This thing all things devours;
Birds, beasts, trees, flowers;
Gnaws iron, bites steel;
Grinds hard stones to meal;
Slays king, ruins town,
And beats mountain down.
One more hint, the richest, most powerful and most successful individuals throughout history would’ve given nearly all their material wealth for that which you all have in abundance.
The answer is time. While one can make more of nearly everything from money to land, one can never make more time. And time is potential, hope and life itself.
We are each given an unknown amount of time on the earth and as it runs its course the innocence, optimism and energy of youth fade along with our beauty, intellect and physical prowess. You all are in the the stage of life that is the envy of everyone above: entrepreneur Steve Jobs, retired basketball legend Michael Jordan, Actress Elizabeth Taylor, pre-ALS Stephen Hawkins, billionaire George Soros.
(CAUTION: the following deals with the serious subject matter of death )
It is said that youth is wasted on the young, but here is Steve Job’s famous 2005 commencement speech at Stanford that defies that adage. At the time of this speech, Steve had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer over a year earlier and he would die within 6 years. He epitomizes some of the best (and worst) characteristics of entrepreneurs: hard driven, uncompromising, idealistic and passionate.
I’ve found Job’s speech is one of the best expression of the most noble instincts, creative impulses and idealistic urgency that fuels the best engineers, designers and entrepreneurs. It is a very touching personal account on the fragility of human life and the transient gift of time. Jobs offers some of the best guidelines for the young to construct an exceptional life within these constraints.
( best part starts at 11:38 )