Thanks to Valerie Alexander, who writes about happiness and success and other things that fill her mind at SpeakHappiness.com, for coming upon this video. It's is a thoughtful, funny, entertaining graduation speech given in 2013 by comedian/musician Tim Minchin at Western Australia University, of which he's a graduate..
He gives 10 pieces of advice, most of them counter-intuitive to what's usually said on such occasions. Though rather than just leaving them be as jokes, he goes into explanations why these ideas are, in fact, worthwhile, starting with --
"You don't have to have a dream." (He's not against having dreams, but makes the point that one should be "micro-ambitious. Put your head down and work with pride on whatever is in front of you." Adding, "Just be aware that the next worthy pursuit will probably appear in your periphery, which is why you should be careful of long-term dreams. If you focus too far in front of you, you won''t see the shiny thing out the corner of your eye.")
I also liked that this video came thanks of the Queen of Speak Happiness, since Mr. Minchin also advises --
"Don't seek happiness." (In fact, the point he makes isn't too far from what Valerie often writes, that we don't have to be happy and cheery all the time. Instead, what he says:."Keep busy and aim to make someone else happy, and you might find you get some as a side effect.")
And how could I -- and my expert cohort on the subject, Nell Minow -- not be thrilled with a graduation speech that offers the advice:
"Send thank you notes."
What I also like is when he offers --
"Respect people with less power than you." And then explains why.
There's a good deal more. This is slightly edited down, cutting from his opening comments directly to his advice, and runs about 11 enjoyable minutes.
Robert J. Elisberg is a political commentator, screenwriter, novelist, tech writer and also some other things that I just tend to keep forgetting.
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