Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Graduates Should Increase Positivity in the World

I apologize for the lack of activity on my blog lately.  Between getting to the end of our school year, and going out of town for a family graduation, I've just been too busy to post.  But I hope to be getting back into the swing of things now.

But speaking of graduation, here is something that I've been meaning to post for a while now.  It is the video of Salman Khan of Khan Academy speaking at the 2012 Commencement Ceremony at Rice University.  Regular readers of my blog know that I have my doubts (see this post and this post) about Khan Academy being the shiny new vision for all of education, although I believe it is a fabulous resource, and do use it on occasion myself.  However, I have nothing but respect and admiration for Salman Khan himself, who seems like a fabulous person.  And this talk at Rice University has only increased my opinion of his fabulousity!

I've not done it myself, but I imagine it must be terribly difficult to come up with a graduation speech that is not trite or overblown or that doesn't leave out some portion of audience listening.  But Khan's talk is personal, uplifting, and believable.  I like it not because he shares his own story (which is inspirational), but not in a way that assumes everyone will be following in such transformational footsteps as his.  Instead, he encourages everyone to do the small but achievable feat of increasing the net happiness in the world.  And yet, if everyone would do that, our world would be transformed.

Anyway, watch it for yourself below:


  1. Sal Khan on resisting cynicism:

    "Many of you will soon enter the outside world and be somewhat taken aback. It will be far less efficient, far less fair, far less productive, and far more political than what you may have imagined it to be. There will be pessimism and cynicism everywhere. It is easy to succumb to this, to become cynical or negative yourself. If you do, you with the potential that you have, it would be a loss for yourself and for humanity.

    To fight these forces of negativity, to increase the net positivity in the world, to optimize the happiness of yourself and the people you love, here are some tips and tools that I like to return to. I am not too much older than most of you, so take all of this with a large grain of salt.

    Start every morning with a smile — even a forced one — it will make you happier. Replace the words “I have to” with “I get to” in your vocabulary. Smile with your mouth, your eyes, your ears, your face, your body at every living thing you see. Be a source of energy and optimism. Surround yourself with people that make you better. Realize or even rationalize that the grass is truly greener on your side of the fence. Just the belief that it is becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy."

  2. Very nicely said about education. Such nice video. This blog gives idea about how to increase happiness in well manner.

  3. Thanks for your comments. If we all just devoted ourselves to increasing positivity, the world would be a better place.