June 7, 2017 | Chukukere Amarachi
Awards~Speeches~Success… and Life.
Ok, I’m sure by now we know what transpired weeks back at Harvard (my dream Uni 😁). It was their 366th Commencement Day held in tercentenary theatre on the 25th of May, amidst the rain and gloomy weather which had notable dignitaries in attendance amongst which were; Joe Biden, former US vice president; who spoke at the Class Day (this is a less formal prelude to commencement exercises), Sally Yates, former US acting Attorney General; who spoke at the Harvard Law School’s Class Day and a host of honorees. Students were rewarded, parents were definitely proud and alumni bonded again.
The facebook founder and CEO, philanthropist and co-founder; Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI); Mark Zuckerberg, (who received a honorary award) was the principal speaker for the day and his speech has been all over the internet with applauds and definitely, critical reviews.
“It’s not enough to have purpose, create a sense of purpose for others” – Mark Zuckerberg
I went online to watch how it went down, and I must say impressive! I had goosebumps watching every detail, It was indeed a memorable one with great speeches; or so I thought, until I went down to the comments sections. Damn! It was super discouraging. Here I was feeling all fueled up by Mark’s speech and someone; people didn’t seem to wear my shoes on this one. Shades were thrown at like one of those GOT war seasons, lol. (P. S. You need to see the trailer of GOT Season 7 🙌😎). Different reasons emerged: from him lacking in the knowledge of economics, to him being sarcastic; oh well how much do we know from here.
Well, no matter how good you are, or what good you’re trying to portray, there would always be someone who doesn’t agree with you for that! Finally, just learn to deal with it, but hey, establish a ground where your good is far greater than your not-so-good. On the other hand, conservative criticism is healthy, especially who its coming from and what it’s addressed to.
Nevertheless, here are some quotes and great nuggets for success that went down in history at Harvard:
“We need you to use your moral imaginations to draft cultural alternatives so that we can have a brighter future for those who come behind us”.
He said this calling on them to imagine a world free of hate and hunger, prejudice and despair, inequality and inaction.
“Over the course of your life and your career, you too will face weighty decisions where the law and conscience intertwine, and while it may not play out in such a public way, the conflict that you’ll feel will be no less real, and the consequences of your decision also significant.”
“You have to decide what you believe is worth fighting for.”
“We are all better than our worst moments but sometimes we’re not quite as good as we think we are, either. As bright, talented, and driven as all of you are right now, you need to give yourself the space to develop into great lawyers.”
“The safest course is not always the best course.”
“Being bold, taking a risk and owning it, isn’t easy to do, and the instinct for self-preservation may continually draw you to the safe, risk-free course, but I urge you to resist that instinct. Not only is a life of hedging your bets unsatisfying, but it means you’re unlikely to make much of a difference.”
“Don’t fool yourself into thinking that disengaging from the system that you think is broken will hold you harmless from the system’s failures.”
“In fulfilling potential and destiny, it’s absolutely essential for you to engage in the world around you, engage just like you did in campus.”
“You must maintain that determination and commitment to making things better.”
“Do not succumb to pressures that value ‘the social trappings of success rather than really making a difference’, but choose what’s best and most important to you rather than craving to other people’s perceptions.”
“It’s not enough to have purpose, create a sense of purpose for others”.
“Ideas don’t come out fully formed. They only become clear as you work on them”.
“We often don’t do the bug things because we’re so afraid of making mistakes”.
“Create achievements that gives everyone in our society a role”.
“We need to have a sense if purpose and stability in our own lives before we can open up and start caring for everyone”.
Outside Zuckerberg, these are the distinguished individuals Harvard honored with awards.
Norman R. Augustine, Doctor of Laws.
He is the former chairman and CEO Lockheed Martin Corp.
Dame Judi Dench, Doctor of Arts.
She is a celebrated actress who has outstanding performances in both classical and contemporary roles. I remember her for her role in James Bond films.
Huda Y. Zoghbi, Doctor of Science.
A professor in the departments of pediatrics, molecular and human genetics, neurology and neuroscience at Baylor College of Medicine. She is also an investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the founding director of the Jan and Dan Duncan Neurological Research Institute at Texas Children’s Hospital.
Sandra M. Gilbert, Doctor of Laws.
She is a leading feminist literary critic, author and distinguished professor emerita of English at the University of California, Davis.
Hawa Abdi Dhiblawa, Doctor of Laws.
She is a Somali human rights activist physician and the country’s first female gynecologist.
James Earl Jones, Doctor of Arts.
He is an acclaimed actor.
John Williams, Doctor of Music.
He is one of America’s most accomplished and successful composers for film and the concert stage.
Walter E.. Massey, Doctor of Laws.
Chancellor and former president of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago (SAIC).
Michael Rabin, Doctor of Science. He is the Thomas J. Watson Sr. research professor of Computer Science at Harvard University, helping to shape the field of theoretical computer science and actively contributes to major problems of encryption, privacy and internet security.
So what really went down in Harvard? Success stories, achievements, glory, merriment, a huge relief 😂… All these, and many more happened. In all, as I look at the honorees and graduants I’d say success is indeed sweet, but the process can be demanding and sacrificial. I’m sure if we ask these individuals, one by one, how they were able to come to this point, we would see different situations and circumstances they had to face, challenges defeated and determined spirits to succeed.
I’ve realized the importance of goal setting, it helps one stay focused. Accomplishments won’t come in a flash! They happen when we work towards our goals, no matter how little. I believe that consistent diligent little steps will definitely turn into big results.
See you at the top!
Reference: Harvard gazette
Images: Harvard photography.