MILLIONS OF HIGH school and college graduates are poised to hear advice they don’t want from commencement speakers they don’t know and won’t remember.

They will be told, in one way or another, to pursue their passion. Remember, passion doesn’t strike like lightning. It often starts as a small fire that you feed twig by twig then, branch by branch.

As we celebrate this exciting moment in their lives, it is a challenge to predict which graduates will lead spectacularly successful and accomplished lives, while others settle for a comfortable life in middle-class America.

We might identify the indicators such as those young people with a great work ethic, a level of intelligence and that winning personality. They are the graduates who have success written all over them, who are determined to fulfill their destiny.

Sadly, some will underperform for various reasons. Then, there are those middle-of-the-road graduates who will rise out of the blue and exceed all expectations. They will find their stride and achieve more success than anyone could imagine.

We can’t predict what will flip the switch. Experts cite grit, curiosity and the power of character as noncognitive skills that matter most. They have determination, willpower, inner drive, discipline, attitude and the fortitude that won’t allow them to give up short of their goals.

It’s most rewarding when an average student finds a career that they love. They are motivated and they never stop learning. You’ve got to admire them and give them credit. Then, there are those who simply get lucky. There’s nothing wrong with that.

Success isn’t just about financial rewards. Some will find success and happiness doing work that they genuinely love, but doesn’t pay as well. They will find their work noble and satisfying. The work will give them a sense of purpose. Many careers truly matter and benefit society.

Today’s careers can change many times. The changing world doesn’t care anymore what you know; all it cares about is what you can do with what you know. Employers want people who can add value to their companies.

Successful employees must be able to think and solve problems. They must be able to use their skills and adapt to the changing labor market.

The most successful job candidates are inventors and solution-finders. They are relentless workers because they understand that many employers today don’t care about your résumé, degree or how you got your knowledge.

Employers do care about what you can do. Are you able to continuously reinvent yourself? Most graduates have learned the essentials. The goal is to build a career that makes use of four things that are related: your values, interests, talents and skills.

It also might be wise to expect a few dead ends, failures and mistakes, but don’t lose sight of the stars you steer by. The best people give 100% effort in everything they do and that almost always opens the door for greater opportunities.

On life’s journey, remember special moments. Whether good or bad, life is about moments, about being present. Once a moment is in the past, it’s gone, said Ben Merens, a former host for Wisconsin Public Radio.

The average lifespan is 80 years. That’s 28,000 days or 4,000 weekends. But we don’t think of lives in days or years. We remember moments.

We remember meeting someone special, noteworthy achievements, special day with friends, birth of a child and that eureka moment when a dream comes true.

Graduation is one of those moments to be cherished. Remember the friends you made and the memories that you experienced together. Your 25th and 50th class reunions will come around sooner than you can imagine.

The choices you make will make all the difference in your world as you go forward. Some choices will turn out for the good, a few may not, but they will all help determine who you become and the life you will have.

When times are tough, remember they don’t last long. You’ll survive. Appreciate the good times because they might be fleeting.

Life is full of wonderful and challenging experiences. Enjoy as much as you can. Always assume your next special moment is just in front of you. Will you recognize it?

What’s around the corner? What if you don’t open the door? Who is waiting on the other side? Don’t be afraid to take a chance. We never know which moment will be the most significant one. Only in hindsight will their true significance be revealed.

Need proof? Almost everyone can tell you about a life-changing event that happened because they were open to an unexpected moment. You must be receptive when opportunity knocks.

Most of what you’ll do in this world is about others. It is about relationships. Listen, taste and feel in the moment, allow yourself to be present and take in all that you can.