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Peter Ponders... A Formula for Success

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Our contributing writer, Peter Reilly, cleverly explains how E=MC2 is a formula for success. Share this incredible commencement message with someone you know in the graduating Class of 2018.

Greetings and congratulations to the local high-school and college students who are graduating this month.

I’m sure it’s all a blur as you look back over the last four years. That may be because you studied long and hard – or there could be other reasons we won’t go into right now. In either case, the the editors of Lake Mary Life magazine asked me to write a commencement speech for you. I must have picked up some nuggets of wisdom over the years that I could pass on to you.

Truthfully, I’ve picked up more McNuggets than nuggets on my journey.

But I have come up with something unique. Past commencement speakers have advised wearing sunscreen every day. Others have been keen on having you make your own bed.

I’m suggesting a literal formula for success.

The incredible equation is E=MC2.

I call it the theory of relativity. It’s advice I would give any young relative. It looks very much like Albert Einstein’s most famous equation. But the difference is that I couldn’t get the 2 at the end of the equation to sit right.

In my theory, E stands for energy. At your young age, you have all the energy in the world to achieve greatness. Don’t waste your energy worrying about little things.

In Einstein’s theory, M stands for mass. In my equation, the M stands for matter. Do something that matters with your life. Choose work that is fulfilling. And never forget what really matters – the love of family and friends.

C stands for the constant of the speed of light – and life. Light travels pretty fast. About 186,000 miles per second. That’s about how fast life goes, too. Don’t waste your time. Don’t wait for the perfect time to get married and start a family; preferably in that order. There will never be a perfect time. Use time to your advantage. You have as much as you’re ever going to have. Plan for the future. Open an IRA, start a 401K.

The letter C in the equation also stands for cookie... no, wait, that’s Sesame Street. Now I'm hungry.

Confidence. That's what it is. C also stands for confidence. Truth is, most people are scared and don’t know what they are doing. That’s why they turn to confident people. They figure the confident person knows something they don’t. So be confident. And if you have to – fake it 'till you make it.

C's not done. It stands for caring for the less fortunate, too. You can’t have real success without it. You also need C to spell cooperation and compromise. Good people from all walks of life should work together to find common ground.

Finally, C stands for challenge. You will face serious challenges in your lives. You can’t change what happens to you, but you can change your response to it. At 50, I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. At first, I felt sorry for myself, but I realized even though I have a what-a-way-to-kill-the-light-hearted-mood-of-the-article disease, it doesn’t define who I am. No matter what happens in life, you don’t have to be a victim.  

The last part of the equation is something you should always remember. It is the concept of squaring something or multiplying it by itself. For example, forever squared – is a huge number. That’s how much your parents love you. They won’t always be here, so let them know just how much you love them, too.

In closing, if I’ve written anything that amuses physicists, sunscreen wearers, or fans of the 10-piece chicken nugget meal – I’m glad.

I’d like to be at every one of your commencements to cheer you on, but that’s not possible since Einstein never cracked the mystery of time travel.

But I hope that whenever you see the equation E=MC2, you’ll think of my graduation gift to you – a tried and true formula for success.

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Posted By: Jennifer Clemens

One of the most relevant and eloquent "speeches" I have heard. Wonderful advice! Thank you so much, Peter! Hope you get a cookie soon. :)

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