Commencement speeches are all the rage. Words of wisdom from JK Rowling to David Foster Wallace, from Steve Jobs to Jim Carrey seek to inspire, motivate and shed light to young adults ready to take on the world. These speeches are often humorous, sometimes dark, but most importantly illuminating. Rousing snippets from these speeches tend to make the rounds on Facebook and Twitter feeds. While the target audience for these speeches are young grads starting out on their journeys, these speeches quite frequently resonate with those of us that have been on the journey for a bit longer. Those of us who have already taken that first leap and have too often been met with failure and disappointment.
Sometimes it is difficult when you're deep in the processes of life to not get caught up in the process. One year, three years, or ten years into a career, it can be easy to fall into a trap of comfort and conformity, way off track from the blazing path from which we set off. These speeches serve as reminders of our deeper purposes for those of us who have been met with doubt, fear or frustrations along the way. They have the power to realign our focus to our original intent - to take the world by storm, make our mark, change the world.
One such commencement speech that we found particularly relevant is Mellody Hobson's recent speech for USC. President of Chicago-based Ariel Investments and one of the most prominent African-American women in finance, her 21 minute speech implored graduates to remember 3 simple words: Just. Add. Bravery.
She urges grads to 'push beyond the boundaries that hold us back from living the lives that we want,' reminding us to step outside of our comfort zones and have the courage to expand our worlds. She aptly demonstrates that the key to reaching success, creativity and happiness is to combine bravery with hard work, imagination and love. Bold words to live by.
So it happens that in today's world all of us can always access a wellspring of inspiration, vision and the simple push that we may have forgotten or missed at the start of our journey.
Watch Hobson's full 21 minute speech below.