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College Commencements: Follow Your Passions In Life

June 17, 2012

Last evening we had a 27-year-old friend over for dinner.  The conversation–as is typical at our table whenever someone shares a meal with us–took a lot of detours and winding paths–before the evening came to an end.  Nothing is better than good food and lively conversation.

One of the topics shared between the three of us is the way to live life that is harmonious to the greater ends that we all want as individuals. No one, after all, lays in a hospital bed at the end of life and wishes he had spent a few more hours on the job.

The topic of those who want to make lots of money but never have time to enjoy the smaller things in life made for a long discussion.   The folks who live in $300,000 homes but have to work 60 hours-a-week for the mortgage payment, and never have time to shoot baskets in the hoop at the end of the drive, seems a poor use of money along with time.

James and I have found our ‘shared road’, and have constructed a life together that, while not typical for others, is one that we enjoy and has proved to be uplifting.  During the evening the famed book ‘The Tao of Pooh‘ was talked about.  James has just finished it (again), and our friend from dinner is reading it today.  The essentials of living life happily start by being authentic, and following your inner passion.

On the college commencement trail over the past weeks many notables have made memorable speeches to graduates.  A couple of samples stood out for me when reading them today, and in light of the dinner conversation from last evening.

CONDOLEEZZA RICE, FORMER SECRETARY OF STATE

Southern Methodist University

“Find and follow your passion. Now, I don’t mean just any old thing that interests you, or your career. I mean something you really believe is a unique calling to you — in other words, something that you can’t live without. … Fortunately, I wandered into a course in international politics taught by a Soviet specialist, a man named Josef Korbel who had a daughter named Madeleine Albright. And with that one class, I was hooked. I discovered that my passion was Russian — things Russian, things international, diplomacy. Needless to say, this wasn’t exactly what a young black girl from Birmingham was supposed to do, but it was like finding love. I couldn’t explain it, but I knew it was right.”

NEIL GAIMAN, AUTHOR

University of the Arts

“Nothing I did where the only reason for doing it was the money was ever worth it, except as bitter experience. Usually I didn’t wind up getting the money, either.”

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