After attending countless graduations in my lifetime, I have listened to many wise and humorous commencement speeches whether by former presidents, world-renowned musicians, or peer authors. The goal of each speech has been to celebrate the accomplishments of the students and prepare them for their next chapter. Many use personal anecdotes of inspiration peppered with phrases such as working hard and following your dreams. Others choose to highlight that failure is one of our best teachers.
Holding an Honorary Doctorate from the School of Hard Knocks, I can attest that our biggest failures and obstacles are indeed our grandest of lessons. My teacher was a thousand-pound tree limb that broke my neck roughly eight years ago. I’m happy to say that it was a great teacher; one that allows the student to surpass the knowledge of the teacher, class, and educational institution.
Regardless of who you are or where you come from, our largest obstacle in life is to fight back from a health scare or accident. From such a fight, I learned that we have little control over this thing called life. In fact, the only thing we truly have control over is our mind. That’s why as a survivor of a broken neck and living example of Post-Traumatic Growth (PTG), I believe the strongest life tool is our ability to tap into the power of perspective.
Knowing that others can find inspiration is this same lesson without a thousand pounds of anything hitting them over the head, I created a mantra: Look Up.
Look Up is to remind us all to:
1) Be in the moment appreciating the beauty around us as well as the hazards
2) Find the upside in any situation.
Although I started with the theme of graduation, this post is not only for graduates nor for the end of the school year. Graduation symbolizes a milestone or perhaps a crossroads. Both are wonderful spots to reflect, deciding whether to stay your course or tweak your navigation. However, should taking a moment to see your world and life through new eyes be only for these special occasions or life’s lowest moments? No! Look Up is the secret to life!
As an Honorary Doctor, take Look Up daily and call me in the morning!
Here’s to looking up!