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Larry Ferlazzo’s Websites of the Day…

…For Teaching ELL, ESL, & EFL

Michelle Obama On “Grit”

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This past weekend, Michelle Obama spoke at graduation of Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet High School in Nashville.

You can read the transcript of her entire speech here and watch it here.

However, I want to focus on the few minutes she spoke about “grit.” First, I’ve printed text excerpt, and then I’ve embedded a video of just that portion of her speech (I don’t think the video will go through on an RSS Reader).

I’m adding this post to The Best Resources For Learning About The Importance Of “Grit”

What I learned was that when something doesn’t go your way, you’ve just got to adjust. You’ve got to dig deep and work like crazy. And that’s when you’ll find out what you’re really made of, during those hard times.

But you can only do that if you’re willing to put yourself in a position where you might fail. And that’s why so often, failure is the key to success for so many great people. Take Steve Jobs, who was fired from Apple early in his career, and now his iPods and iPads and iPhones have revolutionized the entire world. Oprah was demoted from her first job as a news anchor, now she doesn’t even need a last name. (Laughter.) And then there’s this guy, Barack Obama, who lost — (applause) — I could take up a whole afternoon talking about his failures, but — (laughter) — he lost his first race for Congress, and now he gets to call himself my husband. (Laughter and applause.)

All jokes aside, the point is, is that resilience and grit, that ability to pick yourself up when you fall. Those are some of the most important skills you’ll need as you make your way through college and through life.

And here’s the thing, graduates: These qualities are not ones that you’re born with. They’re not like the color of your eyes or your height. They’re not qualities that are beyond your control. Instead, you can dictate whether you’ll have grit. You decide how hard you’ll work. So I want you to make those choices right now, today, if you haven’t already done so. Make those choices. I want you to tell yourself that no matter what challenges you face, that you will commit yourself to achieving your goals, no matter where life takes you.

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Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

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