Condoleezza Rice: It’s your power, use it

Noel linked me to an inspiring speech recently given to students of Perth’s Mercedes College by US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. It’s well worth the read. I’ve picked out some key quotes below – bolding is mine.

I’d only have one suggestion, (to young people) which is when you go to college, don’t try to determine what job you’re going to have when you get out. Try to determine what your passion is. Try to figure out what it is you really love to do.

Finding your passion is the most important thing that you can do. My passion turned out to be the study of the Soviet Union. The first time I heard the Russian language, it was like falling in love.

Don’t worry if it’s something that seems a little odd because there is no reason that a black woman from Birmingham, Alabama, should have been interested in the Soviet Union. I just was. Don’t let anybody define for you what you should be interested in. Your horizons should be limitless at this point. You have to find that special combination of what you’re good at doing and what you love to do. And when you find that combination life is going to work out.

Just don’t let anybody put limits on it because you’re a woman or because you are from some particular ethnic group or because you’re Aboriginal or whatever you are. What you want to be and who you’re going to be is really up to you.

Most often people will underestimate your capabilities. The best way to deal with that is, be tough, be prepared to take on whatever questions come at you. And you’ll find that sooner or later, it won’t matter that much.

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