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  • Thank you so much, President Christ,

  • the Board of Trustees, members of the faculty, devoted parents and friends,

  • and especially the fabulous class of 2013.

  • Congratulations. You have reached the light at the end of the tunnel.

  • And when you first arrived at Smith four years ago, I’m sure you never would have imagined

  • that at the other end of that tunnel, there would be a lady behind a podium talking to you in a funny accent.

  • This accent has been the bane of my existence

  • until in 1980, I moved to New York from England

  • and I met Henry Kissinger,

  • and he said to me, “Don’t ever worry about your accent,

  • in American public life, you can never, underestimate the advantages of complete and total incomprehensibility

  • I'm so grateful to be with you at this very special moment.

  • You don't know it but I have spent the last few weeks stalking you

  • -- on your Smith websites, on your Twitter feeds,

  • on Facebook, on Instagram, on Tumblr

  • so I could get to know you better.

  • So here's what I've found:

  • you're fascinating and curious and quirky

  • and asking the big questions and worrying about the little things,

  • and solving the cosmic riddles

  • and agonizing about what shoes to wear in commencement,

  • and what happens if you trip and become a YouTube sensation.

  • I’ve learned about Smithies writing honors thesis on subjects

  • that I not only don’t understand but I can’t even pronounce.

  • Like Lisa Stephanie Cunden’s thesis on entro

  • Hi Lisa! I want you to hear her thesis pronounced in a Greek accent.

  • on entropy and enthalpy contributions to the chelate effect

  • I’ve learned about the three seniors who were part of the basketball team,

  • which made the Division III NCAA tournament

  • a historic accomplishment to add to your already...

  • lot of fans for them

  • a historic accomplishment to add to your already historic status as the birthplace of women’s basketball.

  • I’ve learned about the many Smithies who will be the first in their families to graduate from college,

  • like Massiel De los Santos, who began her journey in the Dominican Republic.

  • So before I go any further, because I’ve been so impressed,

  • I feel compelled to extend to all of you, Graduating class of 2013,

  • a lifelong invitation to blog on The Huffington Post

  • about your graduation, and about all your adventures on the next stage of the journey youre starting today.

  • And in order to bypass the growing Huffington Post bureaucracy,

  • I’m going to give you right now my e-mail address,

  • arianna@huffingtonpost.com

  • and you can send it directly to me and get a password for life.

  • Getting to know you has made me feel very protective of you

  • especially because I have two daughters who are about your age, college-age kids.

  • And it also made me realized that you don’t need protection

  • because youre absolutely ready and prepared to take on the world.

  • And if you have attended the Wurtele Center for Work and Life,

  • you even have a Passport to Life After Smith,

  • with the opportunity to learn things like job interviewing skills,

  • how to balance a budget, cook a healthy meal and even change a tire.

  • So you can consider my speech today a continuation of the Passport to Life After Smith,

  • though in the interest of full disclosure, I can’t cook and definitely cannot change a tire.

  • But part of life after Smith will be deciding what things do you want to put your energy into

  • and what things you don’t.

  • It was a big revelation for me

  • when I realized that I didn't have to complete everything I thought I wanted to do,

  • like learning German or becoming a good skier or learning to cook.

  • Indeed I realized that you can complete a project by dropping it.

  • Commencement speakers are traditionally expected to tell graduates

  • how to go out there and climb the ladder of success,

  • but I want to ask you, instead,

  • to redefine success.

  • Because the world you are headed into desperately needs it.

  • And because you are up to it.

  • Your education at Smith has made it unequivocally clear

  • that you are entitled to take your place in the world on equal footing,

  • in every field, and at the top of every field.

  • But what I urge you to do

  • is not just take your place at the top of the world,

  • but to change the world.

  • What I urge you to do is to lead the third women’s revolution.

  • The first was led by the suffragists

  • over a hundred years ago,

  • when brave women like Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton

  • fought among other things, to give women the right to vote.

  • The second women’s revolution was powerfully led by Smith alumnae,

  • Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem.

