Commencement Speech for All Ages

By Will Barnes

Academic knowledge is important and has its essential role. However, don't neglect to pursue self-knowledge. Self knowledge is the basis for success in any endeavor you choose. Continually work towards self-unity and being happy. Set goals based upon your talents, strengths, and enjoyment of the undertaking.
Develop your personal definition of success and take consistent steps towards this realization.


Never let minor setbacks deter you. Be your own personal compass and set your own direction. Think critically and be willing to question any self appointed expert.

Appreciate the importance of your friends and family. Be willing rid yourself of those who distract and inhibit you from realizing your goals. Achieving happiness and peace of mind is based upon what you rid yourself of and not what you acquire. Remember a friend is someone who is supportive to you in your effort to realize your goals. It is someone who will listen to you when you need to talk and vice versa and not give you advice or criticism unless you ask for it. The exception being when you or your friend is engaging in or contemplating self-destructive behaviors.

Your family members should always be mutually supportive. If not, then the patriarch or matriarch in the family needs to assume the leadership position to resolve the conflicts and differences and make the family whole again.
Engage yourself in your community. Politics is too important to be left to the politicians. After all they are spending your tax money, often recklessly and wastefully in response to special interests. And, frequently because they are just lazy and incompetent. Nevertheless, they represent you and you must tell them how you want to be represented. Do not refer to politicians as your leaders. A leader is someone who is in charge or in command of others. No politician has this authority in a representative democracy. Again, whatever their official position, they are your representatives if they were voted in.

Take time to understand both the U.S. Constitution and your State Constitution. They are law of the land and the law of your state, respectively. Take your vote seriously. Before voting for any candidate for any office, take time to study their platforms. Engage them in a dialogue and let them know what your expectations are and that you will be both watching them like a hawk and holding them accountable.

Decide that if any plank in their platform becomes law - - how would it affect you, your family, your community, and your nation. Then make a decision as to who you will vote for accordingly.
Keep abreast of the news pertaining to your town or city as well as nationally and internationally. Decide on news outlets including TV, radio, newspapers, and the internet which gives you a balanced presentation rather than a bias point of view. Differentiate between facts and opinions and between reporters and commentators.

And finally, regardless of how comfortable you are when you retire, Keep your mind active. Look for opportunities to realize new experiences, learn a new skill, travel often, and continue to read and challenge your mind. You will live longer, not become bored, and be a more interesting person to yourself and others.


Among everything else, you need to see at least one thing clearly and that is your goal. An outstanding commencement speech ought to help you to clarify that goal. Although there may be some bumps in the road, with this clarification, you can assure yourself of reaching your destination.

Will Barnes, Therapist and Business-Financial Consultant, focuses on this type of issue as well as other personal growth concerns, perplexing relationship problems, and stressful financial issues. Find out if you are a goal directed person, go to You Control Your Destiny and read Simple Ways to Change Your Behavior and Take Control of Your Life among other articles to gain the self understanding and inner transformation you desire.

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