Most adults only graduate once. We go from throwing a BBQ party every time we spell a new word in grade school to receiving sparse praise for intellectual advancement in our 9 to 5 jobs. Our growth gets blurred. I have a problem with that—and not just because I’m missing out on an opportunity to stuff myself with graduation cake. We miss out on yearly commencement speeches, or the kick in the butt you need to achieve your dreams.
So let’s fix this. Right here, right now. I give you the most motivating moments for women from Arianna Huffington’s 2013 commencement speech at Smith College:
“Commencement speakers are traditionally expected to tell graduates how to go out there and climb the ladder of success, but I want to ask you, instead, to redefine success. What I urge you to do is to lead the third women’s revolution.
“At the moment, our society’s notion of success is largely composed of two parts: money and power. In fact, success, money and power have practically become synonymous. But it’s time for a third metric, beyond money and power — one founded on well-being, wisdom, our ability to wonder, and to give back. Money and power by themselves are a two legged stool — you can balance on them for a while, but eventually you’re going to topple over. And more and more people, very successful people, are toppling over. Basically, success the way we’ve defined it is no longer sustainable. It’s no longer sustainable for human beings or for societies. To live the lives we want, and not just the ones we settle for, the ones society defines as successful, we need to include the third metric.
“So please don’t settle for just breaking through glass ceilings in a broken corporate system or in a broken political system, where so many leaders are so disconnected from their own wisdom that we are careening from one self-inflicted crisis to another. Change much more than the M to a W at the top of the corporate flow chart. Change it by going to the root of what’s wrong and redefining what we value and what we consider success.”
Don’t know where to start? Check out this video by the Royal Society of Art. Research shows that the most sustainable means for motivation comes from helping other people, having the opportunity for personal growth, and achieving a sense of transcendent purpose. So, go! Pursue your dreams. Science and the future of equal-opportunity are on your side.