Class of 2014 - The Best Commencement Speeches continued ...

/ Monday, June 2 /



Jeff Bezos, Princeton University, 2010

“Cleverness is a gift, kindness is a choice. Gifts are easy — they’re given after all. Choices can be hard.”

Conan O’Brien, Dartmouth College, 2011

“There are few things more liberating in this life than having your worst fear realized.”

Arianna Huffington, Sarah Lawrence College, 2011

“A key component of wisdom is fearlessness, which is not the absence of fear, but rather not letting our fears get in the way.”

Neil Gaiman, University of the Arts, 2012

“Be wise, because the world needs more wisdom, and if you cannot be wise, pretend to be someone who is wise, and then just behave like they would.”

Nipun Mehta, University of Pennsylvania, 2012

“Don’t just go through life, grow through life. Make it a point to acknowledge mystery and welcome rich questions.”

Drew Houston, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 2013

“If you’re not swerving around and hitting the guard rails every now and then, you’re not going fast enough.”

Joss Whedon, Wesleyan University, 2013

“You do not pass through this life, it passes through you. You experience it, you interpret it, you act, and then it is different.”

George Saunders, Syracuse University, 2013

“Since your life is going to be a gradual process of becoming kinder and more loving: Hurry up. Speed it along. Start right now.”

Arianna Huffington – Smith College, 2013

Don’t buy society’s definition of success. Because it’s not working for anyone. It’s not working for women, it’s not working for men, it’s not working for polar bears, it’s not working for the cicadas that are apparently about to emerge and swarm us. It’s only truly working for those who make pharmaceuticals for stress, diabetes, heart disease, sleeplessness and high blood pressure.

 J.K. Rowling — Harvard University, 2008

The knowledge that you have emerged wiser and stronger from setbacks means that you are, ever after, secure in your ability to survive. You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity. Such knowledge is a true gift, for all that it is painfully won, and it has been worth more to me than any qualification I ever earned.”

 Oprah Winfrey – Stanford University, 2008

And how do you know when you’re doing something right? How do you know that? It feels so. What I know now is that feelings are really your GPS system for life. When you’re supposed to do something or not supposed to do something, your emotional guidance system lets you know. The trick is to learn to check your ego at the door and start checking your gut instead.

 Ursula Burns — Columbia University, School of Engineering, 2012

Doing good is not an “add on” but central to leading a rewarding life. As my Mother used to tell anyone who would listen, we all have an obligation to “put back” more than we “take out.” Leave more than you take — not a bad formula for true success.

 Michelle Obama – University of California, Merced, 2009

“When times get tough and fear sets in, think of those people who paved the way for you and those who are counting on you to pave the way for them. Never let setbacks or fear dictate the course of your life. Hold on to the possibility and push beyond the fear.”

Sheryl Sandberg – Barnard College, 2011

Women almost never make one decision to leave the workforce. It doesn’t happen that way. They make small little decisions along the way that eventually lead them there….So, my heartfelt message to all of you is, and start thinking about this now, do not leave before you leave. Do not lean back; lean in. Put your foot on that gas pedal and keep it there until the day you have to make a decision, and then make a decision. That’s the only way, when that day comes, you’ll even have a decision to make.

Angela Ahrendts – Ball State University, 2010

So with the world at your fingertips, have you learned to listen to your heart, your intuition and your instincts?…Your heart is your guiding force, teach yourself to listen to it, nurture it, and let it guide as you start this next exciting chapter of life.

Hillary Clinton — New York University, 2009

There is no way to stop change; change will come. Go out and give us a future worthy of the world we all wish to create together.


10 Things Your Commencement Speaker Won’t Tell You

Copyright © Gaurav Monga