Never Settle for Second Best!
I am a guest speaker addressing a hall full of university graduates.
I feel privileged to be invited to one of the most prestigious universities that planet Earth has to offer. I’m not really sure if another planet has a better university, but I’m willing to risk my reputation on that.
With all the speeches that I have heard throughout all the years I have been in the education system, most if not all, have been complete rambles of big words that didn’t make any sense and had little, if not, any purpose to me. I never really remembered a single word they said.
Could it be that they had a fear inside to really tell students and graduates what the real world is like outside of the education system? Were they bound by a set of rules that they had to deliver a speech according to the legislation that had been written using a black ink pen? I never really found out the reason, I never got a set of rules, so it couldn’t be that exactly. I thought about this and what wandered inside my mind were thoughts that, maybe they didn’t really care to address points of realism or they never really wanted you to know their secrets of success. I’m a blunt person who never lies, I should say, I don’t lie that often. I would imagine that is why this university thought I would be the ideal person for the job. That could be their biggest mistake, perhaps, with modesty aside, they chose the best option.
I’m not going to use big fancy words or use flowery phrases and quotes from past inspirational icons. I’m going to tell you how life is and how to focus your thinking so you’re ready to take on what lies ahead.
You’re all about to leave your comfort zones and go into the workforce not knowing exactly what is going to happen. That’s alright; there is nothing wrong with not knowing what you’re doing. The only way to get there is by hard work and trusting that gut feeling you have inside. It’s all a risk; after all, it’s no different than picking your subjects in high school and choosing which degree to do at university. It’s all picking something that will hopefully work out in the end. Many people have plans and hopes; don’t be surprised if plans don’t go according to plan. You have to trust in yourself, trust a feeling, something that tells you what is right and go with it. You won’t be able to look into the future and pick what exactly you want. However, when you do get there, you can look back and see how it all worked out. You never knew what you were really doing, you picked and chose and you put in the hard work which got you there in the end.
I never knew what I was doing, but that’s not a bad thing. If I look back now, I can see how the choices I made got me to where I am today. If I didn’t make that particular choice, it would have affected every other choice and I probably wouldn’t be giving this speech to you now.
As you move along in life and you have taken the first steps to start and assemble your career, no doubt, you might or how I would like to put it, fall in love. This could come up at anytime and affect any situation you might have. If you’re anything like me in terms of relationships, you wouldn’t settle for second best. Sorry, I used the wrong word in there, NEVER settle for second best. I really can’t stress this enough! You would only ever get into a relationship where feelings and emotions are maximised. It’s very rare, but it exists and finding it will be the most fulfilling thing you could ever do in your life. The sad part is, most never really find it, let alone experience the feeling. The best advice you can ever receive is to search for it and the only place you can is if you look inside yourself and trust your heart. It sounds clichéd and sentimental, but don’t be surprised when you find that person, you suddenly feel a rush of emotion and you start to become dazed. You will know it’s because you belong with them. If you feel like you belong, you know its right. You will feel it, because it’s right!
Like anything in life, you will need to love everything you do, the same way you will feel like you love and belong with the person you’re with. Remembering never settling for second best, it only gets better knowing you’re with someone you love and in a career you love. It’s basically your whole life, so you wouldn’t settle for the second prize. It will not come on your first shot, it might not even come in several chances that you do get, and sometimes I would even imagine that the chance will never come. I don’t say this to cast a dark shadow on your hopes and what you want to accomplish, it’s just a little introduction to the next part of what I’m going to tell you. ‘Never’, ‘come’ are strong use of words and you mentality would justify this and it will only be yourself and no one else that would change it.
