A Strange Place to Find Optimism

I attended my younger son’s college graduation last weekend. 

Apart from wishing they were three hours shorter, I do love a good graduation. Seeing men and women who have worked hard being honored, hearing proud family members cheer and scream, all the academic pageantry. It’s a good time.

But the thing that always hits me is the confident optimism that works its way through every graduate and attendee. Perhaps because of most graduates’ relative youth, there is hope for what they will bring to the world – what they will become.

It struck me that it often doesn’t take long for some of us to lose that optimism. 

What we all know, but don’t often say, is that life doesn’t get easier after graduation. It often gets harder. These mostly twenty-somethings will embark on finding (or not finding) jobs, adjusting to new work cultures, paying their bills, and for lack of a better word, a whole lot of “adulting.” (Of course, some of the graduates there I know are well into their adulting years already.)

But I left wondering, “Could I find within myself a little bit of that youthful optimism for myself?”

I have fewer years to burn than most of the folks there. That’s depressing in some ways. But on the other hand, I have already learned plenty of lessons. I’ve failed. More than I’d like. And those failures have taught me, humbled me, and prepared me for today.

As I left the arena, I was proud of my son and excited for him and his classmates. I was also grateful for my own journey – one that nobody would have predicted on my graduation day 29 years ago. And I picked up a little dose of the things that keep us all going – optimism, hope, and gratitude. 

My wish is to give you the same gift. Take a moment to be grateful for your unpredictable journey. And see the specific hope that lives only within you – that unique thing that only you can bring to a world that needs it.


Joe Boyd

Leadercast CEO Joe Boyd is a storyteller and entrepreneur. Before Leadercast, Joe led Boonrise, a highly successful creative agency, and production company. He is passionate about leadership development and speaks about improvisational leadership, storydriven living, and embracing failure.

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