Whenever I’m asked to give a commencement speech, I’m intimidated by the challenge of finding something to say that’s profound and practical without being trite. I haven’t succeeded yet, but that hasn’t stopped me from trying. So here are some thoughts for graduates:
- By all means, set goals and go after your dreams, but know that your ultimate happiness will depend not on your plans but your ability to cope with unexpected turns and unavoidable ups and downs. You may not get what you thought you wanted, but if you’re willing to adapt, you can get something even better.
- Don’t ever underestimate the power of character. If you want to win, don’t whine. Success is made from hard work, perseverance, and integrity, not luck.
- Listen to both your heart and your head. Pursue your passions, but don’t confuse feelings with facts. Almost nothing is as good or as bad as it first appears, and all things change.
- Remember, pain and disappointment are inevitable, but tough times are temporary. The enduring impact of experiences and the true nature of relationships are only revealed by time. Persist with confidence that no negative emotion can withstand your will to be happy.
- Fill your life with laughter, but don’t confuse fun or pleasure with happiness. Don’t sacrifice a thousand tomorrows for a few todays.
- Live within your means and don’t overestimate your ability to resist temptations that threaten your relationships or reputation.
- How you make a living is important, but how you make a life is vital. If you don’t pay attention to your personal relationships, no amount career success will be enough.
This is Michael Josephson reminding you that character counts.