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It was one of the highest honors of my life to present – along with the indomitable Rita Moreno – the Commencement Speech at Berklee’s 2016 Graduation Ceremony.

A number of people have asked me for copies of the speech, and, so, here it is. It was never really meant to be read (but, rather, spoken), so please forgive any grammar irregularities. Additionally, as the video embed of the speech shows, I improvised a bit from what I wrote.

More Art Equals Less War: Berklee College of Music 2016 Commencement Speech

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I ran into the provost of Berklee College of Music today. He asked me how the semester was going. Given the relentless snowstorms that Boston endured at the beginning of the semester, I think he may have been bracing himself for my response. However, he needn’t have worried (if he was). I truthfully told him, “it was going great, that teaching is my bliss, and that it’s what I get to do.”

I genuinely do feel lucky that I am able to teach. I feel like I get to do it.

As I walked to class, I thought about the distinction between things I have to do versus what I get to do.

I realized that there really are very few things in my life that feel like chores/jobs; that are things I have to do.

    I get to teach
    I get to consult for creative, innovative companies, and collaborate with an array of interesting people
    I get to write
    I get to be a Father
    I get to be a Husband

Not everyone has the opportunity to do these things. I’m lucky.

Sometimes, some/all of the above feel like they’re things I have to do. However, when they feel this way, it is through my own failing of perspective.

The test, I suppose, is whether you’d be sad if you could no longer do something. If you would not be, it’s something you have to do. If you would be sad, it’s something you get to do.

I’d be sad if I could no longer do any of the above.

These are all things that I get to do.

I’m lucky.


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