Have you ever heard of the speech sometimes called the 30-Second Motivational Speech? This little speech has floated around the internet as an email forward or motivational graphic for a few years now.
If you’re unfamiliar with this speech, it was given by Bryan Dyson, the former CEO of Coca Cola, as a commencement address at Georgia Tech in 1996. Unfortunately, many of the emails and graphics you see online are truncated versions of the speech, and most contain words that were not actually part of the original address.
Below is the best I’ve managed to track down as the true text of Mr. Dyson’s original address. Though more than 30 seconds in length, I’m sure you’ll find it inspiring nonetheless.
“Imagine life as a game in which you are juggling some five balls in the air. You name them—work, family, health, friends and spirit…and you’re keeping all of these in the air.
You will soon understand that work is a rubber ball. If you drop it, it will bounce back. But the other four balls—family, health, friends and spirit—are made of glass. If you drop one of these, they will be irrevocably scuffed, marked, nicked, damaged or even shattered. They will never be the same. You must understand that and strive for balance in your life.
Don’t undermine your worth by comparing yourself with others. It is because we are different that each of us is special.
Don’t set your goals by what other people deem important. Only you know what is best for you.
Don’t take for granted the things closest to your heart. Cling to them as you would your life, for without them, life is meaningless.
Don’t let your life slip through your fingers by living in the past or for the future. By living your life one day at a time, you live all the days of your life.
Don’t give up when you still have something to give. Nothing is really over until the moment you stop trying.
Don’t be afraid to admit that you are less than perfect. It is this fragile thread that binds us to each together.
Don’t be afraid to encounter risks. It is by taking chances that we learn how to be pave.
Don’t shut love out of your life by saying it’s impossible to find time. The quickest way to receive love is to give; the fastest way to lose love is to hold it too tightly; and the best way to keep love is to give it wings!
Don’t run through life so fast that you forget not only where you’ve been, but also where you are going.
Don’t forget, a person’s greatest emotional need is to feel appreciated.
Don’t be afraid to learn. Knowledge is weightless, a treasure you can always carry easily.
Don’t use time or words carelessly. Neither can be retrieved. Life is not a race, but a journey to be savored each step of the way.“
You can see that Mr. Dyson’s point is that to have proper life balance we must get our priorities in order. There’s a realization that work, while an important and necessary facet of life, should never take priority of family, health, relationship, and faith.
Ultimately, work should care for and enhance, not detract from, all these other areas of life.
I’m Jeff M. Miller, and I help ordinary people who are stuck in a rut change their behaviors so they can be extraordinary. I’m an entrepreneur who retired from my full-time job in my early 40s to work from home. I’m a financial counselor, life coach, graphic designer, and passionate believer in helping others improve their lives a little more each day.