Category Archives: Pearls of wisdom

Payel: Working the flow

252249_10200583278737512_1827789306_nThis post was written by Payel, a 19-year-old who is studying fashion:

Coming from India, a country with a past so rich the present is nothing but a decaying dream, it is a tough time for the youth to survive. Especially with the rupee’s value sinking even lower the past week, economy is at an all time low; no wonder the parents of this country do not really preach “follow the dream” slogan to their kids — it’s more about the security of the present and the future.

And thus, the kids are laden with second-hand dreams of being doctors, engineers, government officials, or high post holding MNC workers. Anything less, and you are branded lost. Read the rest of this entry


Get on a rocket ship

Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg (Photo credit: jdlasica)

I’ve frequently heard of the struggles that twenty-somethings go through in finding jobs that fit their skills and education. So I was inspired by a speech that businesswoman Sheryl Sandberg gave to Harvard Business School in 2012.

Sandberg was also trying to find work during a rough economic period. A growing consumer Internet company wanted to hire her, but the position was several levels lower than her other job offers, and it didn’t match any of her criteria for a desirable job.

When she pointed out those objections to the company’s CEO, this is what he told her: Read the rest of this entry

Construct meaning from experience

David Foster Wallace

David Foster Wallace (Photo credit: Steve Rhodes)

A commencement speech that David Foster Wallace gave in 2005 had been making the rounds on the Internet as a short film entitled “This Is Water.” In his speech, the late author discussed how education frees us from the tediousness of day-to-day life:

“Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience.”

Hear Part 1 and Part 2 of Foster Wallace’s speech.

And click here for more great excerpts of commencement speeches.

Create your own opportunities

Robert Krulwich prepping #duxcamp

Robert Krulwich (Photo credit: Burnt Pixel)

I’ve really admired people who take initiative and create their own opportunities when others won’t give them the chance to prove themselves. So, to quote journalist Robert Krulwich:

“… think about getting together with friends that you admire, or envy. Think about entrepeneuring. Think about NOT waiting for a company to call you up. Think about not giving your heart to a bunch of adults you don’t know. Think about horizontal loyalty. Think about turning to people you already know, who are your friends, or friends of their friends and making something that makes sense to you together, that is as beautiful or as true as you can make it.”

Click here for a video of Krulwich’s commencement speech.

And click here for more great excerpts of commencement speeches.

Build yourself a great story

Jeff Bezos

Jeff Bezos (Photo credit: niallkennedy)

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression “You are the author of your own life story.”

Well, this excerpt of a commencement speech that Jeff Bezos (founder and CEO of gave to Princeton University demonstrates that we “write” our life stories through the choices we make:

“I will hazard a prediction. When you are 80 years old, and in a quiet moment of reflection narrating for only yourself the most personal version of your life story, the telling that will be most compact and meaningful will be the series of choices you have made. In the end, we are our choices. Build yourself a great story. Thank you and good luck!”

Click here for a video of Bezos’ commencement speech.

And click here for more great excerpts of commencement speeches.

Pay attention to life’s whisper

English: Oprah Winfrey at the White House for ...

Oprah Winfrey (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is some great advice that Oprah Winfrey — who’s certainly had her share of struggles and successes — gave at Stanford University’s 2008 commencement ceremony:

“And what I’ve found is that difficulties come when you don’t pay attention to life’s whisper, because life always whispers to you first. And if you ignore the whisper, sooner or later you’ll get a scream. Whatever you resist persists. But, if you ask the right question — not why is this happening, but what is this here to teach me? — it puts you in the place and space to get the lesson you need.”

Click here for a video of Oprah’s speech.

And click here for more great excerpts of commencement speeches.

“Yes” is for young people

American comedian and television show host Ste...

Stephen Colbert (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Trying to begin a career in this economy, I’ve often struggled with being cynical versus being optimistic. That’s why I was glad to read this advice that Stephen Colbert gave during his 2006 commencement speech:

“Cynicism masquerades as wisdom, but it is the farthest thing from it. Because cynics don’t learn anything. Because cynicism is a self-imposed blindness, a rejection of the world because we are afraid it will hurt us or disappoint us. Cynics always say no. But saying ‘yes’ begins things. Saying ‘yes’ is how things grow. Saying ‘yes’ leads to knowledge. ‘Yes’ is for young people. So for as long as you have the strength to, say ‘yes.’”

Click here for a video of Colbert’s speech.

And click here for more great excerpts of commencement speeches.

Make mistakes

Conan O'Brien

Conan O’Brien (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Conan O’Brien gave this valuable advice at his 2000 Harvard commencement speech:

“So that’s what I wish for all of you — the bad as well as the good. Fall
down. Make a mess. Break something occasionally. Know that your mistakes
are your own unique way of getting to where you need to be. And
remember that the story is never over…I will go now to make bigger
mistakes and to embarrass this fine institution even more.”

Check out Part 1 and Part 2 of O’Brien’s speech.

And click here for more great excerpts of commencement speeches.

Live for you

Never in a million years did I think that I’d get a valuable life lesson from a reality TV star, but here’s an inspiring quote from Renee Graziano of Mob Wives:

“Wasting time is wasting life — and we need to stop taking life for granted and live in the here and now. Don’t wait for it to come to you. Go get it — and stop living for any or everyone else. Live for YOU.”

Click here for the rest of Renee’s blog post on HuffPost Celebrity.

Mob Wives

Mob Wives (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“Infuse your life with action”

Photo of Bradley Whitford, cropped from an ima...

Bradley Whitford (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These are some great words of wisdom that actor Bradley Whitford gave during his 2004 commencement speech to the University of Wisconsin-Madison:

“Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen — yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.”

For a transcript of Whitford’s entire speech, click here.

And click here for more great excerpts of commencement speeches.