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Denzel Washington Leaves the Audience SPEECHLESS | One of the Best Motivational Speeches Ever

i found that nothing in life is worthwhile unless you take risks nothing nelson mandela said there is no passion to be found playing small and settling for a life that's less than the one you're capable of living now i'm sure in your experiences in school and applying to college and picking your major and deciding what you want to do with life i'm sure people have told you to make sure you have something to fall back on make sure you got something to fall back on honey but i never understood that concept having something to fall back on if i'm going to fall i don't want to fall back on anything except my faith i want to fall forward i figure at least this way i'll see what i'm going to hit fall forward this is what i mean reggie jackson struck out 2600 times in his career the most in the history of baseball but you don't hear about the strikeouts people remember the home runs fall forward thomas edison conducted one thousand failed experiments did you know that i didn't know that because the one thousand and first was the light bulb fall forward every failed experiment is one step closer to success you've got to take risks and i'm sure you've probably heard that before but i want to talk to you about why that's so important first you will fail at some point in your life accept it you will lose you will embarrass yourself you will suck at something there's no doubt about it and i know that's probably not a traditional message for a graduation ceremony but hey i'm telling you embrace it because it's inevitable and i should know in the acting business you fail all the time early on in my career i auditioned for a part in a broadway musical perfect role for me i thought except for the fact that i can't sing so i'm i'm in the wings i'm about to go on stage but the guy in front of me he's singing like like like paparazzi he's just wrong and he's just going on and on and on and i'm just shrinking i'm getting smaller and smaller so they say oh thank you very much thank you very much and you will you'll be hearing from us so i come out with my little sheet music and it was it was a just my imagination by the temptations that's what i came up with so i hand it to the the the accompanist and uh she looks at it and looks at me and looks out at the director and was like all right so i i start you know i'm gonna sing i'm like you know and it's just my imagination once again and then coming away with me and i'm not saying anything so i'm thinking i'm getting better so i could start getting into it [Music] [Applause] running this oh yeah yeah thank you thank you thank you very much mr washington thank you so i assumed i didn't get the job but the next part of the audition he called me back the next part of the audition is the acting part of the audition so i'm like hey okay maybe i can't sing but i know i can act so they pair me with this guy and again i didn't know about musical theater and musical theater is big so they can reach everyone all the way in the back of the stadium and i'm more from a realistic uh naturalistic kind of acting where you you know you actually talk to the person next to you so i don't know what my line was my line was well hand me the cup and his line was well i will hand you the cup my dear the cup will be there to be handed to you i said okay well should i give you the cup back oh yes you should give it back to me because you know that is my cup and it should be giving back to me i didn't get the job but here's the thing i didn't quit i didn't fall back i walked out of there to prepare for the next audition and the next audition and the next audition i prayed i prayed and i prayed but i continued to fail and fail and fail but it didn't matter because you know what there's an old saying you hang around the barbershop long enough sooner or later you're going to get a haircut so you will catch a break and i did catch a break last year i did a play called fences on broadway [Music] someone talked about it won the tony award and i didn't have to sing by the way but here's the kicker [Music] it was at the court theater it was at the same theater that i failed that first audition 30 years prior the point is every graduate here today has the training and the talent to succeed but do you have the guts to fail here's my second point about failure if you don't fail you're not even trying i'll say it again if you don't fail you're not even trying my wife told me this great expression to get something you never had you have to do something you never did les brown's a motivational speaker he made an analogy about this he says imagine you're on your deathbed and standing around your deathbed are the ghosts representing your unfulfilled potential the ghost of the ideas you never acted on the ghost of the talents you didn't use and they're standing around your bed angry disappointed and upset they say we we came to you because you could have brought us to life they say and now we have to go to the grave together so i ask you today how many ghosts are going to be around your bed when your time comes you've invest you you've invested a lot in your education and people have invested in you and let me tell you the world needs your talents man does it ever i just got back from africa like two days ago so if i'm rambling on it's cause i'm jet lag i just got back from south africa it's beautiful country but there are places there with terrible poverty that need help and africa is just the tip of the iceberg the middle east needs your help japan needs your help alabama needs your help tennessee needs your help louisiana needs your help philadelphia needs your help the world needs a lot and we need it from you we really do we need it from you young people i mean i'm not speaking for the rest of us up here but i know i'm getting a little grayer we need it from you the young people because remember this so you got to get out there you got to give it everything you got whether it's your time your your your talent your prayers or your treasures because remember this you will never see a u-haul behind a hearse you can't take it with you the egyptians tried it and all they got was robbed so the question is what are you going to do with what you have i'm not talking about how much you have some of you are business majors some of you are theologians nurses sociologists some of you have money some of you have patience some of you have kindness some of you have loved some of you have the gift of long-suffering whatever it is whatever your gift is what are you going to do with what you have all right now here's my last point about failure sometimes it's the best way to figure out where you're going your life will never be a straight path i began at fordham university as a pre-med student i i took a course called the cardiac morphos i still can't say it cardiac cardiac morphogenesis i couldn't read it i couldn't say it i sure couldn't pass it so then i decided to go into pre-law then 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