The Ewing Five -

Recent Posts

When did the movies become a bargain?
You're Not Special
Where Boston beats Sydney #1 -- Musical Theater
Where Sydney beats Boston #1…
An orchestra conducted beautifully...


April 2011
August 2010
August 2011
December 2010
December 2011
February 2011
January 2011
January 2012
July 2010
July 2011
June 2012
March 2011
May 2011
May 2012
November 2010
November 2011
October 2010
October 2011
September 2010
September 2011
powered by

My Blog

You're Not Special

I can't claim authorship of the following commencement address -- but I wish I could. 
When I read it I wanted to be sure to save it for later.  I thought about bookmarking the url (or God-forbid pinning it on Pinterst), but that simply wasn't enough.  I had to share these five quotable lines...
"You see, if everyone is special, then no one is.  If everyone gets a trophy, trophies become meaningless..."
"As a consequence, we cheapen worthy endeavors, and building a Guatemalan medical clinic becomes more about the application to Bowdoin than the well-being of Guatemalans..."
"The fulfilling life, the distinctive life, the relevant life, is an achievement, not something that will fall into your lap because you’re a nice person or mommy ordered it from the caterer..." 
"Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view.  Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you..."
"Develop and protect a moral sensibility and demonstrate the character to apply it.  Dream big.  Work hard.  Think for yourself.  Love everything you love, everyone you love, with all your might.  And do so, please, with a sense of urgency, for every tick of the clock subtracts from fewer and fewer."
Like I said, I wish I'd written these words, and the very least I can do is pass them along so you can enjoy them, apply them or pass them along yourself if you like.  Of course you can ignore them too, you're call.
Courtesy of Wellesley High School English teach David McCullouch, here is the full text of his facilty speech to the class of 2012:
Dr. Wong, Dr. Keough, Mrs. Novogroski, Ms. Curran, members of the board of education, family and friends of the graduates, ladies and gentlemen of the Wellesley High School class of 2012, for the privilege of speaking to you this afternoon, I am honored and grateful.  Thank you.
            So here we are… commencement… life’s great forward-looking ceremony.  (And don’t say, “What about weddings?”  Weddings are one-sided and insufficiently effective.  Weddings are bride-centric pageantry.  Other than conceding to a list of unreasonable demands, the groom just stands there.  No stately, hey-everybody-look-at-me procession.  No being given away.  No identity-changing pronouncement.  And can you imagine a television show dedicated to watching guys try on tuxedos?  Their fathers sitting there misty-eyed with joy and disbelief, their brothers lurking in the corner muttering with envy.  Left to men, weddings would be, after limits-testing procrastination, spontaneous, almost inadvertent… during halftime… on the way to the refrigerator.  And then there’s the frequency of failure: statistics tell us half of you will get divorced.  A winning percentage like that’ll get you last place in the American League East.  The Baltimore Orioles do better than weddings.)
            But this ceremony… commencement… a commencement works every time.  From this day forward… truly… in sickness and in health, through financial fiascos, through midlife crises and passably attractive sales reps at trade shows in Cincinnati, through diminishing tolerance for annoyingness, through every difference, irreconcilable and otherwise, you will stay forever graduated from high school, you and your diploma as one, ‘til death do you part.
            No, commencement is life’s great ceremonial beginning, with its own attendant and highly appropriate symbolism.  Fitting, for example, for this auspicious rite of passage, is where we find ourselves this afternoon, the venue.  Normally, I avoid clichés like the plague, wouldn’t touch them with a ten-foot pole, but here we are on a literal level playing field.  That matters.  That says something.  And your ceremonial costume… shapeless, uniform, one-size-fits-all.  Whether male or female, tall or short, scholar or slacker, spray-tanned prom queen or intergalactic X-Box assassin, each of you is dressed, you’ll notice, exactly the same.  And your diploma… but for your name, exactly the same.
