I Promise to Stop After This

6 Jun

Michael Lewis, author of “Moneyball.”

This isn’t just false humility. It’s false humility with a point. My case illustrates how success is always rationalized. People really don’t like to hear success explained away as luck — especially successful people. As they age, and succeed, people feel their success was somehow inevitable. They don’t want to acknowledge the role played by accident in their lives. There is a reason for this: the world does not want to acknowledge it either.

Enough with the graduation crappola after this, I semi-promise.  It’s just that graduation season is full of messages that animate things like the Big Trip — promises of infinite possibility, fanciful notions of taking risks in life and chasing your wildest dreams.  Having graduated twice in the last five years (B.A., 2007; J.D., 2011), I can tell you that these messages don’t just slowly fade away into the din of post-graduate life.  They disparate/disappear/”poof” away the minute the dude’s done speaking.  Parents just loooooove to sit and hear it — from a graduation speaker, not their kid.

End of rant.  But I really liked Michael Lewis’s Baccalaureate remarks at Princeton, entitled “Don’t Eat Fortune’s Cookie.”  No new ground shaking ideas but very well said.

All of you have been faced with the extra cookie. All of you will be faced with many more of them. In time you will find it easy to assume that you deserve the extra cookie. For all I know, you may. But you’ll be happier, and the world will be better off, if you at least pretend that you don’t.
I truly believe that I owe so much in my life to blind luck.  That honest belief in luck makes it all the more easier for me to throw caution to the wind and chase my destiny by, of course, flipping the coin of chance.

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