Amy Rees Anderson

Making Our Life Into The Masterpiece It Is Meant To Be

As I shared in yesterday’s blog, my son Dalton’s Commencement of graduation ceremonies from Brigham Young University was today and tomorrow is his actual Graduation Ceremony where he will walk across the stage and receive his Bachelor’s degree. This is a huge milestone in the life of a child and the life of a parent and I am overwhelmed with gladness that Dalton has accomplished one of his major life goals and I am so proud of him and the amazing man and husband and soon to be father he has become. #proudmamamoment

In yesterday’s blog I shared a few excerpts from different commencement speeches given over the years and I promised to share a few more today. Commencement speeches contain some of people’s best nuggets of advice and its advice that can benefit us not just as graduates coming out of school, but also adults at any stage of our lives. So here are a few more excerpts from some great talks given:

This first one is an excerpt from a commencement speech given at BYU in 2003 by Richard G. Scott:

“Establish a set of guiding principles for your life, and never compromise them. Make no exception to them. Difficulties in life begin when small deviations from true standards are made to justify a quick move to a greater accomplishment. Over time that pattern brings failure. Strength comes from making no exceptions to foundation principles. Without such guidelines, an individual lives from moment to moment, making decisions according to current circumstances. Such a one is doomed to violate eternal truths and lose by rationalization many of the marvelous opportunities of life that bring great achievement and happiness.

Be honest and loyal. Keep your word and keep your commitments. If your responsibility is to provide an income for a family, acquire work with good leadership in a field that really matters. Give more than is expected. With your background from this university, minimum or average work is plainly not acceptable. Admit mistakes when you make them—for we all do. Admitting your mistakes builds character and also respect. Accept full responsibility for your actions.

Live so as to be trusted. Trust opens wide the gate to exceptional opportunity and success. Seek to be challenged in what you do. Don’t look for a safe haven where you have no risk, for you will not grow or have real satisfaction. Do not compartmentalize your life into segments that apply to profession, Church, and family with different standards used in each segment, as is done in the world. Your life must be a continuum in which uniform high standards of truth, integrity, and hard work will bring success to every aspect of life.

Smile. Everyone has problems, but nobody wants to know about yours. Smile a lot. It’s a beautiful way to let sunshine into your life and to spread it to the joy and benefit of others.

Don’t complain. There will be times when life just isn’t fair. Some others may make unfair decisions that affect you professionally or otherwise. Don’t waste time complaining. Life is charged with opportunity when you seek the help of the Lord to find it. Look for the gold nuggets of opportunity around you, mine them, and use them.”

This final one is excerpts from a commencement speech given by James Q. Wilson at BYU in 1994:

“Commencement speakers are supposed to urge you to rise to the highest challenge, pursue the impossible dream, excel at the loftiest ambitions. I will not do that. It is too easy; it is too empty. The easiest thing to do is to support great causes, sign stirring petitions, endorse grand philosophies. The hardest thing to do—and it is getting harder all of the time—is to be a good husband, a good wife, a strong father, a strong mother, an honorable friend and neighbor…

…The truly good deeds are the small, everyday actions of ordinary life. The employee who gives an honest day’s work; the employer who rewards loyalty and service; the stranger who stops to help someone in need; the craftsman who builds each house as if he were going to live in it himself; the man who unhesitatingly accepts responsibility for the children he has fathered; the father who wants the respect of his children more than admission to the executive suite; the mother who knows that to care for an infant is not an admission of professional failure . . . ; the parents who turn off the television even when their children want to watch just one more hour of some bit of Hollywood drivel; the neighbors who join together to patrol a neighborhood threatened by drug dealers; the hiker who carries his own trash out of the park; the landlord who paints out the graffiti without waiting for the city to do it for him; the juror who judges another on the basis of the principle of personal responsibility before the law—these are the heroes of everyday life. May you join their ranks.”   

And my favorite graduation quote is one from C.S. Lewis:

“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”

True That!!!  How motivating and inspiring their words are! I agree with all of those sentiments they shared, both in yesterday’s blog excerpts and today’s. It’s advice we would all do well to consider and implement no matter where we are along lives journey…that’s one of the most amazing blessings we have in this life – we ALWAYS have the ability to celebrate the Commencement of a new beginning to our life…we can start fresh from where we are right this minute and begin making our life into the masterpiece it is meant to be.

~Amy Rees Anderson


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