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5 Career Lessons From Natalie Portman’s Harvard Commencement Speech

Jun 05, 2015 02:53 AM EDT | By Czyka Tumaliuan
Career Tips, Harvard Commencement Speech, Natalie Portman

Here are five nuggets of wisdom from Portman's blunt Harvard commencement speech to help you find the venture you ought to pursue in your lifetime.

Specialize. Find a career that you love and focus on improving in that area. Pursuing perfection in one field would allow us to provide superb services that people would keep coming back for. 

The ride is more important than the destination. Enjoy it. While we should always keep in mind the ultimate purpose of what we do, we shouldn't forget to take pleasure in stopping and smelling the roses that make our journey beautiful. 

Find your own meaning. Follow your passion. As a fresh graduate, you would step into a world with preexisting rules and standards that dictate what you must do to thrive. However, sometimes, these default settings hinder use to realize who we really are. Portman urged everyone to rise above the dictates of society and discover what we love. It's only when we follow what drives us to live that we can discover our purpose in society.

Do you love to paint? Be an artist. Do you love to create tools using computers? Be a programmer. Do you want to lead? Be an entrepreneur. You are only limited by your imagination.

Always look at rewards with a grain of salt. According to Portman, "prizes serve as false idols." While rewards symbolize achievement, we shouldn't put prime importance to these tangible validations, unless we understand what they mean. Without a clear understanding of the meaning of these badges, success would just be empty. 

Transform your inexperience into an advantage. Bask in your perceived weaknesses to figure out your purpose in the world you find yourself in. More often than not, we feel lost and confused in a new company because we're not familiar about business structures that hold it together. We don't know how we should fit in, or what significant role we can play to carve an impact. Portman ascertained that this ignorance would enable us to see what the system needs to be better. It empowers us to be more innovative in our unique way.

"Sometimes your insecurities and your inexperience may lead you to embrace other people's expectations, standards or values. But you can harness that inexperience to carve out your own path. One that is free of the burden of how things are supposed to be, a path that is defined by its own particular set of reasons," she said.

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