But I never did experience University graduation. Even though I was actually teaching a tutorial in Organic Chemistry as a 2nd year student, I wasn’t able to get my Bachelor’s degree in Bio Chemistry because I got accepted early into Optometry school.
Then I never graduated from Optometry School in Waterloo, Ontario. If you have read my post “The Key To Happiness, According to Dr? Baines” you know why.
Last week, while waiting for my daughter during her swimming lessons, I was going through my twitter feed and stumbled upon Dave McCullough’s high school graduation speech titled “You are Not Special” – it had gone viral and it struck a big chord with me.
It intrigued me so much that I spent more time that evening looking at other commencement speeches from this year.
A lot of them were the same old, same old, some were more politically motivated, and some were a display of “Look how awesome I turned out because of the awesome school I went too.” But four of them stood out, four of them were different, four of them were timeless and universal.
I Love To Share My Inspiration
The list of subjects I could write about from these speeches are endless. As I watched them a rush of thoughts I wish I could share with each graduate to help them navigate the waters of adulthood as they make their own way in life flooded my mind.
This post, however, is directed at my business readers and those already well on their life path. So I picked two common themes from these four speeches that are in line with two things I am very passionate about: Mentoring and Staying True to Yourself.
Don’t Forget Those Behind You
Whether we are 17, 24, 35, 43, 57, or 65 years old, we are all still learning and experiencing new things and we are all still experiencing successes and failures.
It is so easy to get caught up in impressing those in front of us and pleasing those around us that we forget to help those who are just like our younger business selves. Those who are coming up behind us.
Take the time to reach out to others and lend your time to pass on the knowledge you have learned along the bumpy road of life in an effort to make it a bit more smooth for others. You never know when you yourself will need advice and help in life and it may not always come from those ahead of you.
As you watch these 4 commencement addresses, re-connect with how you felt right out of high school and university and the lessons you have learned since then.
Doing so will help you sympathize with the young adults just entering the workforce and remind you of just how clueless they are to the business world. After all, that was you not long ago.
I challenge you to take the time to reach out. This year’s graduates are your future employees and co-workers. If you get cocky and don’t take the time to reach out to those who are behind you on the road of life now… well they may just come up and bite you on the ass before passing you.
Go After It Because You Love It and You Believe In It
In my recent blog post about “What My Little Girl Can Teach You About Life and Why Adults Suck”, I talk about how we lose our creativity and zest for life. The reality is, far too many young adults graduate high school or university with energy and appetite for success only to get slowly beaten down into adults that lend themselves to cynicism and complacency.
I believe it’s because they have either let someone else define success for them, or they followed a path because it was convenient or they let themselves get led down the path of other people’s expectations.
Not everyone knows what they want to do for the rest of their life at age 17, 24, or even 30. I believe the biggest thing we can do as mentors and business people who have ‘been there done that’ is to show support and foster them.
Let them know that it’s okay to not know what you are passionate about. But it’s not okay to never go looking for it. And it’s certainly not okay, that once you find it, to never go after it.
The key here is to go down a path because YOU choose too. Go after it because YOU love it and because YOU believe in its importance. When the going gets tough, the belief in what you are doing will help you weather the storm, and your success here will bring you great satisfaction.
My Top 4 Commencement Addresses of 2012
Now these are in no specific order. Sorry I can’t choose favorites as I loved all of these. They are so different from one another with so much to learn. Thank you to all the speakers for inspiring me! I hope they inspire you as well!
“You Are Not Special “ by David McCullough to Wellesley High School
This on is absolutely brilliant!
Aaron Sorkin’s address to Syracuse University.
I totally love this one!
Neil Gaiman’s Inspirational Commencement Speech to the University of the Arts
This one is so sincere and touching – and applicable to EVERYONE!
Colin Powell’s address to Northeastern University
This is 26 minutes long, but he gets paid $75,000 per speaking engagement so it’s worth $32,500 making it well worth your 26 minutes!
I love to interact with my readers in the comments section below, so don’t be shy. Speak up! Let me know what you think, or share an experience of your own. I want to know if you agree, or even if you disagree with me – It helps me learn and grow