  • They foughtand Gloria continues to fight

  • to expand the role of women in our society,

  • to give us full access to the rooms of power where decisions are being made.

  • And while the second revolution is still in progress,

  • we simply can’t wait any longer for the third revolution to begin.

  • And I can’t imagine a place

  • where I would be more likely to find the leaders of that revolution than right here at Smith.

  • At the moment, our society’s notion of success is largely composed of two parts:

  • money and power.

  • In fact, success, money and power have practically become synonymous.

  • But it’s time for a third metric, beyond money and power

  • one founded on well-being, wisdom,

  • our ability to wonder, and to give back.

  • Money and power by themselves are like a two legged stool

  • you can balance on them for a while,

  • but eventually youre going to topple over.

  • And more and more people, very successful people, are toppling over every day.

  • Basically, success the way weve defined it is no longer sustainable.

  • It’s not sustainable for human beings;

  • it’s not sustainable for the planet.

  • To live the lives we want, and not just the lives we settle for,

  • the lives according to society’s definition of success,

  • we need to include the third metric.

  • In 2004, President Christ gave a speech that was really ahead of its time.

  • It was titledInside the Clockwork of Women’s Careers.”

  • To me, it’s very much a third women’s revolution call to arms.

  • She spoke of the need to dispel myths about ambition and success,

  • chief among them the myth that success and ambition look like a straight line.

  • Now I guess it’s no big surprise

  • that the image of success created by men would be, yes, a long, phallic-shaped straight line.

  • But if we don’t redefine success,

  • the personal price we pay will get higher and higher.

  • And as the data shows,

  • already, that price is much higher for women than for men.

  • Among career women who have stressful jobs

  • in which career woman doesn’t

  • there is a nearly 40 percent increased risk of heart disease,

  • and a 60 percent increased risk of diabetes.

  • And in the last 30 years, as women have made strides and gains in the workplace,

  • self-reported levels of stress have gone up by 18 percent.

  • Another Smith graduation speaker, Alistair Cooke,

  • notoriously told the class of 1954

  • that their way to the top would be determined by the men they married.

  • Well…I want to do old Alistair one better,

  • and tell you that you don’t get to the top by marrying someone.

  • A much simpler way is to sleep your way to the top.

  • Right now I imagine President Christ is thinking she probably should have vetted this speech.

  • But no, I’m talking about sleep in the literal sense.

  • Because right now, the workplace is absolutely fueled by sleep deprivation and burnout.

  • I actually know of what I speak:

  • In 2007, sleep deprived and exhausted,

  • I fainted, hit my head on my desk, broke my cheekbone

  • and got four stitches on my right eye.

  • And that was the beginning of my reacquainting myself with sleep,

  • and with the need to redefine success

  • to include our own sense of well-being.

  • because even if sleep deprivation is not affecting your health,

  • it’s affecting your creativity, your productivity, and your decision-making.

  • Did you know that the Exxon Valdez wreck, the explosion of the Challenger space shuttle,

  • and the nuclear accidents at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island

  • were at least all partially the result of decisions made on too little sleep.

  • According to researchers at Walter Reed hospital,

  • the only thing that gets better with sleep deprivation

  • ismagical thinkingand reliance on superstition.

  • So for those of you majoring in fortune telling,

  • go ahead and burn the midnight oil.

  • The rest of you: not so much.

  • As you can tell by now, I’m a major sleep evangelist.

  • The Huffington Post, in our newsroom, we have two nap rooms.

  • At first, hundreds of editors and reporters and engineers

  • were very reluctant to be seen in the middle of the afternoon having a nap.

  • But now, the two nap rooms are continuously booked and we need to open a third.

  • Although I might say, the other day I was walking by one of the nap rooms

  • and I saw two people coming out of the nap rooms.

  • And I thought to myself, whatever it takes to recharge yourself.

  • Just please don’t tell HR, okay?

  • What adding well-being to our definition of success means

  • is that in addition to looking after our financial capital, we need to look after our human capital.

  • My mother was an expert at that. I still remember, when I was 12 years old,

  • a successful Greek businessman came to dinner at our home in Athens.

