a few years to your life will also give you more time to enjoy things, which as we have learned is your most valuable resource.

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    8. Roll the Dice

    In the immortal words of George Carlin: “Take a chance.” You only get one shot at living the life you want, so don’t waste it always following the safe path. If you really want to start your own business but are worried about the risks, use your fear to fuel you passion. Learn as much as you can about what you want to pursue and go after it. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.

    Featured photo credit: Andrew Schwegler via flickr.com

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    Last Updated on July 2, 2020

    7 Ways To Stop Being Lazy And Start Getting Things Done

    7 Ways To Stop Being Lazy And Start Getting Things Done

    “I’m going to take a lazy day today.”

    Okay, there’s nothing wrong with this. It’s called a day off, and it’s a magical thing.

    But when every day is a “lazy day,” there’s a problem. Sometimes we just need a kick in the butt to get us up and moving, so we can handle our business effectively.

    Often, laziness has a deeper and darker cause that we don’t want to think about, let alone acknowledge. Here are 7 ways to stop being lazy and become more productive.

    1 Find Out the Root Cause

    Are you burned out from working 27 hours a day, 9 days a week since before you can remember? This is a signal that you need a rest or a change.

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    Human beings are not meant to work all the time. Our paleolithic ancestors worked, on average, about 20 hours a week. (Yeah, we members of modern society are getting hosed.) Maybe you feel overwhelmed, are afraid to fail at the task, or you just don’t want to do the task; these are discrete problems with separate solutions.

    Finding out the root cause of your laziness can help you make the changes you need to make to be a more effective and energetic person.

    2. Find Your Passion for the Work

    You started doing what you do for a reason, but sometimes, even the tasks we love the most can become dreary and mundane. When this happens, remind yourself why you started doing it in the first place.

    You must have had a passion for it at some point, or you wouldn’t be bothering with it. Remind yourself of the good points of the work, not just the parts that suck.

    3. Break up Your Time

    People work more efficiently when they have ample rest time. Working in short, focused bursts is far more effective than trying to slog through the task all at once. Not only will you be happier with the end product, but you’ll feel better and more energized after completing it.

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    Learn about The Importance of Scheduling Downtime.

    4. Look at Ways You Can Do the Task More Efficiently

    When possible, work smarter instead of harder.

    We’ve already talked about why working hard doesn’t work as well. If you can find a better way to do the task, you’re more likely to enjoy it because you’re not simply performing the task by rote, but rather, using your creativity and imagination to their best effect. This will make you feel better about the job and probably enjoy it more, too.

    Try these 12 Ways to Work Smart.

    5. Ask for Help or Support

    Sometimes, we just need a little extra backup. There’s nothing wrong with asking for help from a more motivated coworker, friend, or family member. This is a useful way to get you up and moving, because they will motivate you to do the task.

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    At the same time, you may be doing them a favor by motivating them to work harder. A little friendly competition never hurt anyone!

    Learn How to Ask for Help When You’re Afraid To Do So.

    6. Think About Why You Don’t Want to Do the Task

    This sounds like a rehash of number 1, but it’s really not.

    Some jobs we don’t want to do because they’re just not fun. Mowing the lawn, cleaning the house, or getting under the car and replacing the alternator all have one thing in common. People don’t like doing these jobs because they take time and energy, they’re not pleasant, and we know that sooner or later, we’ll just be doing the same thing all over again.

    However, instead of thinking about why you don’t want to do the task, think about the benefits. Your car will run better, the Homeowners’ Association won’t be leaving you a nasty gram for the sixth time this month, and your house will look nicer and feel more welcoming.

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    By turning a negative into a positive, you’ll find your outlook about these tasks will be more positive too.

    7. Force Yourself

    Sometimes there’s just no getting around it. All the good advice and wishes in the world won’t make the job look any better. In these cases, you need to remember you’re an intelligent, mature member of Homo Sapiens, and get off your butt.

    While it may not be fun at the time, you can look back on the task you did later and say, “Yeah. I did that.” You shouldn’t have to force yourself out of bed every morning (this is a warning sign of depression that you should NOT ignore), but every once in a while, we need to force ourselves to do something we just don’t want to do.

    Believe it or not, you’ll be proud of yourself once the task is done.

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    Featured photo credit: Kelly Sikkema via unsplash.com

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