About a week ago I first heard about this commencement speech. Many people online seemed outraged over it, and I’ll admit I had mixed feelings when reading/listening to snippets from it.
But now, having watched it all the way through, I feel that it is one of the very best and most realistic speeches of its type that I have ever heard. I urge you to pay close attention to what is being said here, and then read my further comments below the video.
Forty five years ago when I graduated high school, and even twenty some years past when my children did the same, this speech would have never happened. Not only that – it would have been meaningless if it had.
Because it is only in the last two decades that we have somehow moved into the trap of encouraging false self esteem. There is no value in the trophy when everyone gets one. We demean accomplishment when we praise it’s lack with equal fervor.
You are not special – until you make yourself so. You are not a winner until you work hard enough to win. You are not a leader until you step out of your comfort zone, take the lead, and others follow you.
Being special is the result of work, intent, effort and the like. You are not special by birth, or unearned social position or even by desire. It is all up to you. You lift yourself above the masses by one thing only – striving to be the best you that you can be, by actually ‘leaving it all on the field.’