The Graduation Speech

The Graduation Speech
Love what you do or stop doing it
Steve Jobs: Stanford, 2005
“I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”
J. K. Rowling: Harvard University, 2008
“I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me. Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged.”
Max Londberg: University of Oregon, 2013
“I implore you to not fear what you are drawn to, for rejecting that is to stymie the very patterns that make you, well, you. Imagine the torture of putting yourself through that. No matter how much money you make, you will not be happy spending your time imagining the path you wished you’d chosen.”
Decide for yourself what these ideas mean to you
Stephen Colbert: Northwestern University, 2011
“If everybody followed their first dreams in life, the world would be ruled by cowboys and princesses.”
Conan O’Brien: Dartmouth College, 2011
“David Letterman wanted to be Johnny Carson, and was not, and as a result, my generation of comedians wanted to be David Letterman. And none of us are. My peers and I have all missed that mark in a thousand different ways. But the point is this: It is our failure to become our perceived ideal that ultimately defines us and makes us unique. It’s not easy, but if you accept your misfortune and handle it right, your perceived failure can become a catalyst for profound reinvention.”
Denzel Washington: University of Pennsylvania, 2011
“If you don’t fail, you’re not even trying. My wife told me this great expression, ‘To get something you never had, you have to do something you never did.’”
Explore. Question habits. Listen up. Change
President Barack Obama: Howard University, 2016
“Because as my grandmother used to tell me, every time a fool speaks, they are just advertising their own ignorance. Let them talk. If you don’t, you just make them a victim, and then they can avoid accountability.”
Michael Dell: University of Texas at Austin, 2003
“As you start your journey, the first thing you should do is throw away that store-bought map and begin to draw your own.”
The good stuff is worth looking for
Joyce DiDonato: Juilliard School, 2014
“One of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, right here, right now, in this single, solitary, monumental moment in your life, is to decide, without apology, to commit to the journey, and not to the outcome.”
Stephanie Ruhle: Lehigh University, 2017
“Just because something doesn’t confirm your existing beliefs does not mean it’s a hoax. The smartest and most successful people I know are the people who are constantly evolving, always learning. And some of them, believe it or not, are smart enough to occasionally change their minds.”
Stephen Colbert: Northwestern University, 2011
“If you love only yourself, you will serve only yourself. And you will have only yourself. So no more winning. Instead, try to love others and serve others, and hopefully find those who love and serve you in return.”
Jon Stewart: College of William and Mary 2004
“So how do you know what is the right path to choose to get the result that you desire? And the honest answer is this: You won’t.”
Sometimes a short memory is your very best friend
Denzel Washington: University of Pennsylvania, 2011
“Fall forward. Reggie Jackson struck out 2,600 times in his career, the most in the history of baseball. But you don’t hear about the strikeouts. People remember the home runs. Fall forward. Thomas Edison conducted 1,000 failed experiments. Did you know that? I didn’t know that because the 1,001st was the light bulb. Fall forward. Every failed experiment is one step closer to success.”
Ira Glass: Goucher College, 2012
“I wish someone had said to me that it’s normal to feel lost for a little while.”
Aaron Sorkin: Syracuse University 2012
“Rehearsal’s over. You’re going out there now, you’re going to do this thing. How you live matters. You’re going to fall down, but the world doesn’t care how many times you fall down, as long as it’s one fewer than the number of times you get back up.”