This week I was in Boston for my sister’s graduation. The commencement speaker was Richard LaGravenese, an Oscar-nominated writer and director. He was funny and self-deprecating and inspirational. I highly encourage you to watch the whole speech and don’t be intimidated by the time count, it flies by, I promise.
What I really love about his speech is he spoke several truths. “You won’t change the world but you will change your world.” Yes. How right is that? Each of us live in our bubbles that sometimes intersect with others, but for the most part we are in our own self-contained universe, which is why the law of attraction and manifestation is so powerful. What we put out in the world comes back to us. So yes, we will change our own worlds, several times in fact.
And here is a man who barely eeked by as an actor who followed his internal guidance. The nudge that kept pushing him to be a writer instead. And success followed him. Fame, critical acclaim, money. He trusted his gut and went after it. I can think of no more inspirational feat than that. A person who has a dream and chases it, not letting any obstacle deter them for long. And what’s so inspirational to me is that he achieved his dream. It may not be what he started off with, but it shows me how true my favorite expression, “Your wildest dreams are ant-sized compared to what lay ahead,” is. He never imagined his life would end up the way it did and in fact he says it’s better. Yes. Here is someone who models that, who reminds me the same can be true for me. Who shows me I too can chase after what I want and I may be surprised by what I get. He reminds me anything is possible and amazing things happen in the world. That not everyone is born to be a dancer or a singer, but that doesn’t mean they have to settle for second best, because perhaps they’re being pushed in a different direction. And that intuitional feeling, that gut, as he calls it, is never wrong. This too is where honesty comes in.
I think it’s important to chase our dreams yes, but also to be honest with ourselves and to look at our motivations. I think about all those contestants on American Idol who are convinced they are the best singers ever and I have to wonder, what is their motivation? Do they want to be on Idol to become famous, or because they love singing and moving people with music? If it’s the former then yeah, perhaps being a singer is not their path in life. Success follows talent it seems and not everyone can be talented in the way they want, no matter how hard they try. A teeny part of me would love to be a model because I enjoy being photographed but the brutal honesty is that I don’t have the body for it and even if I starved myself I’d never be tall enough. Them’s the breaks sometimes, but that doesn’t mean my life will be unfulfilling.
I dream of a world where more people are like Richard LaGravenese. Where people are their authentic, original selves. A world where people seek to express themselves rather than court the marketplace. A world where people have drive and ambition and create for the sake of creating. A world where people take risks even if they’re afraid to fail. A world where people focus on their own paths. A world where people follow their hearts and watch the magic of their lives unfold.
Another world is not only possible, it’s probable.