By Gino Blefari
President & CEO
Intero Real Estate Services, Inc.

This past weekend I attended my daughter’s graduation from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo.  It got me thinking about all of those great inspirational speeches that come out around this time of year, some with the standard advice of recognizing your accomplishments and others with some sound wisdom to push you forward.  That being said, I thought I’d share quotes from some of the best commencement speeches of 2013 taken from the list put together by the Huffington Post to keep you motivated into the future.

  1. “Commencement speakers are always telling you to find your passion. This is the biggest load of crap old people have ever foisted on the young. No, you will not find your passion. Your passion will find you. Relax and wait for it. … Don’t think about what you want from life, think about what life wants from you. If you’re observant, some large problem will plop itself in front of you. It will define your mission and your calling. Your passion won’t come from inside, it will come from outside.” David Brooks, Columnist, at Sewanee: The University of the South
  2. “The losses I’ve experienced have taught me something else: We are all terminal. You have to appreciate the gifts that every day of your life will bring: Your family. Your friends. A beautiful sky at sunset. A perfect ear of corn in August. The first snowfall of the year. A baby’s tiny hand. Be grateful for the time you have and savor the joy that comes your way.  Look for those in-between moments … not big events, but the little ones when you’re laughing with a friend, taking a walk, helping an elderly neighbor with her groceries.” Katie Couric, TV Journalist, at Randolph Macon College in Virginia
  3. “Real courage is holding on to a still voice in your head that says, ‘I must keep going.’ It’s that voice that says nothing is a failure if it is not final. That voice that says to you, ‘Get out of bed. Keep going. I will not quit.'” Newark Mayor Cory Booker, in the main address during Class Day for Yale seniors at Yale University in New Haven, Conn.
  4. “Don’t buy society’s definition of success. Because it’s not working for anyone. It’s not working for women, it’s not working for men, it’s not working for polar bears, it’s not working for the cicadas that are apparently about to emerge and swarm us. It’s only truly working for those who make pharmaceuticals for stress, diabetes, heart disease, sleeplessness and high blood pressure.”Arianna Huffington, at Smith College in Massachusetts
  5. “Life took over 4 billion years to evolve into you, and you’ve about 70 more years to enjoy it. … Don’t just pursue happiness, catch it. And maybe [they’ll] even have a cure for it.” Eric Idle, Actor, Comedian, atWhitman College in Washington State
  6. “Of course, all the hype about how connected you are has contributed to a counter-narrative — that, in fact, your generation is increasingly disconnected from the things that matter. The arguments go something like this: Instead of spending time with friends, you spend it alone, collecting friend requests. Rather than savoring your food, you take pictures of it and post them on Facebook. I want to encourage you to reject the cynics who say technology is flattening your experience of the world. Please don’t let anyone make you believe you are somehow shallow because you like to update your status on a regular basis.” Melinda Gates, Philanthropist, at Duke University in North Carolina
  7. “This whole thing comes down in the end to whether we think the future will be better if we face it with open hands or closed fists.  You can’t live in a world that is interdependent where the walls come down and borders look more like nets.  You can’t keep every bad thing out anywhere unless most people believe that what we have in common is more important than our interesting differences.” Bill Clinton, at Howard University in Washington, D.C.
  8. “It doesn’t matter how far you might rise, at some point you’re bound to stumble.  And when you do, there is something I want you to remember: No such thing as failure.  Failure is just life trying to move us into another direction.” Oprah Winfrey, at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts
  9. “Be bold, be courageous, be your best.” Former Rep. Gabrielle GIffords (D-Ariz.), at Bard College, in New York City
  10. “Ask yourself what broader purpose your business might serve, in putting people to work or transforming a neighborhood.  The most successful CEOs I know didn’t start out intent on making money––rather they had a vision of how their product or service would change things, and the money followed.” President Barack Obama, at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia
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