Off Topic: My Message to Graduates

This time of year is full of speeches to graduates telling young soon to be college- or work-bound students about their bright futures. While listening to many of these speeches, including one for my son, I felt like a key message was missing. So I wrote my own message to graduates:

Message To Graduates: You Can’t Change the Future, So Embrace The Moment

You may think that you can change the future, but you can’t. You may sometimes look back at the past, but that can’t be changed either. So why bother? Why do so many people tell you about the bright opportunities in your future?

There’s very little in this world that you have any control over. Your visions for the future don’t matter, your hopes for a different world don’t matter, and your desires for a wonderful life don’t matter. You have no control over any of that. Let me say that again: you have no control over any of that.

But yet, you do matter. You matter a lot. You can change the world, you can have a bright future, you can make a difference in so many ways for so many people.

How can you have such an impact when you have such little control? By taking full advantage of the one thing in life that you do fully control: this moment, this one instant in time for which you are the master. No matter what else is happening in the world, no matter what has happened in the past, no matter what might happen in the future, you control what you do in this moment.

You control each and every moment, every instant, every right-now that makes up your entire life. You can choose to sleep, you can choose to smile, you can choose to help someone, you can be mean, you can be kind, you can choose to skip class, you can choose to try harder. In every moment, you have full control. The situations may change, but you have an infinite number of choices for every moment in your life. How you handle this moment, every one of these moments, is completely in your hands.

Every moment is a new opportunity, a new chance to make a great decision. What you become and the effect that you have on this world is the outcome of these moments. So don’t worry about what you might have or have not done in the past or what you might or might not be able to accomplish in the future, focus on what you do right-now.

You control this moment. Make it count.

You can download a copy in .pdf if you’d like to share it.

The bottom line: Make a difference… right now.

Written by 

I am an experience management transformist, helping organizations improve business results by engaging the hearts and minds of their customers, employees, and partners. My "job" is Head of the Qualtrics XM Institute. The Institute is still being established, but our goal is to help organizations around the world thrive by mastering Experience Management (XM). As part of this focus, I examine strategy, culture, interaction design, customer service, branding and leadership practices. And, as many people know, I love to speak about these topics in almost any forum. Prior to joining Qualtrics, I was managing partner of Temkin Group (leading CX research, advisory, and training firm), co-founder and chair of the Customer Experience Professionals Association (, and a VP at Forrester Research. I'm a fanatical student of business, so this blog provides an outlet for sharing insights from my ongoing educational journey. Check out my LinkedIn profile:

3 thoughts on “Off Topic: My Message to Graduates”

  1. Great words from a great person. Will be sharing this with my daughter tomorrow at her graduation ceremony, (university). “The ball is in her court.What happens next is up to her”. Thank you Bruce.

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