Thursday, May 16, 2013

Graduation Speech from 99 Motivators for College Success



Your Graduation Inspires Me


When I participate in graduation ceremonies, I often imagine delivering my own speech to the graduates, as if I were the commencement speaker:

Good morning chancellor, president, deans, faculty members, staff, students, friends, and family members.  And to the graduates:

Every one of you is special.
Every one of you is a productive member of society.
Every one of you is what inspires ME - because…
Every one of you has a story to tell.
I just wish I had the time to hear every one of them, and to be there as your career paths unfold.

You have already accomplished a huge milestone on that journey.  The biggest step though was just showing up.  That’s it.  The secret most people don’t get until it’s too late.  Just showing up as young freshmen was a threshold event.  Trying something which may be hard for the first time.  Experiencing new things, even if it’s unknown whether the objective is attainable.

To me, the greatest barriers to success, however you define that, are a fear of the unknown, a fear of change, and a fear of failure.  But you need a game plan, and hopefully you can lean a little on what you learned in school to figure out that route.  No matter what you do in life, you always will have your education.

I hope you made some lifelong friends here.  Frankly, I learned more about life from my peers than from my professors.  And I hope you got more than knowledge from your profs because you can get that from a book.  I’m hoping you gained insight on whatever subject, and then stamped your own original perspective on how to resolve issues and solve problems.

Many times the things you do won’t work.  And you will fail at some things you try.  That’s just a fact of life.  Abraham Lincoln once said:  “My great concern is not whether you have failed, but whether you are content with your failure.” 

And you will make mistakes.  A lot of them!  Both in your careers and your lives.  That’s just another fact of life.  But that’s okay.  The trick is figuring out how to deal with setbacks.  Your family and friends will always be there for you.  And your education will continually serve as a foundation to get you back on track.

Franklin D. Roosevelt said: “We are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of our own minds.”  Graduates, each of you must unlock your mind and blaze a path built on reason and purpose.  Life is too short to spend it bouncing around like a random and aimless ball in a game of Pong.®  And whether you are 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, or 80 years young, it is never too late to test the boundaries of your dreams.

Finally, I want all of you gathered in front of me to please lose the title of “former” student, because you will be my students for many years to come.  And I expect in return that I can become your student, as I learn about your professional successes, trials, and tribulations.

Every one of you is special.
Every one of you is a productive member of society.
Every one of you is what inspires me – because...
Every one of you has a story to tell.

What will your next journey be?
c 2009-2013 Perry Binder, LLC

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