It is that time of year. Graduation time and thanks to the internet we can explore the variety of Commencement Speeches. Many, if not most of these speeches follow a standard formula and do not inspire beyond the day at hand.
Some do live on and inspire well beyond the day of the speech and in some cases beyond the life of the speaker. One such famous commencement speech is from Steve Jobs given at Stanford in 2005 (video here). David Foster Wallace also delivered a wonderful, thought-provoking commencement speech that same year.
Who is that you say … David was an award-winning novelist and English College Professor. Sadly he lost his battle with mental illness several years ago, but his art and wisdom live on.
His commencement speech is different, deep and lasting. I invite you to read the full speech (link here) and watch an excellent video based on the speech (see below).
David talks to the young graduates and to us who graduated countless years ago. He makes the point, adult life can be endless days of boredom, routine, and petty frustration.
We have choices … to think… to decide… to see the possibilities around us.
That is the freedom of education. What has meaning and what does not.
How do we view and interpret people and events around us.
How important to have just a little critical awareness about myself and my certainties.
Watch out for our default settings.
We think, we choose.
The short film, This is Water based on David Foster Wallace’s commencement speech is powerful and well done. Do take the time to watch … and think.