Denzel Washington Speaks To College Graduates At The Dillard Commencement Address

Denzel Washington Speaks To College Graduates At The Dillard Commencement Address

Number one: Put God first. Put God first in everything you do. Everything that you think you see in me. Everything that I’ve accomplished, everything that you think I have – and I have a few things. Everything that I have is by the grace of God. Understand that. It’s a gift. Forty years ago, March 27th, 1975 – it was forty years ago just this past March, I was flunking out of college I had a 1.7 grade point average, I hope none of you can relate.

I had a 1.7 grade point average, I was sitting in my mother’s beauty shop. They still call the beauty shop now, what they call it? Yeah, and I was sitting in a beauty parlor. I was sitting in my mother’s beauty parlor.

And I’m looking in the mirror and I see behind me this woman under the dryer and every time she looked up – she every time I looked up she was looking at me. She was looking me in the eye, I don’t know who she was and I said you know, she said somebody give me a pen, give me a pencil I have a prophecy.

March 27th, 1975, she said boy you are going to travel the world and speak to millions of people. Now mind you I flunked out of college I’m thinking about joining the army I didn’t know what I was going to go and she is telling me I’m going to travel the world and speak to millions of people.

Well I have, traveled the world. And I have spoke to millions of people, but that’s not the most important thing, success that I had the most important thing is that what she taught me, what she told me that day has stayed with me since.

I’ve been protected, I’ve been directed, I’ve been corrected, I’ve kept god in my life and it’s kept me humble, I didn’t always stick with him but he always stuck with me.

So stick with him, in everything you do, if you think you want to do, what you think I’ve done, then do what I’ve done. And stick with god.

Number two: fail big, that’s right. Fail big, today is the begining of the rest of your life and you can be just – be very frightening. And it’s a new world out there, it’s a mean world out there. You only live once, so do what you feel passionate about, passionate about. Take chances professionally, don’t be afraid to fail, there is an old IQ test [that] was nine dots and you had to draw five lines with the pencil within the nine dots without lifting the pencil.

The only way to do it was to go outside the box. So don’t be afraid to go outside the box. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. Don’t be afraid to fail big, to dream big, but remember, dreams without goals, are just dreams. And they ultimately fuel disappointment.

So have dreams, but have goals, life goals, yearly goals, monthly goals, daily goals. I try to give myself a goal every day, sometimes just to not curse somebody out. Simple goals but have goals and understand that to achieve these goals you must apply discipline and consistency, in order to achieve your goals you must apply discipline which you’ve already done, and consistency every day not just one Tuesday and just a two days, you have to work at it.

Every day you have to plan, every day you heard the saying, we don’t plan to fail, we fail to plan – hard work works, working really hard is what successful people do. And in this text tweet, twerk world that you’ve grown up in remember just because you’re doing a lot more doesn’t mean you’re getting a lot more done.

Remember that — just because you’re doing a lot more, doesn’t mean you’re getting a lot more done, don’t confuse movement with progress, my mother told me she said ‘yeah, because you can run and play all the time and never get anywhere.’ So continue to strive, continue to have goals, continue to progress.

Number three: you’ll never see a U-Haul behind a hearse: I’ll say it again, you’ll never see a U-Haul behind a hearse. I don’t care how much money you make, you can’t take it with you. The Egyptians tried it, they got robbed. That’s all they got. You can’t take it with you, with you, and is that how much you have – it’s what you do, with what you have, we all have different talents, some of you’ll be doctors, some lawyers, some scientists, some educator, some nurses, some teachers.

Yeah, okay. Some preachers, the most selfish thing you can do in this world is help someone else why is this selfish, because the gratification, goodness that comes to you, the good feeling, the good feeling that I get from helping others, nothing’s better than that. Well one of two things but, nothing’s better than that, not – not jewelry, not big house I have not big cars, but is the joy that’s where the joy is and helping others that’s where the success is in helping others.

Finally, I pray that you put your slippers way under the bed tonight, so that when you wake up in the morning you have to get on your knees to reach them. [Applause] And while you’re down there, say thank you for grace, thank you for mercy, thank you for understanding, thank you for wisdom, thank you for parents, thank you for love, thank you for kindness, thank you for humility, thank you for peace, thank you for prosperity. Say thank you in advance for what’s already yours.

So that’s how I live my life, that’s why – [where I am today]. Say thank you in advance for what is already yours.

True desire in the heart for anything good is God’s proof to you sent beforehand to indicate that it’s yours already.

I’ll say it again.

True desire in the heart, that itch that you have whatever it is you want to do, that thing that you want to do to help others and to grow and to make money that desire that itch, that’s God’s proof to you, sent beforehand, already to indicate that it’s yours.

And anything you want good you can have, so claim it, work hard to get it. When you get it, reach back, pull someone else up, each one teach one.

Don’t just aspire to make a living. Aspire to make a difference. Thank you.