My little brother is graduating college this weekend, which makes him the first person in my immediate family to do that. It's a big accomplishment. So, naturally, I wrote him a list of six tips he didn't ask for and will probably ignore.
You know. To celebrate.
1. Learn how to make one amazing breakfast.
Why breakfast? Because you can eat it any time of the day.
Breakfast -- Breakfast
Lunch -- Breakfast
Dinner -- Breakfast
In fact, breakfast for dinner is a truly amazing experience. Whenever I eat eggs and bacon at 8 p.m., I feel like I'm breaking some sort of antiquated rule and sticking it to The Man.
"Take that, society!"
But... what to cook? I suggest starting with scrambled eggs. But not the flaky, crumbly kind. I'm talking about the slightly-runny good kind.
A few tips:
Get a non-stick pan.
Use butter instead of olive oil.
Get a rubber spatula. (Not the kind you flip burgers with. Amateur.)
2. Learn how to make one amazing cocktail.
Why a cocktail? Because you can drink it any time of the day.
OK, I'm kidding. No cocktails in the morning.
(Except for brunch.)
Anyway, knowing how to make a good cocktail is like having a superpower. One that makes you look cool in front of girls and livens up any party.
Plus, you'll have a valuable skill for when you're sitting at home alone trying to figure out what the hell you want to do with the evening (or your life).
Start by learning how to make a Manhattan. Why?
It's a classic cocktail, the ingredients are easy to find anywhere, and it's really, really hard to fuck up.
3. Ask more questions (especially when you meet someone for the first time).
At some point you'll be in a situation where you'll have to talk to people.
Repeat after me: Small talk sucks.
So, a few rules: No talking about the weather. No asking how many brothers and sisters somebody has. No asking where they grew up.
Instead, show an actual interest in the person.
You're graduating with a degree in journalism for chrissakes. Put it to use.
Ask questions. Lots of them.
By asking questions and listening, people will begin to feel like you really understand them. They'll trust you. They'll see you as an ally.
That's important, because it gives you an opportunity to learn how to help that person and add value to their life.
And value for them means value for you. Eventually.
4. Once you find something you're interested in, go deep.
Maybe it's learning how to start a business or a blog. Maybe it's learning Spanish or yoga. Maybe it's learning something so crazy I can't even think of an example right now.
Whatever it is, if you're into it, go deep.
Learn everything you can about it. Research the history. Practice it incessantly. Find the best in the world at it and see how they do it.
It won't take over your life. Usually just a few weeks. Or months. Or years.
But by then, it'll be so second-nature it'll just bleed into other parts of your life and become a part of your identity.
That's usually a good thing.
5. Nothing worth doing can be done alone. So get some help when you need it (and even when you don't think you need it).
Come talk to me in a few years and I'll discuss this more. You'll be ready then.
6. Remember where you came from.
And if you ever forget, don't worry. I'll remind you.
Congrats to my little brother Austin and to everyone else who's graduating this spring.