Shonda Rhimes – Just Do

Shonda Rhimes gives a commencement speech at Darmouth College about the importance of getting off your phone and taking action.

#yesallwomen #takebackthenight #notallmen #bringbackourgirls #Stop pretending hashtags are the same as doing something. Hashtags are very pretty on Twitter. I love them. I will hashtag myself into next week, but a hashtag is not a movement. Hashtag does not make you Dr. King. Hashtag does not change anything. It’s a hashtag. It’s you sitting on your butt, typing on your computer, and then going back to binge watching your favorite show. I do it all the time. For me, it’s Game of Thrones. As a matter of fact, dream and don’t start dreaming until all of your dreams come true. I think that’s crap. I think a lot of people dream. While they are busy dreaming, the really happy people, the really successful people, the really interesting, engaged, powerful people, are busy doing. The dreamers, they stare at the sky, they make plans, they hope, they talk about it endlessly. They start a lot of sentences with, I want to be or I wish. I want to be a writer. I wish I could travel around the world.

They dream of it. The buttoned up ones meet for cocktails and they brag about their dreams. The hippy ones have vision words and they meditate about their dreams. Maybe you write in journals about your dreams or discuss it endlessly with your best friend or your girlfriend or your mother. It feels really good. You’re talking about it. You’re planning it kind of. You are blue skying your life. That is what everyone says you should be doing, right? That’s what Oprah and Bill Gates did to get successful, right? No. Dreams are lovely, but they are just dreams, fleeting, ephemeral, pretty. But dreams do not come true just because you dream them. It’s hard work that makes things happen. It’s hard work that creates change. Lesson one, I guess, is ditch the dream and be a doer, not a dreamer.

Maybe you know exactly what it is you dream of being, or maybe you’re paralyzed because you have no idea what your passion is. The truth is, it doesn’t matter. You don’t have to know. You just have to keep moving forward. You just have to keep doing something, seizing the next opportunity, staying open to trying something new. It doesn’t have to fit your vision of the perfect job or the perfect life. Perfect is boring. Dreams are not real. Just do. You think I wish I could travel. Right, sell your preppy car, buy a ticket to Bangkok and go right now. I’m serious. You want to be a writer? Writers are someone who writes every day, so start writing. You don’t have a job? Get one, any job. Don’t sit at home waiting for the magical opportunity. Who are you, Prince William? No. Get a job. Go to work. Do something until you can do something else. Volunteer some hours. Focus on something outside yourself. [inaudible 00:02:29] slice your energies towards making the world suck less every week.

Some people suggest doing this will increase your sense of wellbeing. Some say it’s good karma. I say that it will allow you to remember that whether you are a legacy or the first in your family to go to college, the air you are breathing right now is rare air. You breathe this rare air. You feel alive. You be yourself. You truly, finally, always be yourself. Thank you. Good luck. 


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