Excerpts from Jeff Bezos 2010 Baccalaureate remarks at Stanford:
What I want to talk to you about today is the difference between gifts and choices. Cleverness is a gift, kindness is a choice. Gifts are easy – they’re given after all. Choices can be hard. You can seduce yourself with your gifts if you’re not careful, and if you do, it’ll probably be to the detriment of your choices.
How will you use these gifts? And will you take pride in your gifts or pride in your choices?
Tomorrow, in a very real sense, your life – the life you author from scratch on your own – begins.
How will you use your gifts? What choices will you make?
Will inertia be your guide, or will you follow your passions?
Will you follow dogma, or will you be original?
Will you choose a life of ease, or a life of service and adventure?
Will you wilt under criticism, or will you follow your convictions?
Will you bluff it out when you’re wrong, or will you apologize?
Will you guard your heart against rejection, or will you act when you fall in love?
Will you play it safe, or will you be a little bit swashbuckling?
When it’s tough, will you give up, or will you be relentless?
Will you be a cynic, or will you be a builder?
Will you be clever at the expense of others, or will you be kind?