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Thank you so much, President Christ,
the Board of Trustees, members of the faculty, devoted parents and friends,
and especially the fabulous class of 2013.
Congratulations. You have reached the light at the end of the tunnel.
And when you first arrived at Smith four years ago, I’m sure you never would have imagined
that at the other end of that tunnel, there would be a lady behind a podium talking to you in a funny accent.
This accent has been the bane of my existence
until in 1980, I moved to New York from England
and I met Henry Kissinger,
and he said to me, “Don’t ever worry about your accent,
in American public life, you can never, underestimate the advantages of complete and total incomprehensibility
I'm so grateful to be with you at this very special moment.
You don't know it but I have spent the last few weeks stalking you
-- on your Smith websites, on your Twitter feeds,
on Facebook, on Instagram, on Tumblr
so I could get to know you better.
So here's what I've found:
you're fascinating and curious and quirky
and asking the big questions and worrying about the little things,
and solving the cosmic riddles
and agonizing about what shoes to wear in commencement,
and what happens if you trip and become a YouTube sensation.
I’ve learned about Smithies writing honors thesis on subjects
that I not only don’t understand but I can’t even pronounce.
Like Lisa Stephanie Cunden’s thesis on entro…
Hi Lisa! I want you to hear her thesis pronounced in a Greek accent.
on entropy and enthalpy contributions to the chelate effect
I’ve learned about the three seniors who were part of the basketball team,
which made the Division III NCAA tournament
a historic accomplishment to add to your already...
lot of fans for them
a historic accomplishment to add to your already historic status as the birthplace of women’s basketball.
I’ve learned about the many Smithies who will be the first in their families to graduate from college,
like Massiel De los Santos, who began her journey in the Dominican Republic.
So before I go any further, because I’ve been so impressed,
I feel compelled to extend to all of you, Graduating class of 2013,
a lifelong invitation to blog on The Huffington Post
about your graduation, and about all your adventures on the next stage of the journey you’re starting today.
And in order to bypass the growing Huffington Post bureaucracy,
I’m going to give you right now my e-mail address,
arianna@huffingtonpost.com
and you can send it directly to me and get a password for life.
Getting to know you has made me feel very protective of you
especially because I have two daughters who are about your age, college-age kids.
And it also made me realized that you don’t need protection
because you’re absolutely ready and prepared to take on the world.
And if you have attended the Wurtele Center for Work and Life,
you even have a Passport to Life After Smith,
with the opportunity to learn things like job interviewing skills,
how to balance a budget, cook a healthy meal and even change a tire.
So you can consider my speech today a continuation of the Passport to Life After Smith,
though in the interest of full disclosure, I can’t cook and definitely cannot change a tire.
But part of life after Smith will be deciding what things do you want to put your energy into
and what things you don’t.
It was a big revelation for me
when I realized that I didn't have to complete everything I thought I wanted to do,
like learning German or becoming a good skier or learning to cook.
Indeed I realized that you can complete a project by dropping it.
Commencement speakers are traditionally expected to tell graduates
how to go out there and climb the ladder of success,
but I want to ask you, instead,
to redefine success.
Because the world you are headed into desperately needs it.
And because you are up to it.
Your education at Smith has made it unequivocally clear
that you are entitled to take your place in the world on equal footing,
in every field, and at the top of every field.
But what I urge you to do
is not just take your place at the top of the world,
but to change the world.
What I urge you to do is to lead the third women’s revolution.
The first was led by the suffragists
over a hundred years ago,
when brave women like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton
fought among other things, to give women the right to vote.
The second women’s revolution was powerfully led by Smith alumnae,
Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem.
They fought — and Gloria continues to fight —
to expand the role of women in our society,
to give us full access to the rooms of power where decisions are being made.
And while the second revolution is still in progress,
we simply can’t wait any longer for the third revolution to begin.
And I can’t imagine a place
where I would be more likely to find the leaders of that revolution than right here at Smith.
At the moment, our society’s notion of success is largely composed of two parts:
money and power.
In fact, success, money and power have practically become synonymous.
But it’s time for a third metric, beyond money and power
one founded on well-being, wisdom,
our ability to wonder, and to give back.
Money and power by themselves are like a two legged stool
you can balance on them for a while,
but eventually you’re going to topple over.
And more and more people, very successful people, are toppling over every day.
Basically, success the way we’ve defined it is no longer sustainable.
It’s not sustainable for human beings;
it’s not sustainable for the planet.
To live the lives we want, and not just the lives we settle for,
the lives according to society’s definition of success,
we need to include the third metric.
In 2004, President Christ gave a speech that was really ahead of its time.
