Well, I left college because I knew exactly what I wanted to do, and some of you know, too - but some of you don't. Or maybe you thought you knew but are now questioning that choice. Maybe you're sitting there trying to figure out how to tell your parents that you want to be a doctor and not a comedy writer.
Most people go to college for an education, and some go for their parents, but I went for my kids. I'm the father of seven, and I kept insisting on the importance of going to college, but I hadn't walked the walk. So, in my fifties, I re-enrolled at Cal State - Long Beach, and I earned my degree.
Well, what you choose to do next is what we call in the movies the 'character-defining moment'.
Life is one strong, long string of character-defining moments. And I was lucky that at 18 I knew what I exactly wanted to do. But I didn't know who I was. How could I? And how could any of us? Because for the first 25 years of our lives, we are trained to listen to voices that are not our own. Parents and professors fill our heads with wisdom and information, and then employers and mentors take their place and explain how this world really works.
And I want to be clear that your intuition is different from your conscience. They work in tandem, but here's the distinction: Your conscience shouts, 'here's what you should do,' while your intuition whispers, 'here's what you could do.' Listen to that voice that tells you what you could do. Nothing will define your character more than that.
She said it in a whisper that she wanted quit the job.
Before the teacher came , students had been whispering.
The wind was whispering along the street.
But then I directed The Color Purple. And this one film opened my eyes to experiences that I never could have imagined, and yet were all too real. This story was filled with deep pain and deeper truths, like when Shug Avery says, 'Everything wants to be loved'.
But look, if your family's not always available, there's backup. Near the end of It's a Wonderful Life - you remember that movie, It's a Wonderful Life? Clarence the Angel inscribes a book with this: "No man is a failure who has friends." And I hope you hang on to the friendships you've made here at Harvard. And among your friends, I hope you find someone you want to share your life with.