I do not know how I really feel about Speaker of the House Paul Ryan. I like some of the things he does, but I question others. I do, however, like the commencement address he gave on Sunday, May 22, 2016, at Carthage College. I want my readers to read the entire speech, but I will share just a part of it.
“The biggest piece of advice that I’d give to all of you is this: Don’t worry too much about the plan. Go where you can make a difference. Sometimes fulfillment lies in very unpredictable places. All your life people are going to hound you about the plan, the plan, the plan . . . Have you found a job? Are you going to graduate school? Where do you see yourself in 20 years? It will seem like nobody cares what you do so much as where you end up. And you will start to wonder whether you shouldn’t care either. But beware: Careerism, in the wrong way, is cynicism in perpetual motion.
“Before donor services drags me off the stage, let me clarify what I'm saying here: I am not telling you to reject that job offer and move into your parents’ basement. What I am saying is, wherever you end up, the work itself is the reward. Treat it that way. Because the truth is, life can put your best-laid plans through the paper shredder. You may never get that dream job—or if you do get that dream job, it may turn out to be a nightmare. But maybe you’re meant to do something else. What seems to you like catastrophe could end up becoming opportunity. Don’t be so quick to dismiss that opportunity if it doesn’t fit into the plan. When you come to a fork in the road, and you are deciding between two paths, instead of thinking, “How do I stay on course?” think to yourself, “Where can I do the most good? Where do I get real fulfillment?" If you realize it is the detour, then take it.”
Speaker Ryan added a three part postscript that I endorse also: (1) Do not fear failure, but “learn from it” and “forgive it.” (2) “Read as much as humanly possible… The greatest asset you have is your mind. But it really is like a muscle. You have to keep it in shape.” (3) “If you’re [a] believer, keep going to church… Prayer has sustained me in many difficult moments of my life. I think it will do the same for you. Because as you get older, you realize that life does actually follow a plan. It just may not be your plan. It is God’s plan. And coming to accept that fundamental fact … is the essence of faith…. So if you remember one word from this speech, let it be `faith.’ That should be all the planning you need.”