I had the pleasure of speaking to the graduating class of my alma mater, Oregon State University’s College of Engineering’s School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, this weekend, hoping to enlighten the new graduates and teach them the value of a hard day’s work. I spoke from personal experience of my days at OSU and my work history, pointing out that success has little to do with talent and intellect, and much more to do with passion, persistence, and determination.
I explained: “One of the greatest lessons that my father taught me was around persistence and determination; which he simply called a day’s work. He worked from the hours prior to the dawn through just after dusk. He would often tell me to, ‘be the first one to pick up the board and the last one to let it go.’ It was all about ensuring that whatever task I was doing, that I should strive to excel to do the best job that I possibly could. Whether the task was simple or well beyond my abilities, he expected me to accept each task with pride in knowing that only my best effort is enough.”
I have always pushed myself to work harder and better; I was the guy that was always the first one in the office, and the last one to leave.
I told the graduates: “Fundamentally, success is a choice. Think about that as you enter your professional career. Are you going to choose to be successful or are you going to choose a lesser path? Now, I am not saying that people choose to be unsuccessful, but we each choose how hard we are going to work on any given task; every task given. Apply your inner passion to everything you do and your success will flow.”
I implored the new graduates to go out and make themselves as successful as they want to be: “Be the first one to pick it up and the last one to let it go. With this, I am confident that each of you will succeed.”
The entirety of my speech will be available soon on video and will be updated on our blog. You can learn more about our management staff on our website.