Amy Poehler’s Inspiring Speech to Harvard Grads
On May 25th, 2011, comedian Amy Poehler gave a funny and heartfelt speech to Harvard grads.
Full of personal experiences, advice, and a spot on Boston accent. Telling others to live bravely, with kindness, and have the ability to change a tire. With those qualities, you’re almost the perfect person.
Some of my favorite quotes from the speech:
Take your risks now, as you grow older you become more fearful and less flexible — and I mean that literally. I hurt my knee on the treadmill this week — and it wasn’t even on.
Try to keep your mind open to possibilities and your mouth closed on matters that you don’t know about. Limit your ‘always’ and your ‘nevers.’ Continue to share your heart with people even if it has been broken. Don’t treat your heart like an action figure wrapped in plastic and never used. And don’t try to give me that nerd argument that your heart is a Batman with a limited-edition silver bat-erang and therefore if it stays in its original packing it increases in value.
I cannot stress enough that the answer to life’s questions is often in people’s faces. Try putting your iPhones down once in a while, and look in people’s faces. People’s faces will tell you amazing things. Like if they are angry, or nauseous, or asleep.
I moved to Chicago in the early 1990s and I studied improvisation there. I learned some rules that I try to apply still today: Listen. Say yes. Live in the moment. Make sure you play with people who have your back. Make big choices early and often. Don’t start a scene where two people are talking about jumping out of a plane. Start the scene having already jumped.
As you navigate through the rest of your life, be open to collaboration. Other people and other people’s ideas are often better than your own. Find a group of people who challenge and inspire you, spend a lot of time with them, and it will change your life.
Jolee McBreen is a student at the Art Institute and whips up delicious coffee concoctions at a coffee shop in Denver. When she’s not avoiding homework or steaming milk she can be caught with her family, friends, snuggling her two adorable dogs, or dancing… pretty much anywhere.