Define Yourself By What You Love

This graduation speech by Australian comedian and Groundhog Day composer Tim Minchin contains a bit of advice that I've certainly heard elsewhere, but seems especially useful at a time when we're all exhausted by the constant pressure to assert our identity on social media.

The whole speech is good, but I especially like this part:

I've found myself doing this thing a bit recently, where, if someone asks me what sort of music I like, I say "well I don't listen to the radio because pop lyrics annoy me". Or if someone asks me what food I like, I say "I think truffle oil is overused and slightly obnoxious". And I see it all the time online, people whose idea of being part of a subculture is to hate Coldplay or football or feminists or the Liberal Party.

We have tendency to define ourselves in opposition to stuff; as a comedian, I make a living out of it. But try to also express your passion for things you love. Be demonstrative and generous in your praise of those you admire. Send thank-you cards and give standing ovations. Be pro-stuff, not just anti-stuff.

The speech is from 2013, but this is the first time I've encountered it. It's so easy to slip into that anti-everything posture. Irony is easy and safe; being earnest and sincere leaves one vulnerable.

Defining yourself by what you love means identifying what you love, which is, at the very least, a valuable exercise in gratitude.


Comments

    I was gonna say this speech has been kicking around for a good while (for obvious reasons)

    Very wise words for a time where people are being set on each other to bicker amongst themselves in the greatest distraction of our time.

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