            All of this is as it should be, because none of you is special.
            You are not special.  You are not exceptional.
            Contrary to what your u9 soccer trophy suggests, your glowing seventh grade report card, despite every assurance of a certain corpulent purple dinosaur, that nice Mister Rogers and your batty Aunt Sylvia, no matter how often your maternal caped crusader has swooped in to save you… you’re nothing special. 
            Yes, you’ve been pampered, cosseted, doted upon, helmeted, bubble-wrapped.  Yes, capable adults with other things to do have held you, kissed you, fed you, wiped your mouth, wiped your bottom, trained you, taught you, tutored you, coached you, listened to you, counseled you, encouraged you, consoled you and encouraged you again.  You’ve been nudged, cajoled, wheedled and implored.  You’ve been feted and fawned over and called sweetie pie.  Yes, you have.  And, certainly, we’ve been to your games, your plays, your recitals, your science fairs.  Absolutely, smiles ignite when you walk into a room, and hundreds gasp with delight at your every tweet.  Why, maybe you’ve even had your picture in the Townsman!  And now you’ve conquered high school… and, indisputably, here we all have gathered for you, the pride and joy of this fine community, the first to emerge from that magnificent new building…
            But do not get the idea you’re anything special.  Because you’re not.
            The empirical evidence is everywhere, numbers even an English teacher can’t ignore.  Newton, Natick, Nee… I am allowed to say Needham, yes? …that has to be two thousand high school graduates right there, give or take, and that’s just the neighborhood Ns.  Across the country no fewer than 3.2 million seniors are graduating about now from more than 37,000 high schools.  That’s 37,000 valedictorians… 37,000 class presidents… 92,000 harmonizing altos… 340,000 swaggering jocks… 2,185,967 pairs of Uggs.  But why limit ourselves to high school?  After all, you’re leaving it.  So think about this: even if you’re one in a million, on a planet of 6.8 billion that means there are nearly 7,000 people just like you.  Imagine standing somewhere over there on Washington Street on Marathon Monday and watching sixty-eight hundred yous go running by.  And consider for a moment the bigger picture: your planet, I’ll remind you, is not the center of its solar system, your solar system is not the center of its galaxy, your galaxy is not the center of the universe.  In fact, astrophysicists assure us the universe has no center; therefore, you cannot be it.  Neither can Donald Trump… which someone should tell him… although that hair is quite a phenomenon.
            “But, Dave,” you cry, “Walt Whitman tells me I’m my own version of perfection!  Epictetus tells me I have the spark of Zeus!”  And I don’t disagree.  So that makes 6.8 billion examples of perfection, 6.8 billion sparks of Zeus.  You see, if everyone is special, then no one is.  If everyone gets a trophy, trophies become meaningless.  In our unspoken but not so subtle Darwinian competition with one another–which springs, I think, from our fear of our own insignificance, a subset of our dread of mortality — we have of late, we Americans, to our detriment, come to love accolades more than genuine achievement.  We have come to see them as the point — and we’re happy to compromise standards, or ignore reality, if we suspect that’s the quickest way, or only way, to have something to put on the mantelpiece, something to pose with, crow about, something with which to leverage ourselves into a better spot on the social totem pole.  No longer is it how you play the game, no longer is it even whether you win or lose, or learn or grow, or enjoy yourself doing it…  Now it’s “So what does this get me?”  As a consequence, we cheapen worthy endeavors, and building a Guatemalan medical clinic becomes more about the application to Bowdoin than the well-being of Guatemalans.  It’s an epidemic — and in its way, not even dear old Wellesley High is immune… one of the best of the 37,000 nationwide, Wellesley High School… where good is no longer good enough, where a B is the new C, and the midlevel curriculum is called Advanced College Placement.  And I hope you caught me when I said “one of the best.”  I said “one of the best” so we can feel better about ourselves, so we can bask in a little easy distinction, however vague and unverifiable, and count ourselves among the elite, whoever they might be, and enjoy a perceived leg up on the perceived competition.  But the phrase defies logic.  By definition there can be only one best.  You’re it or you’re not.
