Commencement Speeches

July 20, 2008 at 9:51 am Leave a comment

I am quite taken with the recent increase in books encapsulating a speakers’ recent commencement speech.  Maria Shriver did this well a few years back as have many others.  I am sure my impending graduation in September has got me thinking about endings, new beginnings, and school in general.  This is not new to me as I remember doing some of this three years ago when I was finishing up my MBA.

Ann Patchett has joined the fray and shared her commencement speech via the written word, called What Now?  If that isn’t aptly titled, then I don’t know what is!  That is definitely the sentiment these days for many of us. What now?  What do I do now? What do I do next?  Should I really do this now?  I think we are all thinking of some cosmic question at one time or another similar to these, especially in relation to who we are and what we do. More and more of us are asking ourselves if being on that hamster wheel is enough anymore.

What are the questions you are asking yourself lately?  Mine has been “is this it” and “isn’t there more than this” which is what has been driving some of my major life decisions the past few years.  With great certainty, I can say that corporate America isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be anymore (which in many ways is a good thing) but it could certainly be worse.  As for internet companies and start-ups, steer clear if they haven’t a vision, clear guiding principles that are lived every single day (not just talked about once), and have little structure or foundation.  It is amazing the number of internet companies and start-ups that are backed by some amazing venture capitalists but are running amok in their own idiocy.

What I think is most telling about Patchett’s question of  what now? is the concept of letting the answer come to you through reflection, meditation or just plain nothingness.  Her belief is that some of us are afraid to do nothing because the answer to what now? might actually come back to you as “I don’t know.”  Personally, asking the question alone is a great first step. If you don’t have an answer, keep asking.  Your mind will turn it around and around until the answer does come to you. But being an ostrich and not asking the cosmic questions of your life only leads to more of the same.  If that is where you want to head, then I applaud you for already asking and answering the tough questions.  For some of us, the journey is still continuing!

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Entry filed under: Miscellania, thoughts. Tags: , , , , , .

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