Recently, I attended my niece’s high school graduation and the entire experience was filled with excitement, accomplishment, friends, family, and hope for the future. She gave a special speech to her congregation as one of the graduating seniors and it reminded me of the many speeches given by industry giants, political figures and actors/actresses each year at various universities. Some of my favorites include Conan O’Brien’s 2011 speech at Dartmouth College,
Jim Carrey’s speech to Maharishi University in 2014, and the 2012 commencement speech at Wellesley High School.
Here is the collective wisdom from a variety of speeches given this year as featured in an article on CNN. I’ve taken some of the main points and contributed my own wisdom as someone who graduated from college many, many years ago.
Trust yourself – Follow your Intuition
When you’re in your 20’s you always seem to know the answers. Well, let’s be honest – you just think that you do. Fast forward 20 or more years and I actually believe I know less now than I ever did. To combat this affliction, I try to stop second guessing myself and remember to trust my judgment, experiences, and when in doubt, trust my gut.
They say to live life with reckless abandon, but although that’s great advice I believe that one should take action in order to make a difference. My mother always told me that the soldiers who won medals were on the battlefield engaged in the fight, not sitting on the sidelines giving the orders.
Be authentic. There’s freedom in being who you truly are and others will accept and admire you for it.
Take some time to really think
Create a blueprint for your life’s goals. Determine your strengths and weaknesses and what makes you want to job out of bed in the morning. Stay the course, but be flexible when life throws you curves.
Put in the hard work
No one ever said life was fair. The motto work hard, play hard may no longer be popular, but most things are more rewarding when you break a sweat to get them.
Keep an open mind
You never really know someone or understand a situation until you get to know it firsthand. You don’t want to be judged, so don’t judge others.
Don't let fear get in the way
Don’t let your gremlins get the best of you. Keep forging ahead and your efforts will be rewarded.