Unlike the more notable names that have been invited to give a commencement speech, I’ve never heard of this Navy Seal Commander. He may not have said make good art, like Neil Gaiman drilled in, which appealed to my creative element, or JK Rowling’s speech where she said “rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”
It wasn’t a motivational speech; he didn’t have a rags to riches story, or one that inspires you enough to start writing a story in order to make good art because of a break up (ahem). It wasn’t any of those because that was simply not the purpose of his speech. What’s his speech like? It’s hardcore, life-will-kick your-butt-but-you-kick-right-back kind of a speech. Simple and effective. And you start with making your bed, not good art. Managing expectations.
If you want to change the world, you must be your very best in the darkest moment.
He’s a Navy Seal Commander who swam in shark-infested waters for crying out loud, he isn’t going to tell you to make art. He’s going to ask you to punch the shark in the snout, unless you consider yourself a shark’s snack. And because I love kicking ass, this resonated with me a lot.