Wednesday, 13 June, 2007 2:29 PM
Send Grads Out With Realistic
-- During the convocation speeches she gives,
educator and bestselling author Susan V. Bosak likes to remind
graduates that there's only one American Idol each year. Having
dreams is important -- and so too is tempering those dreams with
realistic expectations. As National Chair of the Legacy Project,
a multigenerational education initiative that encourages lifelong
learning, Bosak offers some practical advice to graduates and
Research shows that of
those who graduate from high school and
college, more than half find themselves aimless. Many people in
their twenties and thirties experience depression because
expectations for their life haven't met reality. And too many
young people find themselves under their parents' roof, unable to
pay their own bills.
Bosak uses a simple tale
as a framework to explore the realities
of living a life. Her book "Dream" is a popular graduation
for all ages. It brings together contemporary artwork by 15 top
illustrators with quotations from historical sages and a poetic
story about hopes and dreams across a lifetime. The book has won
eleven national awards, including the Pinnacle Award as Best Gift
Book and the Benjamin Franklin Award for Best Book Celebrating
the Human Spirit.
"Each stage of life
in the book is associated with a different
color," says Bosak. "The green pages are where dreams
fulfilled and everything in your life is working. But hard things
happen, sad things happen, unexpected things happen, and we get
pulled into the gray. A key life skill is how to find your way
from the gray to the green."
Bosak offers these tips
to graduates heading out into the world
with big dreams:
-- Having big dreams
gives you energy and direction, but those
dreams are sustained by realistic expectations and determination.
People in Scandinavian countries are among the happiest in the
world because, research shows, they temper their long-term goals
with low expectations for the short term. Taking a longer-term
point of view is an important mindset.
-- Research doesn't support
the common belief that each of us has
natural talents -- that you're born to be a Wall Street investor
or a master golfer. Big dreams and greatness are achieved through
a lot of hard work over many years.
-- Most people learn
quickly at first, then more slowly, and then
tend to stop developing and growing. They get too comfortable and
don't push themselves. To achieve big things, you have to keep
-- Don't expect to have
it all figured out in your twenties.
Based on research, the general rule of thumb is that once you
choose an area of interest, it takes at least 10 years of
consistent work and practice to achieve a world-class ability in
-- If you look at all
the research into how human beings achieve
their potential, how people achieve goals, it boils down to
Believe, Do, Think. You have to have a measure of self-confidence
and courage. You have to take action. And you have to think --
constantly getting feedback and altering your course based on the
realities around you.
We all have different
strengths and achieve goals in different
ways. The Dreamer Profile on the Legacy Project website allows
you to explore whether you're a Creative, Dynamic, or Practical
Dreamer. You can also check out the Millionaire Quiz to see if
you have the characteristics to become a millionaire.
Susan V. Bosak (TCP Press, $17.95) is featured on the
graduation gift display in bookstores across the country. For
more LifeDreams tips, visit www.legacyproject.org.
Source: The Legacy