Book: You are Not Special

I came across a YouTube commencement speech titled, You’re Not Special given by english teacher, David McCullough, Jr. To my surprise it was an extremely insightful speech. He gave the point that there are millions and billions of us on earth and we think we are the center of the universe, but when we recognize that we aren’t special, we can finally see everyone is special. Our life isn’t just for our own satisfaction but for the good we can bring others.

Climb the mountain not to plant your flag, but to embrace the challenge, enjoy the air and behold the view. Climb it so you can see the world, not so the world can see you. 

Don’t wait for inspiration or passion to find you. Get up, get out. explore, find it yourself and grab hold with both hands. 

I urge you to do whatever you do for no reason other than you love it and believe in its importance. Don’t bother with work you don’t believe in anymore than you would a spouse you’re not crazy about. 

I came across the book when I was on vacation and knew it would teach me something new. One aspect of the book I didn’t realize and I should have because after all the book is written by a high school english teacher; it was full of new vocabulary words. I had to look up new words to understand the sentence. Each word was a new discovery. I knew I could use some of these words in my writing and speech. They would make cliché sound fresh!

The chapters took me forever to complete but with each page I was learning something new. I was learning about what its like to be a teacher, a parent, an encourager, and a mentor.

Day after day being a kid, being a person, is an exercise in trail and error. This is learning, which is growing, which is incremental evolution into a new person..

..enthusiasm matters most of all – for your students, for your subject, for the day ahead. 

The teachers I remember most, are the ones who I felt cared for me and who were passionate about the subject they taught. I enjoyed sitting there listening to them talk about their passion. I started to visit the school library during lunch after I saw my 10th grade teacher get excited over Catcher in the Rye.

Fulfillment will come only when you’ve achieved your own definition of success. 

You have to persevere through setbacks, through your own discriminations, trepidations and self-doubt, trying your best not just a matter of principle but as a leap of faith. Process matters wholly, and there are no shortcuts. When you encounter a limitation, work to push through it. When things don’t go your way, try again. In this way you prove yourself worthy- you prove it to yourself.

And so many more encouraging passages to quote from. I’ve been out of high school for 12 years and still an english teacher is teaching me something new. What a fresh perspective to read from. Thanks Mr. McCullough