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Jay Leno’s Commencement Speech At Emerson College | Words of Inspiration

James Douglas Muir “Jay” Leno is an American comedian, actor, writer, producer, voice actor and television host. His shows “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “The Jay Leno Show” are very popular. He was invited as a commencement speaker at “Emerson College” to the convocation ceremony 2014. It is worth to note that Leno have completed his graduation from the same institution.

In his speech he talked about his early days. He also tried to make the things lighter so the graduates can get the serious message easily. His speech was focused for the “wannabe artists” but it applies to almost every field or career one choose.

He doesn’t speak about heavy rules, but rather mentions some basic stuff in his signature style. He talks about the twenty rules to be followed. Here is the summary of his speech:

  • Try not to get a regular job! When you have a regular job, you wind up acting like a regular person.
  • Be ready for the real world experiences by start collecting necessary information. If will help you differentiate good and bad stuff.
  • Think of yourself as an artist, suffer for your work. Take every degrading job, every experience will teach you something new.
  • Always keep people in your life who don’t quite understand your work. It will keep you humbled and it will make you realise that you are not as important as you think you are.
  • There is nothing wrong in failing because I am not good enough, there is nothing sadder than I could have tried a little harder.
  • Nothing connects human beings with each other than the human contact.
  • Keep the friends you made at early age and from your field.
  • Do not judge your success by the success of others.
  • Never turn down a job because of money, turn it down if you don’t like it (Money will come later).
  • Its nice to believe in your self, its better to have other people believe in you.
  • Keep your eyes on the ball.
  • You can never make it too late, you can only make it too soon.
  • If you can’t get in the front door, Go through the Back Door.
  • You can only live in the time you live in (You cannot change it, so rather than stop complaining start dealing with the realities).
  • Don’t have a relationship with a partner who doesn’t get it. You need a soulmate, not a cellmate.
  • Never go on stage mad, anger robs your creativity.
  • Never create anything bigger than your act. (He examples here about Maryl Streep, she is recognised for her talent, her brilliance not how much money she is paid for her work).
  • When you start feeling too comfortable (in your work), move on. The tough situations will make you better at your skills.
  • All manufacturing has a scrap date. Accept criticism and resolve it to do better. You learn more from your critics than from your friends.
  • Anybody can have a life, careers are hard to come by.

The emerson college have done a great job by making this speech available on the public domain of YouTube:

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