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I’ve been asked to speak at a High School awards banquet in our community, and this article outlines what I plan to say that evening.

Having been through too many long graduations and other similar events, I plan to keep my talk short and to the point, remembering that those in attendance may not remember what I tell them, but they will remember how I made them feel.

However, I think if I follow the KISS principle (Keep it Simple, Stupid) I may have some chance of giving these kids an idea or two that may help them some day. I hope it serves the community well.

Here are the 3 big things I hope they take away from my little talk.

You Need a Cause Bigger than Yourself

city overheadIn life, in faith, in family or in business, you have to be focused on something other than your own press clippings or your income statement. Christians have been given the freedom to conduct themselves in a way that brings glory to God.

Often people are drawn to a particular cause because their life has been adversely affected by something. People who have personally suffered from breast cancer, someone touched by a family member with Alzheimer’s disease, or someone who has regained their health through exercise are often very effective in promoting related causes.

By seeking the welfare of others and going outside themselves, these people not only achieve great things, they also have improved mental health because they have chosen not to dwell on their problems.

It is hard to deny that our society is producing a fair share of narcissists. By having a cause that is larger than oneself, you can positively impact those you live in community with.

It is hard to deny that our #society is producing a fair share of narcissists. Click To Tweet

You Need Mentors in Life

exploringChances are pretty good that you are not the smartest person in the room, and even if you are, you probably have room for growth in wisdom, grace or humility.

I’ve always striven to surround myself with people who are wiser (and preferably older) than I am. I believe you are either growing or dying, that there is very little to be gained by fence sitting. It is nearly impossible to stay right where you are in life.

By surrounding yourself with people of integrity, wisdom, and knowledge, you are positioning yourself to reach the next level in whatever you pursue. Mentors are everywhere just ready to lend a hand if you seek them out.

You Need Financial Literacy

This topic may not seem to go with the first two. However, finances are a great source of stress for many people, and our level of consumer debt and our national debt suggests that we are financially illiterate as a country.

old machineryTo boil it down, financial stress is either relieved by increasing your income, reducing your spending, or both.

There is one discipline you can adopt that will help you increase your income and reduce your expenses, and may contribute to financial peace in your life: Invest (spend) 10-20% of your income buying Assets.

In this case, we define an Asset as something that produces income. Your car will decline in value and will cost money to maintain, so it is an expense. Your home is actually not an asset unless you rent out rooms, because it will cost you money for utilities and repairs.

Assets can come in the form of rental property, stocks and bonds, land, or collectibles that appreciate in value. Sure you can lose money on these items, but rest assured that the new, extra pair of shoes you bought last week or that case of beer you drank sure didn’t make you any money!

A lifetime of buying assets starts with a tiny purchase and grows incrementally if you keep the discipline week after week and year after year. It provides you with something you can use to prosper the community around you.

What are your Big 3?

So there are my Big 3—Glorify God, Get a mentor, and buy Assets.

What are your Big 3? Perhaps more importantly, how will you use your Big 3 to benefit your community?

Thinking about the answers to these questions is a great first step in using the gifts you’ve been given to do good and serve those you live, work and play with in the community you call home.

Use the gifts you’ve been given to do good. #goodworks Click To Tweet

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