Editor’s Note: With the 2013 graduation season winding down,YoungEntrepreneur.com has culled the top tips and pieces of advice from commencement addresses given by some of the world’s most inspiring leaders.
With diploma in hand, gown on and tassel moved to the other side of the cap, college graduation is a time of excitement. As you have closed one chapter of your life and are just beginning a new one, your future is wide open. And to add to the spirit, inspirational leaders stand in front of graduates and deliver commencement addresses offering advice to career-driven graduates and young entrepreneurs starting their new venture – from pursuing their dreams to tackling their startup at full throttle.
From the traditionally defined entrepreneur to the comedian who carved his own path and the spiritual leader who took the road less traveled, we have provided you the 10 most inspirational quotes from the 2013 commencement speeches.
Dropbox CEO Drew Houston at Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Founder of Priceline Jeff Hoffman at Bradley University
Best advice: "I am telling you to make a choice based on your passions and interests, not what everyone else is telling you to do. It doesn't work that way. You wind up living a life for the wrong reasons, and you never get the most out of it. Just always think about why you are doing what you are doing."
President Barack Obama at Ohio State University
Best advice: "The point is, in your life, you will fail. You will stumble, and you will fall. But that will make you better. You’ll get it right the next time. And that’s not only true for your personal pursuits, but for the broader causes you believe in as well. But don’t give up. Don’t lose heart."
Emmy Award-winning satirist Stephen Colbert at University of Virginia
Best advice: "You must find your own path and we have left you no easy path. Decide now to choose the hard path that leads to the life and the world you want. And don’t worry if we don’t approve of your choices. In our benign self-absorption, I believe we have given you a gift, a particular form of independence, because you do not owe the previous generation anything."
Serial entrepreneur Steve Blank at University of Minnesota
Best advice: "At the end of the day, you can decide whether you want to be an employee with a great attendance record, getting promoted to ever better titles and working on interesting projects or whether you want to attempt to do something spectacular. This be or do should be a question you never stop asking yourself for the next 20 years and beyond."
Founder of yogurt company Chobani Hamdi Ulukaya at the Culinary Institute of America
CEO of Twitter Dick Costolo at University of Michigan
Former CEO of America Online Steve Case at University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Best advice: "Most of you will not only have multiple jobs, you will have multiple careers. The key is to keep learning. Be curious. Be open. Be flexible. Let your life unfold as a series of chapters. Don't be so fixated on a specific ending that you neglect to open the door when opportunity knocks."
Spiritual leader Dalai Lama at Tulane University
Best advice: "To create a sense of global responsibility, it is extremely important to develop the concept of oneness of humanity. If seven billion people are happy and the environment is positive, then everyone gets benefits."
Social entrepreneur Melinda Gates at Duke University
Best advice: "If you make the moral choice to connect deeply to others, then your computer, your phone and your tablet will make it so much easier to do. I want you to connect, because I believe it will inspire you to do something, to make a difference in the world."