Sunday, June 8, 2014


This is the time of year when speeches are made to graduation classes.  I have heard some wonderful speeches in person with personal touches and great life stories.  I have also heard and read some speeches that are almost wishful thinking for the audience.  The person giving the speech has lived a life that most of us will never experience because of particular circumstances and significant opportunities that presented themselves to this respective person.  It is very interesting to hear about their lives and perspectives.  But how does that make it real for the graduate and how does the graduate relate to this person's life?

What got me thinking about this subject was a comment made on the radio this morning about the commencement address that Steve Jobs gave some years ago.  The commentator was talking about the first quote provided below.  She felt that Steve Jobs was downplaying the job that other people were doing so that he was able to follow his dreams and do the work he loved.  She provided examples of all the support he got at Apple, from the cleaners to the people who worked on the assembly lines putting together the computers.  In the first quote, Steve Jobs talks about doing the work that you love to do.  The second quote speaks to following your own heart and intuition and not living someone else's life. 

Both quotes from Steve Jobs provides wonderful advice.  But can we all relate to it?  What I am thinking about is the man or woman who works several jobs in order to give their children a better life.  Or the person who has responsibilities for elder care and is responsible for them and spends their  free time attending to needs of their parents.  They don't have the freedom to follow their dreams.  Or the person who was raised in an environment where education was not encouraged and wasn't encouraged to dream beyond the life of what their parent had.  Or the single parent who is raising several children, doesn't have a family support system and is unable to get training to improve their life.  Or the person who has disabilities and is discouraged by the uphill battle they face on a routine basis.

What I think should be discussed at these graduation ceremonies and other life events are the values you live by in your life and how you do your work.  The values include speaking truthfully; being clear and consistent in how you communicate; valuing all opinions; listening to others; keeping commitments; taking pride and satisfaction in your work no matter how small or big the task is at hand; being able to laugh at yourself; being grateful and showing humility.

Whenever I need a dose of reality about life, I need to look no further than the dog.  He doesn't spend his life looking backwards, will work hard at play, is loyal and is satisfied with just a toy in his mouth.


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