The P.A.

A weekly address from Patrick Adams,
President of St. Louis Community Credit Union

Words Of Wisdom We All Can Take To Heart

On May 18th, 2009, posted in: Uncategorized by

It is the season for graduations – at every level. In the beginning, moms and dads, grandmas and grandpas are “ooohing and aaahing” at the sight of their favorite kindergartner in their homemade, construction-paper mortar boards as they move down the aisle toward big boy and big girl school. Parents of high school seniors are anxiously torn between the pragmatism associated with the high cost of a college education and the loving emotions of their children taking that first big step toward adulthood. And the parents of college grads…well, let’s just say “welcome to the real world.”

If I were the guy charged with giving the commencement address at the university level, I would give those taking the next big step the following advice. What would I title the address? Let’s call it “Stuff You Really, Really Need To Know.” Here’s what I’d say…

“Congratulations and I wish you much success. As you enter the “gerbil on the wheel of life,” here are a few words of wisdom. The degree gets you in the door – your performance today gets you tomorrow. Your work is bigger than your job. Your job is the stuff that fills up 9 to 5. Your work is so much more important. You will be known for your work(s), not your title. Enjoy the people you work with – you will spend more waking hours with them than with your family. Speaking of people…be nice and respectful. God has blessed you so that you in turn can be a blessing to others. If you must error, do so on the side of compassion, empathy, and concern. Your job title dictates authority. But your attitude and leadership determine your power.

Shortly after the photo sessions you’ll share with a multitude of people later today, you will begin refining friendship. The number of acquaintances in your life will skyrocket, and the number of friends will dwindle. Don’t be alarmed…a single diamond out-values tons of stone. If you have two friends, and each of them has two friends, and each of them two, then across the miles, across the mountains, across the world, there will never again be war.

Chances are (with rare exception) you will make less money than you expect. Oh well, focus on a wealth of spirit versus a wallet full of cash. You’ll soon discover that your spirit-filled life makes everyone around you rich. In the meantime, in order to increase your take-home pay, take your lunch to work.

The keys to the company car are on a key ring located about nine levels up from you on the org chart. Your office will be a cubicle – maybe. Your chair will probably be broken. Don’t take yourself too seriously – you’re a freshman in high school all over again.

Your pre-occupation with self is viewed as trivial among most. The first step to climbing the corporate ladder is to bow to your inexperience. Handcuff yourself to humility for verily I say to you, you know very little. The safety net of school schedules and the laboratory-controlled bubble of campus life are done. The learning curve will be steep, but I encourage you to jump on and enjoy the ride.

Remember, wisdom is a by-product of knowledge. Your degree is not the end of your education, rather it signals the beginning of your pursuit of life’s experience(s). Look at every day as an experience. Learn to listen. While your transcript might appear stellar, my guess is that you’ve flunked more opportunities than you realize. Keep a running total of all that’s going on and file it away for future use. You will need it, because even what appears to be insignificant will hold meaning.

And for God’s sake, have some fun. Sure, you’re young and feeling 10-feet tall and bullet proof, but the realization of one’s mortality sets in all too soon. Yes, life is way too short and you’re going to spend the overwhelming majority of it working.”

Good Luck and God Bless You. One more thing…before you leave here today, give your parents a heartfelt “thank you.” Believe me, it’s reward enough.

No Responses to “Words Of Wisdom We All Can Take To Heart”

Leave a Reply