Sungbin Sohn: Adapt Your Dreams and Find the Meaning of Life from the Inside of Yourself | 2021 Commencement
2021-06-07 16:35:02
phbs phbs phbs
The following is the speech delivered by Professor Sungbin Sohn at PHBS 2021 commencement: 

Graduates, families, faculty and staffs. Good afternoon! PHBS class of 2021, you earn your degree and you are about to take your first step into the world. Congratulations!
Since I heard that I was selected as a speaker for the commencement ceremony, I had a lot of thoughts. What should I say? So, I did some internet searches. According to some survey, one popular theme in the commencement speech is to entreat the graduating students to make contributions to the society. 64 percent of speakers urged graduates to “serve humanity,” or “make the world a better place.” Over a half of speakers encouraged the students to “expand their horizons” and “seek challenges in their lives.” Among many others, the very most popular message is, “Don’t give up on your dream.” I could have also delivered a similar message, but I'm going to talk a little differently today. My message today won't help you get a job promotion and make a lot of money, but at least it might help you feel calm and live healthier and happier.
'Don't give up on your dreams!' It's a good message and I agree with this. However, I would like to add one more thing. Don't give up on your dreams. But please remember; your dream may change. Life is hard and tiring. Why? Because life is not fair. Some people are born with a silver spoon in their mouths. Or even a gold spoon with big diamond. Some people are born with genes that allow better memories and fast learning. On the other hand, some people are born with a sleepy gene, so whenever they open a book, they are easily sleepy. I wish our life would be fair, but some differences (like genetic differences) cannot be artificially made fair.

In this tough life, your dream may not come true. But please don’t be depressed and unhappy about it. If hardships come in your life and your dreams grow farther and farther away, have the flexibility to adapt your dreams to suit your situation. It is not a shame to change your dreams. Rather, it is courageous. The meaning of life comes from the process, not from the outcomes. So, while you still follow your dreams, let your dreams evolve.
Second, don't compare yourself with others. We know that comparison gives us powerful motivation. The desire to make a lot of money like others, to get a nice and pretty spouse like others, and to live in a good house like others has been a strong driver to develop the world. At the same time, however, the motivation from these comparisons has increased the number of people who suffer from serious depression. Life is hard, but if you keep comparing, it will make your life more tiring. Please stop comparing with others. If you really need a comparison to motivate yourself, compare with yesterday’s youself. Compare whether you are a better person than yesterday’s you. You'll find yourself getting better day by day in a healthy way. What if you feel like there's nothing better today than yesterday? Then before you go to sleep, clean the room, do some push-ups, and call your parents. Then you will feel like you become a better person.

Don't crave for others' endorsement that you are a good person. Don't try to find the meaning of life by comparing your job, your salary or your power with others. Just by yourself, you are a great son and daughter for your parents, a good friend for your classmates, and a good student for professors. Find the meaning of life from the inside of yourself, not from the relative position among others. You are already China's and the world's top elite. You deserve enough self-esteem.

The last thing I want to say is, be kind to others, particularly to people who are in a worse situation than you and who are weaker than you. Please respect them and be warm to them. As I said before, Life is hard. Yes. As much as your life is difficult, other people's lives are also very difficult. You guys are the top elite of this society. You are much more likely to live a less difficult life than others.

Do you remember the mission of PHBS? It is to cultivate visionary business leader for China and the world. I want you PHBS graduates to be visionary leaders, who understand that our lives are difficult, who have flexible thinking, who have high self-esteem, and yet have a warm heart.

Dreaming of the future full of such visionary leaders, I will conclude today's speech. Thank you, and congratulations again!