Graduation season is here! It’s a time for celebrations, reflections and congratulations! Graduation is one of those times we are so proud of ourselves! We finally finished! But…. now that means we have to start something new… This fear of the unknown is why we give our graduates stirring and inspiring speeches to propel them into their future.
If you are a graduate, or if you have a graduate in your life, I have collected 10 quotes from graduation speeches to help inspire and guide the Class of 2021 to the next phase of their life.
Helen Mirren - The trick is to listen to your instinct, grab the opportunity when it presents itself and then give it your all. You will stumble and fall, you will experience both disaster and triumph, sometimes in the same day, but it’s really important to remember that like a hangover, neither triumphs nor disasters last forever. They both pass and a new day arrives. Just try to make that new day count.
Jennifer Garner - At some point, you will realize that there is no finish line to cross. There is no moment when you're just supposed to be happy. While you wait for those moments—while you wait for the perfect job, the MCAT score, the engagement ring—your life is happening. Isn't it enough?....Happiness is your own responsibility, so attack it....Insist on optimism. Fight for what makes you optimistic about the world. Find it, insist on it, dig into it, go after it. If this seems lofty...for now, and over and over again, even when you don’t want to, choose kindness. A smile and a moment of your time even up the world more than you can imagine—and it’s free to boot.
Steve Jobs - You can’t connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something—your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.
Denzel Washington - I’ve found that nothing in life is worthwhile unless you take risks. Fall forward. Every failed experiment is one step closer to success. You’ve got to take risks. You will fail at some point in your life. Accept it. You will lose. You will embarrass yourself. You will suck at something. There is no doubt about it. Never be discouraged. Never look back. Give everything you’ve got. And when you fall throughout life, fall forward.
Leonard Nimoy - I drove a taxi at night so that I could be available for auditions during the day. One night I picked up Jack Kennedy at the Bel Air Hotel. Yes, that Jack Kennedy. Senator from Massachusetts at the time and future president. We chatted about careers, politics, and show business, and we agreed that both had a lot in common. Maybe too much in common. He said, ‘Lots of competition in your business, just like in mine,’ and then he gave me this. ‘Just remember there’s always room for one more good one.’ Words to live by, and I did.
George Saunders - Do those things that incline you toward the big questions, and avoid the things that would reduce you and make you trivial. That luminous part of you that exists beyond personality—your soul, if you will—is as bright and shining as any that has ever been.
Jon Bon Jovi - Nothing is as important as passion. No matter what you want to do with your life, be passionate. The world doesn’t need any more gray. On the other hand, we can’t get enough color. Mediocrity is nobody’s goal and perfection shouldn’t be either. We’ll never be perfect. But remember these three P’s: Passion + Persistence = Possibility.
Beyonce - Don’t talk about what you’re gonna do. Don’t just dream about what you’re gonna do. Don’t criticize somebody else for what they’re not doing. You be it. Be about it. Be about that action and go do it. Keep your eye on your intention. Don’t let any outside distraction or your own insecurity stop you from your goals. Embrace that struggle. Surviving that struggle will strengthen you. This is a crucial time in our history and in your life. The earth is ripping that BandAid off se we can really see our sounds, so we can acknowledge and nurture them. That’s when true healing begins. You can be that leader we all need. You can lead the movement that celebrates humanity. My prayer for you is that you invest in yourself and see the value of giving back and building your community the best way you can.
Oprah Winfrey - It doesn’t matter how far you might rise. At some point, you are bound to stumble. If you’re constantly pushing yourself higher and higher, the law of averages predicts that you will at some point fall. And when you do, I want you to remember this: There is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction. Now, when you’re down there in the hole, it looks like failure. When that moment comes, it’s okay to feel bad for a little while. Give yourself time to mourn what you think you may have lost. But then, here’s the key: Learn from every mistake, because every experience, particularly your mistakes, are there to teach you and force you into being more who you are.
Howard Thurman - Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.
I hope these inspired you to go forward into the world with purpose and enthusiasm and great vision! Cheers to this great accomplishment, and the many opportunities ahead of you!