The graduation season is just starting to bloom.  This week we offer some perspective for the new graduate beginning a new chapter of life; we hope our words are broadly relevant to all our readers.

Make uncertainty your friend.  Uncertainty felt most acutely upon graduation never goes away.  The challenge is to make uncertainty your friend.  New York Times reporter David Brooks observes that really great people seek the wisdom of those who have lived before them—wisdom both from the “head” and from the “heart”.  Great people seek wisdom from their forbearers because they want a voice from outside themselves to connect with the highest and most inspiring collective wisdom, giving them the power to face unpleasant truths.

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Steve Jobs:  on listening to your own inner voice, heart and intuition.  The late Steve Jobs of Apple dropped out of college and trusted that it would all work out OK.  While in college he took a calligraphy course, which later influenced his sense of style in designing computers, iPhones, and iPads.  “It was impossible to connect the dots looking forward when I was in college, but it was very, very clear looking backwards 10 years later…you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future…because believing that the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart, even when it leads you off the well-worn path, and that will make all the difference…your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work, and the only way to do great work is to love what you do…your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.  Don’t be trapped by dogma, which is living with the results of other people’s thinking.  Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice, heart and intuition.”

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Why Talent is overrated.   The conventional wisdom about “natural” talent is a myth.  The real path to great performance is a matter of choice.  Talent means nothing like what we think it means.  Researchers find few signs of precocious achievement before individuals start intensive training.  “The concept of specific talents is especially troublesome in business.  We all tend to assume that business giants must possess some special gift for what they do, but the evidence turns out to be extremely elusive.  In fact, the overwhelming impression that comes from examining the lives of business greats is just the opposite—that they didn’t seem to give any early indication of what they would become.”

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And in case you missed it, click here to read last week’s blog post  which focuses on investor’s behavior.

We hope you enjoy reading these articles along with us and hope you find them informative.  Please forward this to your family and friends.

J. Mark Nickell &  Co.

Disclosure – The articles mentioned in This Week with J. Mark Nickell & Co. are for information and educational purposes only. They represent a sample of the numerous articles that the firm reads each week to stay current on financial and economic topics. The articles are linked to websites separate from the J. Mark Nickell & Co. website. The opinions expressed in these articles are the opinions of the author and not J. Mark Nickell & Co. This is not an offer to buy or sell any security.  J. Mark Nickell & Co. is under no obligation to update any of the information in these articles. We cannot attest to the accuracy of the data in the articles.