Count ’em all up.
Or maybe it just feels like it.
But I’m not complaining.
It must be tough for any speaker to plow new territory at commencement time when most of us in the audience are merely hoping for something humorous and brief.
I think I’ve heard nearly every inspirational cliché at two recent college commencements alone.
• Be bold.
• Be yourself.
• Aim for the stars.
• Dream big.
• The world awaits.
• Share your gifts.
• Don’t take any guff.
You get the idea.
But an “older” retiring professor up at the podium during one of the events (for winning an award for something I didn’t quite catch) spoke directly to the graduating class in a way that still has me thinking.
He only needed about 25 seconds to serve up his two non-cliché best personal wishes.
“Grads,” he said. “Whatever your chosen path, I hope these two things will always be with you everyday for the rest of your lives; an inner quiet and an unshakeable confidence. Embrace them and nurture them. They will serve you well in the journeys ahead of you.”
And that was it.
I don’t know why I found it all so profound, to be honest.
It seems so… contrarian.
At least to me, since I’m more of a long-time “inner shaking” kind of guy.