In four key points, everything a 2020 graduate needs to know, plus one last point to ponder. Share this clear, direct graduation messages with young people you care about!
Complete text of address:
Let me begin by taking you back in time a bit and lifting something that's been making the rounds on the internet.
Oh, don't be alarmed. It's not political, it's not profane, it's not preposterous and it's not a conspiracy theory. It's based on fact, as follows:
Imagine you were born at the beginning of the 20th century instead of the beginning of the 21st.
In fact, imagine you were born in 1900.
On your 14th birthday, World War I starts, and ends when you are 18. Later in the year, a Spanish Flu epidemic hits the planet and runs until your 20th birthday. On your 29th birthday, the Great Depression begins. Unemployment hits 25 percent, the World GDP drops 27 percent. That runs until you are at least 34. The country nearly collapses along with the world economy. When you turn 39, World War II starts. On your 41st birthday, the United States is fully pulled into WWII and that lasts until you are 45. At 50, the Korean War starts. At 55 the Vietnam War begins. When you are 62 the Cuban missile crisis threatens to end life on our planet as we know it. When you turn 75, the Vietnam War finally ends.
Whew! You see, perspective is amazing. But right now, in our current situation, we do not have the advantage of hindsight and foresight can hardly imagine what will come next. Still, if some people were able to get through all of that in one lifetime, we should take heart.
And we should look forward with hope and purpose.
Mindful of that, here is my message for you, conveyed in four key points:
1) The world is not waiting for you.
Get that? The world is not waiting with bated breath for you to step forward and assume your place — whatever that may be. The world has a lot more on its mind than you. So, if you think the world is waiting for you, you’d better start waiting on the world and seeing what you can do to help the world instead of the other way around.
2) You need to break away.
If you haven’t already done so, you need to break away from your parents and family and surroundings that have cuddled (and maybe even coddled) you all these years. If you’re graduating from high school this is a bit tougher to do but you need to think about starting down that road. If you’re graduating from college, it’s time. And breaking away also means supporting yourself financially. It means getting a job; going to work and being responsible for you life and livelihood. In this immediate economy, you need to be prepared to do almost anything to get a job and earn a living. But thats not so bad because it brings me to the next thing. And these are the three most important words you’ll ever hear.
3) Make yourself useful.
No matter where you are or what you’re doing, pitch in. Do your part. Roll up your sleeves and make yourself useful. If you do this, people will remember it. They’ll see that you understand the need at hand, that you’re not afraid of hard work, that you “get it,” that you’re part of the team— in short, that you’re an adult. And finally . . .
4) Get out of your comfort zone.
Because this is really what the rest is all about. It will help you greatly if you step forward, walk out of your comfort zone, take chances and dive into a totally new endeavor, in a new environment with new challenges amidst new and different people. If you don’t do this now — while you’re young — trust me, you will regret it later. If you take the opportunity to do these things now, despite whatever setbacks you may encounter, you will be enriched and you’ll be a far better person for it later.
Now, there’s just one more notion I’d like to leave you with.
It’s OK if you’re not exactly sure what you want to do with your life — what your vocation or even avocation will be. You’ve still got time to experiment.
But, along the way, you’ve got to begin to develop some idea of what your life’s work is or will be.
And here’s why.
Each of us was given at least one thing that we’re particularly talented at — one talent that is part of our DNA. One gift, if you will.
It’s one of the really important things things that makes you, you.
Now, some of us may have more than one special talent (which, surprisingly, can get confusing). But you only need one and you pretty much only need to focus on one.
Your biggest job is to find out what that thing, that talent, really is. It shouldn’t be too hard to do this because usually this is something that you are not only good at but it’s something you enjoy doing as well.
If you can make that talent — that special thing — your occupation (and it is my prayer that you can do exactly that) then you will not only be doing something that makes you happy — something that completes you and lends meaning to you life — but you will also be doing something profoundly spiritual.
Because you will be doing what you were put on this earth for.
You will be fulfilling the promise of your very existence.
There really is no greater joy than that. To do what you love and to get paid for it? That's bliss!
And, you will be giving the world a marvelous gift — the gift of your own unique self.
Give the gift. And as Maya Angelou said: "Pursue the things you love doing and do them so well that people can’t take their eyes off of you."