Don't follow your dreams was a key point in the commencement speech given by the keynote speaker at my brother's graduation - a thought provoking statement that's kept me pondering all weekend long.
My little brother earned his degree in Engineering, and graduated with honors from the University of Missouri this past weekend. To celebrate the occasion, we took a day-trip to Columbia for what the Bean Sprout kept calling his "special day." It was a pleasant day in which we visited with family, toured the campus, and ate at our favorite local pizzeria. As alums ourselves, it was especially fun for my husband and I to revisit our old stomping grounds, at the school where we first met.
We also attended my brother's formal graduation ceremony. I've sat through a number of commencement speeches in my life, but never one that's made a lasting memory - until now. This thought-provoking message has kept me thinking for several days.
In her opening point, the speaker urged the graduates not to follow their dreams.
Dreams, she cautioned, are built on hopes and wishes. And when a dreamer becomes fixated on the hopes and wishes of their dream fulfilled, they can sometimes forget to lay the groundwork and pave the path needed to reach their dream. When this occurs, a dreamer is nothing more than a dream chaser.
Instead, she urged the graduates to find their passion and formulate a vision. Once the vision is established, engineer a plan to achieve that vision. (Nice word choice on the speaker's part, since it was a graduation ceremony for the engineering students :)
The difference between dreamers and visionaries, the speaker explained, is where the focus lies. While dreamers are wishfully thinking about the end result, visionaries are actively establishing a plan and then pursuing that path to turn their visions into reality.
To sum it up, the speaker encouraged the crowd to
- find a passion
- form a vision and
- engineer a plan to achieve it
It's been many years since I graduated, but this commencement speech had a profound impact on my life. In fact, it might have been just as beneficial to me as it was to its intended audience, the class of 2012.
I leave you with some food for thought for the upcoming days: don't follow your dreams.