The graduation week just went by with thousands of commencement speeches and graduation ceremonies across North America. Thousands of students and hopeful youth graduated from a section of their education for life. I was not invited to any graduation commencement ceremony to make a commencement speech. But that necessarily doesn’t stop me from making one here. Because, after reading many commencement speeches and generally looking at the young hopefuls stepping into real life, I feel it is my duty to share the universal truth with them; not the ego boosted message of a propagandist.
Dear Class of 2013, you deserve much better than a condescending talk down or advice from those ill-equipped to proffer. Isn’t it even daring for us to make a commencement speech – we who have brought this universe to the brink of a catastrophic disaster and an all-time low in every walk of life; be it arts, politics, science, economics, sports and / or whatever. We have our own defense and rationalization for what we have done to this world. But that does not give us the right to not let you discover and be a part of a new world; not carrying the prejudices and pithy commentary of our generation.
Here are 5 L things that you need to get right. Our generation messed up and you see the consequences manifested in our society today. So for heaven’s sake, don’t take after our example.
The first most important tenet of love is unconditionality. We are a generation who suited ourselves to love anything and anyone depending on our moods and motives. Don’t do that. We know that your education and university have not equipped you to Love and that is a good thing. The reams of text and the people authoring them and delivering them have all moved from an era of absolute purity to absolute impurity. That is the reason why you haven’t seen a Beethoven, Thyagaraja, Newton, Einstein, Madam Curie or Mother Teresa lately. Start loving who you are and extend that unto others; be it people, places or principles and you will be compelled to make this world a better place to live. If you want me to stress again, I will let you know that we have created this sorry world around you because we always wanted to be something or someone who we really aren’t as a nation, society, family and individuals. You have a chance to change that first, if at all you want to see any change.
We have been dying every moment in every day of our lives living a lie as parents, teachers, business people, politicians and / or whatever. We have pummeled and pillaged nature, the very source of life and pretended to fix it with various slogans and soirees. But the truth is, there is very little we do to fix the cause and keep diving shallow for the symptoms. We have lost the courage of conviction which you require righting the wrong and that is what living is all about. Your values and principles must lead you to the very root of the causes that this society faces and find happiness in making them work for you as well as the future generations. We as a generation are way too corrupted by our own thinking and ego to let that happen. You have the opportunity to live your life and be happy, free of the baggage that we have carried. Don’t allow us to transfer our load of guilt, shame and complexes on to you.
Learning is asking questions. Remember when you were a little child, you had all kinds of questions and you asked them. Don’t mute that Curiosity because that is learning. Our generation attempted to mute you as you grew up because we did not have the answers for your questions and we were shy to collaborate and find answers together. Society has always thrived as a community and today with the advancement of science and technology, that community is a global one. If you want to learn, you must have the ability to let go what you know. It is a continuous process of renewal like the seasons of nature. This realization must be embedded as one of the foundational principles of your life. The day you stop learning, you might as well be dead like the most of our generation. Look no further than your daily news for evidence that is filled with scandals and so little about sanctity? Embrace Spiritualism; for it has nothing to do with any ism or religion. It is an osmotic process of transmuting energy. Learn this and then you learn every other truth that is embedded within it.
Contrary to popular belief leadership is not about attaining power for you. It is about attaining power for others. Every one of us is born to be a leader. Most of us abrogate that responsibility. We do so by accepting what comes our way and slip into the comfort zone. On the other hand, a leader makes the most uncomfortable and disconcerting terrain comfortable with his / her ability to be resilient and responsive. Our generation focused too much on the titles and the positions of power and that is the reason why PR is such a powerful industry and mediocrity is a way of life. We build an image of who we want others to think we are and it is very hard for almost anyone to maintain the façade all the time. No one can be perfect but anyone can aim for excellence. Leading is a journey and not a destination and it does not identify itself with the strings of power and position. To the contrary, a leader is fiercely independent and chooses a path that is less traveled. Be that leader and find new paths for the people around you.
Finally, leverage the best in everyone and everything that you see around you. You are not perfect and the people and things around you aren’t either. Rather than seeking unanimity in thought, promote diversity. Challenge yourself to rally Thought and Opinion on the strength of your conviction that is born from all the above mentioned dimensions of your personality. You heard me right; it is your persona that we are talking about. Don’t make it up with cosmetics and surgery. Choose a healthy living and celebrate the diversity around you in every walk of life. Go out of your way to make this global village a place where life can be sacred again and living can be a blessing. Don’t listen to our generation’s rant of “what the hell”! Make this your own. Leverage your heart and ride your mind to make your future a unique one. Just as nature intended us to be!
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a first step. You take that step today with a firm resolve and a heart ready to embrace the unknown.