How do you inspire a group of unusually smart, hard working, optimistic, and largely privileged youngsters who are already destined for success? Encourage them to learn from those most in need; urge them confront inequity; exhort them channel their optimism with empathy; oh, and remind them that for all their accomplishments, they wouldn’t be where they are without a heavy dose of luck.
That was the message that philanthropists Bill and Melinda Gates delivered to Stanford’s 2014 graduating class in a poignant commencement address.
At a time when inequality is becoming one of the central issues of our time, the Gateses, whose foundation has become one of the most formidable philanthropic enterprises in history, exhorted graduates to pursue a mission-driven life. While both speakers were inspiring, it was Melinda Gates who delivered the most stirring lines. Here’s she is on channeling optimism:
Optimism for me isn’t a passive expectation that things will get better; it’s a conviction that we can make things better—that whatever suffering we see, no matter how bad it is, we can help people if we don’t lose hope and we don’t look away. Read the rest of this entry »