Graduating from high school is an educational milestone. Congratulations. To be successful in life you must be educated, and you must be a hard worker.
Even though education comes in different forms, you cannot expect to be successful if you do not have the requisite skills to reach your goals. It is a cop-out to say that luck is the only reason successful people are successful. Thomas Jefferson said it right: “I am a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”
As you enter the adult world, you are responsible for your future. Life is never easy or fair. Your past may be filled with difficulty, and your future will certainly contain some adversity. You need not let your past define your future.
Do not give other people the power to define your self-worth. There are two kinds of people in the world: those who blame others and see the glass of life as half-empty, and those who take responsibility, seeing the glass as half-full. Be the positive person who sees the glass as half-full. Be grateful for the blessings in your life. There are blessings in every life — you just have to look.
Successful people do not succeed at every task undertaken. Being successful requires the ability to overcome adversity, the ability to learn from failure, and the ability to try again if something is really important.
Don’t be an air thief. An air thief is someone that walks in the room and sucks the life out of everyone in his or her presence. An air thief always takes and never gives. Make sure that your life involves helping others. People will help you. Make sure to thank them often and profusely. If you can’t return the favor, pay it forward.
Engage in random acts of kindness. True generosity does not need any recognition. Every morning make a commitment to compliment another human being. Make your compliment more than superficial. If someone opens a door for you, rather than just saying, “Thanks,” compliment the person for having good manners. If someone looks good, rather than saying, “I like your dress,” say, “You have good taste and style.”
Lastly, smile when you look at people. People respond warmth and positive energy. I cannot promise you an easy life, but I can promise you a fulfilling life. The choice is yours.
Consuelo Maria Callahan is a judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and a member of the board of regents for the University of the Pacific. She lives in north San Joaquin County.