My brothers and I have been invited to speak at our high school’s graduation in a few weeks. I’m incredibly honored and really excited for the opportunity. Due to logistics and schedules (I’m the only one living in our hometown right now) it looks like only two of the four of us will be speaking. So Chris and I (you may remember him as the ill-fated test pilot in our Indoor Bobsledding adventure) have started chatting about the theme of the speech.
I believe that, generally speaking, people have to walk their own paths and learn through their own missteps. Otherwise, history would be the single most important important subject taught in school. Our history as a species would then be a series of single misfortunes that we as a people would never repeat. Clearly, this isn’t the case and we usually have to touch the stove to understand that it’s hot. You won’t ever touch the stove again but your kid brother next to you might to see what all the fuss was about. (I’m not saying that ever happened in our house…)
So, these soon-to-be high school graduates will have to figure things out as they go. I do think, though, that we can help the next generation on their journey. We can encourage them to dream big but plan for some adversity. Pick themselves up after they stumble. Recognize that whatever they want they’re going to have to work for it. Understand that of all the factors that contribute to success- talent, luck, connections, intelligence- it’s actually determination that counts the most.
So- if you had the opportunity to speak to your younger self- what would you say? Would you want to urge him or her to skip all the missteps and mistakes? Is there any benefit to getting it wrong before you (hopefully) get it right?
Please- share your thoughts!
(By the way- got almost another 300 words in on Story Blue before work this morning! Little by little…)