Best Commencement Speech Advice Ever: 10 Bits Worth Listening To
The start of a new chapter is an exciting time, but it can also be a little bit daunting. As you venture out into the world, you’re bound to face challenges and setbacks. That’s why it’s always helpful to have a few words of wisdom to fall back on.
And what better source of advice than a commencement speech? Over the years, some truly great minds have shared their insights with graduating students. Here are 10 of the best pieces of advice that these speeches have ever given us. Whatever lies ahead, remember these words and you’ll be sure to find success.
1. Follow your heart
When you hear the phrase “follow your heart,” it’s easy to picture a whimsical person chasing after their dreams with no regard for practicality. However, following your heart doesn’t have to be about blindly pursuing your passions.
Instead, it’s about being intentional with your choices and true to yourself. It means asking yourself what you really want out of life and then making choices that align with those desires.
It means being brave enough to stand up for what you believe in, even when it’s not popular. And it means living with integrity, even when no one is watching. Of course, following your heart isn’t always easy.
It can be scary to step out of your comfort zone and forge your own path. But ultimately, it’s a rewarding way to live. When you follow your heart, you’ll always know that you’re doing what’s right for you – and that’s something to be proud of.
2. Don’t be afraid to take risks
Someone ever told you to “take risks” in a commencement speech? It can be difficult to know what that actually means. In many cases, it simply means stepping outside of our comfort zones and trying something new.
However, it can also mean making significant changes in our lives, such as changing careers or moving to a new city. While it’s natural to feel some apprehension about change, there are many good reasons to take risks.
For one thing, taking risks can lead to new experiences and personal growth. It can also help us to develop a greater sense of confidence and self-awareness.
Of course, there are no guarantees when it comes to taking risks. But if we approach new opportunities with an open mind and a willingness to learn, we can often find that the rewards far outweigh the risks.
3. Pursue your passions
Another commencement speech favorite is encouraging graduates to “pursue their passions.” It can sound like vague, empty encouragement. But what does it actually mean to pursue your passions? And why is it a good idea to do so?
Essentially, pursuing your passions means choosing a career path that is both personally meaningful and personally fulfilling. It’s about finding work that you love and that energizes you, rather than work that simply pays the bills.
Of course, pursuing your passions doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll never experience setbacks or have to deal with difficult challenges. But it does mean that you’ll be more likely to maintain your motivation and enthusiasm over the long haul.
And in the end, isn’t that what we all want out of our careers? To find something that we love and that makes us happy? So if you’re still trying to figure out what you want to do with your life, don’t be afraid to follow your heart. Pursuing your passions may not always be easy, but it’s definitely worth it.
4. Be yourself
“Just be yourself,” your valedictorian or commencement speaker encourages. When you hear that advice, it can sound like a simple platitude that is easy to follow. However, being yourself is not always as straightforward as it seems.
In many ways, we are constantly putting on different masks and adapting our behavior to fit different situations. For instance, at work, you may act differently than you do with your friends or family.
The key to “being yourself” is to find the core of who you are and stay true to that no matter what situation you are in. It can be helpful to think of it as an internal compass that you can refer back to when you are feeling lost.
There are many reasons why it is important to be yourself. When you stay true to your values and beliefs, it helps you to build a strong sense of self-confidence and self-esteem.
In addition, being genuine and authentic allows you to form deeper, more meaningful relationships with others. When people know that they can depend on you to be authentic, they are more likely to trust and confide in you.
Finally, living your life in a way that is true to yourself can help you to lead a more fulfilling and satisfying life. When you live with purpose and intention, it helps you to feel more connected to the world around you.
5. Embrace change
Change is a constant in life. Just as the seasons’ change and day turns to night, so too do our lives always seem to be in flux. And while change can often be difficult and scary, it is also essential for growth.
Without change, we would never be able to learn and improve. That’s why it’s so important to embrace change when it comes our way. Learning to go with the flow and roll with the punches can help us to become more flexible and adaptable people. For example, if you’re starting a new job, try to go into it with an open mind and a willingness to learn.
It can also be helpful to think of change as an opportunity for growth. When we view change in this positive light, it becomes easier to let go of our fears and embrace the unknown. So the next time something unexpected happens in your life, try to see it as an opportunity to grow and learn.
