Commencement Speech To Myself, Two Years Later

What I wish someone had said to me at my graduation

Go out and forge your own path. The paths that already exist will lead you to someone else’s destination. If you want to get somewhere meaningful and unique, you’ll have to carve your way from scratch.

Forging your own path will irritate a lot of people. They believe that because they took the existing path, you should have to too. Politely offer them the chance to join you. If they refuse, ask them to move. If they still refuse, go around them. Try not to take it personally when they subsequently claim that you shoved them.

Life is not a democracy; just because they outnumber you doesn’t make them right. If you do happen to be wrong, though, admit it.

Trust your instincts about people. Your first impressions are usually spot on. That said, always treat people as trustworthy until they prove otherwise. When they do, smile and forgive, but don’t forget.

Work hard for your goals. This will be easier if you find something you love to do. Don’t forget to let loose once in a while, though, so that you have something to work for.

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Get a pet. Let it lick your face when you come home from work, and when carving out your path gets overwhelming, let it remind you that all that really matters are food, shelter, and snuggling.

Keep learning, and remember that nobody can tell you not to.

Plan everything, then be ready to run your plans through the shredder at a moment’s notice. Your path will have to go around boulders and across bridges. Try not to burn them behind you, but if you have to on occasion, the world will keep spinning.

Keep reading books, even though it seems like everything’s on the Internet now.

And since I don’t know how to wrap this up, I’ll steal one final piece of advice: always wear sunscreen.