Comedian Stephen Colbert delivered a commencement speech as only he could at Wake Forest University this week, urging students to stick to their own set of standards when navigating the real world (or as he put it, “the dark chasm of yawning uncertainty.”)
His speech, often hilarious as he mocked that generation’s penchant for Tinder and Snapchat, turned earnest as he talked of the importance of integrity and personal standards in difficult times.
“People my age will sometimes say to you, ‘Hey, that work you did, that thing you said, that cause you championed -- it’s not good,’” he said. “Having your own standards will help you weather moments like that … [and will allow] you to perceive success where others may see failure.”
Colbert encouraged the class of 15’ to welcome change as an opportunity to break out and find their purpose, and warned against complancency.
“I just spent many years learning to do one thing really well. I got so comfortable with that place, that role, those responsibilities, that it came to define how I saw myself; but now part of my life is over,” he said. “It’s time to say goodbye to the person we’ve become … and to make some crucial decisions in becoming who we’re going to be. Once you’re out of school, there is no objective criteria for achievement any more.”
“I hope you find the courage to decide for yourself what is right and what is wrong, and then please, expect as much of the world around you. Try to make the world good according to your standards.”
Does Colbert’s advice on creating your own definition of success resonate with you?
**Watch the full video below: **