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.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Other

Watch a Table Tennis Player With No Hands Go Up Against Some of the World’s Best

Ibrahim Hamato lost his hands in an accident when he was 10 years old. But his love for table tennis was too strong to give up. Three years later, he picked up a racket with his mouth and taught himself to play in a new, pretty incredible way. This year, the International Table Tennis Federation president, [...]

Deaf Woman Finds Perfect Companion in Pit Bull Who Understands Sign Language

Rosie the pit bull could have had difficulty being adopted — she’s 3 years old and deaf. Many people assume her breed is aggressive. But she’s found the perfect owner — someone who understands the sign language Rosie has been learning at a shelter in Aurora, Neb. Cindy Koch, who’s also deaf, has decided to [...]

Ever Had an Awkward Interaction With Someone With a Disability? These Ads Are For You.

It’s easy to get nervous around a person who’s different from you — we at The Mighty understand this. That’s why we appreciate anyone who makes an effort to educate themselves about disability. A British advocacy group called Scope is tackling this with a light-hearted ad campaign, “End the Awkward,” to get people “thinking different about [...]

This Deaf Comedian Has an Important Message for Anyone Who Likes to Laugh

“If you’re a good person, it doesn’t matter if you have disabilities,” CJ Jones says in the HooplaHa video below. “It’s all about feeling good about yourself.” Jones is a deaf comedian and entertainer who’s determined to use his humor to let everyone — people with and without disabilities — know that life is good. We’d tell you everything [...]