“The world is more malleable than you think and
it’s waiting for you to hammer it into shape.”
Across the nation, graduates are dressing in black robes and caps with colorful tassels. They are listening anxiously to accomplished commencement speakers as they anticipate receiving their diplomas and accepting congratulations that mark an end to this life chapter. Graduates are inundated with inspirational speeches and motivational quotes. Some will hear practical advice along with encouragement to change the world. Following the repetition of Pomp and Circumstance and after the parties are over, the world awaits.
To quote Dr. Seuss, “you have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself in any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And you are the one who’ll decided where to go.” The choice is yours. All graduates will continue on a path of their choosing and change the world in their own way. No matter the obstacles that lie ahead, remember, you choose.
Choose the courage to be imperfect. When we look at others, we see their strengths and our weaknesses. What we fail to realize is that everyone has flaws, areas that need work or improvement. Instead of wishing to be like others, find those individuals you admire and work to develop the positive qualities they emulate. Courageously accept your imperfections and see the beauty in your strengths.
Choose to embrace vulnerability. Understand that it is okay to not have all the answers. Life is about choosing to acknowledge what is unknown, but mustering the courage to figure it out. Some of the best experiences are a result of admitting, “I don’t know” and allowing people to share their life with you. Embrace your vulnerability and see the kindness of others.
Choose to commit to lifelong learning. Although graduation is now behind you, learning should never stop. The world is big and full of amazing people who have overcome challenges, achieved success, and forged paths paved with failures and triumph. Always question why, not in arrogance, but in seeking to appreciate the wisdom of others. Commit to lifelong learning and see the world through another’s perspective.
Choose to seek opportunities. Success will not be delicately placed in your lap wrapped in pretty paper with a bow. Life will present you with circumstances and require you to make decisions. Life is a series of opportunities. Those individuals who have found success did so as a result of grasping for opportunities. Push yourself beyond what you think you can achieve and let yourself be surprised. Seek opportunities and see what the world has to offer.
Choose to create your unique impact. Not everyone is destined to be the President of the United States, CEO of a major corporation, or heir to a billion-dollar fortune. Money and status do not define success. Everyone is presented with the chance to impact the world around them. Take time to find your passion. Find others who encourage your dreams, those who come alongside and dream with you. Create the impact you wish to have and see how the world is a better place because of you.
Choose to be happy. Happiness and joy is a choice. It is a daily decision. Life will get messy and your world can get turned upside down, seek out joy. Find your purpose and live life every day to the fullest. Surround yourself with individuals who want to see you succeed. If you happen to lose your way, remember to choose happiness and see how your smile brightens someone else’s day.
Life is not as mysterious as it may seem. It is a series of choices. You will make mistakes, we all do. Learn from them. You will see some dreams shatter, we all do. Pick up the pieces and know you are a better person as a result. You will make an impact, we all do. Shape the world you wish to see and be the person you want to be for in the end, you choose.
“So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality…
you can fail at what you don’t want.
So you might as well take a chance on doing what you love.”
~ Jim Carrey