Forbes Magazine catalogues priceless words of wisdom and Forbes staff Keren Blankfeld has done a very great job in compiling a must-read list of life observations in her piece: Billionaires To Graduates: All-Time Best Advice From Their Commencement Speeches
The following list is the top 10 lessons successful business people have shared in commencement speeches to graduating classes:
- Life is short.
“As you graduate, can you ask yourselves to live as if you had eleven days left? I don’t mean blow everything off and party all the time— although tonight is an exception. I mean live with the understanding of how precious every single day would be. How precious every day actually is.” – Sheryl Sandberg, UC Berkeley 2016
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.” – Steve Jobs, Stanford 2005
“Always remember that the moments we have with friends and family, the chances we have to do things that might make a big difference in the world, or even to make a small difference to someone you love — all those wonderful chances that life gives us, life also takes away. It can happen fast, and a whole lot sooner than you think.” – Larry Page, University of Michigan 2009
- Be present.
“Being present is smarter, funnier and undeniably more attractive. When you’re right here, right now, you notice things. You notice the nuance and expressions of the people around you. You notice the things that might make you a new friend or get you hired or even give you a chance of hooking up. You notice today and how wonderful it is. You noticed the people around you might not be as lucky as you are and the people who work their asses off to make sure you succeed.” – Chris Sacca, University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management 2011
- Be bold and take risks.
“I will hazard a prediction. When you are 80 years old, and in a quiet moment of reflection narrating for only yourself the most personal version of your life story, the telling that will be most compact and meaningful will be the series of choices you have made. In the end, we are our choices. Build yourself a great story.” – Jeff Bezos, Princeton University 2010
- Embrace failure and learn from it.
“It doesn’t matter how far you might rise…. If you’re constantly pushing yourself higher, higher the law of averages not to mention the Myth of Icarus predicts that you will at some point fall. And when you do I want you to know this, remember this: there is no such thing as failure. Failure is just life trying to move us in another direction.” – Oprah Winfrey, Harvard University 2013
“I have always believed and I have taught my children and grandchildren that great success is not built on success. It is built on failure, frustration and sometimes even calamity.” – Sumner Redstone, Northwestern University 2002
- Be of service: make the world better.
“In the course of your lives, without any plan on your part, you’ll come to see suffering that will break your heart. When it happens, and it will, don’t turn away from it; turn toward it. That is the moment when change is born.” – Melinda Gates, Stanford 2014
- Use your imagination.
“Imagination is not only the uniquely human capacity to envision that which is not, and therefore the fount of all invention and innovation. In its arguably most transformative and revelatory capacity, it is the power that enables us to empathize with humans whose experiences we have never shared.” – J.K. Rowling, Harvard University 2008 (former billionaire)
- When a great dream shows up, follow it.
“I dreamed of doing it and finally I achieved it and that is when I came to realize that fantasizing, projecting yourself into a successful situation is the most powerful means there is of achieving personal goals.” – Leonard Lauder, Connecticut College 1989
“Overall, I know it seems like the world is crumbling out there, but it is actually a great time in your life to get a little crazy, follow your curiosity, and be ambitious about it. Don’t give up on your dreams. The world needs you all!” – Larry Page, University of Michigan 2009
- Be flexible.
“You don’t need a grand plan. Whatever plan you do have is probably going to change 100 times before you’re 30. And you don’t need to be an expert in something to try it.” – Michael Bloomberg, University of North Carolina 2012
- Work hard and be irrepressible.
“Irrepressible is kind of tenacious, but with optimism. You just have it in you. You keep going and going. You could say, isn’t that the same as passion. It’s not. Passion is the ability to get excited about something. Irrepressibility and tenacity is about the ability to stay with it.” – Steve Ballmer, University of Southern California 2011
“It is the hard days — the times that challenge you to your very core — that will determine who you are.You will be defined not just by what you achieve, but by how you survive.” – Sheryl Sandberg, UC Berkeley 2016
- Don’t let money drive you.
“The truth is, I’ve never cared for money. I realize that sounds strange coming from a billionaire, and I recognize that many people do work for money, but I would wager that those who become extremely successful are more strongly motivated by the desire to achieve, by a commitment to excellence and by an obsessive drive to win.” – Sumner Redstone, Northwestern University 2002
Read the full Forbes article here: Billionaires To Graduates: All-Time Best Advice From Their Commencement Speeches
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