About eleven years ago in May, I sent a letter to the editors of the New York Times. I said I thought commencement speakers should stop preaching dreams and fantasy and tell graduates what life is about. They didn’t publish it. I still think they should have.
Here’s my commencement address:
You will be slapped on your butt unfairly. Half of you will get fired more than once. Half of you will divorce. Half of you will get fat and diet unsuccessfully. Half of you will be affected by an addiction. Half of you can’t sing a note, but will try… and some of you will sing in the choir when you shouldn’t. More than half of you will say ‘yes’ when you want to say ‘no.’ You’ll kiss in any direction and hate yourself for the hypocrisy. Half of you will pretend at religion and not really believe in what you’re doing. Half of you will spend your time on a job because of the money or status when it isn’t your talent.
More than half of you can’t answer this. What is it I like to do and am good at? Half of you will never be able to separate the prejudiced junk people tell you when you’re growing up… from the truth. And all of you will struggle… for that is what this journey is about. So you better like what you’re doing and who you’re doing it with.