It’s graduation season, which means it’s commencement speech season. One notable speech already making the rounds is Charlie Day’s at Merrimack College, where the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia actor brought forth some serious wisdom to listeners (alongside his share of less serious stories). Specifically: don’t wait for your big break to come, make your break.
And whether you’re one of many graduating students or you’re just entering your first year of college, the mindset of opportunity-creating as opposed to opportunity-waiting is an important one to keep. Here are a few tips that can help you do just that.
Take your work seriously Maintaining a positive approach to your work, be it school or otherwise, can lead to many opportunities. It can cause professors to take note, peers to be more interested in collaborating with you, and even land you strong letters of recommendation and references if you need them down the road. So even when a task isn’t exactly what you want it to be, approach it with zeal.
Listen Taking a break from talking and instead genuinely listening to others – asking them questions and processing their words – can do much more than make you a good conversationalist. In fact, it can snowball into the biggest factor in opportunity-creating: a strong network.
Imitate An important part of paying attention is developing the ability to emulate others. Take note of the ways people you look up to live their life and see how you can do the same. This is something every successful person does. It’s an important practice in humility, prevents complacency, and is a good way to make sure your stock is always rising.
Be decisive Aside from taking too much time to make your decisions (and allowing time, for example, to make them for you), spending too much time consulting other sources can hurt you, too. When you find yourself at a crossroad, ask yourself what will make you better at what you want to do and go from there.
Take calculated risks Taking risks is all about, as Day states, staying hungry. Don’t stray away from opportunities just because you’re afraid to put yourself out there, or fear that you’ll fail. Failure, after all, is never permanent and there’s always something to be gained from trying.
Check out Day’s full speech here.
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