Four years ago, I was sitting at my computer, at Mcgill University in Montreal, writing this very speech as my “Personal Statement” to get into NYU. You know what I am talking about. The 200 to 500 word “essay” that you use to describe who you are. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I had no idea who I was. There was so much going through my mind and no way to organize it. The scariest thing in my life was the future.
Not much has changed. The future still is a very frightening idea, but I no longer fear it! To get this far, we have had to toss aside the idea of fate, and create our own destinies. And that’s not going to end here. In fact, life has only just begun. In the years to come, we will all be given the chance to see our sacrifices and hard work pay off. I can tell by looking at all your faces that your mouths are literally watering to get out there and pounce on life. We have got to jump in there head first, confident of our potentials to achieve greatness. And there is not a doubt in my mind that every person in this crowd has that potential.
That’s a funny thing though. What is greatness? We all aspire to be great, but really only a handful of people know what it is, and fewer actually achieve it. So on this day of graduation, where can we go from here? What is this greatness that we aspire to?
To an engineer, greatness might mean creating an rock-hard design that stands the test of time. To an athlete, greatness may be hitting that ace to win Wimbledon, or making a field goal in the final second of the Super bowl to win the game. To an actor, greatness might mean getting the Oscar for best performance . To those of us taking on the business world, greatness may mean cashing out just as the newest investment was about to go under. To most of us, however, including myself, greatness is right now. But I submit to you that greatness is more than just the aspirations of any one individual. Greatness is built upon a foundation cemented with experiences and relationships. Relationships not solely with parents, family, or faculty but more, relationships with each other. Isaac Newton one said that the only reason he could see farther than others is because he has stood on the shoulders of giants. On no other day than today do these words ring more true. The only reason we have the potential to be great is because we’ve stood on each other’s shoulders. We’ve helped each other work through problems, meet deadlines, study for tests — we’ve helped each other get through life these past few years.
Work-Life Balance: The Relationship Between Stress and Health March 10th 2012 The relationship between employment related stress and workplace uncertainty directly impacts health today. Studies have identified employment strains caused by uncertainty of work that may be measured by scheduling and earning uncertainty (Tompa et al, 2009). The effort required in commuting to the workplace and effort ...
These powerful relationships should not be weakened or severed, but should become stronger than they ever were. We are all connected through your actions and experiences, and it’s these experiences that bind us in some way to every individual around us. And I challenge you to cherish and use these experiences to comfort you in the years ahead.
So get out there and take hold. There are no second chances, so grab on to the ladder and climb until you reach your happiness, or your greatness, whatever that may mean to you. And if that ladder isn’t high enough, then stand on the shoulders of your friends, your experiences, your giants, and get there. I know you will, because I definitely am. Thank you, and congratulations to everybody.