Theme: Winning in the Game of Life
Graduation Speech Topic: "Do You Want To Be A Winner?"
(A Speech for the Gaithersburg High School Commencement)
They are winners!! Do you want to be a winner?
Making the right choices really speaks to one's attitude!
Consider the story of another Michael who was also a real winner (I took it from the Internet and the author was listed as unknown).
Michael is the kind of guy you love to hate. He is always in a good mood and always has something positive to say. When someone would ask him how he was doing, he would reply, "If I were any better, I would be twins!" He was a natural motivator. If an employee was having a bad day, Michael was there telling the employee how to look on the positive side of the situation. Seeing this style really made me curious, so one day I went up to Michael and asked him, "I don't get it! You can't be a positive person all of the time. How do you do it?"
Michael replied, "Each morning I wake up and say to myself, you have two choices today. You can choose to be in a good mood or you can choose to be in a bad mood. I choose to be in a good mood. Each time something bad happens, I can choose to be a victim or I can choose to learn from it. I choose to learn from it. Every time someone comes to me complaining, I can choose to accept their complaining or I can point out the positive side of life. I choose the positive side of life.
"Yeah, right, it's not that easy," I protested. "Yes, it is," Michael said. "Life is all about choices. When you cut away all the junk, every situation is a choice. You choose how you react to situations. You choose how people affect your mood. You choose to be in a good mood or bad mood. The bottom line: It's your choice how you live life."
What this story shows is that attitude, after all, is everything. To become a winner, therefore, you need to the right attitude!
Robert F. Bennett summed up the point nicely when he said, "Your life is the sum result of all the choices you make, both consciously and unconsciously. If you can control the process of choosing, you can take control of all aspects of your life. You can find the freedom that comes from being in charge of yourself."
How should you make your choices? First, apply what I call Burnim's 3rd Law: "Whenever possible, make choices that leave you more options rather than fewer." Consider the following four steps.
Make the decision most consistent with what you want to achieve long term. If you want to be a responsible, independent, and productive adult, then make choices that lead toward that goal. If you want to be a high school principal, then you need to go to college. If you want to be a marine biologist or a computer scientist, then you need to go to college. In fact, since we now live in the information age, practically any career path requires post high school education! Make choices which expand your options rather than limit them. Of course, as President of Bowie State University, I urge you to consider Bowie State University. It is a fine state university with lots of degree programs and affordable tuition and fees. But there are a lot of choices available to you. In this area alone, there are University of Maryland College Park, Montgomery College, The Universities at Shady Grove, and Prince George's Community College. Choose the one that's right for you!
What I have shared with you is critically important for winning in the game of life. Winners are those who make good choices and maintain a good attitude, including the refusal to quit! How does one know what defines good choices? I seek the guidance of my maker and keeper-the God of our universe. I urge you to not neglect your spiritual development; that would be the best choice of all!
Thank you. I bid you Godspeed!
Mickey L. Burnim, PhD
June 8, 2007