The Graduates And Their Dreams

Take time to read my simple speech given during a graduation ceremony five years ago. To our beloved school principal, hardworking...

Take time to read my simple speech given during a graduation ceremony five years ago.
To our beloved school principal, hardworking teachers, supportive parents, our dear graduates, and to all who attend this memorable graduation ceremony, good morning.
Before I proceed, I would like to thank the school administration, headed by our principal, for choosing me as your keynote speaker.
How are you dear graduates? I know how happy you are right now. I was once in your position. I know how excited you are to receive the fruit of you labor. Perhaps you are also excited to go home because there is a celebration waiting for you. But before anything else, did anyone of you approach his/her parents or teachers and say “thank you” to them? It's not yet too late, after this you approach and thank them for all those years of molding, patience, understanding, and efforts they have done to you. I know your parents and teachers cannot also explain how happy they are right now watching you sitting there and receiving your diplomas. At this moment, may I ask you dear graduates to please stand and give a round of applause to your teachers and most specially to your ever supportive parents.
Dear graduates, I want you to do something for me. Please take a look of your fellow graduates. Look at you classmate on your left and on your right. Now consider this, 10 years or more from now, odds are your fellow graduates might become a doctor, lawyer, engineer, teacher, nurse, priest, businessman, a good father or mother, mayor and perhaps president of this country. And you, in the middle? What can you expect?
You are the person endowed with potential, capability, skill, talent and intelligence that can build a strong and wealthy nation. All you have to do is to believe in yourself and put it in action.
I will ask you a question. Who among you here have dreams in life? Please raise your hand. I challenge you graduates, how can you achieve your dreams or goal in life if you can't even manage to raise your hand? Now, for the last time, who among you here have dreams in life? Why I ask you that question? Because the poorest person in this world is not the person who don't have money but the person who don't have dreams in life.
According to a survey conducted by Harvard University, out of 100% who have dreams in life, only 3% put their dreams in writing and plan to accomplish them. These 3% were the people who achieved their goals and dreams in life. How about you? Did you put your dreams in writing? If you put it in writing, you will become more focused and determined to achieve it.
What you want to become after graduating? What course you want to take up in college? What you want to do after college? What you want to accomplish? You must have a dream or goal in life. As the bible says in the book of proverbs, “A person who does not have a goal in life is like a ship without a rudder.” If you don't know where you are going, every road will get you nowhere. People don't plan to fail, they fail to plan.
Dream big dreams – it's free. Allow yourself to dream and fantasize about the kind of life you would like to live. Project yourself 10 to 15 years forward. Whatever it is, take the first step today. Because if you can dream it, you can do it. As the MILO slogan goes, “Great things starts from small beginnings.”
Believe that you have the power to transform your thought into physical reality, you can dream and make your dreams come true. Cherish them as they are the children of your soul and the blueprint of your ultimate achievements. Napoleon Hill says “Whatsoever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.
Dear graduates, a while ago I have asked you to give a round of applause to your parents. Why? Because it's your parents who gave you the opportunity to receive good education in order to achieve your dreams in life. Your parents did this to you because it is the only treasure and legacy they can give. An opportunity which is a product of their hardwork because they know that they will not always be around, even your teachers. This opportunity will come only once, so don't dare to waste it. Cherish this opportunity and nurture it. This is your ticket to success.
What we are celebrating right now is just the start of your battle in pursuit to receive good education and to achieve your goals. Always remember, that merely going to school or involvement is not enough. You must commit and sacrifice yourself to attain your worthy goals because I believe that the purpose of education is action, to bring out the talent and intelligence we are born with.
I can still remember how my parents work hard so that I will be able to achieve what I am right now. In the process I also help my parents. In the young age, I experienced and learned how to plant, harvest and sell tobacco, sell bananas in the neighborhood, cook food, feed animals, tend our small store, etc. We studied hard and we were only allowed to watch tv once a week during Fridays or Saturdays. Now, I also urge you dear graduates to also help your parents. They are not superheroes who can give you everything you want. They are not banks who can give you money anytime you want. They are just humans. Always listen to them because they are good source of wisdom even though some of them haven't attained what you have accomplished at this time. My father once told me, “Do your best in your studies and in your life and don't go back to what you have experienced before. Nobody would give you even a single peso.”
Most of us are easily discouraged or frustrated if someone tells us that we are not good enough. We easily give up our dreams to dream stealers. Dear graduates, don't allow anybody to steal your dreams. It is yours to fulfill. No one should stop you from achieving it. You must have strong attitude – become deaf in all discouragements, failures and obstacles that you may encounter along the way. Remember, the greatest reward in life is doing things that other people say you cannot.
You can be wrong and fail, and still succeed. You don't have to be super talented and very smart to succeed. You should be persistent. Have courage, don't quit. You only have to have one good success. When you succeed everyone forgets your mistakes. Why? Because mistakes wont matter as long as you continue to reach for your success in life.
If you never do anything, you wont make a mistake. Get started making some mistakes so success will come your way. Just remember, if you want to accelerate the rate of your success, you mu st double the rate of your failure. Success is on the far side of failure... dare to fail. As the famous words of Winston Churchill goes “Never, never, never, never give up.” You must have the G.U.T.S. (Genuine Urge To Succeed).
Let me give you an example. I have in my hand a P1,000 bill. Who want a P1,000 bill? Now, what if I crumple, drop or throw this bill? Will you still beg for it? Dear graduates, you have all learned a very valuable lesson. No matter what I did to the money you still want to have it because it did not decrease in value – it still worth P1,000.
Just like us, many times in our lives, we were dropped, crumpled and ground into dirt by the decisions we made and the circumstances that come our way. We feel as though we are worthless, but no matter what has happened or what will happen to us – We will never lose our true value. We are born with power to surmount all the odds that are stacked against us; to be able to bounce back after each fall; to be able to break free from any limitations; to claim rightful place on this planet; to be the master of our circumstances; and to be the creator of our destiny.
Your courage to persist in the face of adversity and disappointments is one quality that will guarantee you to achieve your goals in life. Your willingness to persevere longer than anyone else is your greatest personal asset. It is your ability to focus your desire and to desire your focus.
Dear graduates, if you cannot finish college don't be frown because it's not yet the end of your quest to become successful citizen in this country. In fact, many successful people have left school without receiving a college degree. Like Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motors Company; Thomas Edison, founder of General Electric; Ted Turner, founder of CNN; Ralph Lauren, founder of Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation; Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Inc.; Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Inc.; Joseph Estrada, former president of the Philippines; and your favorite people's champ, Manny Pacquiao. Life experience is their wise and great teacher. Like these personalities, you must commit yourself to lifelong learning. Continuously sharpen your saw. If you stop learning that is the beginning of your downfall because you stop growing. We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act but a habit.
Don't you know that God has plan for us? It is well stated in the bible in Jeremiah 29:11-12. It says “I have plans for you, declares the lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
I hope someday, one of you will come to me and say “Neil, here I am, a successful lawyer, doctor, teacher, father, etc.” When that time comes, your teacher, parents, me and this country will be proud of you.
Before I end my speech, let me leave this wonderful poem to you.
If you think you are beaten, you are
If you think you dare not, you don't,
If you like to win, but you think you can't
It is almost certain you won't.

If you think you'll lose, you're lost
For out of the world we find,
Success begins with a fellow's will
It's all in the state of mind.

If you think you are outclassed, you are
You've got to think high to rise,
You've got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.

Life's battles don't always go
To the stronger or faster man,
But soon or late the man who wins

Thank you, congratulations and God bless...

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