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You’re Not Special

07 Sep

This speech has gone viral across the internet and I can see why. It’s phenomenal and I’m saving it to share with my daughter when she gets a bit older. So without further ado, here it is, with a few snippets that really jumped out at me.

You Are Not Special – Transcript and Video

  • “No longer is it how you play the game, no longer is it even whether you win or lose, or learn or grow, or enjoy yourself doing it…  Now it’s “So what does this get me?”  As a consequence, we cheapen worthy endeavors, and building a Guatemalan medical clinic becomes more about the application to Bowdoin than the well-being of Guatemalans.”
  • “If you’ve learned anything in your years here I hope it’s that education should be for, rather than material advantage, the exhilaration of learning.  You’ve learned, too, I hope, as Sophocles assured us, that wisdom is the chief element of happiness.”
  • ” I urge you to do whatever you do for no reason other than you love it and believe in its importance.  Don’t bother with work you don’t believe in any more than you would a spouse you’re not crazy about”
  • “And read… read all the time… read as a matter of principle, as a matter of self-respect.  Read as a nourishing staple of life.”
  • “The fulfilling life, the distinctive life, the relevant life, is an achievement, not something that will fall into your lap..  You’ll note the founding fathers took pains to secure your inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness-quite an active verb, “pursuit”-which leaves, I should think, little time for lying around watching parrots rollerskate on Youtube.”
  • “None of this day-seizing, though, this YLOOing, should be interpreted as license for self-indulgence.  Like accolades ought to be, the fulfilled life is a consequence, a gratifying byproduct.  It’s what happens when you’re thinking about more important things.  Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view.  Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.  Go to Paris to be in Paris, not to cross it off your list and congratulate yourself for being worldly.  Exercise free will and creative, independent thought not for the satisfactions they will bring you, but for the good they will do others, the rest of the 6.8 billion-and those who will follow them.  And then you too will discover the great and curious truth of the human experience is that selflessness is the best thing you can do for yourself.  The sweetest joys of life, then, come only with the recognition that you’re not special… Because everyone is.” – Sorry I put in the whole final paragraph because it made so much sense.

Do share this with as many children as you can. I’m sure it’ll make an impact.

P.S. – Contrary to what the news articles say, there was no controversy. The message was taken by the speaker’s students in the right spirit.

Photo Credit: Image 1

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