Things change after college – no one will debate that.
It’s a big mish-mash of more freedom, less homework, more bills, less drinking, more alone time, less social drama, more decisions, less free time, etc, etc, etc.
And while moving away from home and going to college is a huge transition for most, the transition of graduating from college is arguably a more significant one because it sets the foundation for how you will live the rest of your “grown-up” life.
For me, the transition has been glorious, albeit a bit rocky…
My indecision of choosing a college major continued as I hopped between careers before settling into a profitable entrepreneurial lifestyle. My one night stands, well they kind of continued—but there have been a couple great long-term relationships mixed in. And most importantly, my confidence, sense of self, and overall happiness has built steady momentum over the last four years since graduating.
While this doesn’t make me an expert, I do think I have quite a bit to share with my fellow postgrads—and any soon-to-be graduates.
1. Take lots of risks
Now is the time my friends. You don’t have a family or aging parents to look after. You’re only responsible for yourself. So take risks and try things that you may not be able to do in the future.
I quit a job as a software engineer to be a personal trainer. It didn’t end up being my calling either, but it did lead me to starting my own website and self-publishing several Amazon bestselling books—and this eventually did become my calling.
Taking risks early and often will desensitize you to the fear of failure that holds so many of us back. Approach that cute girl, quit your job, move abroad, do whatever it is that you’re itching to do. Even if you fail you will learn valuable life lessons.
Don’t fall victim to the analysis paralysis that prevents the majority of people from taking risks. There will never be a “perfect” time, so do it now.
2. Don’t let dating rule your life
After graduating I jumped headfirst into the dating and “pickup” scene.
Looking back, I was clearly trying to compensate for my relative lack of success with girls in college. I went out every weekend night, going on countless dates, and consciously trying to improve my dating “skills.”
And it worked. My success skyrocketed. But I began to tie my happiness and self-confidence to the number of dates I was going on and the amount of sex I was having. I’ve since had a couple of great girlfriends who I really enjoyed dating. But ultimately I realized that no girl or number of girls can make me happy if I’m not happy alone.
Realizing that wanting a girlfriend – or a hook-up buddy – or whatever it is that you want – is fundamentally different than needing one. You can be perfectly happy and confident without one. You might want it, but you don’t need it.
3. Handpick your closest friends
“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.”
This quote, by entrepreneur and author Jim Rohn is simply true. Right now think about how the five people that you spend the most time with shape your life. What traits and interests do you share with them? What bad habits or limiting beliefs might you share with them?
This is a tough one, but you should strive to spend time with people who inspire you and motivate you to improve, not people you just bitch and moan about life with, or waste away time watching TV and playing video games with.
I’m not saying to cut off old friends and family members who don’t fit this mold, but certainly recognize that spending less time with them may be beneficial for your overall success and happiness.
4. Refine your daily habits
See what I did there?
If you spend all your free time drinking beers and watching TV, then you’re unlikely to accomplish much, if anything. But if you fill your free time with habits like reading, writing, meditating, and working out, you’re likely to carry the strength, knowledge, and discipline you develop into your career and relationships – and dominate life all the more because of it.
5. Save money
I won’t go into tremendous detail here. But saving your money goes a long way. It allows you to live off of smaller paychecks, and ultimately gives you more freedom to travel and try new things.
Don’t get caught up in buying a home, getting a fancy car, or any of that BS – the time for that will come – but now is the time for more experiments and new experiences.
6. Stay fit
This is another brief point. But it’s hard to feel good about yourself and crush life if you don’t physically feel good.
Getting fit is actually quite simple, but it does take discipline in your diet and exercise. And this discipline will transfer to other areas of your life and further propel your success.
7. Put yourself first
Be more selfish…
I cannot stress this enough. I don’t advise doing it at the expense of others, but I do strongly advise keeping your best interests in mind.
Don’t choose a place to live, a career, a girlfriend, or make any other major decision just to please anyone else. You’re the only person who has to live with your decisions for the rest of your life, so make them FOR YOU, not your family, friends, or work colleagues.
Giving into the pressure of others, whether that pressure is explicit or implied, will only lead to regretting your choice and resenting those who influenced it in the long run.