Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Let Us Commence

*clears throat

To the class of 2011... Everything I would say to you has already been said better by smarter, funnier people with richer life experiences. Let me guide you.

Steve Jobs 2005 commencement address to Stanford is an incredible speech. Funny, inspiring, heartfelt, and he makes a helluva case that getting fired from his own company was actually… awesome.

Set backs. What setbacks?

You have have to trust that dots will somehow connect in your future… because believing the dots will connect down the road will give you the confidence to follow your heart even when it leads you off the well-worn path.


Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.


Stay hungry. Stay foolish.

Do you yourself a Big Favor and watch this speech. Or read the full text.

Comedian Amy Poehler to the Harvard class of 2011.

You can't do it alone. As you navigate through the rest of your life be open to collaboration. Other people and other people's ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them and it will change your life.

God, Allah, Buddha, Gaga... whomever you pray to. They have helped you get here, and that should make you feel less alone and less scared.

The woman has swagger. And you can't teach that, my friends.

And finally, writer Annie Lamott.

Your problem is how you are going to spend this one odd and precious life you have been issued. Whether you're going to spend it trying to look good and creating the illusion that you have power over people and circumstances, or whether you are going to taste it, enjoy it and find out the truth about who you are.

Read the speech, it's spectacular.

As for me... For you students considering publishing, writing, art, performance, I would advise you to work with the human genome instead. Waaaay easier.

Just kidding. See Jobs, Lamott speeches again. Otherwise, trust in Gaga.

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