Onward and Upward

It’s graduation season! Few ceremonies come close to the magnitude of graduating from any kind of educational institution, and the enthusiasm of new graduates is infectious. In the wake of our recent rebrand, we’re also feeling inspired! In the spirit of change, and in no particular order, here are some of our favorite graduation speeches. David Foster Wallace: Kenyon College 2005 “There are these two young fish swimming along, and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says, ‘Morning, boys. How’s the water?’ And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes ‘What is water?’” Wallace opened up his 2005 commencement speech at Kenyon College with the aforementioned joke, probably to prepare his audience for his brutal assessment of the day-to-day grind. His narrative is familiar: you work all day, try to go home, wind up stuck in line at the grocery store, go home, watch TV and go to bed, only to wake up the next morning and do it all over again. What Wallace wants the audience to realize, however, is that, even though these occurrences may be tedious and irritating, we have the opportunity to frame them in a positive way. Wallace asks the graduates to look beyond the “water” that surrounds them every day and remember the possible cosmic significance of every interaction. Steve Jobs: Stanford University, 2005 “You can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life.” Steve Jobs’ Stanford commencement speech is an oft-quoted classic, but that doesn’t mean his lessons have lost their relevance. Pursue your passions, even if you’re not sure how they’ll serve you in life; trust your gut; live your life, not someone else’s and, of course, stay hungry. Stay foolish. David McCullough, Jr.: Wellesley High School, 2012 “You are not special.” David McCullough, Jr. had a very simple point to make to the seniors of Wellesley High School: Be a force for good in the world. Do not simply join organizations or volunteer to beef up your college applications or resume – do it because it is the right thing to do. McCullough appeared on CBS This Morning to discuss his speech and said that he never wanted his speech to come off as negative. “I wanted to give them a notion that with their privilege comes responsibility.” For professionals, who may be years out of college or high school, these speeches may seem irrelevant (or serve as a bitter reminder of how long it’s been since they’ve worn a cap and gown). But whether you’re a starry-eyed recent graduate or a seasoned pro, these speeches exemplify the spirit of endless possibility and reinvention. As you may have noticed, we launched an extensive rebrand last week. As we settle into our refreshed style, we want to take the opportunity to thank our clients and peers for the opportunity to constantly strive for the 20,000-foot level - to continuously move onward and upward.

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