            If you’ve learned anything in your years here I hope it’s that education should be for, rather than material advantage, the exhilaration of learning.  You’ve learned, too, I hope, as Sophocles assured us, that wisdom is the chief element of happiness.  (Second is ice cream…  just an fyi)  I also hope you’ve learned enough to recognize how little you know… how little you know now… at the moment… for today is just the beginning.  It’s where you go from here that matters.
            As you commence, then, and before you scatter to the winds, I urge you to do whatever you do for no reason other than you love it and believe in its importance.  Don’t bother with work you don’t believe in any more than you would a spouse you’re not crazy about, lest you too find yourself on the wrong side of a Baltimore Orioles comparison.  Resist the easy comforts of complacency, the specious glitter of materialism, the narcotic paralysis of self-satisfaction.  Be worthy of your advantages.  And read… read all the time… read as a matter of principle, as a matter of self-respect.  Read as a nourishing staple of life.  Develop and protect a moral sensibility and demonstrate the character to apply it.  Dream big.  Work hard.  Think for yourself.  Love everything you love, everyone you love, with all your might.  And do so, please, with a sense of urgency, for every tick of the clock subtracts from fewer and fewer; and as surely as there are commencements there are cessations, and you’ll be in no condition to enjoy the ceremony attendant to that eventuality no matter how delightful the afternoon.
            The fulfilling life, the distinctive life, the relevant life, is an achievement, not something that will fall into your lap because you’re a nice person or mommy ordered it from the caterer.  You’ll note the founding fathers took pains to secure your inalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness–quite an active verb, “pursuit”–which leaves, I should think, little time for lying around watching parrots rollerskate on Youtube.  The first President Roosevelt, the old rough rider, advocated the strenuous life.  Mr. Thoreau wanted to drive life into a corner, to live deep and suck out all the marrow.  The poet Mary Oliver tells us to row, row into the swirl and roil.  Locally, someone… I forget who… from time to time encourages young scholars to carpe the heck out of the diem.  The point is the same: get busy, have at it.  Don’t wait for inspiration or passion to find you.  Get up, get out, explore, find it yourself, and grab hold with both hands.  (Now, before you dash off and get your YOLO tattoo, let me point out the illogic of that trendy little expression–because you can and should live not merely once, but every day of your life.  Rather than You Only Live Once, it should be You Live Only Once… but because YLOO doesn’t have the same ring, we shrug and decide it doesn’t matter.)
            None of this day-seizing, though, this YLOOing, should be interpreted as license for self-indulgence.  Like accolades ought to be, the fulfilled life is a consequence, a gratifying byproduct.  It’s what happens when you’re thinking about more important things.  Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view.  Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you.  Go to Paris to be in Paris, not to cross it off your list and congratulate yourself for being worldly.  Exercise free will and creative, independent thought not for the satisfactions they will bring you, but for the good they will do others, the rest of the 6.8 billion–and those who will follow them.  And then you too will discover the great and curious truth of the human experience is that selflessness is the best thing you can do for yourself.  The sweetest joys of life, then, come only with the recognition that you’re not special.
            Because everyone is.
            Congratulations.  Good luck.  Make for yourselves, please, for your sake and for ours, extraordinary lives.
            David McCullough