  • He told us everything how well things were going on in his life

  • My mother looked at him, looking burned out, exhausted, drained. And said to him,

  • “I don’t care how well your business is doing,”

  • Youre not taking care of you.

  • Your business might have a great bottom line, but you are your most important capital.

  • There are only so many withdrawals you can make from your health bank account,

  • but you just keep on withdrawing.

  • You could go bankrupt if you don’t make some deposits soon.”

  • And indeed, not long after that, the man had to be admitted for an angioplasty.

  • When we include well-being in our definition of success,

  • another thing that changes is our relationship with time.

  • Right now, we are all so stressed out about time

  • that every time we look at our watch it’s later than we think.

  • Researchers have a term for it: "Time Famine."

  • And Dr. Seuss wrote about it ahead of the researchers of course.

  • How did it get so late so soon?” he wrote.

  • It’s night before it’s afternoon. December is here before it’s June.

  • My goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?”

  • Does that feel familiar to anyone? Or, more likely, to everyone?

  • The problem is that as long as success is defined by just money and power, climbing and burnout,

  • we will never have the time

  • to be able to enjoy that other aspect of the third metric:

  • wonder

  • I was blessed with a mother who was in a constant state of wonder.

  • Whether she was washing the dishes

  • or feeding seagulls at the beach

  • or reprimanding overworking businessmen,

  • she maintained her sense of wonder,

  • delighted at both the mysteries of the universe

  • and the everyday little things that fill our lives.

  • And whenever I’d complain or be upset about something,

  • she would say to me:

  • Darling, change the channel. ”

  • You are in control of the clicker.”

  • Don’t replay that bad, scary movie.”

  • One of the gifts that attitude to life gave her

  • was the ability to cut through hierarchies.

  • I remember one night, when I was iving in London,

  • and dating a Tory member of Parliament

  • It might have been one of those decisions made on sleep deprivation

  • and he brought home to dinner the Prime Minister Ted Heath.

  • My mother was in the kitchen, where she was most of the time,

  • and a plumber had to come in to fix some last-minute problem.

  • So my mother asked the plumber what he thought of the prime minister.

  • Not much,” the plumber said, “he hasn’t been good for working people.”

  • Oh!” my mother said, “Let me go bring him here so you can tell him directly,”

  • And she didn’t think there was any problem at all about bringing the Prime Minister into the kitchen

  • And that’s where he sat down and...

  • and heard a mouthful from the plumber.

  • Well-being, wonder, and now the third W — wisdom.

  • If you look around you, you see leaders

  • in positions of powerin politics, in media, in business,

  • all of them with high IQs and great degrees

  • making terrible decisions.

  • What is missing is not IQ, but wisdom.

  • And today, it's getting harder and harder to tap into our own wisdom.

  • Because we are all so hyper-connected to our devices, our screens, our social media,

  • that we're having a hard time disconnecting from technology

  • and reconnecting with ourselves.

  • Your very own, very wise Smith sophomore, Erin McDaniel,

  • wrote in the Sophian about her decision to disconnect from all her social media.

  • "We have eschewed," she said, "real social connections in favor of superficial, technology-bridged ones..."

  • We have become, in many cases, nearly as socially robotic as our computers.”

  • Now, you don’t have the head of a digital company telling you to completely disconnect from technology.

  • What I’m telling you is to regularly disconnect from technology,

  • to regularly unplug and recharge in order to reconnect with ourselves and our own deepest wisdom.

  • Because I’m convinced that there are two fundamental truths about human beings.

  • The first truth is that we all have within us

  • a centered place of wisdom, harmony, and strength.

  • This is a truth that all the world’s religions

  • whether Christianity, Islam, Judaism, or Buddhism

  • and many of its philosophies,

  • hold true in one form or another: “The Kingdom of God is Within.”

  • But the second truth is that were all going to spend most of our lives not in that place.

  • We keep veering away from that place again and again and again.

  • In fact, we may spend of our lives off-course more often than we are on-course.