I still remember my graduation like it was yesterday. It was nearly 30 years ago. My son just graduated this week, and it brought those feelings rushing back.

I remember feeling glad that school was over. Those last few weeks were unproductive. I remember feeling like I must have accomplished something big, based on the emotions I saw on the faces of my family that day. I certainly wasn’t used to all of that attention, but I rolled with it. I maintained a smile, when others had tears.

I remember feeling optimistic, yet scared about my future. I had some ideas for a career path, but nothing was solidified. It is difficult to feel certain, at age 18. There are so many unknowns, which would only come to unlock with experience.

I remember all the suggestions and advice received from others. It was a flood of ideas, of hope. Well-wishes. I remember feeling the anxiety of not wanting to let others down. I remember thinking to myself, “could I really do something great?”

I was saddened by silly thoughts, that I realized I’d never experience again. High-fives and hugs with friends in the hallways between class bells. The teachers that influenced me, or scolded me. Not seeing all my friends on a daily basis. We’d soon be scattered to the wind, to pursue our own paths. Many of those paths never cross, again.

If I could offer one piece of advice to you, something I wish I had known back then, it would be this. Dream! Dream bigger than merely aspiring for average. Believe in yourself, and never let anyone try to hold you back with their words. Set goals so high that they seem ridiculous, and make others doubt you. Do not settle, just because the majority do.

You may not have that confidence yet. Keep practicing. Confidence is purely a decision. It is simply a choice to be confident, it isn’t something genetic. You may not have yourself figured out yet. That is okay, you have time. There is no rushing to discover your purpose in life. It will eventually come to you. It could be decades later. You are here for a reason. Never give up searching to find it.

In 5 years, you will not be the same person that you are today. In 25 years, you will not be the same person, either. Understand that we go through several phases of our lives. We get to constantly redefine who we are, and adapt to new things. This never ends. Always embrace positive change, and keep learning.

Most of all, be helpful to others. Always give more than you ask. Give a hand when you have nothing left. Teach others what you know. Strive to become better, every single day. Seek to positively impact the world, and all of its people. This will serve you so much in life, as the return is immeasurable.

Tony Whatley, Amazon #1 Best-Selling Author. (dreams can come true!)