61 Comments to You're Not Special:

Comments RSS
i need an assignment on Thursday, August 10, 2017 5:57 AM
We have run out of bisquick of the process logical methods always thing for pancakes the important process always. Thanks to this ewingfive blog for generating about development for our restaurant,thanks
Reply to comment

essayedge review on Saturday, May 19, 2018 1:05 PM
As with all tragedies and trauma we cope differently. We grieve differently. Some cry and some hold back. Some scream, some go silent. There is no one right way for everyone. That’s part of the beauty that makes us all different. Life would be boring if we were all the same.
Reply to comment

australian writings on Friday, June 15, 2018 10:26 AM
Felines and puppies a standout amongst the most well known pets everywhere throughout the world. Distinctive individuals have diverse decision so I truly value this article for sharing this article about the puppies and felines. Read this thankful article.
Reply to comment

ebook writing service on Thursday, June 28, 2018 10:02 AM
Best ebook writing freelance services online. Outsource your ebook writing project and get it quickly done and delivered remotely online.
Reply to comment

fix sound problems in windows 10 on Monday, July 23, 2018 3:03 AM
If you want to solve the issue so click on our site and do enjoy free on our site without register.
Reply to comment

davidjackson on Friday, September 7, 2018 11:50 AM
Very interesting blogs you share in this website. I read the different blogs here and i found many interesting information form these blogs. The discussion you share in the blog which is youre not special is very interesting. I must share this with others. Keep sharing. top supplier of gymnastic mats
Reply to comment

Do My Finance Project on Thursday, September 13, 2018 9:23 AM
Great Information,It Has Lot For Stuff Which Is Informative.I Will Share The Post With My Friends.
Reply to comment

Do My Project on Thursday, September 13, 2018 11:17 AM
This Is Great Information For Students. This Article Is Very Helpful I Really Like This Blog Thanks. I Also Have Some Information Relevant For Online Dissertation Help.
Reply to comment

Dissertation writing services on Friday, September 14, 2018 6:37 AM
Your website is filled with all freakish information. This is the only reason why i love to visit your site.
Reply to comment

Dwayne on Friday, November 9, 2018 9:29 AM
What a good blog here. You have done a very good work to share a very good post with us taking out your time to explain in detail. Thanks for it. Get top quality stable mats
Reply to comment

Kim Kinney on Friday, December 28, 2018 5:26 AM
Reply to comment

loltierlist on Tuesday, March 5, 2019 6:42 AM
Another model would be between Nidalee (S-level | Intense) versus Xin Zhao (B-Tier | Simple). Suppose you're going to play your last match before promotions and you get auto-filled to Jungle (a job lol tier list
Reply to comment

denversecvidmon on Saturday, March 9, 2019 8:01 AM
Human operators are not required to screen generally calls. Discourse to-content programming makes machine-comprehensible content from captured sound, which is then handled via robotized Denver security video monitor
Reply to comment

lakwdtwtruser on Saturday, March 9, 2019 11:05 AM
Mayfield Heights-based Park Place Technologies is a main supplier of capacity and server support the world over. Its Lakewood 24 hour tow truck service
Reply to comment

Hacey on Friday, April 5, 2019 8:10 AM
I hope everyone like this information they shared as I do. Really great information . lightweight tarp
Reply to comment

Amey on Friday, April 5, 2019 9:42 AM
Thanks for such a great article here. I was searching for something like this for quite a long time and at last I’ve found it on your blog. It was definitely interesting for me garage shelving
Reply to comment

Shawn on Friday, April 5, 2019 11:20 AM
Great article with excellent idea!Thank you for such a valuable article. I really appreciate for this great information. Gym Mats
Reply to comment

Eva on Friday, April 5, 2019 12:10 PM
Superb article and I would really like to thank for your article it’s really helpful. Outdoor Safety Mats
Reply to comment

Stuart on Saturday, April 6, 2019 7:09 AM
You have work hard in making this post which is good.I have bookmarked the website to read more articles.
Reply to comment

Steve on Sunday, April 7, 2019 9:21 AM
I would like to say that you have make quality post. I am really impressed by this post. Thank you for sharing great information to us. encouraging quotes
Reply to comment

cardi on Sunday, April 7, 2019 4:27 PM
I am reading a blog on this website for the first time and I would like to tell you that the quality of the article is up to the mark it is very well written. clear braces bands
Reply to comment