Through all the lessons in life you have come to learn and receive and through the losses and the trials you have been through, they have all given you invaluable life experiences. When you fail, no one else is paying as much attention as you are. You must learn from your failures and move on. Nothing comes from sitting in the corner wishing for some miracle that will never come. Don’t take failure as the higher power above is trying to make your life miserable, were not even sure if a higher power exists, so really, you’re talking to yourself. You just need to realise that with all failures comes lessons that need to be learned. With all failures comes with alternative pathways that is most likely much better than the path you were on before. Sometimes, failing re-directs your mind and puts you on a path that was better than before and opens more opportunities for you. You might never really make it or you move on and see which other doors that are hiding have left for you. You’re bound to open a door that’s right. Always account for variable change, you just might not know what opens up for you when something doesn’t quite work out.
I took a slightly different approach when diving into the depths of the numerous areas life has to offer and the layers of problems that can be found. I’m not giving you anecdotes to these situations; I’m merely pressing what it is and what there is to be found. Anecdotes are used to persuade you that these moments in life do happen. With every story you’re going to hear, there is always going to be what didn’t work out and abruptly how everything came together again. You don’t want to hear this, at the end of the day, you just want to know the message it brings and the moral of the story. The most successful people in the world have amazing stories to tell you and of course you will hear about their fairytale ending. Truth be told, not everyone has that fairytale ending and mostly some people will eventually break down trying to get there. They’re those people who are not successful and you will never get to hear their story, it will never be told because it’s seen as a complete and utter failure and does no good to graduates entering a new phrase of their life. If you have never failed, how can you measure your impending success? Through other people’s failures?
I can assure you, those successful people at one time or another had no idea what they were doing as well. They were hoping for the best and they stuck to what they trusted inside. They put in the hard work and they experienced failure more times than once. Some failures even got them their fairytale ending; it opens their eyes and other paths that lead them in the right direction. They chose to go with what they loved and never settled for anything less. Most people never really realise how close they were to success, because when they had failed, they stopped. Who would have known? They would have needed just one more step to succeed. Sometimes the sacrifice is an overwhelming concept.
With all that I have said, does it even matter if you all were going to live forever? It probably wouldn’t matter. Since you would have all eternity to succeed in anything you choose to do, you could do whatever you want, at your convenience. But, the reality of it is, that is not quite true. We all will have to face death, one way or another, even if we run away, our joints will get arthritis or something like that to put us at a disadvantage. Not really fair when death doesn’t get old! With all jokes aside, if everyone in the world has to deal with this reality, why not use death on our side? What does anyone have to lose? You’re put on this life and you’re taken away from this life just as you were put in it. Understanding that someday this reality will hit us, why not make the most of the time we have? Does it really matter if you failed in something you did in your life when death comes knocking? Does it matter that you were afraid to speak to that girl or boy you liked from across the room? Death has no limitations; it just takes what it wants, when it wants. It’s not embarrassed that it might fail, it’s not fearful of anything; it has no expectations but one goal in mind. We don’t have to be any different towards that mindset. If it’s certain that death is going to knock on our doors, then what is the delay from doing whatever you want, to achieve what you want to do, with what your heart tells you to?
Life can be given as fast as it can be taken away, with that in mind, you learn to appreciate every detail in life and all of a sudden, appreciation is something you will grow to love in the end.
It’s better to look at death as a concept more than anything else. This is my exit strategy to get out of the depressing mess I got myself into. In all truth, no one wants to let go of the world, even if heaven is the next destination, I’m sure many people would rather take another route than death. Unfortunately, there isn’t another route and if you look towards the sunset, there is only one road. So, if we have time ticking away life in the corner there, we should never waste it on trivial matters and what other people think when they try to put you down. Learn to pave your own way and go head on towards what you want to achieve. What have you got to lose? We are all going on that same route to one destination, go there with style.
I don’t really know if I saved myself with that exist strategy, but even if it didn’t, am I going to let that bother me with what I know now? Of course not, well, maybe a little.
I have learnt to live with three key words that have made my mind at ease to allow me to continue going forward. If you can find respect, trust and loyalty in relationships you develop or with that special someone, you will find that true happiness will become your being. Learn to appreciate life itself and when they say to love truly, you better believe it! I hope you all have great lives and achieve wonderful things.
Remember, never settle for second best!
Thank you all very much!