5 Lessons In The Important Things Life Teaches You...

1. Most Important Question

    During my second month of nursing school, our professor gave us a

Pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions,

until I read the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who

cleans the school?" Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen

the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her

50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving

the last question blank.

    Before class ended, one student asked if the last question would

Count toward our quiz grade. "Absolutely," said the professor. "In your

careers you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve

your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say


"I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy."



2. Pickup in the Rain

    One night, at 11:30 PM, an older African American woman was standing

on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rain

storm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride.

Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car. A young white

Man stopped to help her - generally unheard of in those conflict-filled

1960s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put

her into a taxi cab. She seemed to be in a big hurry! She wrote

down his address, thanked him and drove away.

    Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his

surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home. A

special note was attached.

    It read: Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the

other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes but my spirits. Then you

came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying

husband's bedside just before he passed away. God bless you for

helping me and unselfishly serving others.

Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole



3. Always remember those who serve

    In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10 year old

Boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a

glass of water in front of him.

"How much is an ice cream sundae?"

"Fifty cents," replied the waitress.

The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied a

number of coins in it.

"How much is a dish of plain ice cream?" he inquired.

Some people were now waiting for a table and the waitress was a bit

impatient. "Thirty-five cents," she said brusquely.

The little boy again counted the coins. "I'll have the plain ice

cream," he said.

The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and

walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and

departed. When the waitress came back, she began wiping down the

table and then swallowed hard at what she saw. There, placed neatly beside

the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies - her tip.


4. The Obstacle in Our Path

    In ancient times, a king had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he

hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock.

Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and

simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the king for not keeping

the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the big stone

out of the way. Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables.

On approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and

tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and

straining, he finally succeeded. As the peasant picked up his load

of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder

had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the king

indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder

from the roadway. The peasant learned what many others never

understand. Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve one's


5. Giving Blood

    Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at Stanford Hospital, I

got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare

and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood

transfusion from her 5-year old brother, who had miraculously

survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat

the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother,

and asked the boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his


    I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and

saying, "Yes, I'll do it if it will save Liz."

As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and

smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks.

Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the

doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right


    Being young, the boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was

going to have to give his sister all of his blood.


Attitude, after all, is everything.

Love like you've never been hurt.

Dance like nobody's watching.


Now lets go to Commencement at MIT