Izy on Monday, April 8, 2019 2:51 PM
Really impressive post here. There are great information shared in this post and i must say after reading this post well done. mls listing milton
Reply to comment

Manty on Sunday, April 21, 2019 11:47 AM
I’ve read some good stuff here. Definitely worth bookmarking for revisiting. I surprise how much effort you put to create such a great informative website cheap yacht rentals
Reply to comment

alfred mason on Monday, April 29, 2019 8:06 AM
This post is really cool and interesting. I have never seen the work like that on any website ever that you have done on that site. Thanks for sharing that blog. sound deadning
Reply to comment

Shane Watson on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 7:24 AM
Very impressive post here.I really like this type of blog post too much because this post really improve my knowledge.Thanks. Rubber matting for kitchen floor
Reply to comment

David on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 11:38 AM
I read your whole post some points are very useful and amazing for us. You have done a good job here. Keep on it keep on sharing. shop rubber flooring online
Reply to comment

Robert harry on Thursday, June 27, 2019 11:13 AM
This blog is very informative for us. I really thanks full for share this blog. I am very glad to see and read this article. keep sharing. rubber mattings
Reply to comment

Mark on Friday, June 28, 2019 9:44 AM
This is the information about that i was looking for. Thanks for sharing this useful and informative blog with us. I really appreciate that. click to get playground tiles
Reply to comment

Robert on Saturday, June 29, 2019 6:42 AM
What a good post here.You have done a very good work to share a very good post with us taking out your time to explain in detail.Thanks. pillow boxes
Reply to comment

Mike on Tuesday, July 2, 2019 8:56 AM
This blog is really very useful and informative. I found this blog very interesting. You should have to keep it up. rubber flooring
Reply to comment

Julia on Monday, July 15, 2019 9:19 AM
This is really amazing and cool stuff. I would like to appreciate your working on that. This blog contains a lot of informative material. Thanks for sharing this post. Top quality gymnastic mats
Reply to comment

net worth on Thursday, July 25, 2019 3:53 AM
Thank you for all your efforts that you have put in this. Very interesting information I like this site very much so much superb information.
Reply to comment

cube boxes on Tuesday, August 6, 2019 2:53 PM
You are not special is very interesting topic. I was on your website and reading your blog. You have shared very informative blog for everyone.
Reply to comment

DentalSave on Saturday, August 24, 2019 5:41 PM
Dental implants require surgeries and so it is very costly. So it is better to adopt dental discount plans in CA where you will get many discount for your dental treatment.
Reply to comment

Miss on Friday, September 13, 2019 12:37 PM
Your blog is very great and cool. private yacht rental
Reply to comment

Escorts in Chennai on Thursday, October 3, 2019 5:00 AM
Reply to comment

Stuart Broad on Friday, October 18, 2019 2:30 PM
Very important and wonderful post here. I am very glad to read your article. I want more similar topics about this post to increase our knowledge. Thanks for sharing and keep sharing. Most papular chelation therapy
Reply to comment

Cristen on Sunday, October 20, 2019 10:05 AM
very interesting post.this is my first time visit here.i found so many interesting stuff in your blog especially its discussion..thanks for the post! mobile on installments for buy
Reply to comment

Lisa on Sunday, October 20, 2019 12:43 PM
Thanks for sharing this interesting and amazing post with us, I really like this post. rio breaking news
Reply to comment

Tyson on Sunday, October 20, 2019 3:21 PM
Your blog is really cool and great.your blog is really cool and great and awesome.its really cool and cool post.your blog is really cool and good. Personal makeup artistry course online in lahore
Reply to comment

Zack on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 2:00 PM
This is very useful post for me and it helps me a lot. Thank you so much for this and have a great time yacht rentals
Reply to comment

