maybe someone in your family has lost
their job and there's not enough money
to go around maybe you live in a
neighborhood where you don't feel safe
or have friends who are pressuring you
to do things you know aren't right there
is no excuse for not trying where you
are right now doesn't have to determine
where you'll end up no one's written
your destiny for you because here in
America you write your own destiny you
make your own future
if you are going to try something hard
if you're putting yourself out there in
some way there are going to be times
where you screw up or you don't succeed
or there are times where you do
everything right and you still don't
succeed that the most important thing is
to learn from those failures and to have
a sense of resilience and be able to
examine what is it that I did not
succeed at why didn't I succeed and what
do I need to do better if you're focused
on giving of yourself to accomplish
something then even when you fail at a
particular objective you're still
succeeding in learning about how you can
accomplish those goals before we reach
the majestic shores of the promised land
there is a frustrating and bewildering
and wilderness ahead we must still face
four digits hilltops of opposition and
gigantic mountains of resistance but
with patient and firm determination we
will press on so I don't know about you
C BC but the future rewards those who
press on with patient and firm
determination I'm going to press on I
don't have time to feel sorry for myself
I don't have time to complain under
Prasad I expect all of you to March with
me and press on take off your bedroom
slippers put on your margin shoes shake
it off stop complaining stop grumbling
stop crying we are going to press on
we've got work to do don't be afraid to
ask questions don't be afraid to ask for
help when you need it I do that every
day asking for help isn't a sign of
weakness it's a sign of strength because
it shows you have the courage to admit
when you don't know something and that
then allows you to learn something new
the idea that if you're willing to work
hard it doesn't matter who you are or
where you come from or what you look
like or where you love
matter with your black or white or
Hispanic or Asian or Native American
[Applause]
rich or poor
a disabled gay or straight you can make
it here
so be a good role model set a good
example for that young brother coming up
if you know somebody who's not on point
go back and bring that brother along
those who have been left behind who
would haven't had the same opportunities
we have they need to hear from you you
got to be engaged on the barbershop on
the basketball court at church spent
time and energy and presence to to give
people opportunities and a chance pull
them up its foes then support their
dreams don't put them down we've got to
teach them just like what we have to
learn what it means to be a man to serve
your city like Maynard Jackson to shake
the culture like Spike Lee to be like
Chester Davenport one of the first
people to integrate the University of
Georgia law school what do you got there
nobody would sit next to him in class
but Chester didn't mind later on he said
it was the right thing for me to do
someone needed to be the first worried
less about what you want to be and
worried more about what you want to do
what when when you're more concerned
with I want to be a congressman or I
want to be a senator or I want to be
rich then you know some people may
succeed in chasing that
that goal but when they get there they
don't know what to do with it and if
they don't get there they don't have
anything to show for it
but if you're worrying about I want to
improve education in low-income
neighborhoods or I want to deal with
climate change and help save the planet
all right
then whatever you're doing in pursuit of
that goal in and of itself is going to
be worthwhile and it's going to teach
you things and it's gonna put you in a
position to have an impact and then if
it turns out as a result that you also
end up being successful in politics or
whatever thing you're pursuing then
[Music]
so much the better the most successful
business people that I know Bill Gates
didn't start off saying I want to be the
richest man in the world
he started off saying to himself I
really think these computers are cool
and I want to write cool software that's
what he wanted to do worked out well for
and even when you're struggling even
when you're discouraged you feel like
other people have given up on you
don't ever give up on yourself and
ordinary people can do extraordinary
things whether you're given an
opportunity we sometimes think that our
leaders have to be have fancy degrees or
well educated or some public office
somewhere all of you represent enormous
potential and enormous possibility for
change because we all know that
injustice still exists to justice it
exists here in the United States in
every poor neighborhood and in every
inner-city in every rural community all
across the country there is quiet
desperation young people's lives are
filled with sadness and desperation and
anarchy and chaos and obviously all
around the world we see those same
symptoms of hopelessness may manifest in
places like Darfur places like the
Middle East in places that too often
have forgotten about and not written
about until they flare up in tragedy so
I hope that all of you who are on the
brink of doing extraordinary things I
decided to channel that talent and that
energy and that imagination to figuring
out how do you move the process along
for a better history how do you put your
shoulder against the wheel
move that Boulder up the hill and I'm
absolutely confident that if all of you
take up that challenge the world is
waiting for you ready to be changed
because I think we live in this moment
in history right now where the hunger
for change the hunger for something new
the desire to break out of the ordinary
the self-interested the petty the
trivial is is everywhere so if you had
role models fathers brothers like that
thank them today and if you haven't
commit yourself to being that man for
somebody else persevere nothing
worthwhile is easy no one of achievement
has avoided failure sometimes
catastrophic failures to think about it
they learn from mistakes they don't quit
that's what hope is imagining and then
fighting for and then working for what
did not seem possible before that's
leadership John F Kennedy didn't look up
at the moon and say oh that's too far we
can go false hopes
[Music]
Martin Luther King and stand on the
steps of the Lincoln Memorial and say go
home everybody the dreams deferred false
hopes y'all need a reality check there
is a moment in the life of every
generation when that spirit of
hopefulness has to come through if we
are to make our mark on history we too
often
let the external the material things
serve as indicators that we're doing
well even though something inside us
tells us that we're not doing our best
but we're avoiding that which is hard
but also necessary that that we're
shrinking from rather than rising to the
challenges of the age and the thing is
in this new hyper competitive age none
of us none of us can afford to be
complacent that's true whatever
profession you choose professors might
earn the distinction of tenure but that
doesn't guarantee that they'll keep
putting in the long hours and late
nights and have the passion and the
drive to be great educators the same
principle is true in your personal life
being a parent is not just a matter of
paying the bills doing the bare minimum
it's not just bringing a child into the
world that matters but the acts of love
and sacrifice it takes to raise and
educate that child and give them
opportunity you may have setbacks and
you may have failures but you're not
done you're not even getting started not
by a long shot
and if you ever forget that just look to
history Thomas Paine
was a failed corset maker a failed
teacher and a failed tax collector
before he made his mark on history with
a little book called common sense that
helped ignite a revolution excuses are
tools of the incompetent used to build
bridges to nowhere and monuments of
nothingness but we've got no time for
excuses not because the bidders legacy
of slavery and segregation have vanished
entirely they have not because racism
and discrimination no longer exist we
know those are still out there
it's just that in today's
hyper-connected hyper competitive world
with millions of young people from China
and India and Brazil many of whom
started with a whole lot less than all
of you did all of them entering the
global workforce alongside you nobody is
going to give you anything that you have
not earned nobody cares how tough your
upbringing was nobody cares if you
suffered some discrimination
and moreover you have to remember that
whatever you've gone through it pales in
comparison to the hardships previous
generations endured and they overcame
them and if they overcame them you can
overcome up to
[Music]

you

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