To honor the accomplishment of my son’s high school commencement today here’s a piece I wrote a few years back. Congratulations, Duncan!
Here at the end of the school year I’ve been thinking about what I would say to a class of graduating seniors to mark their commencement. There’s nothing here you don’t already know. The question is, for all of us, at what point does the reminding help us finally decide to take action. At what point do we say, yes, there is another way?
Social media is for sharing, not comparing. We are the most connected we’ve ever been and it’s an extraordinary thing. It’s also a trap that can put you into a “downward spiral” (see “The Art of Possibility”) really fast if you aren’t careful.
You are creative. Beautifully, richly creative. Saying you are not is a lie you tell to protect yourself from the fear of failure.
Everything you find lacking in someone else you find lacking in yourself. Be kind, starting with yourself.
Bullies and other junkie people are in pain which is why they take it out on you. Don’t give them the satisfaction. And, if you can, help them.
The kids who dress weird and are into art, music, tech and other creative pursuits will likely be your boss someday.
Learning is the only path through change. Change will never stop so learning can’t either. Once you finish all of the academic stuff, turn that attention on yourself. Be your own best subject.
There’s no such thing as “ready.” If you’re ever “ready” you’ve waited too long.
If the path ahead of you is clear, you are probably on someone else’s path. Yours is the tough one and even though you will be tempted many times to give it up for some “greener grass,” stay on it and make the most of it.
The vast majority of the world’s population is worse off than you in ways that are sometimes hard to believe. Astonishingly those same underprivileged, underfunded and under appreciated people tend to have a perspective on what matters most that too often eludes the rest of us.
The quality of your relationships determine the quality of your life. Be generous with those you care about. Love them well.
The world is not waiting to laugh at you when you mess up. Everyone else is too concerned about their own stuff. So, mess up often, learn from it and get better. Living intentionally is where the action is.
If it can’t be done playfully it’s not worth doing. Find what you can play at and just keep playing.
DAVID BERRY is the author of “A More Daring Life: Finding Voice at the Crossroads of Change” and the founder of RULE13 Learning. He speaks and writes about the complexity of leading in a changing world.