Thursday, August 18, 2011

Keynote Address

I subscribe to WritersDigest. Every week or so, they have what is called a "writing prompt". The latest one goes:

You received a call from your alma mater and they want you to be the keynote speaker at graduation. Write a speech that inspires the future generation to work toward their dreams. Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments here:
Writing Prompt: Your Keynote Speech

I was in a writing mood so I came up with the following:

Good day to you all!

It is a great privilege to be invited today as your keynote speaker. It is also an awesome responsibility.

I do not wish to bore you so I promise to make this speech brief but big on advice.

So, what words of wisdom do I impart to you, dear graduates?

Well, let that word be our acronym for easy recall – WISDOM!

W stands for work hard, play hard. Most who are fresh from college swear to sweat it out early in their career. That’s good! But don’t forget to play, party and put your foot up to rest. You must avoid burning out before your fire is extinguished.

I means I shall do my best without being a perfectionist. Strive for excellence, not perfection. Otherwise, you might end up in a mental institution. I should know. Been there, done that.

S is share yourself to the world. It needs your skills, talents, drive, ideas, and yes, your presence. Just being around should be seen as your gift to all that you meet – at work, in social circles, and most especially, to your family.

D of course means dream on. This place would not have seen much progress were it not for dreamers, dreamers like you and me. Reach for whatever that dream is, so long as it is not detrimental to others or harmful to yourself.

O – open yourself to opportunities that come your way. Better still, actively seek those doors of opportunities and don’t just stand there! Boldly open them! For opportunities are not for the weak of heart but for the strong of will.

M is for “mantra”. If you haven’t one already, I suggest you adopt mine. My personal mantra all these years is “Everyday in every way, I am getting better and better!” Yes, the desire to improve on a daily basis starts with the mind. Let this thought be ingrained in your brain not only because it rhymes, but also because it works!

So there you are, W – work hard, play hard. I – I shall do my best without being a perfectionist. S – share yourself to the world. D – dream on. O – open yourself to opportunities. M – mantra, “Everyday in every way, I am getting better and better”.

Let me end with a story.

Once upon a time, there was a young, beautiful, talented and intelligent woman who graduated from this very university. Because she finished with honors, magna cum laude, she was able to work for the best and biggest companies in the country. But like everybody, she experienced trials and tribulations – a failed marriage and illnesses such as diabetes, osteoporosis, bi-polar mood disorder, and lately, multiple myeloma or cancer of the bone marrow. Hence, she has been in and out of hospitals. Armed with the very words I shared with you today, she has survived and continues to survive.

Ladies and gentlemen, you are looking at that survivor.

Welcome to the world! Thank you!

What do you think? [Reminds me, a niece told us that one of her dreams is to deliver the keynote speech to graduating students. I may never be invited to be such a speaker but I can pretend and write about it, can't I?]

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