Imagine the shock you might feel if Sandra Bullock, an Oscar-winning actress, showed up at your graduation commencement and offered you life advice. Well, recent graduates of a New Orleans high school don’t have to imagine it — they lived it. And Bullock offered them advice that we should all take to heart.
“I feel like I didn’t remember anything because I was so worried about the future,” Bullock began, looking back at her past and explaining, “I wasn’t present.” Reminiscing caused her to ponder the question: If you could go back and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Her answer to that question came from the advice that she finds herself offering her 4-year-old son every day.
Stop worrying so much
Bullock explained that the most memorable moments of life do not come from the time you spent worrying. “Anything I worried about didn’t happen,” she recalled. “Other stuff happened, but not what I worried about. The unknown, we can’t do anything about. And I don’t remember any of the moments in my life where I worried. So, that’s a lot of time I couldn’t get back.”
Raise the bar higher
Arguably, Bullock’s strongest piece of advice to these young graduates was to set their own standards for success. “It’s noisy out there,” Bullock warned, “and for some reason, people out there want to see you fail. But that is not your problem. That is their problem.”
Additionally, Bullock encouraged these graduates to embrace failure as opportunity, stating, “I only remember the moments where I tried beyond what I thought I could do. I do not remember the failures, because I didn’t. Nothing is a failure. It’s just not supposed to work out that way, because something better is supposed to come from it.”
Dance before you step into the world
“We turn on the music really, really loud before we leave the house,” Bullock stated, describing her morning routine with her son. “The rule is, you have to dance a little bit before you step out into the world, because it changes the way you walk.”
Make a little bit of an effort
“Don’t pick your nose in public,” Bullock laughed. “How about we just go get a tissue? I know it takes a little extra effort, but it gets the job done right away and there’s no public humiliation. And that can go with a lot of other things as well. So, just make a little bit of an effort.”
Give two-armed hugs
“When someone you care about hugs you, hug them back with two arms,” Bullock encouraged the graduates. “Don’t do the one-armed hug, because when you hug someone with two arms, it allows you to lean on somebody, and we always need someone to lean on.”
Find someone who appreciates you
When someone doesn’t want to play with him, Bullock reminds her son, “Not everyone is going to love us. Go find somebody who does want to play with you and who appreciates what you have to offer.”
Find your joy
In her closing remarks, Bullock encouraged these young adults by stating, “Go find your joy. Whatever that is, go find your joy. Are you going to have a good day, or are you going to have a great day? Because it’s completely up to you.”