This is Water…
What the Hell is Water?
American author, David Foster Wallace, was credited with giving one of the best commencement speeches of all time.
Which is a pretty impressive accomplishment given it was the only public appearance he ever gave on his view of life and the lessons he drew from it.
He was the winning nominee for the graduation event at Kenyon College, beating out then senator Hillary Clinton and astronaut turned senator John Glenn.
Wallace gave a speech that went viral for explaining the “unsexy” and yet very real realities of day-to-day adult life.
The speech contained a lesson from a parable of an encounter among three different goldfish.
It went something like this:
One day, there were two goldfish that were swimming along the ocean floor, when along came an older and wiser goldfish.
In passing, the wise goldfish said to the two young fish:
“Morning boys, how’s the water?”
The two fish kept swimming along for a bit until one of the younger goldfish eventually turned to the other and said, “What the hell’s water?”…
The point of the parable is that the most obvious realities that affect us in life (and in our case, business) are often the hardest to see and identify.
But often remain their hidden in plain sight.
The fact is that in the day-to-day trenches of success and survival, banal platitudes can have a life-or-death importance.
Wallace explained that the real value for education, has almost nothing to do with knowledge, and everything to do with simple awareness.
Awareness of what is real and essential is hidden in plain sight all around us at all times; so much so, that we must keep reminding ourselves over and over, “This is water…”
“This is water,” is the current state of nearly every business struggling to identify our pathway to succeed in today’s ever changing environment.
As we continue to adapt and change to meet the demands of today, I thought i would end by providing another platitude:
“Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.”
WATCH: This is Water. The Best Commencement Speech of All Time
Never stop, keep going and enjoy the journey.