Zack on Tuesday, October 22, 2019 2:02 PM
This article is very helpful i really like this blog thanks. yacht charter companies
Reply to comment

hindi shayari on Wednesday, December 25, 2019 5:16 AM
hindi shayari Sad Shayari 75+ collection(new) in hindi heart broken shayari hindi shayari
Reply to comment

sad shayari on Wednesday, December 25, 2019 5:17 AM
sad shayari Having a hard time in life and want some motivation to remove all your sadness then you needs to read best sad status in hindi for your pure soul heart because sad lines in hindi can be use full to give your heart a heart touching partner. Read them and feel better than ever you felt. sad shayari
Reply to comment

hindi shayari on Wednesday, December 25, 2019 5:18 AM
Reply to comment

Chennai Companions on Friday, January 17, 2020 11:48 AM
Reply to comment

Useless Websites on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 9:39 AM
You're Not Special Useless Websites
Reply to comment

mobile phone repair in Canton on Saturday, February 15, 2020 6:35 AM
Great post I must say and thanks for the information. Education is definitely a sticky subject. it is still among the leading topics of our time. I appreciate your post and looking for more. mobile phone repair in Toledo phone repair in Youngstown mobile phone repair in Strongsville mobile phone repair in North Olmsted mobile phone repair in Canton
Reply to comment

Digital Marketing Agency in Lahore, Pakistan on Monday, February 17, 2020 7:20 AM
bookmarked!!, I like your site!
Reply to comment

Natural & Organic Skincare on Monday, February 17, 2020 7:24 AM
Reply to comment

Teamwear on Monday, February 17, 2020 7:24 AM
I could not resist commenting. Perfectly written!
Reply to comment

Erim on Sunday, February 23, 2020 3:03 PM
Very attractive post here. I read this post many time and every time i get very good very good knowledge here.Thanks limo party bus rental
Reply to comment

rmsports24 on Monday, March 23, 2020 6:17 PM
Well, this is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You have done a marvelous job! chris gayle net worth , besttoure zinedine zidane stats , globalallextra , chris gayle net worth , Travelon Crossbody Bag , maxwell net worth , cricket bat , ronaldinho net worth , cricket bats kookaburra cricket bats sale ,
Reply to comment

eli & elm discount on Friday, March 27, 2020 4:01 PM
I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it I have you bookmarked to check out new stuff you post.
Reply to comment

cosplay happy discount on Friday, March 27, 2020 4:02 PM
Wow, What a Excellent post. I really found this to much informatics. It is what i was searching for.I would like to suggest you that please keep sharing such type of info.Thanks.
Reply to comment

resurge on Thursday, April 2, 2020 7:19 AM
This is a very informative post to know about the British royal wedding. I did not know about such news.
Reply to comment

small tattoos on Saturday, April 4, 2020 9:18 AM
small tattoos small tattoos
Reply to comment

peoplesHR on Wednesday, April 29, 2020 1:16 PM
Well, this is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and starting a new initiative in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us valuable information to work on. You have done a marvelous job!
Reply to comment

sâm tố nữ on Sunday, May 3, 2020 7:40 AM
Thank you very much for publishing this kind of article. I like your article very much. I want to share my website details with you please give me some information to increase performance like as your website.
Reply to comment

bestalls on Monday, June 22, 2020 4:57 AM
We Review Best All Products Entryway wall mounted coat rack is a very useful product for almost every family Especially for the small size, you can save space on your floor Thanks for taking the time to talk about this, I feel strongly about it and really like mastering more on this subject. If feasible, as you acquire experience, would you mind updating your blog with much more information and facts? It is very helpful for me. Cheapest Electric Pressure Cooker Entryway Wall Mounted Coat Rack bestalls
Reply to comment

Biocomptesting, Inc. on Wednesday, July 22, 2020 6:03 AM
Thank you for sharing this informative post. Looking forward to read more.
Reply to comment

Add a Comment

Your Name:
Email Address: (Required)
Make your text bigger, bold, italic and more with HTML tags. We'll show you how.
Post Comment
Website provided by  Vistaprint
provided by Vistaprint