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    by Ngozi Osuagwu, MD | April 29th, 2018


    This past weekend I attended the Spring Commencement at the University of Michigan. My daughter received her Bachelor of Science in Engineering in Industrial and Operations Engineering and I am extremely proud of her. Although I must admit, she was the main reason I attended this commencement, I also enjoy going to graduations to listen to the speakers. I am a commencement speech junkie. I always feel inspired and I usually add a few new quotes to my repertoire. This year I was not disappointed.

    The keynote speaker was Mr. Charles Woodson, an ESPN analyst who played football at the University of Michigan. As a junior, he led the Wolverines to a national football championship and eventually won the Heisman Trophy. He reminded the graduates that each required some help to get to where they were and that they should never forget to help others. He talked about the importance of dismissing hate and looking at each individual as a human being. He then referenced a quote by Bruce Lee that I had never heard.

    “Be like water making it through cracks. Do not be assertive, but adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. If nothing within you stays rigid, outward things will disclose themselves.

    Empty your mind, be formless. Shapeless, like water. If you put water into a cup, it becomes a cup. You put water into a bottle and it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Now, water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend.”

    Although he was addressing the graduates and this quote could be interpreted in so many ways, I thought of it as a lesson to all adults who are in contact with young people. We have a responsibility to our young people.  We need to listen to them and learn to be flexible – adjust to the object, and you shall find a way around or through it. We need to be a positive influence.  We need to be encouraging and believe in their ability to do great things – if you put water in a bottle it becomes the bottle.

    I congratulate the Class of 2018 –at whatever stage you are in – graduating from kindergarten to Doctor of Philosophy – you are destined to do great things.  I also congratulate those individuals who have stood behind these graduates – continue the support.

    And to all – …be water, my friend.


    4 Responses to “BE WATER, MY FRIEND”

    1. Chinwe Okpalaoka says:

      Love the quote too. Hadn’t heard this one before. And congratulations on your daughter’s graduation. Time has really flown:-)

    2. chinyelu nwokolo says:

      Congratulations 🎈🎉🎊🍾
      Love the quote 😃

    Leave a Reply

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