Make It New Grads

It's Graduation Season: Here are 5 things to do in your 20s if you want to be successful

20-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer
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It's commencement season, which means some of the nation's top CEOs, personal finance gurus and self-made millionaires and billionaires are dishing out their best advice to the Class of 2017.

Here's what Mark Cuban, Bill Gates and other leaders say will set young people up for future success.

Get comfortable being uncomfortable

"This is a time in your life when a whole host of opportunities will suddenly open up," businesswoman and philanthropist Melinda Gates tells the graduating Class of 2017. "And if you stay in your comfort zone, you'll miss out on so many things worth experiencing."

While making a point to embrace new experiences, "also remember to treasure the things that make you uniquely you," she says. "The world doesn't need more people who think and act the same — so resist the temptation to conform to what's around you."

Bill and Melinda Gates at Stanford's graduation ceremony, June 15, 2014
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Embrace the grind

"Never stop grinding," Mark Cuban tells the Class of 2017.

Cuban, who was born into a working-class family in Pittsburgh, hustled his way to the top. "People thought I might go work at a mill. My mom wanted me to learn how to lay carpet because she was concerned about my future. Nobody had high hopes for me," says the billionaire owner of the Dallas Mavericks. "But I was a hustler."

Mark Cuban’s best advice for college grads
Mark Cuban’s best advice for college grads

Choose your friends carefully

Who you hang out with matters, says billionaire Bill Gates, who credits a chunk of his success to his relationships with his longtime friend Warren Buffett and with his wife and partner in philanthropy Melinda.

The people you choose to surround yourself with will affect not only your personal life, but your work life, too, so "surround yourself with people who challenge you, teach you, and push you to be your best self," Gates tells young people.

Longtime friends Warren Buffett and Bill Gates
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Make investing a habit

"Set aside a bit of every paycheck for investing, even if it's just one percent," says Sallie Krawcheck, former CEO of Merrill Lynch's global wealth management division and founder of Ellevest. "Whether it's through an individual retirement account [IRA] you set up on your own, a 401(k) through work or a regular investment account, just invest regularly."

Time is on your side when you're young, she says: "Since you're young, these recurring deposits will help put the power of compounding to work for you. That means you earn returns on the money you invest, and you also earn returns on those returns over time."

Sallie Krawcheck
Getty Images | Stephanie Keenan

Never stop learning

A diploma isn't a reason to stop studying. "Education never ends," says self-made millionaire James Altucher. "And there's no shortcut." His recommendation: "Find someone better than you to teach you. Could be a virtual person (a book, a video, etc.) or it could be a real-life mentor."

James Altucher
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This is what college graduates need to hear
This is what college graduates need to hear