If I were going to deliver a graduation speech, it would likely go something like this:
If you don’t like yourself, then why not become somebody that you like? Re-invent yourself. It isn’t that hard. We as a society preach self-acceptance. The problem with this is that it assumes that you as an individual are great the way you are, and all that needs to change is your self-thought. This is simply not true. If we were perfect, we would not see the dramatic increase in people seeing therapists, and counselors. We would not need to learn and grow, and would not attend college. The likelihood is that you are some mediocre slob, lacking excellence or real value, other than your role as a consumeristic force in a free market economy; that is to say: a waste of time, space, energy, and resources.
However, you have potential. This is not an unlimited potential, mind you. You, like everyone else have some extreme limitations naturally upon you. Most of you are not capable of being most jobs. Everyone has finite talents and abilities. You should strive to maximize your talents, and not fantasize over being the only 4’9″ professional football player, or the only ballerina with 48DDs. Not gonna happen kids. Know yourself. Get to know yourself better!
As you get to know yourself, you will realize that you don’t like parts about yourself. You probably need to change something about yourself. In most people’s cases there are many things that need to change. I am going to pause to address the imaginary bum/hippie who will, without a doubt, say: “hey man, what about my freedom to ‘express myself’ and live my life without any rules, subject to only me and my whims and desires?” To you I will say: Are you a talented artist, who is making quality art? If so? Carry on. If not: if you are a bum in your mothers basement who can’t play happy birthday on the guitar, and your finger paintings are on your mother’s fridge, then you have no legs to stand on. Probably because the twinkie onslaught caused your debilitating diabetes, which caused the legs to be removed is continuing at an even higher rate, unbeknownst to your warcraft playing flesh-sack.
Unless you are already on the road to excellence, something needs to change. Here is a rough outline to teach you how. If you are already pursuing excellence, then you know these things, and this rudimentary outline will likely insult your intellect, and hold no fruit for you.
Here is how you recreate yourself in a way that you can respect, and in a way that you can actually be worth something.
Pick characteristics that you like in others, and consciously emulate them, daily. Create thought patterns that reinforce the traits you admire. Consciously Think these thoughts on a daily basis. Force those actions and thoughts to become habitual thought patterns and actions. Develop habits. Consciously Stop doing things and thinking in ways that you despise. In a few short months, you will be a new person. Focus on developing character. Focus on enriching and bettering yourself.
Work out. Run. A healthy body develops confidence and a healthy mind. There are many documented benefits to exercise.
Do Metal exercises. Study an interesting topic. Engage others in intellectual debate. Work crosswords, scrabble puzzles, and sudokus.
Become an expert at something. Study, learn, grow.
Change your social circle. Abandon those friends who drag you down. The more you redevelop yourself, spend time with excellent people who will sharpen your faculties, or improve character traits. Be around people you want to be like. Excellence breeds excellence! We become like those we spend the most time around. Use this to your advantage.
Identify a metaphor or a symbol for what you want to become. Make it personal and never share it with anyone. Spend time regularly reflecting on this symbol. Judge yourself by the symbol. Identify what you are doing well and where you are struggling. Figure out a course of action to correct the problems, and strengthen the good points. Do this regularly.
Change your appearance to reflect the internal changes you intend to make. Change the way you dress, and the way you style your body hair and facial/head hair. Change the way you speak, the way you walk, the way you react/contort your face.
Do Not Stagnate! Never stop pushing yourself higher. Keep learning, keep growing! If you are not stretching yourself beyond your comfort zone, then you are not growing. If you are not growing, and are stagnating then you are dying. You are not truly alive.
Develop good character. Be honest, strong, dependable, and true. Be Kind, courteous, cheerful, and friendly. Learn to do the right thing in the face of danger, or fear. That is true bravery.
Do the right thing. Always.
If you take these simple steps toward excellence and personal growth, if you redesign yourself into a person you like and respect; then confidence, success, and a richly fulfilling life will be your prize. Don’t be afraid to dream big, but make sure you actually have the capabilities of pulling those dreams off. Or work hard toward developing the capabilities to achieve your dreams.