What better way to launch shiny-eyed new grads into the world than with a rousing speech? Surely, one of the aims of an inspiring keynote speaker at graduation is to encourage graduates to make a difference in their lives. The speeches, peppered with jokes and anecdotes, generally come with pretty solid advice we can all use in our lives — graduate or not.
Arianna Huffington: Sleep Your Way to the Top
"A much simpler way is to sleep your way to the top . . . But no, I'm talking about sleep in the literal sense . . . And even as it's affecting our health, sleep deprivation will also profoundly affect your creativity, your productivity, and your decision-making."
In a nutshell: Sleep will help you work better, leading you to success.
Cory Booker: Real Courage Means Not Quitting
"I’ve come to realize that in life, real courage is not giving a speech or running into a burning building . . . Real courage is holding on to a still voice in your head that says ‘I must keep going.’ It’s that voice that says nothing is a failure if it is not final — that voice that says to you: ‘Get out of bed. Keep going. I will not quit."
In a nutshell: Keep going.
Barack Obama: Honor Happens When No One's Looking
"We need your Honor — that inner compass that guides you, not when the path is easy and obvious, but when it’s hard and uncertain; that tells you the difference between that which is right and that which is wrong. Perhaps it will be a moment when you think nobody is watching. But never forget that honor, like character, is what you do when nobody is looking."
In a nutshell: Do the right thing even when no one is around.
Michelle Obama: Learn From the Other Side
"And if you’re a Republican, have a chat with a Democrat. Maybe you’ll find some common ground, maybe you won’t. But if you honestly engage with an open mind and an open heart, I guarantee you’ll learn something. And goodness knows we need more of that, because we know what happens when we only talk to people who think like we do — we just get more stuck in our ways, more divided, and it gets harder to come together for a common purpose."
In a nutshell: Talk to your opposition to get a different perspective.
Dick Costolo: Do What You Love
" . . . Believe that if you make courageous choices and bet on yourself and put yourself out there that you will have an impact as a result of what you do and you don't need to know now what that will be, or how that will happen, because nobody ever does . . . Don’t always worry about what your next line is supposed to be. There is no script. Live your life. Be in this moment."
In a nutshell: Don't overthink it. You will make the biggest impact if you do what you love.