My grandfather once said to me
- The A student works for the B Student, the C student usually owns the company.
Yesterday I had the prestigious honor of speaking to two classes of students at USC, a school I could never hoped to get into when I was 18. Most of my friends and Family are hard-core USC fans, I mean HARDCORE. But my father played baseball and my father-in-law received his doctorate from UCLA. So I was raised to believe this place was the cross town rivals, the University of Spoiled Children and a fight song that made your ears bleed.I am pretty sure this rivalry created my ease of walking into confrontational situations. Because when you are the only one in a sea of Cardinal and Gold sporting the Baby Blues doing a 8-clap, you can do anything....
This is the 3rd time they have asked me to come and speak at USC. Every time they ask, I ask them back "are you sure?" I don't really have any special message to share other than the old school ethics my Grandfather, Uncles, and Father have instilled into me. But they always say yes, Yes, we are sure.
The specific professor that asks me to speak, is the kind of professor I had that changed my prospective on life, I am protecting him, because the Average tuition at USC is 60k all in... and I Spoke to 150 Students yesterday so, if i wasn't worth it.... you do the math....
Speaking there, hits a mental "RESET" button in my mind. I remember being their age, full of life, hope. Feeling that I was about to take on the world with my ideas. Ready to set the world on fire. I was head over heels in love with my future wife. We were so young. We were so stupid. But, some of those Stupid mistakes are the mistakes that set me on the course of my life. I made friends while I was in school that I will be close with for the rest of my life. One of them is turning 40 today! WHAT UP CLIFFY!
We have now been friends for Half of our Lives. Most of them were just like me.. And now I visit them in places we would have been kicked out of.
And The CRAZY ONE: the one that makes me shake my head and say, Woah....
in a Keanu Reaves kind of way.... I married my wife at 21 and she was 20. . Arguably the Most Stupid decision we have ever made in our lives. But Undoubtably the Best one. Woah, indeed.
For a afternoon 36 year old Keith Saarloos, was allowed to stand in front of a group students and speak directly to 20 year old Keith Saarloos.
I got to kick him square in the face, I got to inspire him, I got to tell him that it is going to suck for a while, but not to give up. I got to call him a idiot, then tell him how not to be one. I got to tell him to work hard, Love his family, don't be a Jerk, Don't Be Afraid. Stop doing things for yourself and start doing it for others.... And that his mother prayed for him to fail so that he would be humble and do things for the right reasons... I got to share the story of HONOR AND PREPARE. What that meant in my life and how much every person in my life means to me. I got to ride in the time machine and tell him every last thing I could that would help him in a hour and a half. I got to put every last piece out there.
I got to bleed pure passion for a hour and half.
Really, I got to speak to others hearing the voices of others that have directed my life in my head.
I am nothing but a unfinished product of Larry and Linda Saarloos, Husband in progress to Heather, Brother to the motivator Kirk Saarloos, Grandson of Gilbert, Bertha, Joe and Johanna, Nephew to people that books should be written about, Cousin to Even more Amazing people.... And now more importantly Father to Brielle the Iron Lady and Cash the talking dog with thumbs. I am nothing but a product of these people.
And i will spend the rest of my life telling people how great that they all are. And how without them, i would be a bum.