Last week, my awesome coauthor, John David Mann and I each received an email request from our great friend, Randy Stelter. You might remember Randy as the Athletic Director of Wheeler High School in Valparaiso, Indiana who – along with his Principal, Don Gandy – utilized The Go-Giver as a study course for graduating seniors.
He wrote: “I have a quick favor to ask both of you. Last night at a retirement party for three of our teachers, two of our graduation speakers asked me what the one thing was I wanted the seniors to remember about The Go-Giver. I immediately thought of 20 things I wanted them to remember. Then I thought about the movie City Slickers with Billy Crystal and the ‘one thing’ line.” 🙂 Randy then asked us each what we would suggest.
My response didn’t have anything to do with the book. Instead, here’s what I wrote:
Randy, thank you for asking. You know, I’ve been thinking on this one and – it’s always difficult to come up with a “one thing for someone to remember.” And, certainly, when it comes to high school seniors, if there’s going to be just one thing, you want it to be impactful.
Actually, the “just one thing” line from City Slickers is certainly a great one.
Another is the famous line from Return of the Jedi, where Yoda tells Luke, “do or do not. There is no try.”
Trying often means one is not really committed. Of course, there is a time and place for most everything (including just trying) but if someone “really” desires something, then that is not the place to try; only to do or do not.
Another “one thing” to remember is to “think.”
Thinking includes questioning. Question others and question yourself. Question your premises, as well as the premises of anyone who says something as though it is fact. Ask, why is that a fact? Who says — Who decreed it such? And, based on what logic or reasoning?”
Most of us make major decisions based on very limited information, and information that is based on or filtered through our particular belief systems, much of which we had no hand ourselves in forming. In other words, the process is often unconscious.
We must stay conscious of the fact that our unconscious often rules us. So, remember to think.
Another one – a saying I’ve heard for years but don’t know who to credit it to, might perhaps be the best one of all:
“Your purpose in life is to find your purpose in life.”
I think if someone keeps that in mind they can’t go wrong, providing they don’t get intimidated by it, and they realize it’s an ongoing process; that some people discover it early and some later and that it doesn’t so much matter when you discover it as much as staying conscious of the fact you’re in the process of discovering it. If you do that, life will be a great adventure.
John also answered and he’ll be posting his response on his blog and on our blog over at TheGoGiver.com.
The interesting thing to me, however, was that when I posted Randy’s question on my two Facebook pages I received a total of more than 60 responses that were downright brilliant and inspiring.
So, let me ask you this: If you had just one piece of advice; just one thing you would like to share with a bunch of excited, graduating high school seniors…what would it be?? Let us know. You might just end up being part of the Wheeler High School graduation ceremonies.
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When I was younger nobody ever told me about mentors. It took me forever to realize that I had a divine destiny.
I say find someone you can trust to be consistant, full of integrity, productive, and interested and successful in the things that also make your heart sing.
Follow what they do, read their books and articles, get out and hear them speak, and get to know them.
“I Did it My Way ” makes a great song but it doesn’t work for life really.
You, Bob have been a wonderful inspiration for me and a great example. You don’t flit around, you are just always there. My copy of your “Winning without Intimidation” is never out of my sight. I appreciate what you do, and may God give you energy to keep it up.
funny I just spoke at a commencement, so I had to think about what one thing I wish someone had told me, here’s what I came up with:
You can get good grades, graduates with honors, get a great job, get married, buy a house, have kids, move up in the world, but until you examine what’s inside your own soul you will never be truly happy.
A few of the parents got a little jittery when I told them: your parents can inspire you and support you, but at the end of the day, it’s not their life, it’s yours, and until you get clear on who you are, you’re always going to be following a script written by somebody else.
wonder if they’ll ask me back?
This is so timely for me…I have a son graduating high school tomorrow evening. So, I find myself searching for those perfect words to share with him which undoubtedly will stick with him forever, as he experiences one of the most important days of his young life. Wow…when you are on the proverbial “hot-seat” and the pressure is on this becomes a seemingly impossible task…
Then I think back to how we’ve raised him and the philospohies my wife and I have embraced over the years. I reflect on the wisdom that has been shared with me over the years that has become part of our everyday lives.
