The Commencement Season is drawing to a close and it seems the drama and controversy leading up to it gets as much attention as the speeches themselves. Many speeches aren’t all that remarkable that they will long be remembered. But there are some that are inspiring, such as the words of Admiral William McRaven at the University of Texas. Adm. McRaven, A UT alum, is commander of U.S. Special Operations Command. As a former commander of SEAL Team 3, he drew on his training to call on the members of the Class of 2014 to live up to the motto of The University of Texas, “What starts here changes the world.” You have a chance to read and listen to his comments here.
He ends his address by telling the graduates that changing the world will not be easy,
“But start each day with a task completed. Find someone to help you through life. Respect everyone. Know that life is not fair and that you will fail often, but if you take some risks, step up when the times are toughest, face down the bullies, lift up the downtrodden and never, ever give up—if you do these things, then the next generation and the generations that follow will live in a world far better than the one we have today. And what started here will indeed have changed the world, for the better.”
Take the time to listen to the entire speech, you won’t be sorry.
Commenting on it at Breitbart, CKAinRedStateUSA, gives the speech a thumbs up,
“Seeing this and listening to it was refreshing and supercharging. No B.S. No apologies. No P.C. No bloviating. No ambivalence. No pantywaist-ness”.
No less esteemed than CKAinRedStateUSA, the Washington Post also rates Adm. McRaven’s address as top of the list for 2014. Check out the Post for more snippets from other speeches of note.
Of course in the linked-in world the graduates are sharing with the rest of us, how about a few words, in 140 character bites, from Twitterland. Marc Andreessen says the usual “Follow your passion” speech is dangerous and destructive career advice. He says better career advice may be “Do what contributes”… focus on the beneficial value created for other people vs. just one’s own ego.
And a classic speech from 2012. Wellesley High School English teacher David McCullough Jr. told graduates, “You are not special. Your are not exceptional.” He points out,
“Even if you’re one in a million, on a planet of 6.8 billion that means there are nearly 7,000 people just like you.”
In a world that is changing faster than ever before the challenges to succeed are greater than ever. But for those who persevere success is possible, no matter how you define success for yourself. Wishing the life well lived for all in the Class of 2014. And that is in part a selfish wish because your success is beneficial for all of us.