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The secret superpower of the Class of 2020
May 15, 2020

The secret superpower of the Class of 2020

Thoughts for this year's graduating class

Written by Astro Teller, Captain of Moonshots at X

This year it’s harder than ever to look out beyond the horizon, beyond the current crisis, and imagine a better future. Amidst so much fear and uncertainty, it’s easier to see the disrupted dreams in front of us instead of the opportunities. This is especially true for the Class of 2020 who were supposed to be celebrating their accomplishments and upcoming adventures at graduation ceremonies across the country.

In many ways we’re all new graduates this year — graduating from the shock of seeing everything change around us in a matter of weeks, and heading into a new reality where we have to figure out what matters most and who we want to be.

On the one hand, this is an incredibly daunting time. On the other, we have a once-in-a-century opportunity to hit the reset button, let go of conventional ways of thinking, and rebuild the world in radically better ways. This shift in perspective might feel difficult, even premature. However, the alternative — to try to claw society back towards an old normal that wasn’t working that well in many ways — is far worse. And counterintuitively, those of us who are newer and fresher in our fields, like the Class of 2020, may have some of the strongest tailwinds as we search for new approaches to the world’s most pressing problems. We’ve seen many times over the years at X that strategic naivete is actually a superpower.

I shared these and other thoughts with the Class of 2020 as part of iHeartRadio’s new commencement speech series. You can listen to the full speech here:

One of my messages for graduates is to not worry that they don’t know the answers. The mental freedom and flexibility they have, and their willingness to learn and experiment, is going to be a secret to success in a world where there are no ready answers and no playbook. And that’s a secret that can help all of us to find and unleash our superpowers and create the better future we need.

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