Alright, everyone looking forward, please. Good morning Year Elevens. Today’s assembly is about the start of a journey. The start of the rest of your lives. In 2 years’ time all of you will be finishing your A Levels. In 3 years’ time you’ll be studying across the world, studying at the university of your choice. In 5 years’ time you’ll have started your careers.
Many of you will be in this room working for the top institutions across the globe. You will then get married, you then may buy a house. In 10 yeas’ time your life will be set for you. In 15 years you’ll be 30 and from then on your path, your life will be set.
I’m sorry Mr. Headmaster, let me tell you why that approach may fail you. I know people who graduated at 21 and didn’t get a job until they were 27. I know people who graduated late at 25 and they found work immediately. I know people who never went to university, but found what they love at 18. I know people who found a job straight out of college making decent money, but hate what they do. I know people who took gap years and found their purpose.
I know people who were so sure about what they were going to do at 16, they change their mind at 26. I know people who have children but are single, and I know people who are married but had to wait 8 to 10 years to have children. I know people in relationships who love someone else. I know people who love each other but aren’t together.
So my point is everything in life happens according to our time, our clock. You may look at some of your friends and think that they’re ahead of you, maybe some of them you feel are behind, but everything happens at their own pace. They have their own time and clock and so do you. Be patient.
At age 25, Mark Cuban was a bartender in Dallas. It took till 32 for J.K. Rowling to be published for Harry Potter after being rejected by 12 publishers. Ortega launched Zara when he was 39. Jack Ma started Alibaba when he was 35. Morgan Freeman got his big break at 52. Steve Carell only got his break after 40 years old. Virgin was started by Richard Branson at 34.
Getting your degree after 25 is still an achievement. Not being married at 30 but still happy is beautiful. Starting a family after 35 is still possible, and buying a house after 40 is still great. Don’t let anyone rush you with their timelines. Because as Einstein said, “Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that’s counted truly counts.”
And this is the most important thing, I want you to be able to create meaningful, purposeful, fulfilling lives for yourselves, and learn how to use that to make an impact and a difference in the lives of others. That, will be true success.