At this moment in time, I think I will share with my son a thought which has been shared with me over and over…it has been tweaked over the years as others have added their own twist…but the idea still is the same…
“Give a man a fish and feed him for a day…teach a man to fish and feed him and his family for life…teach a man to teach others how to fish and together you can change the world!”
Bob, you’re dead on with your choices and there are so many other fantastic responses here and on the Facebook post. I think my “one thing” is to be fully aware and appreciative of the lasting impact of ANY experience. The most precious things you take with you from ANY experience are the experience itself and the connections that experience made possible. How many of us have reached out to former professors, classmates, companies we interned with etc… And think about the connections that happened INTERNALLY – the things that you learn about yourself, the ah ha moments. When we LEARN how to make connections we can create and repeat success under ANY circumstances.
Bob, I would tell them never to underestimate the value of the knowledge they accumulate outside the classroom. While having that sheep skin is important most of us are lucky if half of what we need to be successful will come out of a book or in a classroom.
Life’s experiences, observations we make of others, and knowledge we pick up from interacting with people all provide incredible value in who we become.
Bob – I think about my own son who just graduated from college – so different from the younger version who graduated from college five years prior. I remember telling him then to embrace the discovery process and don’t be afraid to make mistakes – that is where our greatest lessons and knowledge come from.
We may start down a path and think it’s right for us and then discover it isn’t. That’s ok. It’s better to acknowledge that and adjust than to continue out of a self-made obligation.
Never stop learning. Life is teaching you something every moment. Savor the moments. Respect yourself and the people you meet. Always look at how to improve someone’s day.
To thine own self be true, love what you do!
Have the intention to make someone else’s life, better 🙂
My ONE THING would be to — no matter what — live by the golden rule. Do Unto Others as You Want Done to You. It was true when my parents told me it as a little girl. It was true in school when faced with peer pressure and decisions that would define your character. And I found it to be even more true in the work place: leading by example is the easiest way to gain credibility, respect and responsibility — and with them, reward. (Whether monetary or otherwise).
I’m grateful to my parents for instilling this simple philosophy in my head through repetition and through example. I try hard to let it govern my actions. To me, it’s very much in spirit with being a Go-Giver!
“When opportunity arises, when in doubt, talk yourself in rather than talking yourself out.”
Bob, For me the “just one thing” is beautifully stated in the Fourth Law of “The Go-Giver” – The Law of Authenticity: The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself. Be your authentic self and everything else will flow through you. Easier said than done, but I think it is our purpose in life.
Thank you for sharing yourself through your inspiring posts.
I’m happy to be your #blog30 friend this month. Looks like you have a LOT going on.
Here’s my advice: GET MOVING…you can change direction in mid-flight, but you have to be moving.
True wealth is not tied to the strings of the purse but rather the strings of the heart.~Rick Beneteau
Find a way to earn a living doing what you love to do. You will never have to work another day in your life after that.
My advice is to do the Hokey Pokey once a week, just in that really is what it’s all about!
Find a successful mentor who understands, and lives a balanced life …
You have gain much more than you applied for. you entered to learn and gain patience, you entered to learn and aquired discipline, you entered to learn and you gained a new confidence. My hope is that you take all that you have been equipted with and prosper. May you be fulfiled in your spirit and in soceity. – James Johnson
Life is not a competition. Tying in with your advice of “Your purpose in life is to find your purpose in life,” it’s about doing YOUR OWN thing, not the thing everyone else is doing. It may be tempting to compare what you have or don’t have with those around you, but it doesn’t serve any good purpose. Follow your own special path.
The ONLY person in the world that is responsible for YOUR Success in this life… is the reflection you see every day in the mirror. YOU and YOU alone bare the burden of becoming all that you have within you to become.
It’s not up to your teachers, your bosses, your friends or your parents… it’s all up to YOU and if YOU want something bad enough in life. YOU will find a way to achieve it and make it happen, if YOU don’t want it bad enough YOU will find an EXCUSE.
Go live a life in the spirit of “The Go – Giver”
Warm Regards and God Bless,
– Jim Gillhouse
My advice: build relationships, and treat people the way they want to be treated. The rest is commentary (to paraphrase a wise man)
WOWEEE!!! Nice collection of responses! Way to go Bob, and everyone.
I have to say tha the one thing I love most about the Go-Giver philosohpy (don’t be shy, Bob – share that!) is that giving and receiving are related but not attached. It’s something of a paradox very worth getting zen about.
