Last week as I was catching up on the news, I came across an article that really touched my heart. I’m not sure if any of you have heard about it or even read it. Author George Saunders recently gave a speech to a group of willful students graduating from university. I’m sure there would be some of you who have attended countless graduations and heard similar renditions of a well-wishing farewell speech to a bunch of kids who have no idea how the real world works. So what was so different about this particular speech that made me really think about life – more importantly my own life – and the things that I could have done to be a little bit kinder to family, a friend, a partner or simply a stranger. But before I talk about the lines that really hit me, I want to encourage you to read the speech for yourself to see whether there is any impact on you.
You can read the full speech here:
So what did you guys think? I’m really hoping that it left an impression with you in some way. The speech in its entirety is phenomenal. There is an element to it that I found to be extremely personal, real and raw. What really stood out to me are the following two lines:
1. What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness.
2. Do those things that incline you toward the big questions, and avoid the things that would reduce you and make you trivial.
Too often do we all look back at previous experiences and regret one thing or another. But in all honesty I had never questioned myself and asked whether I could have been a little kinder to someone that I had just met or a loved one or a colleague who had made a silly mistake. I look back now and realise that these times where I was easily angered mean absolutely nothing now. Oh how we are masters in hindsight. Such is the fault of being human. But you know what? We can change this starting from today. We can look forward and think about all the things we can gradually do to make not only our life better, but the lives of others too – a smile, a hello or good morning, a shake of the hands, a sporadic high five.
I know this post may sound a little corny and resembles that of a self-help topic. I assure you that it is not. I simply wanted to share how much this opened my eyes to something that I had never thought of. I really hope that in way or another, it brings a little clarity to your life. Take care!
Has there ever been a moment in your life where you needed to stop and make a choice. But before the decision is made, you weigh the options, process complex arithmetic and compare the pros with the cons. And once your mind decides what is the most logical and correct course of action, you go and do the total opposite. That’s the way things are and I am sure there is someone out there that can provide reason for our madness.