Commencement Speeches

Steve Jobs

I was talking with a few friends and somehow ended up talking about commencement speeches.

Without a doubt, Steve Jobs is my favorite and has impacted me the most.

I love my Android phone and Windows computer, and have no hate for Apple, but Steve was truly a visionary. Here’s what really hits home with me:

Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.

The above really connects with me, especially as I’ve gotten older.  I’ve begun to learn what really gets me going in the morning, what I love doing, and am passionate about. I love being a web developer, but I also love being more involved with the business end and working with clients, sales teams, and other developers. I don’t like being the coder in the corner.

You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. You have to trust the dots will somehow connect in your future.

I’ve always been known in my family as the one to “roll the dice” and sometimes I’ve been extremely lucky and other times not so much. Right now, I’m unemployed but have a consulting gig going on, but it’s still a very tough time. However, unfortunately, I’ve been in tougher times. The quote above reminds me that I can’t try and figure out how everything works or the lessons you’re learning while looking forward, but once things get better, I can look behind and connect the dots and learn.

Next up for me is Ellen Degeneres.

Follow your passion, stay true to yourself, never follow someone else’s path unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path then by all means you should follow that.

I’ll never be able to compare her experience growing up as a lesbian vs me growing up gay, but she stuck to her guns and didn’t change. I never graduated from UF and generally didn’t like college in general. I know for some careers, you need to graduate, but I just never felt like I was truly getting anything out of it besides the whole “student experience.” I mostly did it because it’s what my family wanted me to do. However, while a junior at UF I was offered a position with a startup called Mobile Campus and I learned more about business, marketing, web development, and more in just a few months than I had years in college. So I dropped out.

Next up is Jim Carrey.

I’ve loved Jim Carrey the comedian. As a kid, I loved The Mask and Ace Ventura. However, I never expected the advice he gave:

Fear is going to be a player in your life, but you get to decide how much. You can spend your whole life imagining ghosts, worrying about your pathway to the future, but all there will ever be is what’s happening here, and the decisions we make in this moment, which are based in either love or fear.

So many of us choose our path out of fear disguised as practicality. What we really want seems impossibly out of reach and ridiculous to expect, so we never dare to ask the universe for it.

So those are the commencement speeches that I enjoy and have impacted my life the most. Are there any speeches in general (TED Talks, whatever) that you like? If so, post them below!

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