Nasty Gal advice; 6 Buffett lessons; free eBook; 5 Roadblocks; FORTUNE stories needed
May 8, 2014
Pat’s poem; Wei’s admonition; Margaret’s surprising question; Day 1 Summit key points
May 22, 2014

Smartest Guy?; 2nd Best Speech?; Goals and Purpose worthless?; Happy Graduation

"…keeping you great"


Smartest Guy on the Planet? — its graduation time and Mike Jagger, CEO of Vancouver-based Provident Security, sent me this link to the second best graduation speech I've ever heard – this by Tim Minchin, British-born Australian comedian, actor and musician. Sit down with your children and watch/laugh together (my children loved it). And I've sent it to several CEOs the past few weeks for pure insight and inspiration and it has been universally well-received.

Not Having Long Term Goals — Minchin is particularly tough on the idea of having long term goals and a purpose! Upworthy magazine called the speech "The Most Inspiring Yet Depressing Yet Hilarious Yet Horrifying Yet Heartwarming Grad Speech."

Lessons from Speech — Lauren Heffernan, founder/CEO of Ciclismo Classico and host to the best bicycle tours around the world (take one this summer), took the time to summarize the key lessons from Minchin's speech (emphasis below is her's), though the summary loses a lot of the nuance of his message, so enjoy his speech:

  1. You do NOT have to have a DREAM. Instead have passionate dedication to short term goals. If you focus too far ahead, you won't see the shiny thing right in front of your eye.
  2. Do not SEEK Happiness. If you think about it too much, it goes away. Keep busy and aim to make someone else happy.
  3. It's ALL Luck. You are lucky to be here.
  4. Exercise. Take care of your body. You are going to need it.
  5. Be HARD on your opinions & beliefs. Be intellectually rigorous. Examine nuance.
  6. BE AN AMAZING TEACHER in all aspect of your life. Share your ideas, rejoice in what you love, and SPRAY IT.
  7. Define yourself by what you LOVE
  8. RESPECT people with less power than you
  9. DON'T RUSH. Don't PANIC. You do not need to know what you are going to do with your life. Don't panic.

Finally, Life is meaningless. Leave it to humans to think that life has a purpose. There is one sensible thing to do with this empty existence: FILL IT. LEARN as much as you can about as much as you can. Take PRIDE in whatever you are doing. SHARE ideas. BE enthusiastic "It's an incredibly exciting wonderfully meaningless life of yours."

HAPPY GRADUATION – enjoy the weekend. Next week I'll share interviews from the Leadership Summit – the audience tells us we hit another homerun.


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Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish
Verne Harnish is founder of the world-renowned Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) and chaired for fifteen years EO’s premiere CEO program, the “Birthing of Giants” and WEO’s “Advanced Business” executive program both held at MIT. Founder and CEO of Gazelles, a global executive education and coaching company with over 150 coaching partners on six continents, Verne has spent the past three decades helping companies scale-up. The “Growth Guy” syndicated columnist, he’s also the Venture columnist for FORTUNE magazine. He’s the author of Scaling Up (Rockefeller Habits 2.0); Mastering the Rockefeller Habits; and along with the editors of Fortune, authored The Greatest Business Decisions of All Times," for which Jim Collins wrote the foreword. Verne also chairs FORTUNE Magazine’s annual Leadership and Growth Summits and serves on several boards including chairman of The Riordan Clinic and the newly launched Geoversity. He is an investor in many scale-ups. A father of four, he enjoys piano, tennis, and magic as a card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Magicians.