From the Founders

Graduation season and how to get inspired to find meaningful work

Graduation is a transition. From student to practitioner. From the theoretical to the practical. A transition to the ‘real world’ so to speak. Whether you are just embarking on this stage of life or have been in the ‘real world’ for some time, graduation season is a good time to pause… and reflect. We can get so caught up in the day-to-day of our own lives that it’s hard to see the bigger picture, you know the old saying, “you can’t see the forest from the trees”.

The pomp and circumstance of the graduation ceremony comes with one amazing bonus, the commencement address. The most interesting, smart, and accomplished individuals share their wisdom and insights. The best commencement addresses catch your breath, make you realize something new about yourself, and change your outlook on life. Here are 3 must read commencement addresses from 2016 for living a meaningful life.

1. Sheryl Sandberg gave one of the most moving and powerful speeches of 2016, talking for the first time about the lessons that come from death. For the first time speaking publicly about the death of her husband and how resiliency and gratitude are keys to moving forward.

“When the challenges come, I hope you remember that anchored deep within you is the ability to learn and grow. You are not born with a fixed amount of resilience. Like a muscle, you can build it up, draw on it when you need it. In that process you will figure out who you really are — and you just might become the very best version of yourself.”

Read it here.

2. Positive psychologist, Scott Barry Kaufman, teaches us the secrets to happiness in life. The threat of measuring yourself to extrinsic goals (think celebrity, fame, money) and what you can do instead. You’ll also find out the single biggest predictor of human happiness (hint: it’s quality not quantity of this) and how by truly understanding yourself and others will lead to a fulfilling life.

“Do not be scared of having your mind changed. Do not be scared of being wrong. Be aware of the fact that no one person has the truth.”

Read it here.

3. Do you ever doubt the value of a liberal arts degree? You won’t after reading this commencement address by Michael Powell, President and CEO at NCTA. Philosophy, sociology, psychology won’t teach you how to code or build the next greatest app but it does something so much better- it teaches you to think.

“Above all, the most valuable thing you have been taught is how to teach yourselves. You are capable of lifelong learning and that will be your competitive edge in an unpredictable and undulating world. But making a meaningful life goes well beyond adapting to whatever vocation awaits you. In a world where many tasks will be mastered by machines, you will have to rely on the thing that most distinguishes you from circuits and silicon. And that is your humanity.”

Read it here.

For more of the best commencement speeches of all time check out NPR’s list of the Best Commencement Speeches, Ever.

Also check out Maria Popova’s Brain Pickers list.

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