Saturday, June 9, 2012

You are not special

I don’t know how many of you have seen this, but it’s worth watching.


from Yahoo:

Wellesley High English teacher David McCullough Jr. told graduates "You are not special. You are not exceptional," quoting empirical evidence:

"Across the country no fewer than 3.2 million seniors are graduating about now from more than 37,000 high schools. That's 37,000 valedictorians ... 37,000 class presidents ... 92,000 harmonizing altos ... 340,000 swaggering jocks ... 2,185,967 pairs of Uggs," he said in the speech published in the Boston Herald.

He added: "Even if you're one in a million, on a planet of 6.8 billion that means there are nearly 7,000 people just like you."

McCullough makes a statement on parents who overdo it in a modern society focused on collecting achievements. "You've been pampered, cosseted, doted upon, helmeted, bubble wrapped ... feted and fawned over and called sweetie pie." But he adds in a video on Wellesley Channel TV YouTube page, "You see, if everyone is special, then no one is. If everyone gets a trophy, trophies become meaningless. ... We have of late, we Americans, to our detriment, come to love accolades more than genuine achievement."

McCullough's address does push students to recognize real achievement: "The fulfilling life, the distinctive life, the relevant life is an achievement," and he encourages graduates "to do whatever you do for no reason other than you love it and believe in its importance."


  1. Thanks for posting was amazing. I'm sending it to my 2 nieces who just graduated & to my daughter who is bringing up 3 kiddoes. Great!

  2. Tammy, thanks again for posting this. WOW, what a speech. It's never too late to start believing what he said to those young kids!

  3. I laughed thinking of scene in Meet the Fockers where the parents have a shrine to their son's achievements! They aren't first place ribbons and trophies, they are 'also ran, 9th place etc.' We do over-emphasize everything in the USA. I remember working so hard in hopes of getting a star on my page in second grade, when my daughter went to school, there were stickers and stamps on EVERY paper!