32 Random Things Every Graduating High School and College Senior Should Know


Here are my random words of advice to those about to enter the real world from the “safe space” of the educational complex. What follows (in no particular order) is a mix of things my grandparents and parents taught me, what I learned from great philosophers and the lessons I have learned over the years by being stubborn and foolish:

  1. Do no harm.
  2. Do good whenever you can.
  3. Treat others with respect, no matter their station in life.
  4. There is good in the world but there is also evil. Learn to recognize both of them.
  5. Truth is not relative but opinions are – and opinions are often wrong.
  6. Your rights end at the tip of my nose. The test of a true right is that if the prosecution of it does not infringe on the liberty of others, it is a right. If not, it is a social construct, not a right.
  7. The ignorant are often the most arrogant. Those the most in the wrong are often the most convinced they are correct.
  8. Reasoned arguments are good things but something to remember is that one can never reason someone out of a position they didn’t reason themselves into in the first place.
  9. Faith and science are not mutually exclusive concepts. Logic and reason are not enemies of God, they are gifts from Him.
  10. If you want to confuse your opponent during a negotiation, tell him the truth. No one expects to be told the truth these days.
  11. Someone is always watching you and people learn more about you from what you do and how you do it than what you say.
  12. There is an answer to every problem if you look hard enough.
  13. There is no such thing as a free lunch.
  14. Governments cannot create money without creating debt and a government has nothing but that which was taken from somebody first.
  15. The only people who never worry about debt are those who never intended to repay it in the first place.
  16. Economic freedom and individual freedom are inexorably linked.
  17. To be free to choose is to be free.
  18. Every individual has a right to his own person and his own productivity and private property is the basis for a free market system.
  19. In a free society, opportunities are constantly created but seldom recognized. Seeing opportunity where others don’t is a learned skill.
  20. Favors given with no expectation of return are the very favors that should be returned without fail.
  21. Compassion and sympathy are different concepts. Compassion requires action and involvement, sympathy merely requires observation. Tolerance and acceptance are not the same. Tolerance is allowing the existence, occurrence, or practice of a thing (often that one does not necessarily like or agree with) without interference. Acceptance is to believe or come to recognize something as valid or correct.
  22. The past matters and context is important because history repeats.
  23. Honor, integrity, self-respect and peace of mind are always worth whatever they cost.
  24. Once a liar, always a liar. A person willing to lie about small things will lie about big things.
  25. The most treasured position in life is to be trusted by another person.
  26. Life is a complex system. Complex systems are inherently unstable and catastrophe is always just around the corner – but learning how to prevent failures requires experience in failure, so be prepared to 1) fail, 2) recover from failure and 3) learn from the experience.
  27. If you always do what you did, you will always get what you got.
  28. If you expect little of people, that is exactly what you will get.
  29. Life owes you nothing but a chance. If you miss that chance, life may not give you another one, so always be prepared.
  30. Some people get lucky, other people make their own luck.
  31. Sometimes the lowest job done well yields the greatest rewards.
  32. Sometimes things need to be done simply because they need doing and often, you are the one who needs to do them.

Talk Amongst Yourselves:

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