Sheryl Sandberg : Great speech ( UC Berkeley)

21 May


“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything
That’s how the light gets in.”

―  Leonard Cohen

This is a brave and great speech. The best speeches are those which are from learnings from our own lives.  Sheryl Sandberg’ University of California Berkeley  2016 commencement address is a great speech.

To be vulnerable and speak truly from heart and with good reason is a sign of courage. To speak about death and learnings from the loss of a loved one  is even greater courage. This is a hard and brave speech. I think this is a slice of life from a very brave courageous woman. My respect has even gone higher for this wonderfully dignified leader at Facebook Sheryl Sandberg.

There are many threads in this speech which is invaluable. Let me quote :

”  One year and thirteen days ago, I lost my husband, Dave. His death was sudden and unexpected. We were at a friend’s fiftieth birthday party in Mexico. I took a nap. Dave went to work out. What followed was the unthinkable — walking into a gym to find him lying on the floor. Flying home to tell my children that their father was gone. Watching his casket being lowered into the ground.

For many months afterward, and at many times since, I was swallowed up in the deep fog of grief — what I think of as the void — an emptiness that fills your heart, your lungs, constricts your ability to think or even to breathe.

Dave’s death changed me in very profound ways. I learned about the depths of sadness and the brutality of loss. But I also learned that when life sucks you under, you can kick against the bottom, break the surface, and breathe again. I learned that in the face of the void — or in the face of any challenge — you can choose joy and meaning.”

” You will almost certainly face more and deeper adversity. There’s loss of opportunity — the job that doesn’t work out, the illness or accident that changes everything in an instant. There’s loss of dignity — the sharp sting of prejudice when it happens. There’s loss of love — the broken relationships that can’t be fixed. And sometimes there’s loss of life itself.

Some of you have already experienced the kind of tragedy and hardship that leave an indelible mark. Last year, Radhika, the winner of the University Medal, spoke so beautifully about the sudden loss of her mother.

The question is not if some of these things will happen to you. They will. Today I want to talk about what happens next. About the things you can do to overcome adversity, no matter what form it takes or when it hits you. The easy days ahead of you will be easy. It is the hard days — the times that challenge you to your very core — that will determine who you are. You will be defined not just by what you achieve, but by how you survive. ”

”  A few weeks after Dave died, I was talking to my friend Phil about a father-son activity that Dave was not here to do. We came up with a plan to fill in for Dave. I cried to him, “But I want Dave.” Phil put his arm around me and said, “Option A is not available. So let’s just kick the shit out of option B.”

We all at some point live some form of option B. The question is: What do we do then?”

” As a representative of Silicon Valley, I’m pleased to tell you there is data to learn from. After spending decades studying how people deal with setbacks, psychologist Martin Seligman found that there are three P’s — personalization, pervasiveness, and permanence — that are critical to how we bounce back from hardship. The seeds of resilience are planted in the way we process the negative events in our lives.”
For more :

For more :

This is a great speech from many vantage points as the speaker has has bared her soul and painful learning in the very best interest of young people. I am not sure young people understand adversity. It only comes when you are exposed to it. It is really in good interest. The sheer goodness of intent is what makes this speech so endearing. I have only admiration for Sheryl Sandberg. This is one of the great speeches have heard recently. It comes from a superlative life which is also very hard.

Sheryl Sandberg talks about pyschologist Martin Seligman’s work on the three traits or the the three ” P’s” that are critical on how we bounce back from hardship : personalization, pervasiveness and permanence. To not personalise everything- that everything that happens to our lives we are responsible for it, the suffering need not be all pervasive as there are parts of our lives which are happy and we must look into those and cherish them, finally difficult as the emotions or feelings are – they are not permament. We will eventually over come those.

Very kindly the speaker shares the value of gratitude and simple process of detailing three events of joy before going back to sleep. And many more ” How to kick shit out of Plan B…”

Iam being very repetitive in choice of words. This is a great speech. This is a brave speech. The speaker has bared her soul and suffering in the best hope that the young ones will learn how to cope with hard days and make best out of lives. How precious life is.

Sheryl Sandberg has shared a Buddha and Silicon valley here. Great speech.

Have a good day dear friends!

Love, Suresh





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