Adam Carolla, comedian, social critic and host of the wildly popular Adam Carolla podcast, delivers the 2018 commencement address for PragerU. He offers some sage advice and makes a heart-felt request — as only Adam can.
I never graduated college.
I never even went to college.
I went to the University of Digging Ditches on Construction Sites – go Fighting Shovels!
So, why should you listen to me?
Hmmm, let’s see… Well, I run a business that I built myself. So, let me give you a couple of tips.
I hire and fire people like you all the time. And I’ve seen a pattern with your generation—something I call “The Language of Losers.” Let me give you some examples:
“I did my best.” My assistant told me this once after screwing up royally. And I said, “Matt, if you did your best and you screwed up royally, then I need to fire you right now. The answer is either, ‘I didn’t do my best, I’ll do better next time’ or, ‘I’m drunk right now and need to sit down.’ So the phrase I’ve drilled into my employees is, ‘Don’t do your best; do my best.’”
Another example: I had a young employee once say to me, “I’m sorry. I screwed up. Next time, I’ll triple check.” And I said, “Did you single check? Did you double check? How did you get to triple check?” I know how he got to triple check. Single check is a screw up. Double check is…ehhhh…a flub. And triple check is, “Hey, what do you want from me?” So, he hopped right to triple-check after not single- or double-checking.
And the worst one—the one that’s driving me nuts, the one that’s destroying our society, the one that got hold of the piece of thread of the sweater of society and is just unraveling it: “I feel.” “I feel threatened.” “I feel I’m being treated unfairly.” “I feel you’re a bully.” You’re 23. You live at home. Your bed is shaped like a race car and it’s covered with stuffies and your huggie-bookie. Nobody cares how you feel.
So, no excuses. Please. If you do the job you’re hired to do and you do it well, your employer will never stop thanking you and lavishing you with ponies, and frankincense, and myrrh.
Now, you do your job well and you’re not rewarded? Someone else will find you and reward you. Believe me, that’s how the universe works.
But, let’s face it—the chances of any of you working for me are slim to none. The chances some of you may go out there and set some policy are pretty good. And most of you are going to vote on that policy. So, let me ask you a favor: please, stay away from my freedom.
If you want to know about the loss of freedom, look no further than the beach. I grew up in Southern California. I used to go to the beach all the time. There was one sign, and that sign read, “No lighting vans on fire and throwing the homeless into it.” Now you go to the beach and the sign looks like a menu from Fuddruckers. It never ends! No football. No fires. No smoking. No alcohol. And now, no frisbee. No digging. No sandcastle. No dogs.
The beach is a metaphor for this country. It’s freedom. It means freedom. Everyone who came to this country landed on the beach. They didn’t land in Nebraska. They pulled up to the beach, they cracked a beer, they lit a cigarette, and they threw a frisbee.
And now, you can’t do jack squat on the beach. Look no further than the beach sign from the fifties and the beach sign from 2018. All it gets is longer. And, do the politicians ever show up with their eraser and go, “Hmm…let’s remove a few of these Orwellian ideas that we put on this bonderized steel in front of the beach”? No! Morethings to assure we have a horrible time at the beach, don’t enjoy ourselves and, more importantly, could get a ticket—just because we’re there, trying to drink a cold one, make a sandcastle, and throw the dog the tennis ball.
Don’t be one of those people who adds to the sign on the beach. You be with me: sittin’ on a folding chair with a cigar between my lips and a beer between my legs.
So, you’re graduating and you’re all idealistic. You want to make the world a better place. Here’s my request: Don’t make it worse.
I’m Adam Carolla for Prager University.