Taylor Swift isn’t only an amazing lyricist, turns out she gives some amazing advice after sharing some lessons when she picked up her honorary doctorate.
Taylor Swift, or should we say Dr Swift, picked up her honorary doctorate, making her a Doctor of Fine Arts, from NYU. That’s right, as well as being one of the world’s biggest superstars, she’s now also got a doctorate. Is there anything this woman can’t do?
Following this, she gave the class of 22′ an iconic commencement speech they won’t forget.
She began by telling the crowd: ‘Last time I was in a stadium this size I was dancing in heels and wearing a glittery leotard,’ adding, ‘I’m pretty sure the main reason I’m here is because I have a song called 22.’
While being full of song references and witty jokes, the speech also offered us a lot of useful advice. We rounded up the most useful lessons to learn.
Be grateful for those around you
‘Not one of us here has done it alone. We’re each a patchwork quilt of those who have loved us, those who believed in our future, those who showed us empathy and kindness or told us the truth even when it wasn’t easy to hear. Those who told us we could do it when there was absolutely no proof of that.’ said Swift.
This one really pulls on your heartstrings and makes you think about who helped you get where you are. She continued: ‘Someone read stories to you and taught you to dream and offered up some moral code of right and wrong for you to try and live by.
‘Someone tried their best to explain every concept in this insanely complex world to the child that was you, as you asked a bazillion questions like ‘how does the moon work’ and ‘why can we eat salad but not grass.’ And maybe they didn’t do it perfectly. No one ever can.’
We’re not crying, you are.
Let things go
‘Life can be heavy, especially if you try to carry it all at once. Part of growing up and moving into new chapters of your life is about catch and release. What I mean by that is, knowing what things to keep, and what things to release.
‘You can’t carry all things, all grudges, all updates on your ex, all enviable promotions your school bully got at the hedge fund his uncle started. Decide what is yours to hold and let the rest go. Oftentimes the good things in your life are lighter anyway, so there’s more room for them.’
So, in the words of Taylor Swift herself, Shake it off. Keep the space in your life for positivity and let go of the hate and anything that no longer serves you.
Learn to live alongside cringe
‘No matter how hard you try to avoid being cringe, you will look back on your life and cringe retrospectively. Cringe is unavoidable over a lifetime. Even the term ‘cringe’ might someday be deemed ‘cringe.’
‘I promise you, you’re probably doing or wearing something right now that you will look back on later and find revolting and hilarious. You can’t avoid it, so don’t try to.’
When we look back at our 12-year-old selves, do we cringe? Absolutely. So in five years’ time, we will probably be cringing at the things we do and say no. It’s a never-ending cycle so you might as well just have fun and not worry about it.
Don’t hide your enthusiasm for things
This piece of advice is a personal favourite of mine.
Taylor told the class of 22: ‘It seems to me that there is a false stigma around eagerness in our culture of ‘unbothered ambivalence.’ This outlook perpetuates the idea that it’s not cool to ‘want it.’
‘That people who don’t try hard are fundamentally more chic than people who do. And I wouldn’t know because I have been a lot of things but I’ve never been an expert on ‘chic.’ But I’m the one who’s up here so you have to listen to me when I say this: Never be ashamed of trying. Effortlessness is a myth. The people who wanted it the least were the ones I wanted to date and be friends with in high school. The people who want it most are the people I now hire to work for my company.’
In simple terms, be unapologetically eager, be happy and don’t worry about looking like you’re ‘trying too hard’. Contrary to popular belief, it’s not uncool to care. If you love something, shout about it to the world and never try to dull it down.
Don’t be embarrassed
Finally, she said: ‘Being embarrassed when you mess up is part of the human experience. Getting back up, dusting yourself off and seeing who still wants to hang out with you afterwards and laugh about it? That’s a gift.
‘The times I was told no or wasn’t included, wasn’t chosen, didn’t win, didn’t make the cut…looking back, it really feels like those moments were as important, if not more crucial than the moments I was told “yes”.’