Be prepared for the long haul.

In Steve Jobs’ commencement speech to Princeton’s graduating class of 2005, he used his life experience to urge the students to focus on the type of work that they love and to see the opportunities in life’s setbacks.

I am seeing a lot of negative and nihilistic articles about and in relation to Millenials, youth (un)employment, lack of mobility and so on with the most recent example being this one by The Guardian where “the graduates of 2012 will survive only in the cracks of our economy”. Of course, it’s not just this year’s graduates as some of the commentators from previous years have pitched on. And we’re not talking about unskilled labour or low-wage (or even unpaid) internships — we’re talking about finding the means to be mobile, independent, empowered over one’s life. Like, not taking up the decision to get a degree that will “most likely” land you a job, or forcing oneself to graduate school to bump up the CV rather than as a source of professional development. Because from where I see it, degrees are not the solution.

You have gotta do what you love.

I know it’s cliche’d. But, life is too short to do something that is going to provide misery. If things don’t work out, push through. Don’t try to connect the dots until you can look back. Because I guarantee that you will look back thinking “I can’t believe I worried so much”.

Doing what you love and getting paid for it. Is it a luxury that only a select few can enjoy, an attribute that can be achieved, or a journey that only those with luck can go through?

I find that people who chose not to and instead opting to do something purely out of monetary value are signed the contract themselves. Yes, things will pick up. And when it picks up, where will you be at?

We are all in the gutter but some of us are looking at the stars…

Another characteristic that I am looking at it in some of the news coverage today is too much of a focus on the life experiences of middle class Generation X and Baby Boomers. Not enough from those who went through the Great Depression, or those who picked themselves out of absolute poverty and into the middle-high income class. Those who know what it really feels like to hit absolute rock bottom but, with focus and time, can pick themselves up. My dad is an example – going from poverty into where he is now.

How will your financial decisions change for the future if you really know what it feels like to hit rock bottom? What about the other decisions in life?

In Steve Jobs’ commencement speech, he mentioned some valueable but harsh life lessons. For him, it was bitter medicine but for a patient that needed it.

I feel that for many of us, including myself, we all need to take our medicine. Yes, it’s bitter and it tastes really awful, but we all need it.

I am not saying that the financial crisis is good for us and that we need it. It’s out of our control. We can do something about it though. We need to continue to focus on our goals, our values and be prepared to go through with it for the long haul.