George Saunders’s Advice to Graduates

Another academic calendar and the start of classes are around the corner, and graduation season is long past, but I just discovered that George Saunders gave the convocation speech for the Class of 2013 at Syracuse University.  It centers on the need for kindness, what gets in our way of being better at it, and why it’s so important.

He says, “so here’s something I know to be true, although it’s a little corny, and I don’t quite know what to do with it:

What I regret most in my life are failures of kindness.

Those moments in life when another human being was there, in front of me, suffering, and I responded…sensibly.  Reservedly.  Mildly.”

His answer to what gets in the way of us being kinder, “more loving, more open, less selfish, more present, less delusional, etc., etc.,” and how we can do this better resonates deeply with us here at Enlightened Leadership, because from experience we know kindness is one of the attributes that makes the difference between mediocre leaders and great ones.

We believe that if you’re “becoming kinder,” you’re also becoming a better leader.  Sound a little facile?  Maybe.  Read his whole speech here first before you decide.