Tag Archives: Speech

Jimmy Valvano 1993 ESPY Speech

  • There are 3 things you should do every day – laugh, think and have emotions moved to tears. 
  • You have to remember where you came from, where you are and where you’re going
  • Cancer can take away all my physical abilities, but it cannot touch my heart, it cannot touch my mind and it cannot touch my soul

Like Water by David Foster Wallace

Summary

  1. David Foster Wallace’s 2005 commencement speech to Kenyon College is moving and inspirational but more importantly, real. He posits that we must actively fight our “natural default setting” where we are at the center of everything and that the true value of a good education is “learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think.”
Key Takeaways
  1. “…the really significant education in thinking that we’re supposed to get in a place like this isn’t really about the capacity to think, but rather about the choice of what to think about.”
  2. “It’s a matter of my choosing to do the work of somehow altering or getting free of my natural, hard-wired default setting which is to be deeply and literally self-centered and to see and interpret everything through this lens of self.:
  3. “Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think. It means being conscious and aware enough to choose what you pay attention to and to choose how you construct meaning from experience”
  4. “But the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they’re evil or sinful, it’s that they’re unconscious. They are default settings.”
  5. “The really important kind of freedom involves attention and awareness and discipline, and being able truly to care about other people and to sacrifice for them over and over in myriad petty, unsexy ways every day. That is real freedom. That is being educated, and understanding how to think. The alternative is unconsciousness, the default setting, the rat race, the constant gnawing sense of having had, and lost, some infinite thing.”
  6. “The capital-T Truth is about life BEFORE death. It is about the real value of a real education, which has almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness; awareness of what is so real and essential, so hidden in plain sight all around us, all the time…It is unimaginably hard to do this, to stay conscious and alive in the adult world day in and day out. Which means yet another grand cliché turns out to be true: your education really IS the job of a lifetime. And it commences: now.”
What I got out of it
  1. Such a great speech and having the ability and being aware of your “default setting” and what you think about is crucial for your happiness and sanity.

Written text found here

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