commencement

What Hurts

Adapted from a 2011 commencement address, it's worth repeating: Liking Is for Cowards.  Go for What Hurts.

"But if you consider this in human terms, and you imagine a person defined by a desperation to be liked, what do you see? You see a person without integrity, without a center. In more pathological cases, you see a narcissist — a person who can’t tolerate the tarnishing of his or her self-image that not being liked represents, and who therefore either withdraws from human contact or goes to extreme, integrity-sacrificing lengths to be likable.

If you dedicate your existence to being likable, however, and if you adopt whatever cool persona is necessary to make it happen, it suggests that you’ve despaired of being loved for who you really are. And if you succeed in manipulating other people into liking you, it will be hard not to feel, at some level, contempt for those people, because they’ve fallen for your shtick. You may find yourself becoming depressed, or alcoholic, or, if you’re Donald Trump, running for president (and then quitting).

...

This is not to say that love is only about fighting. Love is about bottomless empathy, born out of the heart’s revelation that another person is every bit as real as you are. And this is why love, as I understand it, is always specific. Trying to love all of humanity may be a worthy endeavor, but, in a funny way, it keeps the focus on the self, on the self’s own moral or spiritual well-being. Whereas, to love a specific person, and to identify with his or her struggles and joys as if they were your own, you have to surrender some of your self."

~ Jonathan Franzen

Graduating

One thing I miss as I get older is the marking of time passed and lessons learned that is graduation. Seems like there should be graduation ceremonies for other times besides college - maybe one when you turn 40? Lacking a graduation of my own this year, I turn to graduation speeches. Here's what this year's looked like.

"In an era of less rigid career and life expectations, the speeches are peppered with exhortations to take risks." ~ The New York Times

"Not only can you not plan the impact you’re going to have, you often won’t recognize it even while you’re having it." ~ Richard Costolo, CEO of Twitter

"It’s true, you are not in school anymore. But now, the school is in you." ~ Laura Linney, Actress

"If you must find your own path, and we have left you no easy path, then decide now to choose the hard path that leads to the life and the world you want." ~ Stephen Colbert, Political Satirist