Thoughts: Conan O'Brien Graduation Speech

With graduation season in full swing, there are commencement speeches that everyone talks about. While many classics include JFK, Steve Jobs and the "you're not special" guy, one of my all time favorites was delivered by Conan O'Brien to the Dartmouth class of 2011. With the frequent joke surrounding some good advice from years of experience in his industry, it's the perfect combination of comedy and reality. 

If you have the 23 minutes to spare, definitely check it out. Of course there are many times I found myself laughing, but there is also a lot of truth that he conveys to the graduates. Beyond advice about not wearing Converse under your gown and the fact that adult acne can last longer than expected, his main point was that sometimes our inability to become what we perceive in our head or not "achieving our dream" can be the very thing that not only allows us to grow as individuals, but spark true originality. 

"It is our failure to become our perceived ideal that ultimately defines us and makes us unique."

This made a very lasting point with me. Often we ("we") get so caught up in hitting markers and trying to become what we specifically have already in our mind. I know people that at such a young age already have every milestone and goal in their life already planned out, and in contrast to this idea of planning, there is a great point that Conan makes about comedians throughout past generations. He stated that throughout the last 100 years, every best comedian of their generation was trying to emulate their hero from the previous generation, and though they succeeded a  bit, were not able to become their idol, but through failing to do it made him the funniest comedian of their time. Maybe that's the thing- work hard but be flexible, because dreams are constantly changing and that the person you are at 22 may not be the person you will be at 52. Conan probably put it best when he ended his speech- just work hard, be kind, and amazing things will happen. 

Happy Thursday!
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