Home > Inspiration > Conan O’Brien’s Commencement Address to Dartmouth College Graduates 2011

Conan O’Brien’s Commencement Address to Dartmouth College Graduates 2011

A commencement speech, humorous and involving, yet dropping deep thought invoking nuggets, by Conan Christopher O’Brien to the graduating class of 2011 at the Dartmouth College.

I always have this confrontation in my mind about what is a dream. Is it something that once you think of, should not change and your entire life should be spent pursuing it? Or is it something which is okay to change with time but holds your attention, motivates and inspires you during the time it accompanies you? If my inspirations and pursuits have changed over time, then does my life not have a dream? Having failed to find a convincing answer, I always let these doubts to simply pass-by whenever they appear.

After a long time, my doubts were resonated by Conan’s words –

…your path at 22 will not necessarily be your path at 32 or 42. One’s dream is constantly evolving, rising and falling, changing course. 

…whatever you think your dream is now, it will probably change. And that’s okay. Four years ago, many of you had a specific vision of what your college experience was going to be and who you were going to become. And I bet, today, most of you would admit that your time here was very different from what you imagined.

The wisdom which he shares towards failures and disappointments is worth mentioning here –

…it is our failure to become our perceived ideal that ultimately defines us and makes us unique. It’s not easy, but if you accept your misfortune and handle it right, your perceived failure can become a catalyst for profound re-invention.

…no specific job or career goal defines me, and it should not define you… whether you fear it or not, disappointment will come. The beauty is that through disappointment you can gain clarity, and with clarity comes conviction and true originality.

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  1. July 24, 2011 at 10:02 am

    It was more funny than thought-provoking! 😉

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