Chief Justice John Roberts gave a remarkable commencement speech last month:
Now the commencement speakers will typically also wish you good luck and extend good wishes to you. I will not do that, and I’ll tell you why.
From time to time in the years to come, I hope you will be treated unfairly, so that you will come to know the value of justice.
I hope that you will suffer betrayal because that will teach you the importance of loyalty.
Sorry to say, but I hope you will be lonely from time to time so that you don’t take friends for granted.
I wish you bad luck, again, from time to time so that you will be conscious of the role of chance in life and understand that your success is not completely deserved and that the failure of others is not completely deserved either.
And when you lose, as you will from time to time, I hope every now and then, your opponent will gloat over your failure. It is a way for you to understand the importance of sportsmanship.
I hope you’ll be ignored so you know the importance of listening to others, and I hope you will have just enough pain to learn compassion.
Whether I wish these things or not, they’re going to happen.
And whether you benefit from them or not will depend upon your ability to see the message in your misfortunes.
Biblical for its repetition, emotional in its cadence, striking for its message, Chief Justice Roberts’ surprising address has the weighty timelessness of an in instant classic that will be repeated, quoted, cherished for many years ahead.
Incredibly wise, incredibly inspiring.
I’m rooting for you!
Marc Cenedella is the Founder, Executive Chairman and CEO of Ladders, Inc., the comprehensive career resource dedicated to helping professionals ‘Manage, Market and Move-up’ in their careers. Over the last decade, Ladders has transformed the way job candidates and recruiters connect online. Follow Marc on Twitter at @Cenedella.