I’ve been asked to re-post my 2015 graduation speech, so here it is, both in video format and transcript.

Last year, you may recall that my predecessor played David Bowie’s song ‘Changes’ as a part of his Graduation Speech. I thought I’d develop that idea. So I’m going to perform a song – well, kind of…. My thanks and apologies go to Baz Luhrmann, whose classic, ‘Wear Sunscreen’ I have perhaps destroyed….

Be Mindful

The long-term benefits of mindfulness have been documented by scientists

And I advise you to explore it if you haven’t already

If I could give you just one piece of advice for the future

Mindfulness would be it.

The rest of my advice has no basis more reliable

Than my own meandering experience, I will dispense this advice now

Enjoy the power and beauty of your youth

Some of you, I know, are able to do this

But to those who cannot, trust me, in 20 years, you’ll look back

At photos of yourself and recall in a way you can’t grasp now

How much possibility lay before you and how radiant you were

You are are more beautiful than you currently imagine


Don’t worry about the future

Or know that worrying won’t ever help you as much as planning will

The real troubles in your life are going to be things you could never have guessed at

And only character and ingenuity you build now will help you then

You will figure out a career. Probably more than one.

You will find someone who loves you. Probably more than one.

You have a whole lifetime.

Time takes time – the only sure way to fail at life is to abstain.

Make some decisions that scare you

Don’t be reckless with other people’s hearts

Don’t put up with people who are reckless with yours

Dream big

Don’t waste your time on jealousy

Sometimes you’re ahead, sometimes you’re behind

The race is long and in the end, you’ll realise that it’s only with yourself

Be the friend you wish you had

Trust other people – they’re doing the best they can

And dealing with stuff you know nothing about

Enjoy moments of your life

Without feeling you have to post them on Instagram or WeChat

Be present

Don’t feel guilty if you don’t know what you want to do with your life.

The most interesting people I know didn’t know at 22 what they wanted to do with their lives

Some of the most interesting 30-somethings I know still don’t

Learn to cook

Save for the future

Learn about the stock market and compound interest and investment strategies

Understand that money isn’t evil,

But neither is it an end

Maybe you’ll marry, maybe you won’t

Maybe you’ll have children, maybe you won’t

Maybe you’ll win a Nobel prize, maybe you’ll prevent a war

Or make your parents’ prouder then they already are today

Whatever you do, don’t congratulate yourself too much

Or be too hard on yourself either

Your choices are half chance, and so are everybody else’s

Enjoy your body, use it every way you can

Don’t be afraid of it or what other people think of it

It’s the greatest instrument you’ll ever own


Make that a part of who you are, not just something you do

Be nice

Disconnect from time to time

Get to know your parents,

Know that they will not always be there, and you have to make the most of the time you have

Be nice to your brothers and sisters, they’re your best link to your past

And the people most likely to stick with you in the future

Understand that friends come and go

Don’t promise to keep in touch when you know you won’t

But don’t burn bridges either, because one day you’ll be happy to meet people you knew when you were young

Know that going back to the country of your birth isn’t necessarily the same as going home

And that going home might never be the same again

Keep travelling

Accept certain inalienable truths

One day you will be that 30 year old

And when you are, 

You’ll fantasize that when you were young

Prices were reasonable, politicians were more noble, air hostesses were prettier, movies were better

And children respected their elders

Respect your elders

Don’t expect anyone else to support you

The world doesn’t owe you a living, but if you treat it right

You’ll find that it lets you carve one out for yourself

Don’t mess with cosmetic surgery

Your true beauty cannot be reworked with a scalpel

Be careful whose advice you buy, but be patient with those who supply it

Advice is a form of nostalgia, dispensing it is a way of re-working the past

Shining it up and remembering our own dreams

And offering them to future generations to run with, when perhaps we did not

Live long and prosper, Class of 2015,

and trust me on the mindfulness.