By Farrah Gray
Recently, I was invited to become the commencement speaker at Greenville Technical College by Dr. Thomas E. Barton, Jr., the longest-serving president of a two-year college in the nation.
After a year-long relationship was established in discussion with the president, faculty and staff at the technical college, my foundation developed an experiential, entrepreneurship curriculum to offer to local, community-based organizations off-campus.
I was honored to address the thousands of accomplished graduates and their family, friends and stakeholders that played an important part of the graduates’ achievements.
At Greenville Tech, my message to all in attendance included advice on finding their “area of excellence”.
The faces of the future were proud the smiling faces of a true “melting pot. This “new majority” with diverse skills, backgrounds, motivation and mentality will choose to invent their own future gained while attending college.
Everywhere we look at jobs today, occupations and vocations which are increasingly focused on knowledge and information. Unfortunately, some occupational changes will be out of one’s control as the occupational mix in the economy continues to change rapidly, moving forward in the 21st century.
Their challenge and ours is to understand the implications of this “New World” and prepare our selves for it.
A Japanese proverb comes to mind:
“Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare.”
Speaking of vision and determination, a 95-year-old graduate became the oldest world’s college graduate. According to Guinness World Records, the 95-year-old breaks the record of a woman age 90, who received a journalism degree in 2004.
“Improvise, Adapt and Overcome”
This is the unofficial mantra of the Marine Corps based on the fact that the Corps generally received Army hand-me-downs and the troops were poorly equipped. Despite this, the Marine Corps has been successful mostly because of the creativity, tenacity, success-oriented mindset and organization of its people. Without personal organization, the struggle to achieve will be like a winding road to nowhere
As personal “futurist” we can design our own destiny by beginning with the end in mind…the end being the realization of your vision. This will motivate you to achieve your purpose. Without motivation, inspiration and vision nothing worthwhile will be achieved. In life, we are either driven by promise or pain: The promise of an abundant future or the immediate need to change a painful situation.
Your immediate goals often relieve you of an undesirable situation. Your long-term vision propels you toward great possibilities. Your vision must resonate with your values if you are to enjoy the journey. If you are not excited about what you’re doing with your life, you’ll probably not get maximum results. This is a clear indication that you are not living your life’s purpose.
State what you envision for yourself. Don’t attach timelines just yet…we’ll get to that in a second.
You are blessed and highly favored. You have within you everything that you need to achieve your goals. Learn how you work. How can you put your values, beliefs, assets, liabilities, strengths and weakness to work for you?
Your assets and liabilities are one and the same…depending on how you approach them.
Set the vision. Do the work. Move in the right direction. Monitor your progress every week and every month. If it helps, make a chart. Don’t change the goal, even if you fall behind. And if the process leads in a different direction do not be afraid to change the course and follow it.
If you want success, you must plan for success rather than failure. You don’t set out for Los Angeles from New York by walking eastward, do you? Of course not! You have to be walking in the right direction to get where you’re going.
In the words of baseball great, Satchel Paige:
“Don’t look back. Something might be gaining on you.”
Entrepreneur, philanthropist and bestselling author and award-winning fashion designer Farrah Gray has inspired millions around the world through motivational speaking, economic evangelism and the strength of his example. Gray is also an agent of social change. His partnerships include the Kauffman Foundation, the Floyd Mayweather Jr. Foundation, National Coalition for the Homeless and the National Marrow Donor Program, among others.