Recently, US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts handed out some pretty kick-ass advice in his speech at a commencement ceremony at Cardigan Mountain School, New Hampshire. It was addressed toward the boys graduating from the boarding institute for 6th to 9th graders. And his son was amongst the graduating class of 9th grade.
Well, Roberts attended Harvard College, graduating with an Artium Baccalaureus degree summa cum laude in history in three years. Then he graduated from Harvard Law School with a Juris Doctor magna cum laude. So he basically won the Olympics of smarts, and his spews of hot witty magma in this speech is a case in point.
“Now the commencement speakers will typically also wish you good luck and extend good wishes to you. I will not do that, and I’ll tell you why.
From time to time in the years to come, I hope you will be treated unfairly so that you will come to know the value of justice. I hope that you will suffer betrayal because that will teach you the importance of loyalty. Sorry to say, but I hope you will be lonely from time to time so that you don’t take friends for granted.
I wish you bad luck, again, from time to time so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not completely deserved and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either.
And when you lose, as you will from time to time, I hope every now and then, your opponent will gloat over your failure. It is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship.
I hope you’ll be ignored so you know the importance of listening to others, and I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion.
Whether I wish these things or not, they’re going to happen. And whether you benefit from them or not will depend upon your ability to see the message in your misfortunes.
Now commencement speakers are also expected to give some advice. They give grand advice, and they give some useful tips. The most common grand advice they give is for you to be yourself. It is an odd piece of advice to give people dressed identically, but you should — you should be yourself.
But you should understand what that means. Unless you are perfect, it does not mean don’t make any changes. In a certain sense, you should not be yourself. You should try to become something better. People say ‘be yourself’ because they want you to resist the impulse to conform to what others want you to be. But you can’t be yourself if you don’t learn who are, and you can’t learn who you are unless you think about it.”
Watch the full speech below.