My dear, dear friend and maid-of-honor just graduated from American University Law School. She is brilliant and wonderful and clearly doesn’t need any advice as to how to be successful in life. I have to say, though, that in considering the turning point she’s approaching, I’ve been more aware of the advice that surfaces from great minds, leading thinkers and purveyors of hilarity at this time of year. Weddings, like graduations, are rites of passage, in a sense, and as I noted in my Potential Quotables post, I love the idea of incorporating quotes on life, love and the pursuit of happiness to add some extra beauty and sentimentality to our special day.
Amy Poehler’s graduation speech at Harvard University, “the Harvard of Harvards,” is a great example of the enjoyable and inspiring knowledge that’s available to everyone, not just graduates. Because really, as I was so reminded of in Stephen Fry’s very astute and intriguing interview with Lady Gaga, all of us are constantly in the process of being born and re-born, as we gain a better handle on who we are and evolve into who we want to be.
The Huffington Post offered a great slideshow dubbed “10 Tips to Achieving the Life You Want” for graduates, which I found a lot of value in and I hope you do too. Among the tips, the ones that most resonated with me were the recommendations to love what you do and to be courageous, flexible and persistent. “Find your tribe” is a good one too, and I’m fortunate to have found several phenomenal groups of friends who are bright, kind and a whole lot of fun. I can’t wait to celebrate my five-year reunion at Skidmore College next weekend, with some of the friends I love the most, but tend to see the least.
Another great post, again from the Huffington Post and also written by Randy Taran, is “3 Simple Ways to Find the Courage to Be Yourself.” Do you have trouble taking a firm stance on who you are? I know I did and while I’ve become more self-assured over the years, it’s always a challenge to boldly and confidently say, “This is who I am and you need to accept that.” The basic take-aways? Knowledge is power, get into the flow and embody what you believe in. Easy enough, right? I love the simplicity of the message.
The last place I’d like to recommend checking out this article recently published in the New York Times. It’s called “Liking is for Cowards. Go for What Hurts.” I found the article to be a good jumping off point for yet another pearl of wisdom I sort of pulled out of the article’s thesis: Don’t just like everything. Immerse yourself in a few things passionately and truly. Or, as Radiohead sings, “Immerse your soul in love.” It’s easy to click the “thumbs up” on Facebook, but finding a cause or purpose that inspires, excites and motivates you to engage in wholeheartedly is what really defines you.
So graduates and non-graduates, take this opportunity, when words of wisdom abound, to grab onto the messages that move you and drive you. After all, we could all use a little self-assessment once in a while.