And as we all know, these are qualities that come in handy in all aspects of life. So next time you’re faced with a change, try to see it as an opportunity. Do so, and who knows what you might achieve?
6. Be grateful for what you have
Being grateful means more than just saying “thank you.” It’s about understanding the value of what you have and taking the time to appreciate it. When you focus on the positive, you’re more likely to find happiness and success.
That’s why many commencement speeches choose to “go there” with their advice. Here are a few tips for practicing gratitude:
- Keep a gratitude journal and write down things you’re thankful for each day.
- Make it a point to thank people who do something kind for you, no matter how small.
- Pay attention to the little things that make you happy and savor them.
- Volunteer your time or donate to causes that are important to you. Helping others is one of the best ways to feel good about yourself.
By incorporating gratitude into your life, you can find greater happiness and satisfaction. So, next time you’re feeling down, take a moment to remember all the things you’re grateful for. It just might turn your day around.
7. Give back to others
Many commencement speeches encourage graduates to give back to others, and there are good reasons why. Giving back can be good for both the recipient and the giver.
When people give of their time, money, or skills, they often find that they get back more than they gave. In terms of personal satisfaction, research has shown that people who give to others are happier and have a greater sense of well-being than those who don’t.
In addition, giving can also be good for one’s career. People who volunteer their time or donate to causes are often seen as being more committed and engaged in their work. As a result, giving back can be a great way to improve one’s personal and professional life.
And giving back can also be a great way to network with others. For example, if you volunteer your time to a worthy cause, you may meet people who could help you in your career. Or if you donate to a charitable organization, you may develop relationships with people who share your interests.
So, if you’re looking for ways to improve your life, consider giving back. It’s one of the best things you can do.
8. Live in the present moment
It’s easy to get caught up in the past or worry about the future. Instead, we should be living in the present moment. Doing so has many benefits.
For one thing, it can help reduce stress and anxiety. Constantly dwelling on what went wrong in the past or worrying about what might happen in the future can take a toll on your mental health.
But living in the present moment allows you to appreciate the good things in your life and focus on enjoying the here and now. Additionally, living in the present moment can help you stay more focused and productive.
When you’re constantly thinking about other things, it’s difficult to stay focused on what you’re doing. But if you can learn to live in the present moment, you’ll be able to focus more easily on whatever task is at hand.
So next time you find yourself worrying about the past or fretting about the future, try to take a step back and focus on living in the present moment. You may be surprised at how much better you feel.
9. Believe in yourself
Many commencement speeches also include the advice to “believe in yourself.” But what does that really mean? And how does it differ from being full of yourself?
Simply put, believing in yourself means having confidence in your abilities and capabilities. It’s about knowing that you have what it takes to succeed, even when the odds are against you.
Being full of yourself, on the other hand, is about thinking that you’re better than everyone else and that you don’t need anyone’s help. It’s a form of arrogance that often leads to failed relationships and missed opportunities.
So, when someone tells you to believe in yourself, they’re really telling you to have faith in your own abilities and to be humble enough to ask for help when you need it. In other words, it’s about striking a balance between confidence and humility.
And yes, it might mean believing that you can do the impossible. But as long as you remember that nobody achieves greatness alone, you’ll be just fine.
10. Have faith in the future
Lastly, commencement speeches often talk about the importance of faith, and for good reason. Faith is an essential part of life, and it helps give us hope for the future.
Without faith, it would be difficult to imagine a better tomorrow. Cynicism can be contagious, and it’s important to combat it with positivity and hope. Younger people have a unique opportunity to do this.
We can’t change the past, but we can influence the present and create a better future. Every single person has the power to make a difference. By having faith in ourselves and in others, we can make the world a better place for everyone.
So, the next time you hear a Baby Boomer attack your generation for being too idealistic, remember that it’s actually a good thing. And don’t let anyone ever tell you that your dreams are impossible. They’re not. With hard work and determination, anything is possible. Now let’s go out there and change the world. It needs it now more than ever.
A Commencement Speech Is More Than Just Feelgood Talk
The commencement speeches given each year are filled with many pieces of advice that are worth taking. From pursuing your passions to embracing change, these suggestions can help you to navigate your way through life’s challenges.
The next time you see a speaker get up to address a group of students – whether it’s your group or another – take a moment to listen to what they have to say. It can be just the catalyst you need to chart the right course in life.
[Featured Image by Flickr Creative Commons License]