September 18, 2007
I am glad to be here today, Hell, I am glad to be anywhere today.
President Cohon asked me to come and give the charge to the graduates. I assure you, it'snothing compared to the charge you have just given me.
This is an incredible place. I have seen it through so many lenses. I saw it when I was agraduate student that didn't get admitted and then somebody invited me back and said, OK,we'll change our mind.
And I saw it as a place that hired me back to be on the faculty many years later and gave methe chance to do what anybody wants to do, which is ,follow their passion, follow their heartand do the things they they're excited about.
And the great thing about this university unlike almost all the other ones I know of is thatnobody gets in your way when you try to do it. And that's just fantastic.
And to the degree that a human being can love an institution. I love this place and I love all ofthe people and I am very grateful to Jerry Cohon and everyone else for all the kindness thathave shown me.
Last August I was told that in all likelihood I had three to six months left to live. I am onmonth nine now and I am gonna get down and do any push-ups…But there will be a short pick-up basketball game later.
Somebody said to me, in light of those numbers, wow, so you aer really beating the GrimReaper. And what I said without even thinking about is that we don't beat the Reaper by livinglonger. We beat the Reaper by living well, and living fully.
For the Reaper will come for all of us, the question is what do we do between the time we areborn and the time he shows up.
'cause he shows up it is too late to do all the things that you're always gonna kind of "getround to". So I think the only advice I can give you on how to live your life well is, first off,remember, it's a cliche, but love cliche, "it is not the things we do in life that we regret on ourdeathbed, it is the things we do not".
'cause I assure you I've done a lot of stupid things and none of them bother me. All themistakes, all the dopy things and all the times I was embarrassed they don't matter. Whatmatter is that, I can kind of look back and say, "pretty much anytime I got a chance to dosomething cool, I tried to grab for it." And that's where my solace come from.
The second thing I would add to that, and I didn't coordinate on the subject of this word but Ithink it's the right word that comes up, is passion. And you will need to find you passion.Many of you have already done it, many of you will later, many of you will take till your 30s or40s. But don't give up on finding it. Alright? 'cause then all you're doing is waiting for theReaper. Find you passion and follow it.
And if there's anything I have learned in my life, you will not find passion in things. And you willnot find that passion in money. Because the more things and the more money you have, themore you will just look around and use that as the metric, and there will always be someonewith more.
So your passion must come from the things that fuel you from the inside. And honors andawards are nice things but only to be the extent that they regard the real respect from yourpeers. And to be thought well of by other people that you think even more highly of is atremendous honor that I've been granted.
Find you passion and in my experience, no matter what you do at work or what you do inofficial settings, that passion would be grounded in people. And it will be grounded in therelationships you have with people, and what they think of you, when you time comes. And ifyou can gain the respect of those around you, and the passion and true love, and I've said thisbefore, but I waited till 39 to get married because I had to wait that long to find someone whereher happiness was more important than mine. And if nothing else I hope that all of you can findthat kind of passion and that kind of love in your life.