I know that this is a graduation season and there are a lot of people are quite happy about it. Most of Indians I know are excited as this is one of the few times you get to take a picture with white people in the background, which means “You’ve made it” back at home.
So I wanted to write a graduation speech. I am not sure if I envision myself to be famous enough to commemorate a graduation ceremony. As it is, I feel I have achieved more than any man with my looks and intellect possibly could. So here goes nothing…
Hello batch of 20xx. Congratulations on your graduation (Unless you did an MBA from IIPM. Then you’re fucked. Proper fucked).
*Side note: Begins speech by thanking people who are important but you couldn’t possibly care about.
I’m sure most of you can’t wait to get out of this stadium to be with your loved ones and celebrate your success. I promise I won’t beat the cliched horse to death. I request twenty minutes of your time. And I have made sure that there is enough security at the gates, so you really don’t have much choice.
I don’t have anything inspirational about me unlike many of you. I got pretty much whatever I wanted and couldn’t complain about how my life was going. I was and am ordinary. And now I want to address those students who are ordinary. Just like me.
So to all the ordinary lads and lasses out there, you might feel that since you’re ordinary these clichéd speeches don’t work for you. You don’t see yourself changing the world or realizing your dream which in many cases might cease to exist. I am going to attempt to prove it wrong. My speech is about 5 big things that you are going to face after you have graduated.
Career: It is comparatively easy to get a job. But it takes a lot of grit and passion to get to your dream job. It is easy to feel overwhelmed when in you are in the commencement ceremony and when the speaker adorns your ego with words like #Dreams #Success #Changing the world. You know what? It is a sham.
You are more than likely to find a decent job which will pay your bills. You will soon realize that your work requires none of the skills you learned at school but will realize that “job satisfaction” is a hoax. You will work hard to impress your boss and then grow tired of it.
You shall slowly realize that people who don’t work as hard as you are getting ahead of you and you are running into a dead wall. You will doubt your worth often and feel like slamming your coffee against the coffee machine after the road rage you went through en route to work. And if you pick up a self-help book by Deepak Chopra, you know you’re going downhill. I have one advice for you
Mastery : Let me tell you how the world works. You are what you can do. As long as you can get the job done you will survive. Nothing else matters. Nobody but nobody (except maybe your mother) gives a flying fuck about what you are as a person. People have needs and as long as you fulfill them you can coast along. Look at any job description, you are not there to exchange pleasantries, build relationships or if you’re black contribute to diversity. You are hired to fulfill the needs of the company and as long as you do meet it. You will survive. And if you get good at it, you will still have other companies who would want to hire you. Not because they like you. But because they NEED you.
Tyler Durden was wrong. You ARE your job. You ARE the contents of your wallet. Society determines you by what you do and not who you are. Imagine you are at any social event. Some person comes up to you to have a chat. The rest of the conversation depends on what you do for a living. This is the microcosm of the society we live in.
We are encouraged to dream when we are kids but we are constantly brought up in way that we don’t realize it. When you dream you don’t really have boundaries. But when you feel mortal and look around you, there is only so much you can achieve. I am risking my reputation here, but you know what? It is OKAY to give up on your dreams.
For one simple reason, we evolve. Just like our dreams. It is not the end of the tunnel if you can’t achieve your goal. But you are not a failure. Yes, days will be longer and nights will be shorter. It is OKAY to give up and it is better for the economy too. 10% of American debt is on student loans. Creativity is an unforgiving business because of the latent uncertainties. But trust me, no one wipes their tears when they collect their paycheck which feeds their needs and vices alike.
In one of the episodes of my all-time favorite shows “Californication”. The character “Lew Ashby ” remarks to Hank moody that “In the end it is all about her”. Finding someone to share your life is one activity that will define the rest of your personal life. The definition of love should subjective lest should you fail and embarrass yourself chasing the dream girl/guy as promised by some sitcom/movie. Those being said, never marry someone without whom you cannot be happy. It will end in an abusive relationship. For you.
I will now cater the next few lines to my male friends who are still single. A lot of you have gone through your entire college life without sharing your feelings to your girl. You guys make the dreadful mistake that the only way to win a girl over is by impressing her with your good demeanor. You assume that there are two steps to the process
Step 1: Become her friend. Earn her trust be nice and kind to her and always be on your best behavior. And hope that one day she realizes that you are the guy for her.
There is no step 2, you think it would mean getting the girl. But you may not. You know why? Because SURPRISE you’ve been friend zoned. And you will only realize it when she walks away with a douchebag or at least who you think is a douchebag. And you will ask yourself, I held her so high in my regard. I put her priorities over me, even then, why doesn’t she like me? Think about it logically, if you put someone on a pedestal the only way they can look at you is downwards.
Whenever you see a pretty girl with another guy you will immediately arrive to a conclusion where you put the guy on a pedestal compared to you. He got her because he has a fancy job. He won her over because he is good looking etc…
Such excuses make you miserable. Being miserable is easy. Happiness takes *effort
Never doubt yourself ever. At the same time don’t go overboard to be good. Not being a pretentious prick doesn’t mean you’re eligible for the women of your dreams. Or in other words being a nice guy doesn’t qualify you for the love of your life. Women want men, not boys with emotions. Women want men who would change the world. The world wants men who will change it. I am sorry to disappoint any feminists in the audience.
Failure: It is very likely you will face failure in your life with unpredictable frequency. Some of you will be divorced, fired from your job and undergo other things that doesn’t bode well with the spirit of this occasion. And when you are defeated the whole world would scare you. You might want to curl into a fetal position and stare at the wall.
I think our greatest fear about the universe is not that it is dangerous but that it is indifferent. Remember, However dark the abyss, we must individually stoke our own fire.
So what should you do when you fail? This is the biggest lesson that education teaches you.
Confidence and Grit
Dear men and women, we have seen civilizations built upon education, hard work and determination. If you read about it a career seems far less daunting. You have gained many valuable tools for survival in this great institution and I hope you use it to your behest.
I can promise you that these skills and tools won’t ensure you a safe journey and you shall not emerge unscathed. But at the end you will look back and relish at this awesome realm of time we call existence.