In most cases, attending a university graduation is a way to show respect and honor to a friend who fought the valiant fight and made it through an enduring collegiate journey. Sometimes, universities bring in a commencement speaker who adds more time to an already lengthy ceremony. However, sometimes those universities bring in a commencement speaker who shakes things up and makes the entire ceremony worthwhile.
“Ordinary things can lead to extraordinary outcomes,” according to Middle Tennessee State University alumnus and NBC News Washington Bureau Chief Ken Strickland, who gave a compelling commencement speech at MTSU graduation on December 13, 2014.
Though he is not a member of Sigma Pi Fraternity, Strickland’s speech is thought-provoking and can lead to a game-changing outcome in the lives of our members. Everyone faces difficulties in the workplace, and these small steps can lead to much bigger things.
Instead of sticking with the usual clichés that come with commencement ceremonies, Strickland said he had a different suggestion for the new grads: “I’m going to tell you how ordinary things can lead to extraordinary outcomes. In a language you understand, that’s ‘hashtag #ordinaryextraordinary.’”
Strickland broke his suggestion down into three specific parts.
- Get along with people. One of the biggest struggles that most people face when entering the workforce is a shift in personality surrounding them. You may be use to being around fraternity brothers, sorority members, and other college students who are going through a similar journey as you. In the workplace, you will face people who are of different generations and mindsets. You must remember to encourage, work with, and respect those around you. You may not always see a return on your investment in certain people, but when you do, it could lead to an extraordinary change in your life. #ordinaryextraordinary
- Be open to change. British novelist Arnold Bennett said it best: “Any change, even a change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.” You will experience those that are opposed to change, while others will see change as the only way to progress. Oftentimes, progress is made by removing the security of what has been done in the past. Do not let the fear of failure hinder you from trying new things; change can be your greatest asset. Don’t fight change, believe in it. #ordinaryextraordinary
- Be grateful. Try to always remember how lucky and blessed you are. There are elements in your life that others do not have the opportunity for. Believe in yourself as you progress forward, and be grateful for each experience and opportunity that you are given. Things will not always go the way in which you want them to, but respond to them in a positive manner, and look for the “bright side” in every situation. #ordinaryextraordinary
These three small things can lead you to a life filled with success and happiness. Getting along with people, being open to change, and being grateful for not only the extraordinary things in your life but also for the ordinary things, can be the building blocks you need to reach your dreams.