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Saturday, May 31, 2014

Class of 2014

Dear class of 2014,

As you enter the world full of hopes and dreams let me give you a quick message as I look back on the last 23 years of my life since I walked away from high school with my hopes and dreams.

My message is in two parts.

The first part in what you should do and second is what you should not do.

First, my hopes for you as you enter the world with your dreams and you ambitions.

The message to you is simple. It's so simple that most won't do it. It's so simple that most will scoff at it and simple do today what makes them happy today. This is a mistake.

Keep it simple my friends. Keep it simple.

Design your ideal life and do things everyday to get you to your ideal life. That is what you need to do.

The second part of my message is just as simple and yet, again, most will ignore it for myopic thinking and short term gratification.

Here is message number two: don't screw up message number one by doing things that you think impress other people or to create a shortcut to a long journey. 

To keep it simple let me share with you 15 simple things that are truth to those of use in our 40's but seem insignificant to you. Trust me. Life will get hard in a hurry if you lose your focus on what you want long term by focusing on what seems cool in the short term.

Trust me or don't trust me. The choose is yours.

1. Set your sites on your dream life and don't let anyone steal your dreams. If someone tells you you can't do something they are either right or they are wrong. That is a decision that you get to make.

2. Continue to learn and grow but don't go to college because you think that you have to. At the end of the 4 years unless yo have a defined purpose then it's just a piece of paper.

3. Learn to define yourself by your thoughts, your words and your actions. You are going to become what you want to become by being the person you want to be. If this doesn't make sense check out number 4....

4. Do not do things that you can't take back. Don't get drunk. NEVER smoke, do drugs, break the law get tattoos that can't be covered up, don't stretch out your ears or pierce things that shouldn't be pierced, don't have un-protected sex, don't post things on social media that bring others down....get the point? In other works: DO NOT DO THINGS AT 18 OR 19 THAT WHEN YOU ARE 30 YOU ARE GOING TO SAY , "CRAP I WISH I HAD HADN'T DONE THAT". Ask any smoker or former smoker in their 40's or 50's if they wish they had never done that. What do you think the answer is going to be?

5. Don't go into debt. At some point in everybody's life we have zero debt. At a point later in life almost every person turn around and says, "Where did all this debt come from?" If you think this is insignificant look at the number of divorces where money is the main issue. Don't get into debt for all the wrong reasons. Pay cash.

6. Educate yourself on things like business ownership, finances, parenting and other important issues that you may or may not have learned in school. I would suggest that you read a non-fiction book per month at minimum.

7. Have an active hobby. Start biking, playing basketball, disc golf, running... whatever. Be active. Don't think that you will be thin and fit forever. See number 4. At some point in your life you will wish that you had done things differently.

8. Exercise every single day of your life. As a fitness coach for the last 15 years it deeply saddens me the shear number of people that show up at my door at 30, 40 or 50 and regret not having exercises since high school; you would be shocked. Don't let the opportunity to develop life long habits pass you by. Get out there today and do something active. Get up tomorrow and do it again!

9. Save and invest your money and ALWAYS have an emergency fund of money. Start with $500 that you vow to NEVER touch unless it's an emergency. A trip to Cabo is not an emergency. You car needing a new stereo system is not an emergency.  An emergency is your car breaks down and needs an alternator. You will be very happy if you get into the habit of doing this when you are married and have kids and your 12 year old has an opportunity to go to an elite baseball tournament that costs...$500.

10. Live your life on a budget. In other words spend every dollar that you make on paper before you spend it. Read Dave Ramsey's "Financial Peace" and you will be blessed.

11. Learn how to give back. This is different for everybody. If you are a church goer then make sure you tithe. If that isn't your thing then make sure that you figure out a way to bless others.

12. Speak with impeccability. Just because you are 18 and "free" doesn't mean you have to behave like you don't answer to anybody. Your parents won't yell at you for swearing but other adults will judge you and hold it against you. Don't believe me? You don't have to. You are free now.

13. Be a daily goal setter. What 10 things are you going to do today that are going to make you and the people around you better? If you do that everyday is about 3 years you will have done 1000 things that make your world and the world a around you a better place to live. Can you imagine that?

14. Jettison people from your world that don't raise you up and don't add value to you your life. Up until now people in your world have, for the most, part been dictated to you. You hang out with kids from clubs, sports team, church and the like. Now, as people grow and change, you don't have to be around the ones that aren't in tune to your values. It's harsh but it's a fact of live. There will be those around you that are going to want to act 18 when the calendar says 25. You are a person of value so need to hold that standard of yourself and those around. People need to grow of they need to go.

15. Nourish your body like your life depends on it because it does. You may be able to handle eating like crap everyday but at some point your body is going to rebel. Educate yourself on eating properly and being healthy. When your 30 you will be glad. When you are 40, 50 and 60 you will be even more glad. Trust me.

For the last 18 years you have looked forward to this defining moment of your life. I hope that you have learned that life can be a challenge. I hope that you have learned that the best things in life aren't handed to you.

Most of all I hope that you have learned that you CAN define your life and you can live the life of your dreams.

The last message I want to leave you with is where everything begins. It's the principle that makes all the others possible.

Life your life with a sense of purpose, believe it is possible and NEVER let anyone tell you that you can't do anything. 

You are a champion and you are destined for greatness. Now get to work because it's not going to be easy.

But you already knew that.

To you success,

Rick Copley, Your Best Fitness Coach 
"Empowering YOU to be a champion

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