Clinton, Mark Zuckerberg, Oprah, President Trump and Helen Mirren drop some knowledge on the Class of 2017
So Hillary Clinton told the women of Wellesley College during her commencement speech on Friday, noting that her failed presidential bid hasn’t ended her political career.
“Don’t let anyone tell you your voice doesn’t matter,” Clinton told the Class of 2017. “There will be trolls galore – online and in person – eager to tell you that you don’t have anything worthwhile to say, or anything meaningful to contribute. They may even call you a ‘nasty woman.’ … in other words, sit down and shut up.”
She continued, “Keep going. Don’t be afraid of your ambition, of your dreams, or even of your anger. Those are powerful forces. But harness them to make a difference in the world.”
She echoes the sentiments of inspiring commencement speakers such as Mark Zuckerberg, President Donald Trump, Oprah Winfrey, Sheryl Sandberg, Helen Mirren and Pharrell Williams on making your mark and living your best life.
Here’s 10 of the best pieces of advice from this year’s graduation speeches.
1. Hillary Clinton at Wellesley College
Lesson: Reach across the aisle.
“Your learning, listening and serving should include people who don’t agree with you politically … If your outreach is rebuffed, keep trying. Do the right thing anyway. We’re going to share this future; better to do so with open hearts and outstretched hands than closed minds and clenched fists.”
2. Mark Zuckerberg at Harvard University
Lesson: It’s OK to be considered ‘crazy.’
Live at Harvard Commencement.
Posted by Mark Zuckerberg on Thursday, May 25, 2017
“Be prepared to be misunderstood. Anyone working on a big vision will get called crazy, even if you end up right. Anyone working on a complex problem will get blamed for not fully understanding the challenge, even though it’s impossible to know everything upfront. Anyone taking initiative will get criticized for moving too fast, because there’s always someone who wants to slow you down … the reality is, anything we do will have issues in the future. But that can’t keep us from starting.”
3. President Donald J. Trump at Liberty University
Lesson: Don’t let critics discourage you.
“But the fact is, no one has ever achieved anything significant without a chorus of critics standing on the sidelines explaining why it can’t be done … But the future belongs to the dreamers, not to the critics. The future belongs to the people who follow their heart no matter what the critics say, because they truly believe in their vision.”
4. Oprah Winfrey at Agnes Scott College
Lesson: Live your best life of substance.
“You’re nothing if you’re not the truth. I’ve made a living, I’ve made a life – I’ve made a fortune, really – all good! – from being true to myself. If I can leave you with any message today: The biggest reward is not financial benefits — though it’s really good, you can get a lot of great shoes! [But] those of you who have a lot of shoes know having a closet full of shoes doesn’t fill up your life. Living a life of substance can. Substance through your service.”
5. Sheryl Sandberg at Virginia Tech
Lesson: Know when to lean in – and to lean on.
“We are not born with a certain amount of resilience. It is a muscle, and that means we can build it. We build resilience into ourselves. We build resilience into the people we love. And we build it together, as a community. That’s called “collective resilience.” It’s an incredibly powerful force – and it’s one that our country and our world need a lot more of right about now.. … It takes strength to rely on others. There are times to lean in and there are times to lean on.”
6. Will Ferrell at University of Southern California
Lesson: Don’t get frozen in place by fear.
“Yes, I was afraid. You’re never not afraid. I’m still afraid. My fear of failure never approached in magnitude my fear of ‘What if? What if I never tried at all?’ No matter how cliché it may sound, you will never truly be successful until you learn to get beyond yourself.”
7. Octavia Spencer at Kent State University in Ohio
Lesson: You’ve got to roll up your sleeves.
“Taraji, Janelle and I portrayed women who worked for NASA [in ‘Hidden Figures’] at a time at best can be described as turbulent crossroads of our history. They responded to that tumultuous time and efforts to quiet their voices by rolling up their sleeves and doing the work, and I think that’s fair to say that we’re in a similar period right now. And no matter where your values lie, you’re going to have to roll up your sleeves just like Dorothy Vaughan.”
8. Pharrell Williams at New York University
Lesson: Don’t let yourself become invisible.
“Engage and inspire — whether on an individual level or loudly within your communities. Talk about your accomplishments. Be humble but not too humble. Don’t be invisible. The days of being an anonymous activist or participant are over. How can we inspire if we are only behind the scenes?”
9. Dame Helen Mirren at Tulane University
Lesson: Trust your gut and don’t tweet at 3 a.m.
“The trick is to listen to your instincts, grab the opportunity when it presents itself and then give it your all. Like a hangover, neither triumph nor disaster lasts forever …[but] whether you’re in the French Quarter or the Oval Office, no good can ever come from tweeting at 3 a.m.”
10. Arnold Schwarzenegger at University of Houston
Lesson: Give back.
“As soon as you understand that you are here because of a lot of help, then you also understand that now is time to help others. That’s what this is all about. You got to help others. Don’t just think about yourself.”
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