It’s graduation season! At most commencement ceremonies, famous notables are asked to speak and give advice to students who are venturing into the world. Being that I’m not someone who’s likely to be invited to speak anywhere, I use my blog to pass along some thoughts to the graduating class of 2013:
Celebrate success, but be a cheerleader for others
Congratulations! You’ve made it through another chapter in your life! The daily pressures you’ve been through in recent years are coming to an end, and you are excited about your next journey! In the next few years, you will likely experience personal success. Remember, however, that happiness is most enjoyed with shared with others. Be someone who brings the best out of those around you by providing the support and, at times, the shoulder that they need. Laugh with them, cry with them, but most importantly, be there to celebrate their success as well as your own.
Excel and what you do, and love your craft
Once you decide on what you want to do, go deep, do it well, and love it! Whether they are artists or scientists, philosophers or teachers, those who leave their mark in the world are people who are deeply passionate about what they do. If you love what you do, it’ll feel like a hobby, and you’ll naturally learn more and excel. You’re also more likely to innovate and create around a vocation if your head holds the interest and your heart feels the passion.
Keep growing your world
In order to achieve and maintain proper perspective, it’s vital to keep your world big. New places, new people, new technologies, and new experiences will keep you from growing stale (and boring!). Living in a big world also develops the empathy and compassion that will drive the right life decisions. Today’s world is becoming dangerously short of people with broad perspective, and that trait is essential for building a prosperous, peaceful and sustainable future.
When you came into the world, you were a gift. In your formative years, in addition to your family, people who were once strangers to a child invested in your life: Teachers, friends, and perhaps a worship community took the time to share, challenge and grow your experience. The lessons you learned from all of them make you who you are today. Regardless of your success, always be grateful for those who made a difference at every stage in your life, and take time to acknowledge their contribution. If you get into the habit of demonstrating gratitude, you will find an abundance of kindness in your life.
So that's the short commencement address I'd make if asked. Off you go, graduating class of 2013 (which includes my youngest graduating from high school!)! The world is yours, and we all have faith that you will be amazing!