John C. Maxwell @ LU Commencement

Dr. Maxwell spoke at the recent 2022 Liberty University Commencement on May 6th. His granddaughter who graduated introduced him in a moving moment. I took a few notes and want to share them here. The theme was, what he wished someone had told him at his commencement. Part of this is verbatim and part of it is summarized/paraphrased.

Rather than asking how long will it take, we should ask how far can I go?

The average shelf like of a degree today is 5 years (per Harvard Business Review). Which means we need to continue to learn.

It’s what you know after you learn it all that counts.

Find your strengths. Be committed to continually grow.

Be better on the inside than you are on the outside. What we know matters. But who you know matters more. Travel within (speaking of your spiritual life with Christ). The more you grow and travel within the more you can grow and travel without.

Develop a personal definition of success. The inside has to be strong. His definition of success has been that “Those who know me the best, love and respect me the most.”

If you are bigger on the outside than you are on the inside, you will fall. It is just a matter of time.

If you are good at what you do, people will want what you have.

Everything worthwhile is uphill. Every dream you have. It’s all uphill. A great marriage is great because you worked at it. On some of the most important days of your life it is going to rain.

We have uphill hopes, but we have downhill habits. You cannot go uphill with downhill habits.

Learn how to get a return on your failures, an ROF.

Fear of failure can have a grip on you. Ask, what would I attempt to do if failure was not possible? Failure is always possible but it can be beaten.

You cannot eliminate failure. What would you attempt to do if failure was possible but you knew it would give you a positive in your life? Keep success and failure side by side. Don’t separate them. What is the most important lesson you have ever learned in your life? Adversity is always part of the story. Success and failure belong together and need each other.

Humility makes you teachable.

Value people. If you want to be like Jesus, value people. Learn to value people completely different from you. People know when you value them and when you don’t.