Tips for the Class of 2015

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If you want something bad enough, you have to work hard for it. From my early days as a disc jockey, spinning records for parties, earning extra cash to my days of strategic capital and management for a variety of companies, I never expected to be handed a thing.

I knew very well there were – and are – no shortcuts to anything in life. Success comes from a desire to know where you’ve been, where you want to go, and your desire and strength needed to get there. Many years of hard work and determination got me to the point where I am today.

We all have something that makes us tick, makes us get out of bed in the morning to prove ourselves, and make gobs of money along the way. As Elizabeth Holmes, who at 31 is the youngest self-made female billionaire, just told Pepperdine University, as quoted by Forbes:

“When I first started our company, almost everyone I met told me there was no way I would succeed, and that I should go back to school. And as we began to succeed, the number of people who started attacking and tearing us down grew even greater. When it’s hardest is when it matters most. Stay the course. In my own life, I’ve always believed those moments are inflection points: moments to own and find out who we really are.”

Or, as Google’s CEO Eric Schmidt just told the graduating class at Virginia Tech, as quoted by Forbes:

“In the digital age, analysis and interpretation are even more important than factual knowledge. As graduates of Virginia Tech, you are better poised than anyone to both understand this, and to bring it to bright, gleaming life. Now, here’s the deal: Yes, it’s true, we have all this knowledge literally at our fingertips. But, just because we know much more than we used to doesn’t mean our problems just go away. The future doesn’t just happen. It’s not etched or written or coded anywhere. There’s no algorithm or formula that says technology will do X … so Y is sure to happen. Technology doesn’t work on its own. It’s just a tool. You are the ones who harness its power.”

Like I’ve said, work hard. Nothing is handed to any one.

To the graduating class of 2015, best wishes… and congratulations on a job very well done.