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The Graduation Speech Everyone Needs to Hear


Summing up Parker Mantell’s 2014 Indiana University commencement address is close to impossible, because every word he says is important. Mantell admits (in the video below) that because of his stutter, “thousands” of more talented public speakers exist. But he had to share his message.

He says:

Far too often, society has instilled and reinforced the idea that those of us with disabilities are to remain disabled — perhaps even incapable. Whether one is bound to a wheelchair, suffers from ADHD, or repeats the first syllable of a word as I do, we have been tacitly, yet resoundingly told to doubt both ourselves and our abilities.

“Doubt, as has been observed, kills more dreams than failure ever will,” Mantell continues. He lists historical figures who didn’t let doubt keep them from greatness and challenges his fellow graduates to “take that step forward not despite your disabilities, your hurdles or your hesitancies but because of them.”

“Imagine what you are depriving our world of,” Mantell says, “if you never dare to achieve your purpose.”

Really, you should just watch the whole speech. Bravo, Parker.