When was your defining moment?

BLK President Rob Kapito addressed the Wharton School Class of 2010 at the MBA graduation ceremony on May 16. It was not as funny as Ellen’s, or Blair’s, and I couldn’t stop but thinking: MBA commencement’s so boring…but the major takeaway I had from this speech was when he talked about the “defining moment”.

Ellen’s defining moment was probably when she realized her girlfriend passed away in the car accident and she was living in a basement back then, which made her wonder “why this is happening to me and what does this mean”, and inspired her to create the script on the telephone call with the God. Rob’s defining moment was when his father got seriously sick and he realized he didn’t want his family to go through the same hardship.

I couldn’t stop but thinking: when was my defining moment? My memories flashed back through the years and finally, to some extent surprisingly, locked at the moment when my father taught me geometry for the first time when I was 3, 4 years old and I was absolutely fascinated by the shapes and features of this amazing new world…and I said to him: I want to do something when I grow up.

My family has been wondering and expecting what I would be doing ever since. I guess that was my defining moment, that was how much I was curious about this world, how things work, people, how much I was motivated to achieve something bigger than myself, how much willingness I want to take on to embrace challenges, and how much this desire has inspired me to go to the most competitive high school back home, to come to the US, to work in New York, and whatever yet to happen to me.

And then Rob went on to say: “Your defining moment is today”. My thoughts paused, and then I smiled. “Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” You are a unique human being and you define your own path for your own life. If you wake up today and feel pumped up for something, go for it.  If you don’t take today seriously, nobody will take your tomorrow seriously.

If you have a passion for what you do, if you have the courage to take that road less traveled by and forget about what other people may think, and finally if you make your choice based on integrity and good judgment, it would be hard to imagine that you will not be successful.  

Good luck everyone!

  1. Sandy Zhu
    May 27, 2010 at 9:20 pm

    hey Danye, i was talking to a friend of mine about summer internships, but it’s so scary to take the road less traveled by. i really dont know if i can make it =(

  2. Sandy Zhu
    May 27, 2010 at 9:22 pm

    thanks for the post danye! my friends and i were just talking about it last night, but its so scary to take the road less travelled by!

    • May 27, 2010 at 9:53 pm

      Yes it is scary. But 1) Is the road more traveled by necessarily easier for you? Do you like that road? Are you good at taking that road? Is the competition going to be more fierce on that road? 2) The meaning of this saying is not that you choose this road because it is less traveled by, but that you have the courage to stick to your interest/passion though it might not be shared or appreciated by everyone else.

      Does this make more sense to you now?

  3. Yuqing Deng
    October 26, 2010 at 6:11 pm

    I would argue to take the road less travelled by means less competition. Competition is a bad word. A wise person would choose to do something
    that is completely new. In so doing, one automatically eliminates all competitions. Of cause, there will be followers instead.

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