It was titled “Inside the Clockwork of Women’s Careers.”
To me, it’s very much a third women’s revolution call to arms.
She spoke of the need to dispel myths about ambition and success,
chief among them the myth that success and ambition look like a straight line.
Now I guess it’s no big surprise
that the image of success created by men would be, yes, a long, phallic-shaped straight line.
But if we don’t redefine success,
the personal price we pay will get higher and higher.
And as the data shows,
already, that price is much higher for women than for men.
Among career women who have stressful jobs
in which career woman doesn’t
there is a nearly 40 percent increased risk of heart disease,
and a 60 percent increased risk of diabetes.
And in the last 30 years, as women have made strides and gains in the workplace,
self-reported levels of stress have gone up by 18 percent.
Another Smith graduation speaker, Alistair Cooke,
notoriously told the class of 1954
that their way to the top would be determined by the men they married.
Well…I want to do old Alistair one better,
and tell you that you don’t get to the top by marrying someone.
A much simpler way is to sleep your way to the top.
Right now I imagine President Christ is thinking she probably should have vetted this speech.
But no, I’m talking about sleep in the literal sense.
Because right now, the workplace is absolutely fueled by sleep deprivation and burnout.
I actually know of what I speak:
In 2007, sleep deprived and exhausted,
I fainted, hit my head on my desk, broke my cheekbone
and got four stitches on my right eye.
And that was the beginning of my reacquainting myself with sleep,
and with the need to redefine success
to include our own sense of well-being.
because even if sleep deprivation is not affecting your health,
it’s affecting your creativity, your productivity, and your decision-making.
Did you know that the Exxon Valdez wreck, the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle,
and the nuclear accidents at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island
were at least all partially the result of decisions made on too little sleep.
According to researchers at Walter Reed hospital,
the only thing that gets better with sleep deprivation
is “magical thinking” and reliance on superstition.
So for those of you majoring in fortune telling,
go ahead and burn the midnight oil.
The rest of you: not so much.
As you can tell by now, I’m a major sleep evangelist.
The Huffington Post, in our newsroom, we have two nap rooms.
At first, hundreds of editors and reporters and engineers
were very reluctant to be seen in the middle of the afternoon having a nap.
But now, the two nap rooms are continuously booked and we need to open a third.
Although I might say, the other day I was walking by one of the nap rooms
and I saw two people coming out of the nap rooms.
And I thought to myself, whatever it takes to recharge yourself.
Just please don’t tell HR, okay?
What adding well-being to our definition of success means
is that in addition to looking after our financial capital, we need to look after our human capital.
My mother was an expert at that. I still remember, when I was 12 years old,
a successful Greek businessman came to dinner at our home in Athens.
He told us everything how well things were going on in his life
My mother looked at him, looking burned out, exhausted, drained. And said to him,
“I don’t care how well your business is doing,”
“You’re not taking care of you.
Your business might have a great bottom line, but you are your most important capital.
There are only so many withdrawals you can make from your health bank account,
but you just keep on withdrawing.
You could go bankrupt if you don’t make some deposits soon.”
And indeed, not long after that, the man had to be admitted for an angioplasty.
When we include well-being in our definition of success,
another thing that changes is our relationship with time.
Right now, we are all so stressed out about time
that every time we look at our watch it’s later than we think.
Researchers have a term for it: "Time Famine."
And Dr. Seuss wrote about it ahead of the researchers of course.
“How did it get so late so soon?” he wrote.
“It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June.
My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?”
Does that feel familiar to anyone? Or, more likely, to everyone?
The problem is that as long as success is defined by just money and power, climbing and burnout,
we will never have the time
to be able to enjoy that other aspect of the third metric:
wonder
I was blessed with a mother who was in a constant state of wonder.
Whether she was washing the dishes
or feeding seagulls at the beach
or reprimanding overworking businessmen,
she maintained her sense of wonder,
delighted at both the mysteries of the universe
and the everyday little things that fill our lives.
And whenever I’d complain or be upset about something,
she would say to me:
“Darling, change the channel. ”
“You are in control of the clicker.”
“Don’t replay that bad, scary movie.”
One of the gifts that attitude to life gave her
was the ability to cut through hierarchies.
I remember one night, when I was iving in London,
and dating a Tory member of Parliament
It might have been one of those decisions made on sleep deprivation
and he brought home to dinner the Prime Minister Ted Heath.
My mother was in the kitchen, where she was most of the time,
and a plumber had to come in to fix some last-minute problem.
So my mother asked the plumber what he thought of the prime minister.
“Not much,” the plumber said, “he hasn’t been good for working people.”
