I have thought “it sure would be nice to give a commencement speech to a class of high school graduates”. Then I had the duhh moment where the following thought occurred to me “Eric, you hypocrite, you have the internet with youtube and a blog! Give the darn speech”. Here I was waiting (whining) about not being picked to give this speech when all along, I can give that speech today. Right now, and no one can tell me not too. So here it is, what I would say to a group of high school or even college graduates. Or the Kiwanas club, or Future Business Leaders, or a Coffee club.
Graduates of the class of 2014, did you know that you live in the greatest time in human history? For all the suffering in the world, you setting in those chairs have never known a more prosperous time to be alive. I’m sure many have planned out the immediate future but you with the restless spirit, you with the heart to make a difference, you who seek something beyond the normal routine of academia. You are who I want to visit with.
It is worth repeating, you were born at the perfect time and now live in the perfect time. You live in the connection economy. Anyone in this room can now connect their ideas and passions to the world. Thanks to the internet it has never been easier or cheaper to follow your dreams. You want to write and record your own music? Thanks to the internet you can connect with artists around the world to contribute to your music, record it, and publish it for free. Want to learn a trade or get an MBA, you can learn all of this on your time at your favorite coffee shop using free Wifi. At this moment each one of us can start the movement of our choice from recycling to solving poverty with a free Facebook account and or a free blog. Don’t know how to start build a website, change oil, or make balloon animals? The answers are a few keystrokes away.
The greatest part of all of this? No one can tell us NO. No person can say your idea is too weird. People will tell us it will never work but we now have the tools to not only make our ideas work, but to make a difference. Our imaginations now have access to make dreams come true, pursue our calling and help others see what we see on the horizon.
All of this may sound too good to be true and for some it is. What I speak of is not for everyone. No, it is for those of you restless with the status quo. It is for those who are not satisfied with just a paycheck and fringe benefits. These ideas are for people who feel a calling to something extraordinary. These ideas are for passionate people who want to make a difference in their world of care and concern. Who need to raise a ruckus and be heard.
The world is waiting on you. The world needs your creativity, your energy and genius. The world gave you tools, it begs each of you to look deep into your hearts, to answer yes to the path of resistance. To connect to others and be light in darkness.
Graduates of 2014, you have spent the last years watching the world create the tools you need. Now it is time to choose what you will do with them. The gates are wide open. The gatekeepers have been fired. Your parents and I are now want to see the world you will create.
So there is it is. If I were the speaker at commencement that is what I would share. The beauty of this speech is I would give this to all types of people.
These ideas apply to anyone will to listen.
For more on this idea read this blog post from a couple months ago. “1999 Was a Great Time to be Born”.