I’m happy to share that I recommended your book again to a client who is the number one sales person in the nation for his company – and he may be giving up cold-calling completely!!!
My youngest graduates elementary school this year and my oldest from middle school. Congrats to ALL the graduates! Keep rockin!
All very good comments, I enjoyed reading.
“Follow YOUR dreams and enjoy the journey.”
The question that you’ve been asked since you could walk, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” Can only be answered with one word – “Me” – I cant BE anything else. I may DO other things, but I always need to remember to BE ME. As for the future, dont get caught up in deciding today what the next 60 years will be filled with – let it come by you one day at a time – but live by Leonardo DaVinci’s mantra – each of his sketchbooks started and ended with the same phrase “Ancora Imparo” which is latin for “Always be learning” – – Couldnt have said it better myself Leo!
Don’t let your music stay in your head . . . the world is waiting for your symphony!
Some great responses here already, mine would have to echo yours: “Your purpose in life is to find your purpose in life.”
It was when I understood for the first time as a young adult that I needed to get to know who I was, what I liked/disliked and what my motivations were that I truly started living a fulfilling life.
Life is to be enjoyed, not to be endured.
oh, and it was when I started living a fulfilling life that I started having a much bigger & more positive impact on those around me 🙂
I think I heard this from Brian Tracy: Everything Counts
This is especially true for graduates to understand when there’s a temptation to kick back a bit and celebrate an amazing accomplishment like graduation.
It’s way too easy to think you’ve got decades ahead of you to “get serious.” But the years pass fast.
I certainly wasn’t a slacker in my youth, but I can see where I wasted some years by just going through the motions. I can’t get those years back.
I wish I had appreciated at the time the value I could have placed into each day and that everything I did – good, bad or indifferent – still counted in creating who I am now.
It’s something I try to get across to my kids today.
“Your purpose in life is to find your purpose in life and with all your heart give yourself to it” – Buddha
And as you do, Bob, make it an absolutely incredible day for someone!
Commit your life to becoming the best version of yourself.
I would say to follow your passion. Find that one thing in life that makes your heart sing and find a way to follow it in your every day life. When you do, everything else falls into place.
I’m thinking backwards to find the “one thing” anyone ever said that had a huge impact on me. It was not a statement or a quote. It was the time a mentor and guide described something I was thinking of doing but had not shared with him yet. Then he said,”but you would never do anything like that.” He uplifted my sense of self and created a higher vision to live by. There is endless value in finding someone or somebodies who see way deep inside to who you can truly be-come and hold that image before you. Super-vision.
Great post Bob, I listen to a talk back in the 80’s by the then President of the University of Georgia, who was addressing a group of exhibit manufacturer’s and the one thing I took away from that is his Mantra: Show up. On time. Dressed to play.
For many of us this means being prepared, disciplined and knowledgeable in our fields. It also means leaving all the baggage you don’t require to do your job at the door, give your clients 100% of yourself after all that’s what they are paying for.
My Dad rose from being a teller with a high school education to VP of the largest Trust Company in Canada. When I asked him for his best advice he said ” When faced with a dilemma weigh all the pros and cons, make a decision and move on. That way three things happen: you unburden yourself from unsolved problems which will take up most of your cognitive time, and should things not turn out as expected you will never have to kick yourself in the ass because you made the best decision you could at the time. The third is that you will have moved on and made so many other great decisions one misfire won’t drag you down.” Successful people are Decision Makers!
I wondered what I would tell my three offspring who are all 20ish, if placed on the spot. It’s a humbling place. What have I REALLY learned in my almost 50 years? This question demands to know.
For me it’s a blend of the ‘find your purpose’, ‘find the one thing’ and ‘never give up’, because I feel, and think, that emphasizing authenticity, and encouraging talents and true self – and rewarding determination, makes a better world.
Therefore, new adults, search inside yourself, and only there, for what motivates you to serve others, and then never give up your pursuit of that, wherever it may take you.
Hi everyone. While I didn’t respond individually, please know that I am so very thankful to all of you for sharing your wisdom. I read every one of your comments, several times. Words cannot express how grateful I am to and for you…not to mention, how totally impressed I am with your terrific teachings. Thank you VERY much!
is there a study course on the go givers and if so how do you get ti