“Oh!” my mother said, “Let me go bring him here so you can tell him directly,”
And she didn’t think there was any problem at all about bringing the Prime Minister into the kitchen
And that’s where he sat down and...
and heard a mouthful from the plumber.
Well-being, wonder, and now the third W — wisdom.
If you look around you, you see leaders
in positions of power — in politics, in media, in business,
all of them with high IQs and great degrees
making terrible decisions.
What is missing is not IQ, but wisdom.
And today, it's getting harder and harder to tap into our own wisdom.
Because we are all so hyper-connected to our devices, our screens, our social media,
that we're having a hard time disconnecting from technology
and reconnecting with ourselves.
Your very own, very wise Smith sophomore, Erin McDaniel,
wrote in the Sophian about her decision to disconnect from all her social media.
"We have eschewed," she said, "real social connections in favor of superficial, technology-bridged ones..."
We have become, in many cases, nearly as socially robotic as our computers.”
Now, you don’t have the head of a digital company telling you to completely disconnect from technology.
What I’m telling you is to regularly disconnect from technology,
to regularly unplug and recharge in order to reconnect with ourselves and our own deepest wisdom.
Because I’m convinced that there are two fundamental truths about human beings.
The first truth is that we all have within us
a centered place of wisdom, harmony, and strength.
This is a truth that all the world’s religions
whether Christianity, Islam, Judaism, or Buddhism
and many of its philosophies,
hold true in one form or another: “The Kingdom of God is Within.”
But the second truth is that we’re all going to spend most of our lives not in that place.
We keep veering away from that place again and again and again.
In fact, we may spend of our lives off-course more often than we are on-course.
At the Huffington Post, we even launched an app, called GPS for the Soul,
that gives you a proxy for stress and then personalized guides that help you cause correct.
But that snake in the Garden of Eden, a hyper-connectivity with technology
is so wily that we have to be even more wily and use technology in order to disconnect from technology.
When we’re in that centered place of wisdom, harmony and strength, life is transformed,
from struggle to grace,
and we are suddenly filled with trust,
no matter how many setbacks, challenges and disappointments we’re facing.
Because there is a purpose to life,
that is often hidden and that often makes sense
only when we look back at our lives not as we are experiencing them.
And basically, when we move to that place of trust and grace,
we can live our lives as Rumi suggested as if “Everything is rigged in our favor.”
So we’ve talked about well-being, wisdom, and wonder.
And now, the last element of the third metric of success:
empathy, compassion, the willingness to give back.
The founding fathers wrote about the pursuit of happiness,
but if you go back to the original documents, as I’m sure all of you have done
happiness does not mean the pursuit of more ways to be entertained.
It’s the happiness that comes from feeling good by doing good.
Of course many of you already know that.
Smithies have given back in countless ways, near and far:
working with Chinese schools and NGOs through the Smith China Project,
spending time in the community with people with disabilities through the Best Buddies program,
tutoring children in Holyoke,
and using digital storytelling to start conversations about health issues in Springfield.
So as you leave this beautiful campus, to follow your dreams
and scale great heights in whatever field you choose,
I beg you: don’t buy society’s definition of success.
Because it’s not working for anyone.
It’s not working for women,
it's not working for men,
it's not working for polar bears,
it's not even working for the cicadas that are about to emerge and swarm us.
It’s only truly working for those
who make pharmaceuticals for stress, sleeplessness and high blood pressure.
So please don’t settle for just breaking through glass ceilings
in a broken corporate system or in a broken political system,
where so many leaders are so disconnected from their own wisdom
that we are careening from one self-inflicted crisis to another.
Change much more than the M to a W at the top of the corporate flow chart.
Change it by going to the root of what’s wrong
and redefining what we value and what we consider success.
And remember that while there will be many of signposts along your path directing you
to make money and climb up the ladder,
there will be very few signposts reminding you
to stay connected to the essence of who you are,
to reach out, to pause to wonder,
and to connect to that place from which everything is possible.
My Greek compatriot Archimedes said,
“Give me a place to stand,” “and I can move the world.”
So find your place to stand
your place of wisdom and peace and strength.
And from that place, lead the third women’s revolution
and remake the world in your own image
and your own definition of success,
so that all of us, women and men,
can live our lives with more grace,
more joy, more empathy, more gratitude, and yes, more love.
So, class of 2013, congratulations,
onward, upward and inward!
Thank you!
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美國女媒體大亨 Arianna 史密斯大學畢業演說:「重新定義屬於自己的成功。」 (Arianna Huffington's 2013 Smith College Commencement Address)

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