1. Grow spiritually. But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To Him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen. (2 Pet. 3:18)
- Get in the habit of writing down one insight and one application to what you are reading in the Bible every day. This causes you to focus your reading and provides feedback to know how consistent you are. Sometimes read for depth (e.g. two weeks on Ephesians chapter 1) and sometimes read for breath (e.g. the book of Mark in one sitting).
- At your age you can now select what to memorize better than ever and still have high capacity to memorize. I memorized around verse a day all four years while attending college. Was an invaluable investment!
2. Grow socially. The clearest measure of maturity is being others oriented. Babies think only of themselves. You are way past that. Increase and deepen your network of friends. Serve within the context of a church.
- Serve: …whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave. Matt. 20:25-28.
- Listen: The one who gives an answer before he listens — this is foolishness and disgrace for him. Prov. 18:13.
- Be loyal and faithful: Never let loyalty and faithfulness leave you. Tie them around your neck; write them on the tablet of your heart. Then you will find favor and high regardin the sight of God and man. Prov. 3:3-4
3. Grow mentally and increase skills… Get wisdom, get understanding, Prov. 4:5. Education and Training… highest return on your investment is through being apprentice with a master in a field. This provides the specialized skills that you need from a practitioner (not just academician).
- Discovering your calling: What is the most strategic thing you can do in which you are most difficult to replace? What unique skills do you have? What do you enjoy doing even if you are tired? What additional skills do you need to get started? Mine: I analyze organizations to help them identify their long-term goals and design structure to get there. Strategy and structure. I focus my learning on improving the skills for my calling regardless of my job.
- Additional training: college…normally both degrees and expensive schools are overrated. Make plans carefully; don’t just follow the crowd. However, many college degrees are worth it. If I could do it over, I’d get a degree again.
- Early in your college career, experiment with different fields. I don’t mean just taking a class on geology, I mean visiting people (now can be done online) in various fields and see what fits you best.
- Don’t pick a degree just because it sounds interesting or easy. The purpose is to become more employable. Red flag: if no employer requires the degree when hiring, pick another major. Psychology? Really?
- Most people switch majors. The only thing worse than switching majors in the middle of school is not switching majors when you should.
- Avoid debt like a plague… work more, spend less, defer purchases, live at home, buy used cars, and take advantage of community college and online courses.
- Read well-selected books at a rate of at least one per month. Each year, read a few books related to your calling, a few for your job, a few to broaden your understanding, and a few classical Christian books: Here is a place to start for these. Writing book reviews will cause you to better analyze and learn from what you are reading. In a few years, you will surpass the expertise of most of your peers in your field. Do you see a man skilled in his work? He will stand in the presence of kings. Prov. 22:29
4. Starting a family. Not urgent, but… when I was confident that I could provide for my family and that I had found the right woman, I got married (age 19, ok, maybe a little over confident!). If I could do it over again, I’d do exactly the same thing. Beside beauty, go for someone who will be a good mom, support you in your calling, and be a life companion. In your mother, I got it all! Look for: Prov. 31:10f, Who can find a capable wife? She is far more precious than jewels. Avoid: Prov. 14:1 Every wise woman builds her house, but a foolish one tears it down with her own hands. Choose carefully, it’s a big deal.
- Show that you manage your company’s time well
- Come in 15 minutes early, and stay 15 minutes late
- Take less than expected time for lunch
- Don’t use the office internet for personal use
- Meet or beat deadlines
- Manage any company money 100% flawlessly and with documentation.
- When there is a problem, be known as the guy who has the solution not the one who is the complainer. Don’t be the guy who is known for exposing the mistakes of others. Be a trusted team player.
- When reproved, focus on fixing the problem and taking steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Don’t blame other employees and never your supervisor.
- To set yourself above your peers, continue to improve your ability to communicate clearly, both speaking and writing.
- Ask yourself: Would your supervisor miss you if you quit? Could he easily replace you with someone making 2/3rds of your salary? If so, you need to make yourself indispensable or get your resume in order. Whatever you do, do it enthusiastically, as something done for the Lord and not for men, knowing that you will receive the reward of an inheritance from the Lord. You serve the Lord Christ. Col. 2:23-24
Congratulations Jacob!!! I love you! Dad
In addition, maybe you will learn something from your brother’s request: