“The more I know, the more I understand how much I don’t know.
The more I know, The less I speak and the more I listen.
Speaking well takes few words, and a lot of listening.”
Some of you will be graduating this month. You go forth at a time in history of great upheaval. There is political change, there is a technological revolution, and there are new cyber threats and opportunities the likes and magnitude the world has never seen. You are surrounded by far too much sham and drudgery, but also by noble acts of selflessness and courage. So these thoughts go to the class of 2019.
You will soon be leaving the comfortable world of academe for the much harder school of life. Keep these years of study and searching warm in your hearts, and remember the lessons of effort and striving. Most of all, we hope your greatest take away was learning how to learn. Keep doing it and don’t ever stop.
Your education helped you turn from anticipation to promise. You now have the skills to turn your dreams into realities that can shape your communities for the better. Use them. You have been privileged to see a more perfect world in the classroom. Strive for it, but understand that the world outside the classroom is less than perfect, and hard choices need to be made. Resources are limited, time is a real constraint, the world does not stop. In the midst of this ever-moving background...... dream. Never stop daring to dream. Never stop questioning. It is only from challenging the status quo that improvement ever comes.
But the working world is not the world of school. It is not a place where you can tailor your daily lives to your schedule. Excuses are not readily accepted. You are no longer the center of the universe. What you thought was difficult in school, will seem trite by comparison.
There won’t be extensions for work that has to get done. Other people will be counting on you. You will have to tailor your schedule around those who depend on you or are willing to pay you. There will no longer be an institution responsible to you. You will be responsible to institutions or corporations and most of all to other people. There are deadlines. If you didn’t learn it yet...get ready....there are consequences for not meeting your duties.
Be bold. In the voyage of life you will see wayfarers who have been sidelined. Do not think less of them. Be bold and brave yes, but be compassionate as well. Try not to be arrogant, and at the same time don’t hide your feelings for fear some may think you weak. Remember always that between those who have privilege and those who have less there has been a fair amount of luck. Remember what they say about luck, “Those who work harder, get up earlier and stay up later, tend to be luckier.” There are hard choices to make. How much is enough?
Most of you will encounter setbacks along the way — don’t give in, don’t give up, persevere. It will be hard in the moment, but you will spend the rest of your life with the satisfaction that comes from rising when life was against you. It will be amongst your most cherished memories.
Always strive to be content. But not by wrapping yourself in a cloak of apathy. Be involved with the tempers and passions of your times. Give what you can of yourself to whatever efforts, causes or charities you choose. These efforts, though often unpaid, will probably feel most rewarding.
Failure is one of the best learning experiences. Take responsibility for it. Don’t waste time blaming others, no one cares. Deal with it and move on. The pain and anguish will burn the lesson deep in your soul and you will not likely repeat that mistake nor any similar one. Learn from others so you do not have to personally experience all the many failures that have already come before you. The world is old and repetitive. Learn.
Knowledge got you through school. Wisdom will see you through life.