In a riff off his old Harvard commencement speech on failure, Conan Obrien’s commencement speech at Dartmouth this past weekend counsels graduates not on failed dreams but on changed ones:
“It is our failure to become our perceived ideal that ultimately defines us and makes us unique. It’s not easy, but if you accept your misfortune and handle it right, your perceived failure can become a catalyst for profound re-invention. …
No specific job or career goal defines me, and it should not define you. In 2000—in 2000—I told graduates to not be afraid to fail, and I still believe that. But today I tell you that whether you fear it or not, disappointment will come. The beauty is that through disappointment you can gain clarity, and with clarity comes conviction and true originality.
Many of you here today are getting your diploma at this Ivy League school because you have committed yourself to a dream and worked hard to achieve it. And there is no greater cliché in a commencement address than “follow your dream.” Well I am here to tell you that whatever you think your dream is now, it will probably change. And that’s okay.”
(Saw the video on The Washington Post.)
The video above is a collection of highlights. The transcript is here, and the video of the full speech is below.