I've found that we don't really learn much just by being told stuff. But I have found that when we find ourselves in a situation where we need to learn something the hard way -- that is by actually living it -- advice heard long ago can reinforce the conclusions we are arriving at through experience. That said, I thought it would be fun to compose a graduation speech made up entirely of bullet points and without any pressure to be original, since truisms are true for a reason. Here are some things I have found to be true and valuable, though I often fail to practice them. These aren't really in order, though if they were, I might keep the top three how they are now.
1. Never give up.
2. Practice gratitude.
3. Believe in yourself and what you have to offer.
4. Err on the side of trusting others.
5. Nurture and share your enthusiasms.
6. Cut others and yourself a break.
7. Pick your battles and let the other ones go.
8. Value your family and friends.
9. Speak up.
10. Emphasize responsibility not obligation.
11. Laugh a lot.
12. Offer help and learn to receive it too.
13. Be slow to judge other people's failures.
14. Stick up for those who have it hardest.
15. Learn to live with ambiguity.
As a special bonus I share this ancient dictum: Treat your body like you're going live forever and your soul like you will die tomorrow. I do much better with the latter, I must confess, since I have a hard time envisioning life without cinnamon rolls.