Commencement Speech, Bolelli-Style

Commencement Speech, Bolelli-Style


Most motivational speeches tell you that if you try hard enough, if you stay true to your dreams, if you fight the good fight, if you are passionate enough, if you have enough willpower to withstand rejections and difficulties, eventually things will work out for the best and all your hard work will finally pay off. This is what the entire self-help industry is based on. It’s a sweet message. It appeals to our sense of fairness and justice. And it also happens to be complete bullshit.

Or rather, it can be true only if all of the above goes hand in hand with an insane amount of luck. Without luck, doors will remain closed no matter how much you “think positively” about them opening. The notion that good outcomes await if only you put in enough effort and desire–the notion that the good guys will always triumph in the end after overcoming seemingly impossible odds–belong on the same shelf with delusional maxims such as “everything happens for a reason.”

You are in the wrong universe for that. It’s simply not the way things work here.

Most people like to be told otherwise because they can’t deal with Life when it shows its ugly face. They have to dress it up, domesticate it and turn it into a Disney movie – lying to oneself as a coping mechanism. The realization that life can be neither merciful nor fair depresses to the core most of those who are forced to stare at it.

I don’t find it one bit depressing. I mean… I’d prefer it if things were different, but I’d also prefer it if I was made King of Hawaii. I can live with the fact that the universe doesn’t cater to my preferences.

Life is tough. Ok, so what? It’s not like there’s any alternative, so I won’t let life’s toughness spoil my good mood (ok, perhaps I won’t let it spoil it most of the time.) I’ll do the things I want because they feed who I want to be – regardless of the outcome. I’ll follow my visions because not following them for fear that they may not come true equals accepting defeat without even putting up a good fight. Victory or defeat are largely out of my control, but putting up a good fight… putting up the kind of fight that makes the earth shake and the gods blush… this I can do.

I may fail? Big fuckin’ deal. If that is the way the game is going play out, I’ll make sure to fail giving every last inch of myself. I’ll fail in such a way as to give epic poets enough material for the rest of their careers. I don’t make certain choices just because I was told that if I’m a good boy, Santa will reward me. I’ll make them because living somebody else’s life out of fear of failing brings me no joy.

If the universe ends up being kind to your efforts, good for you. But the key question in my mind is: are you willing to make the exact same choices even if- – as it’s entirely possible – no reward is there for you at the end?

Now you know why I will never be invited to deliver a commencement speech.

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12 Responses to Commencement Speech, Bolelli-Style

  1. Roach says: July 19, 2012 at 12:49 am

    I was going to quote and comment on a few of the awesome sentences you wrote, but there are too god damn many!
    I’m in the process of building my own website (cause i’ too broke to pay for a pro) in order to sell digital copied of
    a graphic novel i wrote, and several of your quotes were super fuckin’ inspirational and true. If i fail, I fail… Fuck it!
    At least i had the balls to try right? I couldn’t live with myself any other way.
    Your books are awesome and your super inspirational on Rogan and Duncan’s podcasts my brother! I wish you all the best.

  2. admin says: July 19, 2012 at 1:12 am

    Best of luck with your website and graphic novel. Success and failure are often out of our hands. But putting everything we are on the line is not. Hope the universe decides to smile on you

    • ROACH says: December 19, 2012 at 11:49 pm

      Wow! Can’t believe it’s been almost 5 months since i read this post of yours and commented on it. I’ve got my site up and running and have bee seeking out publication for the graphic novel. Thanks so much for your continued words of wisdom brother. It’s always a great help to me. Check my site out if ya got time, the first 5 chapters are also up on there if you’ve got some time to kill. It’s titled the Stoned Ape Society. Apes, mushrooms, violence, religious satire… You might just like it!

      http://www.jameseroche.com/shop/sas_booki/

  3. Adam says: August 25, 2012 at 2:04 pm

    Maybe not a speech fit for a coronation, but certainly a realistic approach to facing every day hurdles and the sparsely placed crags. I love the philosophy you’ve adapted towards life Daniele, and you’ve helped me smile through my mundane. I was introduced to you by Duncan, but your words strike me harder than his ever did. A modern day adaptation of things we once held ourselves to that got lost in the translation to the current society.
    Thank You.

  4. cap'n bash says: September 11, 2012 at 9:11 pm

    Brilliant.

  5. I_Am_A_Savage says: August 23, 2013 at 12:19 pm

    Holy shit that is poweful.

  6. misiekm says: August 24, 2013 at 5:01 am

    I can’t see why your speach wouldnt fit any kind of ceremony. It is alpealing and motivating in its own real way. It is more important to make a shot, to aim for the complete victory than to stay safe. I just won one and lost one of many battles of my proffesiona life. Without one there would not be another so thats how life works. I always hope i will win more of those life battles than i loose, and only way to make it happen is to try, to take action. Hope it makes at least a bit of sense.
    And yeah, I did read it in Your voice 🙂 cheers!

  7. Shawn Fee says: June 23, 2014 at 6:51 pm

    ” Bushido written in English “

  8. Commencement Speech | ChaosSection says: December 30, 2014 at 2:03 pm

    […] originally published at DanieleBolelli.com and reposted here with the author’s […]

  9. Micah Yonkoski says: January 7, 2015 at 4:03 am

    Awesome stuff Daniele! Keep up the great work!!

  10. Alexander Svitych says: October 30, 2016 at 9:33 am

    Thank you for this powerful message. I have come tor realize with time that luck matters too. This doesn’t mean one shouldn’t work hard, however. At least that makes you disciplined.

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